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
Website: http://seapexshow.org

September 14-16, 2018
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Website: http://www.milcopex.org

AWPEX 2018
September 15-16, 2018

Fort Wayne, Indiana

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