Message Board

Time Period:   Username Search:
Order By: Keyword Search:
   Reset Filters


Page:1 2 3

Posted Oct 22, 17 7:34 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


It is unfortunate that the APS issued a certificate with a wrong opinion, but no one is right all the time. However, the APS does guarantee APEX opinions, so the submitter is entitled to claim a loss if one occurred.

Posted Oct 22, 17 5:25 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)



Thank you for the advice. The swamp deepens....I am in the awkward position of having been asked for advice on "Investment in stamps" due to worries about the political uncertainties in the world today, not being asked for how to sell rarities, but how to buy. It's even worse than the cocktail party approach with "Take a look at my father's collection".

"Investment" sends a shudder down my spine, as I recall the mess created by Stanley Gibbons when they were selling "sure fire investment collections" to inexperienced speculators. I also fell (mea culpa) for the Faroes new issues which I started to put aside for my young son. They say a fool and his money are soon parted...I learned that lesson. Now I am deeply suspicious.

Bernard, I threw in the Latin for your enjoyment. Also my favourite in this context "Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes".

John W.

Posted Oct 22, 17 5:00 by Mark Robbins (funcitypapa4051)


John W--you have hit upon a sore point that has been discussed many different times on this board. All I can say is: your friend, if planning to sell his string of US rarities in the US should be prepared to hear from auctioneers the strong recommendation to have the stamps recertified with either a PF certificate or graded PSE certificate. I do not know whether this practice holds true in the rest of the world and whether for instance a RPS certificate for a US stamp would receive the same recommendation; although in the US I would suspect it would.

I understand the reasoning behind recommending certain stamps being resubmitted for grade. I have never fully swallowed the explanations for panning APEX compared to PF---economics aside, which I think is the main driver. I do note that a recent Jenny sold was originally certified by APS and subsequently the PF. Unless I have my facts mixed up ( frequent occurrence as I get older) the APS opinion was dead on to the PF.

Posted Oct 22, 17 4:00 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

In God we trust

Whom does one trust?

As an interested bystander, I enjoy this board as a window on the unfamiliar world (to me) of US philately. With some off-board advice I located the origin of the block of “Grounded Jenny” stamps and find that they are accompanied by a “Clean” APS Certificate (2013) stating that the stamps are the genuine “Grounded Jenny” variety. Since the Jenny is one of the best known US adhesives, and clear guidelines have been published (Thanks KL) describing in detail the characteristics of the “Grounded” variety, how is it possible for a national expert committee to issue such a flawed certificate? My question is; how can an investor, like my original contact, judge the genuineness of a rare item. If not the APS, then which certificates can we trust?

Over here, I know many of the reputable auction houses and can get an opinion on which “Certificates” to trust, but do the major auctioneers in the US have a scoring list on who to trust? I’m happy with the Royal Philatelic Society, but after this experience I shall be less than happy with the APS.

Incidentally, the source of the “Grounded Jenny” also has a string of US rarities, all accompanied by “Clean” APS Certificates…….!

John W.

Posted Oct 21, 17 23:29 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

The Sublime

Bernard B:

So what's this about a forbidden topic you mentioned a few days ago? I get to discuss forbidden topics on a regular basis, so am always interested in such things, philatelic or otherwise.

If you'd care to contact me off-board, I'll hold up my end by imparting an important new joke, one which is forbidden insofar as you can't tell it to just anyone.

Posted Oct 21, 17 22:49 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

The Sublime

I have been putting off a study of aesthetics (for one of my projects) but have run across the idea of the sublime. Few of our classics fall into this category. The special attraction of the "Western Cattle in Storm" is that it is sublime: the darkling sky, the -- I guess -- blowing snow, the mighty bull, taking time off from abducting Europa, and the following mass of great creatures. Even a bit reminiscent of a Cro-Magnon painting. The five cent has a bit of the grandeur of nature, but with man victorious. Note the sublime background in the Mona Lisa. (No, it is not a stamp.)

