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Stamps - A General Chat On Philately

( Originally Published 1893 )



NOW and then little points here and there concerning our hobby come to my mind, and as some of them are of interest and contain much worthy of considerate thought, I herewith jot down some of them.

My first point is a geographical one. I have always entertained the idea that the Portuguese colony of Timor was that island between the Celebes and Australia—that it was the most eastern of the Sunda Islands, and some miles east of Java ; but have seen it listed by several Philatelic journals as being one of the Mozambique divisions. Is this not a mistake ? I can find no Mozarnbiquean Timor in any encyclopedia. Hence I still adhere to my former idea.

How do you pronounce the name 0f your Hawaiian stamps ?

The Ladies' Home journal is authority for the statement that the proper pronunciation of Hawaii is Hah-vah-e-e, there being no W in the " Sandwich " alphabet. I knew that there were but twelve letters in their alphabet, but did not know just what they were. If the L. H. y. is right, then the " Hawaii '' on the stamps must be "the United States of it."

In connection with this and the characters, letters and symbols found on the stamps of various countries using strange languages, it might he of interest to state the number of letters or characters of linguistic expression found on the Philatelic treasures of said countries.

The Italian language has 2n letters ; French, 23 ; Greek, 24 ; German:same as English, 26 ; Spanish, 27. Persia boasts of 32 characters ; Russia, 41 ; Japanese, 5o. The Ethiopic " language" sports 202. (How glad I am that I'm not an Ethiopian

There is an unconscious error of classification-among us. Quite often we see in Philatelic papers advertisements of postage, AND envelope stamps. Is this right ? No. of course n0t ; the error stands revealed. yes, indeed, what are envelope, letter-sheet, wrapper and card stamps but postage stamps ? ADHESIVE and envelope and postage and envelope are two widely different matters.

Our Columbian issue of adhesives now consists of 17 regular varieties—Columrus freaks, etc., not counted—and costs, unused, $16.35. The collector must not forget the official change in the one-center from deep Antwerp blue to a light and somewhat dull blue. The new Sc. maroon is a beauty.

The various orthographies of our printers are manifest on the surcharged Puttialla (or Patiala) stamps. Some come surcharged Puttialla : and on some we find Patio/a. I recently met with a used one with the Puttialla surcharge, and cancelled with the Patiala postmark !

Those " official" (?) seals, purporting to be United States Government issues, which have been handled by several dealers of late, and which are becoming a drug on the market, have been denounced by a public 'postal official as having been unauthorized by the Government. So says a leading journal. If this is so, the dealer who got"Brownson :

" How do you pronounce ' H-a-w-a-i-i' ?'' Smithson : " Sandwich Islands. of course !'

These were printed with and without ornaments, on thin, white, finely wove, and also on thick, creamy, coarsely wove paper, straight and curved printing, etc., a regular scheme.

There is a stamp which I consider far more collectible than the above, and that is our meat inspection stamp. It, of course, has no face—and, perhaps, no Philatelic value ; but if we collect that which interests us, we should certainly include the M. I. stamp, owing to its simple beauty, and as being an emission of the Agricultural Department—a veritable " Department " stamp, though not in the postage category.

A description of it may be of interest.

The engraving is 5 1/4 by 2 3/4 inches (about 133 by 70 mm.), and was executed by A. Hoen Si Co., Baltimore, U. S. A.

The upper line is curved, and reads " United States." Below is " Department of Agriculture " in a straight line. Then " Bureau of Animal Industry." Next is " Meat Inspection Stamp" in long label with horizontally-lined background. Signed, J. M. Rusk," " Secretary," in two lines.

Eagle on shield at left, with " E. Pluribus Unum, on scroll in mouth. Label with lined ground in upper left corner for box number.

" Act of March 3rd, 1891," in border at left ; white, letters, black background. " U.S.A." in monogram in ornaments in upper corners. Different ornaments without mon0gram in lower corners.

The stamp is perforated, and has to inch margins. It is printed in black on brittle white wove paper. ^

Speaking of Department stamps. reminds me that there is one which I consider to be priced wrongly in our standard catalogue—at least it is so, comparatively. I refer to the 3o cent Justice. -As far as my observation goes—and I have seen many fine collections, rich in Departments—there are, right here in the city of Taunton, Mass., a number of collections whose Justices are complete, with the exception of the 3o-cent, the 9o-cent being much easier to procure than its next neighbor. It is but recently that the writer had the good fortune to secure one—having owned the rest for a considerable time. I know of but five Departmental stamps more difficult to procure than this, and those are, in order, $2 State, 6-cent Executive, to-cent same, $to State, $20 same, and le plus difficile of all, the $5 State, a copy of which sold recently for $103. And it was a used specimen at that. The unused sells for hut little less, a specimen recently bringing $96 at a sale in New York city.

I recently saw in a newspaper where a humorist referred to the stamp window in the post-office as the " Lick Observatory."

The Columbian edition of The Peirnsylvanian Philatelist contains many good articles, among which is one by Roy F. Greene, in which he states that he has a trunkful of letters containing rejections of MS. (not Philatelic). This is probably just a - little stretched," but it reminds rue of one or two experiences in my own case, the citing of which may be of interest and value to Philatelic writers.

Early in my writing career, I sent an article to a periodical to which I had contributed several articles. It was offered gratuitously. It was returned with the statement that owing to an overload of MS. on hand, it, and in fact any MS., could not be considered before a certain date ; merely a polite way of declining my effusion. So I sent it to another leading journal, and I put a price on it this time. It was accepted and the editor called for more, and he got it—but a price went with it each time.

Another time I sent an article to a paper with my price. It was returned avec remerciments. I sent it to another periodical ; same price. Accepted. More! However, I have been very fortunate in this line, for of what must have been close on to forty articles I have written for various Philatelic publications, I have had but five returned with thanks." (No, Mr. Funnyman, you can't get your little joke in here ; the others were not " returned without thanks "—they " got there," so to speak). Four of them I put out again and they were accepted. (The other one I kept and used it for fly paper !)

For my initial article in various papers I generally demanded my name to be put on the subscription book for periods covering from one to five years, according to the article.

Before I cl0se I wish to make a few statements about the prices of our revenue stamps. Their c0mparative cheapness is marvelled at ; their "big jump " in the near future will not be a surprise to many.

An incident apropos will be a suggestive pointer to many.

A collector whose U. S. revenues were nearly complete, went into the store of a large stamp firm in New York city, bent on filling up all he could of the remaining spaces. The dealer showed him a book of stamps, saying, " You'll find all we have in there." The collector looked them over and found not one of his wants, and it was a firm issuing a large catalogue. The collector then ordered five each of a number of those priced at one cent each. The dealer refused to sell, though he had the specimens, saying that he sold only one to a customer. The collector argued on the difference between , tot for five cents, and . to . for five cents. Finally the dealer said, " Look here ! to tell the truth, we are not anxious to sell those stamps at that price, for every one of those stamps should be priced at five cents each by rights."

The reason for the present low price, and the moral to collectors, is obvious.

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