Ugly Postage Stamps

Yes it’s certainly true; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  That said, I’ve been perusing a number of postage stamp catalogs (catalogues?) lately and well- some stamps just come off to my eye as butt ugly.

Mauro_Nunez_stamp

This is not a dig on the man, or his music.  But c’mon, this design is tiny paper cheez whiz IMHO.

For me it’s usually a design issue, but sometimes it’s a printing mess.  When the two combine, it’s the opposite of a Mounds Bar.

Brazil_2014_ugly

The U.S. has put out some corporate style stamps, but this one from Brazil may be the least sexy postage stamp I’ve ever seen.

I’ve grappled with my stamp collecting lately, trying to decide how I want to put the pieces together.  At the moment I’m trying out some topical collecting, those being rampant lions, and postal mail boxes.

Sometimes countries buckle under a dictatorship.  Sometimes resources simply are not there for good design, or proper printing.  I get it.  I’m just sayin’… if I decided to collect ugly stamps as a topic, I might not have any trouble finding candidates. ~TH~

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The Talking Mail Box

A Talking Mailbox- Oh My, How Useful!

Read, Seen, Heard

I have no idea why the Talking Mailbox didn’t catch on. This publicity photo is said to be from 1943, taken in California, and the young lovely listening to the mailbox is Lynn Baggett, whose story is a cautionary tale for young women with stars in their eyes. Miss Baggett was “discovered” at the age of 19 by a Warner Brothers talent scout while walking to work in downtown Dallas, and came to Los Angeles where she landed a movie contract and appeared in 24 films.

She was, however, credited in only three of them. She is remembered in some circles as a beautiful but silent waitress in Mildred Pierce (1945), as a jilted beauty in Douglas Sirk’s Lured (1947), and as the widow Mrs. Philips in the film noir D.O.A. (1950).

Her real role was as a studio beauty. Playwright Arthur Laurents said of her: “She was very sweet…

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Have Cancels Been Canceled?

I admit, I’ve noticed for years that many postal items appear to be uncancelled.  That is to say, the stamps appear to be non-cancelled.  I chalked it up to some nifty “invisible” cancel, that the postal scanners would recognize, and kick any mailpiece that utilized a stamp already used.  Too futuristic?

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Well, that may not be the case.  In my short time digging online, this discussion points more toward the stamps simply overlooked by the machinery.  Now, if my miserly ways compelled me to break the law and reuse said postage (an act I would never consider), I assume the result would be another delivered missive.

Are the machines at fault?  Is the postal volume too high for proper checks?  COMMENTS WELCOME!

Oh well, in the meantime, I’ll soak these suckers and place them in the sort bin.  Thanks to the Erie Stamp Club for these fine mini-blocks.  ~TH~

HemisFair Stamp, 1968

Issue Date:  March 30, 1968

City:  San Antonio, TX

Quantity:  144,345,000

I received this used stamp in a packet recently.  I like the design, and I decided to dig into the background of the stamp and the event a little more closely.

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As to the event itself, I found this concise description on the the Mystic Stamp Company website:

Printed By:  Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Printing Method:  Lithographed, engraved

Perforations:  11

Color:  Blue, rose red and white

Publicizes the opening of the HemisFair ’68 regional exhibition at San Antonio, Texas. This exhibition was held in honor of San Antonio’s 250th anniversary.

HemisFair ‘68 was the first official international exposition held in the Southwestern U.S.  It was held in San Antonio from April 6 to October 6, 1968.  With an overall theme of “Confluence of Civilization in the Americas,” San Antonio’s mixed cultural heritage was celebrated.  It also highlighted San Antonio’s potential as a center for international commerce and cultural exchange between the U.S. and Latin America.

HemisFair ‘68 attracted more than 6.3 million visitors.  More than 30 nations participated, many with special exhibit pavilions.  The fair was held on a 92.6-acre site.  Several permanent structures were built for the fair, including the theme structure, a 622-foot Tower of the Americas.

Printed by lithograph and engraving; hmmm, interesting.  One of the features on the stamp I noticed was that the white spiral lines are raised.  I therefore assume that they were the last part of the printing process.  Sure enough, there are some misregistrations that exist for this stamp.  Linn’s Stamp News points these differences out.  If you click the link to the Linn’s article, you will notice that my stamp (shown below in detail) most resembles the improper registration of the spiral lines shown on the far left (of three examples).

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In my internet travels, I also discovered an active website dedicated to the actual HemisFair ’68.  Click the link to find out even more, some interesting information there. Enjoy.

~TH~

Sort, Sift, Learn Stuff

Spent a couple of hours sorting through the rag-tag shoebox of stamps I mentioned earlier.  All used, some already soaked off the paper.  Found a few things of interest.

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I ended up with three Scott #832 $1 Woodrow Wilson stamps.  I plan to get some watermark fluid and see if any of the three happen to have the USIR watermark.  I’m not holding my breath.

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I vote this stamp design the most tawdry in my collection.  My heavens!  That woman is disrobed… and what are those two cherubs up to?  But sincerely, I’m interested in finding out more about the design.

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Also found a Hopalong Cassidy collector card in the box.  Now you know how to bulldog a steer, something every middle class school boy needs to know.  Yee-haw.  ~TH~

 

Stamp Show 2018

I attended the 132nd annual stamp show this weekend past.  Hosted by the American Philatelic Society and the American Topical Association, it was (for me anyway) overwhelming.  I was able to find some of the stamps I wanted for my own collection, and the exhibits were amazing.

the exhibit area

The very large exibit area. A little intimidating, and very cool.

fast jenny

I believe this was the printing error referred to as Fast Jenny. Did not know other errors of this stamp existed, outside of the famous inverted jenny.

I also attended the presentation by the host of Exploring Stamps.  Engaging delivery with just the right amount of humor tossed in; well done Graham!

Graham Beck Exploring Stamps

Either Graham is tall, or I’m short. Dealer’s choice.

If I had my druthers, I would have started with smaller shows to get my feet wet.  The dates did not work out for that, and since I’m not too far from Columbus OH, I took the plunge.  I set up a mobile office in my hotel room for the weekend.  Worked out great.

from hotel window

The luxurious view from my hotel room window.

the hotel office

The hotel office, WITH Indians baseball on the boob tube.

This weekend I will attend a much smaller stamp show here in town, hosted by the local stamp club.  Whew!  ~Tom~