Posted Oct 21, 17 22:43 by John Shepherd (tas philatelist)

Titanic letter

Realised £126,000


Letter written on Titanic fetches record £126,000 at auction

The last-known letter written on board by a passenger who perished when the Titanic sank – which contains the poignant prediction that “if all goes well we’ll arrive in New York on Wednesday” – has sold for a record-breaking £126,000 at auction.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said: “I’m delighted with the new world record for the Titanic letter. It reflects its status as the most important Titanic letter that we have ever auctioned.”

He said the letter was “exceptional on several levels including content, historical context and rarity”. Accompanying the Holverson letter was a sad note written be his grieving mother, Rachael, describing her loss and a photograph of Holverson and his wife Mary taken in New York before they embarked on a trip to Europe. Mary survived the disaster, which happened as she and her husband returned to the US.

The letter is the last-known letter written on board by a victim. Most Titanic letters that have appeared on the market had been posted in Cherbourg, France, or Queenstown, Ireland, the ship’s last port of call before the disaster.

Two years ago a letter written on 14 April 1912 by a passenger, Esther Hart, and her seven-year-old daughter, Eva, who survived the sinking, sold for a record £119,000.

Posted Oct 21, 17 19:12 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)


JW's mention of the GB 1929 PUC Pound (Scott #209) reminds me to mention the New South Wales 1897 Semi-Postals (Scott #B1-2). Although the 2015 Scott 'Classic' catalogue I have in front of me does not indicate printing method, these stamps were beautifully lithographed (in Sydney), #B2 in at least five colors.

Years before Liberia's philatelic reputation was compromised by what was perceived as an unjustifiable proliferation of stamps, its 1860-1869 issues (Scott #1//15) were regarded among the world's most beautiful stamps, or so wrote Philip Cockrill (JW: he was one of your lot). The stamps were lithographed in Germany.

I think that since most of us who enter philately initially lean toward a fascination with engraved stamps, largely due to the detail which seems to come alive under magnification. To be able to produce a beautiful design by lithography is, in a sense, more difficult to do.

Posted Oct 21, 17 16:53 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

World Beauties

This has always been one of my favorite covers for obvious reasons... four colors and three methods of printing/production on the same cover. November 26, 1856 from London to Lisbon, Portugal franked with an 1847 1/- embossed (about to be replaced with the 1856 issue later that week), an 1856 6d surface printed (issued on October 26, 1856, one month earlier, to replace the problematic 1854 6d embossed issue), and the current 1d and 2d line engraved values, paying the One Shilling and Nine Pence single rate. The addressee is the Ship's Surgeon aboard the Royal Mail Steam Packet "Tamar". I have other mail that was sent to meet him aboard the same ship earlier in the year at the Cape Verde Islands.


Posted Oct 21, 17 16:25 by Mark Robbins (funcitypapa4051)

world beauties and the Titanic

John S---many thanks for showing that letter from the Titanic about to be auctioned. It is a chilling momento of a tragedy. I have heard of various flotsam fished out of the Atlantic by the crew of the Carpathia looking for survivors including pieces of the grand staircase, but had never seen a letter.

John W.---could not agree with you more about the beauty of non US stamps as well. It seems lyou could almost throw a dart against the map blindfolded and come across a country producing beautiful stamps between the years 1890 and 1935. Of course there were so many beautiful issues any list would naturally leave many well deserved candidates out. Adding to John's list I would suggest Argentina 1910 (Scott 160-175), Austria 127 and 144, Chile 1910 (Scott 83-97, Canada 202, 204, and 217-227, Falklands 1933 Scott 65-76, Newfoundland (numerous issues), Portugal independence issues of 1926, and Rhodesia double heads and Admirals.

Some of these issues were produced by the American Bank Note company. I wonder how many citizens of these countries ever saw any of these stamps. One things for sure: that was not the case with Nick Kirke's favorite. The 5 cent Taylor either as Scott 179 or 185 got plenty of use. I have been in search of, unsuccessfully I might add, an unused Scott 179c, if anyone on the board knows of one.

