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Musings 2007-2009

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Irish post office avoided philatelists

(Posted February 21, 2009.)

Irish Philatelic Circle logo In the September, 2008 issue of Irish Philately, the journal of the Irish Philatelic Circle, there’s a bit of historical information about the Irish post office that caught my eye.

The plate markings (of the 1929 Catholic Emancipation Centenary set) were deliberately removed as part of the policy of the Post Office Executive to have nothing to do with philatelists, a policy that lasted, for all typographed issues, until 1968. The following is extracted from the reply by the Executive to the organisers of a Dublin Philatelic Exhibition in 1944. “In particular, it has been thought necessary to keep philatelists at a distance because they try to ferret out every detail of manufacturing … This branch has a record going back to 1922 of complete immunity from undesirable incidents … and it [has] always been considered that the best way to maintain this immunity is by a rigid policy of having nothing to do with philatelists or with philatelic exhibitions.”

On the charge of “ferreting out every detail of manufacturing,” I must plead guilty on behalf of my fellow philatelists. But “undesirable”? That’s going rather too far.

For more information on the Irish Philatelic Circle, visit their web site.


Penny Black found in rubbish bin

(Posted August 9, 2008.)

Penny Black Thanks to The Stamp Collecting Round-Up, we learn that a Penny Black, the world’s first postage stamp, was found in a rubbish bin (that’s a trash can to us Americans) in the town of Dorchester in England in July, 2008.

The article shows it in a presentation frame of the type sold by merchants who peddle over-priced stamps to people who are novices or non-collectors. It is possible that the item was given to its current owner as a gift, and that person knew nothing about its value and simply tossed it away when it was no longer wanted.

The article indicates a range of values for unused copies of the Penny Black, but a careful examination of the photo shows some red coloring on the stamp, undoubtedly a red Maltese Cross cancel. Therefore the stamp is used, which is not surprising considering the way it has been packaged. The actual value of the stamp depends on its condition, especially the margins, and that is impossible to tell from the small photograph. Nonetheless, even a poor condition Penny Black is worth a modest sum.

P.S. Don’t bother telling Glenn.

P.P.S. Stamp Collecting Round-Up also noted this real example of snail mail.


Careful how you stick that stamp!

(Posted March 7, 2008.)

Writing in Linn’s Stamp News recently, Les Winick says that it is an act of treason in the United Kingdom to place a stamp upside down on an envelope. Since every British stamp has at least a small image of the ruling monarch, presumably this placement is considered disrespectful.

This law was in the news because it was voted the second most stupid law in the U.K. by some 4,000 people in a survey taken by a television station. The most stupid law, according to the poll, is that it is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament. (I suppose that one merits the death penalty … oh wait, there is no death penalty in the U.K., so the criminal is allowed to live, or would be allowed to live if he or she weren’t already dead. Or something.)


Pretty in pink … and ruby

(Posted June 25, 2007. Updated February 10, 2008.)

2 1/2p pale magenta 3p rose red 2 1/2p rose madder 11p pastel red 14p salmon pink 39p shocking pink 1 pound ruby red 72p red 72p red

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Machins, Royal Mail asked Jeffery Matthews to develop a new color for the £1 Machin. He chose the color ruby, since ruby is the the traditional gift for the 40th wedding anniversary. The new Machin was issued on June 5, 2007, the 40th anniversary of the date of issue of the first Machins.

When I got the stamp, I thought it really fit in well with the various pink colors used previously for Machin stamps. So here are the pinks, the new ruby, and pure red. The colors are (from left to right):

The current 5p is also a shade of pink called ash pink, but it has so much gray/brown in it that, to my eye at least, it doesn’t go well with the others in the group, so I omitted it.

Robin Harris has a nice page with the Machins organized by color.

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Last update: February 21, 2009   Macintosh!
Copyright © 2007 by Larry Rosenblum; Stamp images Copyright © by Royal Mail