Monthly Archives: September 2018

Episode #190 – Mao Zedong, Missing Inverted Jenny Found and Plate Blocks

Welcome to Stamp Show Here Today Episode #190

Welcome to Stamp Show Here Today Episode #190 – Today we are discussing Mao Zedong and the recently discovered C3a “Inverted Jenny” discovered in a Chicago area bank vault. We will also discuss plate numbers and plate blocks and new issues including both the United States and Canada’s first responder stamps, and the final release of the United Kingdom’s World War I centenary issue. Enjoy 

Episode #189 Show Notes

Hosts – Tom, Caj, Scott, Dawn

September 9th, 1976 Mao Zedong Dies

Mao Zedong or Chairman Mao died of health complications on September 9th, 1976. He was the leader of China’s communist Government from 1949 until his death.

Born in 1893 Mao joined the Nationalist movement against what was deemed an ineffective royal government in the 1910’s. In the 1920’s he became disenchanted with the nationalist movement and believed that only a revolutionary change could bring China freedom from western domination.

In 1921 he became one of the founding members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Mao became the head of the CCP in 1935 claiming that the other leaders lacked military strategy and zeal. Mao’s forces throughout the 1930’s and World War II continued attacking the Chinese government and were ultimately victorious in 1949. Later in 1949 the communist People’s Republic of China was created.

Many stamps featuring Mao Zedong were issued during his life. The first stamp issued featuring him was PRC Scott number 10 issued February 1st 1950. There are some more notable and higher priced items including Thoughts of Mao PRC Scott numbers 938 – 948 and Mao writing poetry PRC Scott numbers 967 – 980. These stamps all range in price from a few hundred dollars to just over a thousand dollars.

In 1967 there was a stamp created for the 50th anniversary of the Autumn Harvest March which Featured Mao Zedong and Lin Piao against a blue sky. The stamp was never issued, but a few did manage to enter the marketplace. In a 2010 Hong Kong auction a cut stamp showing the right half of the design sold for 235,000 U.S. dollars. Imagine what a whole stamp might get at auction.

Inverted Jenny Missing Since 1918 Found

A Chicago area family has found the missing position 49 Scott C3a the “inverted Jenny”. The stamp which has been missing since shortly after it was discovered in 1918 has been in a safe deposit box unaffected by light and changing conditions.

The owner of the stamp who asked to remain anonymous did not want to risk damaging the stamp and a stamp expert from the Philatelic Fondation flew to Chicago to pick up the stamp in person.

The stamp brings the total of never hinged copies of the stamp to 6 and was graded a 90 by the foundation. Though many of the stamps have been sold to anonymous collectors and their whereabouts unknown, this is one of the only stamps that has been unaccounted for since the discovery of the sheet by William Robey. Only being reported as last sold in 1918. Two other never hinged copies have been certified by Professional Stamp Experts as sound with grades of 75 and 80.

Caj has his own Podcast

Our own Caj has started a side podcast called Relics in History based on his stamp exhibit. He has posted a the first few episodes at (Where). We have a short preview today of his first episode. So please enjoy.

What is a Plate Number and how many stamps do you need for a Plate Block?

First what is a plate number?

As printing plates were manufactured for creating stamps the plates had differing plate numbers that are essentially the serial number of a plate and could be used for quality control. If a problem were noticed on a sheet of stamps the printer could simply look at the plate number to determine where the problem lied.

Prior to 1894 when the Bureau of Engraving and Printing began printing postage stamps, private companies were contracted for the work. These companies included Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson of New York and Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear and Company of Philadelphia. These two companies combined in 1879 to become the American Bank Note Company.

Plate numbers appeared in different locations on the sheet and the numbering systems varied by each printer. Rawdon who printed Scott numbers 1 and 2 did not use plate numbers. Toppan, however used a simple approach that had the first plate of each denomination as plate number 1, the second plate number 2 etc.

