Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Cheatsheet for Problematic Classic Era Stamps

The American Philatelic Society has a handy-dandy overview of countries whose stamps are frequently misidentified, forged, reprinted, etc., as part of its advice to sellers using their circuit books. I've known about the document for a while, and have been meaning to post a link to this three page pdf.

A few examples:

Australia, 1-76, 113-129, Misidentifications, because watermarks are not noted.

Bolivia, 1–59, Forgeries and fake overprints (40–46 oval cancels with heavy bars are suspect).

United States, Washington/Franklins, Misidentifications, perf. alterations, and regumming.

While a lot of the document is too general to be of much use by itself (for example, watch out for forgeries on the early issues of Trinidad), I still think the list is worth checking out by other general collectors.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Evolution of the Scott Classic Catalogue Part 2

Continuing on from Part 1:

2000 (sixth edition). Another 45 countries received cover listings for the first time bringing the total to 131 countries. Some other countries with cover listings in earlier editions were expanded, such as Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Great Britain, Luxembourg, Monaco, Philippines and Spain. Eleven countries received listings for bisects. Canada gained 14 additional pages, largely because of the O.H.M.S. Officials, but also plate blocks, coil pairs, line pairs, and paste-up pairs, not to mention die types, etc. First or early issues of many countries received extra attention in this edition. Many of these are what could be termed Forerunners, such as those of Angra, Ascension, Cayman Islands, Cyprus and Egypt, Horta, Kiauchau, Madeira and Porta Delgada, New Zealand, Seychelles, and Strait Settlements. Fifty-five countries were given new minor listings for shades which, Scott notes, "usually reflect[s] new printings of definitive stamps."

2001 (seventh edition). The seventh edition boasted 46 more pages than the sixth. Australia and its North West Pacific Islands were one of the principal beneficiaries, both with expanded coverage of the Roos and the Perf OS Officials of Australia. In Europe, the France Occupation Stamps were beefed up and a page was added for the Balloon Montes covers. Danzig, Denmark, Germany, Italy and Netherlands also received attention. (I like the phrase that Mr. Morrissey used to describe the nearly doubling of coverage for Danzig, terming it "one of the liveliest 'dead' countries.") Germany, very much alive and issuing, received 1/3 more coverage. Fourteen countries had cover listings for the first time. Postage dues on covers were added for seven countries, and eight countries received more listings. Continuing with the addition of forerunner issues that began in 2000 were listings for "the stamps of a parent, or other country, used in a colony or other country," e.g., the stamps of Great Britain used in Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil.

2002 (eighth edition). This edition was the first with James E Koetzel writing the "Letter from the Editor." There were new or reinstated major numbers for Barbados, Bermuda, Egypt, and Somaliland Protectorate. There were additional Forerunner listings for Bangkok, British East Africa, Brunei, Cape Verdi, and South Africa. Twenty-two countries had either expanded listings or joined the Catalogue for the first time. This brought the total of countries with cover listings to more than 150. There were new valuations for never hinged stamps for 16 countries plus listings for multiples for 18 countries. Specimen stamps are included for 13 countries. There were more listings for plate and printing varieties plus many minor listings for color shades, overprint/surcharge varieties, etc. Perhaps most noticeable was the additional of high quality digitally scanned images replacing the velox prints used in earlier catalogs. These scans were from the stamps kindly loaned to Scott by an unnamed Ohio collector who we now know was Dr. Hsien-ming Meng.

2003 (ninth edition). With this edition, the percentage of color stamp images hits the ninety percent mark. More than 2300 new basic listings were added to the Catalogue, including massive new coverage of the China Treaty Ports. Coverage for the Ukraine was "revamped and expanded," including all of the early issues. World War I Occupation issues for the British Operations in German East Africa were added. Coverage for Saar was, in Kloetzel's words, "dramatically expanded," to the tune of 201 varieties. This was the first year in a multi-year project to expand Portuguese Colonies including more than a 100 new varieties. More forerunner stamps, 246 in all, were added. I should note that some (all?) of the Classic Catalogues have an Additions, Deltions and Changes page which drills down to specifics even more than the editor's letters.

To be continued....