Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas List -- 2016

in conversations with friends and family I often mention stamp-related things I wouldn't mind receiving as Christmas and/or birthday gifts. It was pointed out to me that non-stampy people would have a hard time finding or knowing what or how to obtain such items to give as gifts. 

So here's a list with links. Any time I actually receive, or purchase for myself, any of these items I'll cross them off the list. 

*I am a member of several of the stamp societies listed below and as such receive a fairly significant discount on publications. Those will be noted with an * and if you want my membership number I'll be happy to provide you a list. 

so here we go in no particular order of desirability

1) The Complete Deegam Machin Handbook -- THE bible for anyone who wants to seriously collect this fascinating set of stamps. £39 postpaid and can be purchased with paypal. 

2) -- revenue stamps and revenue stamp literature. Pretty much any of the publications listed on the linked page. Here are several that stand out:
  • Cox, Terry. Collectible Stocks and Bonds from North American Railroads Guide with Prices -- link
  • Michigan Copper Mining Stocks and Bonds by Lee DeGood -- link
  • Railroad Names by William D. Edson -- link
  • The Pony Express, A Postal History by Richard C. Frajola, George J. Kramer & Steven C. Walske -- link
  • Drummond's Catalog of Philatelic Miscellany, Part Three by James N. Drummond -- link
3) Plugable USB 2.0 Digital Microscope -- Amazon

4) The PSS Town & Type Catalog * -- link

5) The State Revenue Catalog ed. Dave Wrisley * -- link


Friday, August 19, 2016

Chicago Bureau PreCancels

My Chicago Bureau Pre-Cancel pages. I design my own pages that collect and arrange by:
  • city
  • Scott #
  • precancel type
These pages include all of the known bureau precancels for Chicago.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Some Random Stamps ...

I have lots and lots of stamps just stuffed into black vario pages ... one of my favorite things to do is to take a couple of those pages, scan them, and then spend sometime researching and identifying each stamp (or set of stamps). I then either print pages to mount the stamps (1953-present) or use my Minkus Global for those older than 1953. It's a way of "working the stamps" and gaining ground on the building hoard ... err collection.

Here's a page I was playing with today ...

I usually identify the easy stamps first ... so 

1) the two stamp set from "Foroyar" ...  from wikipedia ...
The Faroe Islands are an archipelago between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland, 320 kilometres (200 mi) north-northwest of Great Britain. The area is approximately 1,400 km2 (540 sq mi) with a 2015 population of 48,700. The islands are an autonomous country within the Danish kingdom.
These two stamps are the 2009 "Europa" set showing Saturn and Jupiter. Brilliant stamps!

2) three stamps from Macao (Macao was a Portuguese colony until 1999 and lies across the Pearl River delta from Hong Kong. It is currently part of the People's Republic of China); a set that I purchased some time ago mainly for the stamp commemorating the 1958 Brussels World's fair and the 1962 stamp depicting the effort to eradicate Malaria. The other (middle) stamp was a bonus ... 

and mounted

3) Liechtenstein Weapons issue 1980; I bought this for the crossbow stamp.

4) another easy find ... Mexico 1975 Airmail stamp commemorating Economic Rights and Duties ... kind of a blah stamp really

5) Now it starts to get interesting (although the stamps aren't necessarily as attractive). I had to google Off.Sak to determine that these were Norway stamps. Norway Official Stamps to be exact. I have lots of these sitting around ... there were four on this page ... so here they are
  • #O24 1937-38 -- 10o Green
  • #O81 1960 (or maybe #O110 1982) -- 2kr Gray Green (the 1982 stamp should be a darker green)
  • #O88 1968 -- 65o Red
  • #O106 1980 -- 1.25k Red

6) Australia before it was Australia was composed of six different states. In 1901 these states formed the Commonwealth of Australia (the states still exist but now with a centralized gov't much like the US). What's cool is that those different states all issued stamps up til 1901 ...  one of those states was Victoria and I happened to have a Victoria stamp on this vario! This particular stamp was issued in 1886 and is Victoria #162. A handsome stamp indeed!