The National Bank Note Company which existed from 1861 – 1872 numbered their plate sequentially with no regard to denomination. They did start over in the numbering for the two color Pictorial stamps of 1869 – 1870  and again for the Bank Note issue of 1870 – 1871.

While the National Bank Note Company used the same plate number for both color plates future two color stamps used different numbers for each color. For instance the Bureau of Engraving and printing, for its 1901 Pan American issue, used two separate plate numbers; one for the frame and the other for the vignette.

In 1883 the American Bank Note Company started using letter prefixes in front of the plate number.

In 1980 Prefixes had a different purpose than just adding to the plate number. They were used to denote which private printer printed the stamps. Plate number preceded by “A” were printed by Ashton Potter, “V” was for Avery Denison and “G” for Guilford Gravure.

With the issuance of 150th anniversary of Missouri Statehood in 1971 multi colored stamps included a plate number for each printed color. This lasted until 1980 when the Postal Service announced in December that it would establish a plate block as consisting of four stamps with one plate number except in cases where a sheet consisted of more than four designs. U.S. stamps today now have one plate number that contains a single plate number that has each color represented by a number.

Some interesting forms of plate numbers include the early Penny red stamps of Great Britain which contain plate numbers within the stamps themselves. Also the 1943 United States Overrun Countries issues which commemorated countries under Axis control during World War II have the name of the country instead of a plate number.

So with all of these different forms of numbers and locations what exactly is a plate block and how do you collect it? A plate block is a block of stamps and its surrounding selvage that contains a plate number. You need to have all the stamps surrounding the plate number and all the selvage around them to properly collect a plate block.

If a plate number is located in one of the corners of the sheet you may only need to collect the four corner stamps called a plate block of four. Stamps that have the plate numbers located in the centers of a sheet usually require 6 stamps to complete a plate block. This can vary however once you add in stamps with multiple plate numbers. This can lead to blocks of eight, ten or even more.

The Scott catalog does a very good job at describing the number of stamps required for a plate block and the values for the blocks. If a collector wants to get even more involved in plate number collecting there is the Durland standard Plate Number Catalog which contains most of  the plate numbers used for each issue of United States Stamps.

New Issues

United States

Today September 13 the USPS released the first responders stamp. The stamp, celebrating the men and women who respond to critical situations with skill, dedication and uncommon bravery features a firefighter, paramedic, and police officer appearing to head into action in a haze of smoke.

The first day ceremony was held this morning at the Aerial Fire Depot and smokejumper center in Missoula, Montana.

The first responder stamp was designed by artist Brian Stauffer working with art director and designer Antonio Alcala and designer Ricky Altizer and is being issued in a sheet of 20.

Canada is also celebrating first responders this week with a series of releases each day. The stamps feature paramedics, armed forces, search and rescue, firefighters and police officers. Each stamp features a black and white foreground image of a man or woman of the profession with a color background action scene.

The Royal Mail is releasing the final set of World War I stamps honoring the centenary of the end of the war. The set of stamps released today September 13th is a set of six stamps featuring 100 Poppies, ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’, Second Lieutenant Walter Tull, We are Making a New World, The Grave of the Unknown warrior, and Lieutenant Francis Hopgood’s Goggles. We will include a link in the show notes where you can find more information about these stamps.

Royal Mail WWI Stamp descriptions

Show Schedule

September 12-18
London, England

On the Road Course
EFOs and You: How YOU Can Benefit From Postal Blunders
September 13, 2018
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

September 14-16, 2018
Tukwila, Washington

September 14-16, 2018
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

AWPEX 2018
September 15-16, 2018

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Episode #190 Images

Here are the images for the items we discussed in episode #190

Mao Zedong

Mao Writing Poetry
United States Postal Service First Responder Stamp
Canada Post First Responder Paramedic Stamp
Canada Post First Responder Armed Forces Stamp
Canada Post First Responder Search and Rescue Stamp
Royal Mail WWI Stamps

Episode #189 – National Neither Rain Nor Snow Day, Secret Stamp Society, and Younger Collectors

Welcome to Stamp Show Here Today epiosode #189

Welcome to Stamp Show Here Today Episode #189 – Today we will be discussing National Neither Rain nor Shine Day, A secret stamp society that got some steel from the San Francisco Bay Bridge, and younger collectors. We also discuss starting a stamp collection at low cost and upcoming shows. Enjoy.