Posted Oct 21, 17 11:34 by Barry Jablon (friday)


Thanks to all the board members who enlightened me on the topic. You can understand how a casual amateur (ie, me) could be puzzled about why his newly-bought stamp wasn't an exact match for the drawing in the book!

Posted Oct 21, 17 9:58 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

Eye of the Beholder

Well, well, well. It has been said many times that "what goes around, comes around" and your information on the block of so-called "grounded" Jenny is disturbing. If you have any further comments, let me know off-line and I will pass them on. There is always someone wanting to make a fast buck, and it is true that "You can fool some of the people.....".

John W.

Posted Oct 21, 17 9:44 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Blue Paper C3


Glad you appreciate the "Blue Blood" C3 copy---it still has O.G. and even that has a tinge of blue in it. Joe

Posted Oct 21, 17 9:38 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Eyes of the beholder


Great response concerning non-US material and the "Beauty" we collectors find in a particular stamp or set. Appreciation of the engraver, wonderful color teaming (with bicolor issues) and so much more are all part of the fascination each of us find with our favorite "philatelic eye-candy".

Referring back to the C3 block your airmail friend questioned, as far as being a recognized "grounded plane" variety, I'm hoping you were able to pass on some of the response which was posted here following your query. I have received an off-line message from one of the readers here and that identical block is currently being offered on-line (I won't state the source or owner) as a genuine "Grounded Plane" variety for a price of just under 5 figures!!

Of course any value being asked is the choice of the present owner, BUT, in this case, it is being offered with a clean certificate giving the "Grounded" status.

How that expertizing source came to that decision is very troubling to me, and I would suggest to your friend, assuming he is interested in acquisition, to be very cautious before spending many thousands of dollars WITHOUT doing some additional research or , at least, getting some added input. To me, merely as a student who tends to follow such material, I would seek more decisions from sources other than the current (2013!!) certificate source. Nuff said--feel free to contact me off-line for added data. Thanks---Joe


Posted Oct 21, 17 9:27 by Roland Austin (rolandaustin)

Bluish Paper C3

Joe -- WOW! That is dramatic! The tint sure stands out on that one. Thanks for showing.

Posted Oct 21, 17 9:22 by John Barwis (jbarwis)



Your work will be of value to philately if and only if you publish the actual data, not just the idea, in a refereed journal.

I attended your talk in Boxborough and walked through your frames. You may remember that I told you at the time that the presentation was unclear and very confusing, and that claims made about ship-arrival times were not supported by material from the original source.

Please take the time to organize your physical evidence and make the case in print. Otherwise, years from now your ideas will become simply an idea someone had long ago which no one ever proved.

Posted Oct 21, 17 9:08 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)


Let us not forget that attractive adhesives are not confined to ConUS. To my tired old eyes some of the French and Belgian Colonial issues were extremely attractive; in particular the 1942 issues of Belgian Congo as attached. I see the 50 Franc stamp more than once in my own collection since it conveniently paid for 1942 airmail carriage by PanAm to the US. Triple air fee (3 x 15.50 Fr. + UPU surface @ 3.50 Fr) makes a neat 50 Francs on cover.

And – being British, take a look at what we know as the “PUC Pound”. Stunning design and execution.

John W.


Posted Oct 21, 17 6:22 by Tim O'Connor (drtimo)


Seeing Barry's Waterbury has rekindled olde memories. When I was much much younger, living in Cheshire Conn., we had a great stamp club. Bill Neff M.D. collected #1s, Otto Schaffling, escaped from Hungary with a world class collection, and for a while there was a Colonel someone who collected Confederates. I was taken to an annual meeting in New Haven or Meriden where I was introduced to an elderly gentleman who was selling his book of Waterburys (early 60's). I don't remember his name (the Bills, Duffney or Crowe might, or Stan Richmond). All gone now, but the cancellations live on, cared for by the next generation. Simpler times, sigh. Tim

Posted Oct 21, 17 0:17 by John Shepherd (tas philatelist)

Titanic Letter

For auction today, Estimate: £60,000 – 80,000 + BP.


