>So, this is how addictions grow


I haven’t posted about anything for a while, mostly because of work pressures and a crisis or two.

I wanted to say, though, that the stamp-collecting bug hasn’t gone away. In fact, the bug has done hatched its own colony. It’s S.’s obsession more than mine. I’m not the one who set up an ebay account to snag whole series of stamps, or sent away for parcels of kiloware, or spent my evenings making sure the 1000s of Australian stamps we have are in proper chronological order. But I did order a catalogue of US stamps through bookmooch.com, and I do find myself sitting down with a tray of stamps and filling rows of sleeves with them (and getting a perverse satisfaction out of seeing them neatly displayed and properly cleaned up).

I haven’t had time to find out much about the following stamps, and they are posted here with the same reasoning as the entries that came before: I like them.

There is even a smidge of rhyme and reason to this set of stamps: they’re all from Asia. We’ve managed to sort out into regions, at least! And, no, you don’t want to know how much we’ve spent so far on stamp storage gear…

This is the first set (in the three stamp posts I’ve done so far) that have a black background to the scans. akphilately recommended this as he said it makes the images look a lot better. I’d have to agree!

This first stamp is from Siam (now Thailand), 1943 air mail, with an overprint that I can’t read (as in, am not able to cos can’t read Thai script – am happy to be enlightened):

500 yen Japanese stamp. Can’t find much else on it on a quick skim around the web (the extent of my philatelic research…):

An overprinted Republic of China stamp:

I think it’s very likely that we’ll start collecting stamps with fish on them, and those sporting cacti and other succulents. We’re creatures of habit, after all. Below is one of a series from Thailand (there are some great old ones from Singapore, too):

Had a couple of other stamps (both from Hong Kong, as it happens) but they didn’t scan for some reason. Probably because I screwed it up when I tried to hurry through the process.

S. bought a stunning set of mint shell stamps from Papua New Guinea off ebay the other day. They are very cool; I don’t think scanning them in will do them justice.

>A-stamping we will go


I’d warned you that there’d be another stamp-spam post and – ta-dah! – here it is. And, yes, I did go overboard with them this time. Let’s call it stamp therapy, considering the other demands – not in toddler form – howling at me during work time.

How geeky have we become since we started sorting out our boxes/books/envelopes of stamps? I’d estimate super-geeky…

Voila, the stamp below is a King George VI definitive or, as Collect GB Stamps would say:

King George VI
December 11 1936 – February 6 1952
Yellow Green
ID 2642
Issued on March 3 1942

And another one of King George VI – a commemorative St George + Dragon stamp (1951):

The Dutch sure know how to design cool stamps – two below are from the same series, released somewhere in the 1940s (couldn’t track them down properly):

A 1935 pre-decimal Kiwi stamp from New Zealand:

1952 pre-decimal Papua & New Guinea stamp:

One of the few we have from Sudan. This is a little narrative about the design I found on this page: “The Sudan camel post definitive was issued in 1898 and continued in use for 53 years (with one seven year break). The design by Bimbashi (Captain) E.A. Stanton, a prominant British philatelist, featured an Arab postman riding a racing camel. At the time when the design was done, the cities of Khartoum and Berbera which are named on two of the mailbags were still in the hands of the Mahdi. The design was eventually adopted as the national symbol of Sudan.”

The Swedes sure know how to design stamps, too. I’ve loved so many of the engraved ones. Below is a Swedish (1918-1921?) lion stamp:

S. laughed at one of our childhood albums because ‘Ceskoslovensko’ was scrawled along the top of the page in uneven felt pen. He’d assumed it was riddled with typos. Well, the joke’s on him, eh? It is, of course, otherwise known to us as Czechoslovakia. The stamp immediately below has another variation of the name, ‘Ceskoslovenska’:

Set of two relatively recent stamps from China. I just like the monkeys:

And to finish off, a beautifully tri-coloured stamp from France:

I’ve also found a fanatastic stamp-blog (yes, you read that right): akphilately. The blogger obviously loves the design and look of stamps (his images are sharp and gorgeous), and his stamp narratives and observations are great fun to read. It was nice to find a site that didn’t just list a bunch of numbers/codes; an astonishing number of stamp websites are as ugly as sin, with awful images of the stamps themselves. AK’s enthusiasm is contagious, and he has cool stamp stories, too!

>Shed archeology

>It’s amazing some of the things you find when cleaning out the shed.

We were decluttering – sorta – the other day and found a large container full of old stamp albums: my sibs and mine from when we were children (hadn’t touched them since the beginning of secondary school, I think), S.’s from his childhood, and the stamp book he’d inherited from his father. Along with the albums were envelopes and bags full of loose and cut out stamps.

We’ve spent bits and pieces of recents days soaking, drying and roughly sorting them. Our collection is obviously Australia- and Malaysia-heavy, with fair representation from Singapore, the UK and USA. We also have an oddly high number of Spanish and South American (Argentinian in particular) stamps courtesy of my mother’s old bosses.

I love the older engraved stamps, and simpler block designs. Even as stamp collecting n00bs, we’re disapproving of the self-adhesive ones that are churned out (in Australia) these days. You can’t soak and dry those – you need to use solvents to dissolve the ‘sticker’ glue. It’s just not right.

Also, I’m not a fan of the lolly-coloured, photographic designs they often have now. IMO, they don’t have the striking lines of yore.

Below are a few of the ones I’ve particularly liked.

1. Swedish beetle stamps:

2. New Zealand seahorse:

3. Sarawak, old-school:

4. Tiger on old-school Malaya stamp:

5. Greek mer-man?

6. Eire stamp (part of a very cool series):

7. Australian Colombo plan stamp:

I’ve become enamoured of the way old stamps look on-screen (yes, weird…move on…), so this may be the first of a series of “gee, here are some stamps I think are cool” kind of posts. The scanning actual captures the texture of the engraving rather nicely, as well as the cancellations and scalloped edges. We have some stamps with old-style ‘perfs’ (perforations) that spell out “OS”, and I’m finding myself at sites such as The Complete Guide to Stamp Collecting.

Oh, I can just see you rushing back.