Episode #189 Show Notes

Hosts – Tom, Caj, Scott, Greg, Dawn

September 7th Celebrates National Neither Rain nor Snow Day

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds ~ Inscription found over the entrance of the central post office in New York City

National Neither Snow Nor Rain Day commemorates the opening of the New York Post Office on September 7, 1914.

The James A. Farley Post Office Building is the main post office in New York City.  Built in 1912 and opened for postal business in 1914, it is famous for the inscription.  In 1982, the post office was officially designated The James A Farley Building as a monument and testament to the political career of the nation’s 53rd Postmaster General.

While the inscription is prominently featured on the building, the United States Postal Service does not actually have an official motto.  However, in 2011 the United States Post Office advertised with the song “Let the River Run” by Carly Simon. The words of the inscription ran across inspirational images of postal workers carrying out their daily duties. Other advertising campaigns have also hinted at the inscriptions motivation. The “Watch Us Deliver” campaign featured carriers delivering precious packages in harsh or awkward conditions. The narrator promises they will deliver the mail “…faster, sleeker, earlier, fresher, harder, farther, quicker, and yeah…even on Sundays.”

The inscription, which was carved by Ira Schnapp, was provided by the designing architects. It is a paraphrase of a motto from the Herodotus’ Histories which describes a Persian system of mounted messengers under Xerxes I of Persia.

Bay Bridge Steel and the Secret Stamp Society that Came Away with Some

At an event in San Francisco stands a small podium which bears an insignia. The Elsewhere Philatelic Society.

In 2015 the East span of the Bay Bridge was torn down with the steel donated to local artists throughout the bay area. The Elsewhere Philatelic Society applied for and was awarded five rivets from the bridge. One of these rivets is now fastened to the podium standing in the park.

The Elsewhere Philatelic Society is a group of folks, many of them artists, that travel around to events in San Francisco. It’s a bit of a treasure hunt where stamps are collected to commemorate your attendance, just as the post office releases stamps that commemorate events.

The stamp designs come from artists and are affixed into passports, though it is with glue and not hinges. No they are not postage stamps, but they are indeed collecting stamps.

So if you ever happen to find yourself in San Francisco then by all means look them up at stamps from elsewhere dot com. You can get yourself a map, become a member, obtain a passport and start a new stamp collection, all the while exploring the art and events of the city.

Low Cost Stamp Collecting

For the beginning collector there are several ways to start a collection on a budget.

Although mailed items are becoming more infrequent the easiest and the cheapest way to start a collection is by collecting the used postage that comes in your mailbox. This can be your own mail or a friend or relative that may be willing to save items for you. Even your job could be a source for stamps if your company receives mail.

Another way is through more advanced collectors that may be willing to help you start by providing duplicate stamps that they may have received.

A beginner collector could attend a show or join a local stamp club. There are many dealers that have bargain stamps that are good for a beginner and clubs offer a way to meet more collectors that might be willing to give you some items in order to start you off on the right foot.

These items and more are covered in more detail in the American Philatelic Society’s brochure 10 Low Cost Ways to Start Collecting Stamps, which can be found on their website

Younger Collectors

The recent APS Columbus show saw an effort to gain popularity with young collectors by having a topical theme of dragons in conjunction with the USPS dragon stamp release.

There were inflatable dragons on some of the dealer’s tables and medieval garbed characters to greet people as they entered. Visitors could have their photos taken with Perf the Magic Dragon who served as the show mascot.