A letter recovered from the body of a Titanic victim is to be auctioned in the UK.

The note was written on embossed Titanic stationery by first-class passenger Alexander Oskar Holverson on 13 April 1912, the day before the ocean liner sank.

It is one of the last known letters to have survived the sinking and the last-known letter written on board by a victim.

Mr Holverson, a successful salesman, had been on holiday with his wife in Buenos Aires and was returning to the US via the UK.

The Titanic struck an iceberg on the evening of 14 April 1912 and sank in just over two hours, with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.

Mr Holverson did not survive, but his wife did.

The letter was discovered in a pocketbook when the victim’s body was recovered from the Atlantic and returned to his family, along with his other effects.

The note, stained with seawater, mentions the food, music and elite passengers on board the ship - which is extremely rare among artefacts retrieved from the Titanic.

“Mr and Mrs John Jacob Astor is on this ship,” it reads. “He looks like any other human being even though he has millions of money. They sit out on deck with the rest of us…”

American businessman Mr Astor, believed to be the richest man on board the liner, did not survive the sinking.

The letter is being auctioned by Henry Aldridge & Son on Saturday 21 October and is expected to fetch between £60,000 and £80,000.

Earlier this year, a fur coat worn by a steward on the Titanic who survived the disaster was sold for £150,000 at auction.


Posted Oct 20, 17 23:55 by Richard Drews (bear427)

Waterbury drawings

When the CCC published the NYFM book the drawings were too accurate and some fakes were made from the overlays using copiers. When the Waterbury book was being written, Paul introduced slight errors or deviations into each drawing. Don't expect a 100% match.


Posted Oct 20, 17 21:51 by Nick Kirke (nick kirke)


I agree the 1869 24c is a masterpiece of the engraver`s art and Stephen`s block is an amazing, unimaginable, valuable item showing 6 such images. But this is more the beauty of value and intricacy several times over. I would not call it so artistically beautiful. Certainly, for a youngster, it is a complicated stamp, perhaps, along with the Columbian dollar values, a stamp to dream about one day owning. I stick with Zackary. It has an almost electric blue that is quite different to other blues, say seen on the 1861-62 90c.  Romantically, I am drawn back to what so attracted me to US stamps in the first place. It WAS the attraction and colour of the depictions, nothing else.

Posted Oct 20, 17 20:32 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

24 cent invert

In 1976 I had not really collected for many years.  I had a few extra bucks and decided to invest them in stamps.  I had no clue what I was up to.  I saw that Kelleher's had an auction, so I went down and bought two or three things.  By far the most expensive was a twenty-four cent invert -- somewhat faded center, but priced to match (around 2K?? -- about 10K or so in today's money).  They did not know me from Adam and did not ask for ID.  They took my check and sent me on my way.  I thought -- this is an odd business.
I sold the invert through an ad in Linn's a few years later at a modest profit.

Posted Oct 20, 17 20:14 by Steve Walske (steve w)


Sorry, Bernard. Is this better?


Posted Oct 20, 17 19:57 by William T. Crowe (wtcrowe)


This is the other cover.


Posted Oct 20, 17 19:56 by William T. Crowe (wtcrowe)


This is one of the two covers that I owned and identified as Rohloff type L-6


Posted Oct 20, 17 19:20 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Taste is in the eye of the beholder

Since we're on the topic of beautiful stamps, I thought I would throw my 2 cents in.

Posted Oct 20, 17 18:56 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


The earliest two cent and six cent 1869s are especially nice, and probably earlies of at least some of the other shade.  I once had a three cent early with a slight pu violet tint.  The twenty four cent is great engraving, but for beauty some of the Columbians exceed it.  Steve something is wrong with your systems -- the thing came up multiple images.  At least the centers were right side up.