7) common beat up France stamp. Went on a bit of a wild goose chase at first when trying to identify .. looking for the colony Finistere ... turns out that it's the western-most most region of France (included a map from Wikipedia) and the Pointe du Raz is the western-most tip of land. Cool. Oh yeah ... found the stamp under France printed in 1946. H Cheffer is a well known (at least in circles of people who care about stamps and engravers) engraver of French stamps. I might do an article on stamp engravers at some point ...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

continuing the Wren/Lawrence saga ...

my first attempt to find out something about this family was to enter "Harriet Lawrence Ypsilanti" into Google. My first hit was this wiki page about James E. Lawrence, a University of Michigan football star. This bio included family information and listed two sisters ... Harriet and Grace! I didn't find a lot more information about James Lawrence ... but I did find that Miss Harriet married Arthur Roy Wren in 1906. That clears up who was the author of all those letters written in 1903-04.

A bit of further research into Arthur Roy Wren revealed that he too had graduated from the University of Michigan in 1898 and also played football while in school. It also turns out the Miss Harriet graduated from the Michigan State Normal School (later Michigan State). At the time (and previously) ARW was employed by various mining companies in Mexico.

That was all I could find out about the family ... I did do some research into both the National Metals and Consolidated Metals Companies. As expected there was so much buying out of each other and overlap in those days that it was nearly impossible to sort out.

National Metal Company Postal History

I had the opportunity to pick up a number of covers in an Ann Arbor Stamp store over the holidays. I had a lot of fun researching some of the history behind the people and places ...

this first cover is the first in a series of letters from ARW in Mexico (in this case Guadalajara) to a Miss Harriet Lawrence of Ludington MI in July of 1903. I confess that I originally picked these covers out of a box of hundreds because of the stamps ... interesting that as I started researching the people ... I sort of lost interest in the stamps.

this next set of covers all come from the same return address. I say set because I have 4 covers but only picked the best stamps and postmarks ... there were probably a dozen in the box. The date has jumped forward a year ... these were all postmarked in the fall of 1904. The addressee has also moved to Ypsilanti MI.

here is a closeup of the best postmark and stamp in the lot

next we have a letter addressed to a Miss Grace E. Lawrence at the same address ... a sister perhaps? No return address, but the same Mexican stamp lends one to believe that the letter came from the same author. I cannot make out the postmark date ... even on the back the date is unfortunately smeared or covered up ...

the last letter in this group is addressed to a Mrs. A.W. Wren at the same address but postmarked 1907. Notice that the authors return address has changed .... from National Metal Company to Consolidated Metals.

some World War II postal history

I received this item the other day from Listia for a pretty low bid. There were several other items also listed which went for much higher amounts ... mainly because they had the return addresses intact.

the letter was included .. two pages of chatty news about the young sailors job, current events, and movies he'd seen.

He mentioned the explosion while unloading ammo off of the USS Solar DE-221 a few weeks earlier at a different dockyard ... info from wikipedia
Destruction by accidental explosion, 1946
On 30 April 1946, Solar was berthed at Leonardo Pier I of the Naval Ammunition Depot Earle, New Jersey, to discharge ammunition. The operation went smoothly until, shortly after 11:30, one of the crewmen dropped a hedgehog charge. He was able to escape with relatively minor injuries, but three ensuing explosions blasted the ship near her number 2 upper handling rooms. Her number 2 gun was demolished and the bridge, main battery director, and mast were all blown aft and to starboard. Both sides of the ship were torn open, and her deck was a mass of flames. The order to abandon ship came after the second explosion and was carried out expeditiously. Nevertheless, the tragedy claimed the lives of 7 sailors and injured 125 others.
Salvage work on Solar was begun by 15:00, and her wrecked superstructure was cut off to prevent her capsizing. She was moved to New York, where she decommissioned on 21 May 1946. Solar was then stripped of all usable equipment, towed 100 nautical miles (200 km) to sea, and sunk on 9 June 1946, in 700 fathoms (1,300 m) of water. Her name was struck from the Navy List on 5 June 1946.

and a picture of the Solar after the explosion (source)

I was able to identify the author of the letter. His name is Joseph H. Cowan, he was born in 1926. The 1940 US Census lists him as the 14 year-old son of Harry G and Irene Cowan. I am still looking for information about the ship Joseph Cowan was serving on (the lack of return address makes this harder).