There was also the youth area where you could learn about stamps, as well as receive free stamps to start a collection.

Several dealers also had smiley face signs on their tables advertising “beginners welcome”.

So what else can get a younger person do to start collecting stamps, or anything else for that matter these days? With this question in mind we will discuss what other shows are doing as well as some ideas that may help attract younger collectors.

I recently viewed a video put up by David Hall of Collectors Universe promoting the upcoming Long Beach Expo which features coins, cards, and a few stamp dealers.

Some of the youth activities that are included are a treasure hunt for kids with prizes such as graded Pokemon cards.

There is an America the Beautiful quarter trivia area where kids can win quarters by answering questions about the designs on them.

A currency matching area where kids can match currency to the correct country where it was issued for a chance to win the bills and a currency collection starter kit.

A prize wheel kids can spin for a chance to win anything from a ball or t-shirt to pirate sword, all the way to a half dollar coin or even a rarer item, and a youth Set Registry booth where kids can learn how to start an online registry of coins or cards that they have won at this and past events.

The Long Beach stamp club will be in attendance and has giveaway prizes that include stamp books with two countries with descriptions of those countries, and a stamp drawer with free stamps for kids 6-17.

With these two shows trying to make stamp collecting more interesting to kids what else can be done to attract a more youthful audience to these types of shows?

Scrapbooking has become a popular hobby for many and if combined with stamp collecting, I believe that you could create an album that is very out of the ordinary for what you are used to seeing. Imagine a kid’s album page adorned with stickers, designs, and rubber stamps of dinosaurs alongside hingeless mounted dinosaur stamps. Continue this over several pages of topics and you have an album that many kids would probably start showing off to their friends. Most of the items for scrapbooking are designed around the mounting of photos and as such should be safe for stamps as well.

What can the individual dealers do at their booths to be more inviting to younger collectors and kids? I know that many dealers have a stock of items that they can give to kids for free, but what about a small stock book or album that is just for kids. What if show organizers could provide this if dealers didn’t already have them? My daughters, at shows, have been given bags of 100 stamps at the sign in table or a particular area, but that does not help relieve the boredom once an adult starts looking at items for themselves. If these items were available, a dealer could have a youth or beginner sign at their table in order to signify participation.

With the Columbus show the emphasis put on the topical aspect could be a great way to get new collectors involved in the hobby. Many kids have different interests and there is almost guaranteed to be a topic that that they can relate to in stamps.

Many of the larger show contain auctions held during the show. How about having a kid’s auction? The kids could be given play money to purchase actual stamp that they could keep. They could get a souvenir to bring home and possibly learn about auctions and money management at the same time.

If these types of activities became a way of life at stamp shows, perhaps it might encourage the older generation to bring their grandkids with them to shows. With a potential to learn about history and geography while kids and grandparents share a hobby together.

It has long been said that stamp collecting is a dying hobby. Is it possible that the coin industry is beginning to face the same fears? With the continued rise of credit card usage and cryptocurrency such as Bit Coin cash transactions are becoming fewer and fewer. Could the use of currency in the modern technology driven world be dwindling just as we have seen the reduction of stamp usage due to e-mail and social media?

Show Schedule

41st Annual Stamp and Coin show
September 7th and 8th
Mountain Home, Arkansas

MSDA Fall Show West
September 8th and 9th
Oak Brook Terrace, Illinois

Long Beach Expo
September 6-8 Thurs – Fri 10AM – 7PM Sat 10AM – 5PM
Long Beach Convention Center Hall A
Long Beach, California

The Fall Stamp Show
September 8th
Waterford, Michigan

The Omaha Stamp Show
September 8th and 9th
Omaha, Nebraska

Outapex Stamp Show
September 8th
Appleton, Wisconsin

The Fall 2018 Capex Show
September 9th
Middletown, Pennsylvania