Posted Oct 20, 17 18:52 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Express Mail

No special charge.  As I recall this is a route agent marking.  I think 1842 was the first year.  Moderately scarce and desireable.  Nice combo

Posted Oct 20, 17 18:28 by Barry Jablon (friday)

Maple leaf

Thanks, Tim. The Rohloff drawing isn't a 100.00% exact match, but I've noticed that's true of various of Rohloff's other tracings-- so I appreciate your help.

Posted Oct 20, 17 17:45 by Tim O'Connor (drtimo)

Fancy Leaf

Waterbury Rohloff L-6 Tim

Posted Oct 20, 17 17:38 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

U.S. Express - New York (1842)

I picked up an cover from the October 3, 1842 sailing of Cunard's "Britannia" from Liverpool to New York that was prepaid One Shilling and rated 20 3/4 cents due. It was then forwarded to Little Falls, NY with an additional manuscript 18/3 in magenta and a "U.S. Express N.Y. - OCT 19 - New York' CDS in reddish/orange. Can anyone tell me if the US Express CDS denotes an additional charge over and above the 18 3/4 cents it was rated? I am presuming it does but I am not knowledgeable about the various Express companies in this period so am hoping someone will educate me over and above what I have absorbed to date from other discussions regarding Hale, etc.

Posted Oct 20, 17 16:12 by Barry Jablon (friday)

New Waterbury cancel?

This "unidentified leaf" isn't shown in Cole, Rohloff or Skinner-Eno, but it looks a lot like Hill's Maple Leaf series (Rohloff L-1 through L-12.) I'd be grateful for any thoughts.


Posted Oct 20, 17 15:56 by Mark Robbins (funcitypapa4051)

Most beautiful stamp

Wow! That's a tough question. So many candidates in the classic era. I would have to break down by categories:

1. Bi/multicolor--any of the top 3 denominated pictorials works for me--I'm partial to the 30 cent eagle and shield. For the life of me I cannot understand the initial public reaction to these works of art

2.--black and white--cattle in the storm the perennial favorite but I like 15 cent Lincoln (77)

3. Predominantly monochrome--toughest category for me. I love the 3 and 12 cent pictorials but I would have to say the 24 cent 1861 in all of its shade variations is my favorite classic of all.

4. Most intriguing shade--a true 67b

Posted Oct 20, 17 14:58 by Larry Bustillo (suburban)

Most Beautiful

I too think it is the 24c 1869 issue.

Posted Oct 20, 17 13:27 by joe kirker (centuryc3)


One of the Ward Armistice covers prepared, but with the 16 cent Jenny

Near perfect SON cancel-----Joe


Posted Oct 20, 17 13:24 by Steve Walske (steve w)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

1869 24c


Posted Oct 20, 17 13:22 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Most beautiful

Hmmm, the Garfield -- it is puissant but is it pretty?  I had a similar reaction to the Black Jack. Some of the revs and newspaper stamps are might fine.  The early revs certainly caught my attention as an eleven year old.
That talk I gve the other day included a judgement of the finest early postal markings  If I could figure out how to link images to messages (is jpeg the trick?) I would put something up.

Posted Oct 20, 17 13:17 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


Joe, To use a fancy word, it is surely a puissant stamp.  And yes, the "u" belongs in the word.  Or old time (1960s) New Englanders might call it "wicked nizah."  Would make a stunning cut square!

Posted Oct 20, 17 13:16 by Nick Kirke (nick kirke)


First I must acknowledge the messages of congratulation I received for squeezing a win at Sescal. The beauty of this hobby is that fellow collectors are always ready to praise and encourage. I must say it makes all the effort worthwhile.

But to US philatelic beauty. I know ad nauseum that it`s supposed to be Western Cattle in a Storm on the 1 dollar Mississippi but since I was a boy my most beautiful and striking stamp was the 5c Zackary Taylor of 1875. Still is, in fact. Apart from the colour which is truly remarkable, the guy is looking at you like Lord Kitchener daring you to do something you ought to.

Posted Oct 20, 17 13:00 by joe kirker (centuryc3)


The Armistice cancelled C3----one of my favorites!! Joe


Posted Oct 20, 17 12:54 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

C3 Beauty Used


Rather difficult to pick my favorite used C3 (in terms of beauty to me). Certainly one of my "favorite" examples is the copy shown here with socked-on-the-nose Nov. 11, 6AM, 1918 cancel.

Still on cover, as prepared by Philip Ward for the Armistice, the 6 AM cancel represents 11 AM in France, when the WW1 hostilities were to cease. Remember 11-11-11-1918?

I'm showing the album page with the story, from my collection first, then keying in on the Jenny.

What do you think? Joe


Posted Oct 20, 17 12:21 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


Joe,  Is there a used stamp that stands out from those thousands in terms of beauty?

Posted Oct 20, 17 12:04 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

More odd varieties (C3)

Roland---here are 2 C3's with "exploding" planes. No doubt caused by "wet" spots on the paper remaining after the frames were printed and remaining until the blue vignette was added, or possibly even perspiration drops falling just before the blue Jenny airplane was printed. Joe


Posted Oct 20, 17 11:58 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Blue paper C11

Roland---Here is "Bluish" paper C3, no doubt from the plate wiping. This is the most dramatic C3 example with that paper tint I have ever seen in many decades and Many, many, 1000's of copies.


Posted Oct 20, 17 11:34 by Roland Austin (rolandaustin)

Blue Beacon


Thanks. I suspected something like that, just wanted to know for sure. It is still striking to me.

Posted Oct 20, 17 11:29 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Blue Beacon


It's a print from a poorly wiped ("polished") blue plate.

Posted Oct 20, 17 11:23 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


Stephen,  That is very helpful -- I did see the Rumsey/Taylor copy in my wanderings.  Thanks.

Posted Oct 20, 17 11:20 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Blue C11

It would be useful to see the back of the stamp.  In early issues, this would probably be a plate wipe variety, but this is after my time.  Maybe you can raise a corner (or even soak the stamp).  I am sure our Bureau experts can wax more eloquent on this question.

Posted Oct 20, 17 10:43 by Roland Austin (rolandaustin)

"Blue Paper" C11???

Since the discussion is in the area of airmail stamps, I am reminded of an example of Scott C11 which looks to be printed on a blue-tinted paper. I have had this on-cover example for over 15 years and have looked at other examples on internet auctions and at stamp shows but have never encountered another. I realize it is many years past the W-F blue papers, but can somebody explain this?

The bluish paper with the blue vignette makes it appear as if the plane is flying through stormy skies. I have placed it beside a "normal paper" color example on the right. The picture does not do justice to seeing the difference in person.


Posted Oct 20, 17 5:43 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

Bouncing Jenny

One of the delights of an Atlantic time difference is that when I connect after breakfast I can read the overnight messages from friends in the US. This morning I’m grateful for the responses to my query about the “Grounded Jenny”. My wife sometimes introduces me as a “Stamp Collector” which then leads to the usual remarks that “I have my father’s stamp collection, would you advise me on it?”. I shudder, because I just know I will be (a) unable to offer any sensible comments on values, and (b) I hate to disappoint good people by telling them that the standard valuation for well preserved first day covers is 10c each at auction.

I’m in a more difficult position with the Jenny stamps because judging by the replies I am about to walk into a swamp, not of my making. I get the feeling that the term “Grounded” is somewhat variable. In fact, in the example I showed the Jenny seems to be flying what, in the RAF, we referred to as “Circuits and Bumps” or “Touch and Go”. I imagine that there was a gradual shift (?) of the vignettes downwards which means that I am also about to re-enter the swamp of precise measurements of very small distances. I don’t want to go through all that again, and nor does Richard F (I guess).

So I will tip my hat and thank those who advised me, and go on my way whistling a happy tune and feeling relieved that I am not “A Stamp Collector”.

John W.

Page:1 2 3