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Member postings for Alex

Here is a list of all the postings Alex has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: C&D
06/01/2021 17:14:53

This letter was posted in London (London FS postmark) in November 1981 and at that time the postage for a 10g letter to the United States was about 22p, so the letter is actually overpaid slightly.

As to the German Air Mail etiquette, I would guess that it could be a self addressed letter by an individual most likely to be German national but residing in New York state (going by the name). So perhaps, using some spare etiquettes going handy?

Thread: Letters no longer franked by Royal Mail
04/01/2021 08:05:48

To be fair to the RM staff, with the huge volumes of mail items in the system during the Christmas period it is understandable that many items will just get a pen scribble rather than a proper cancel. At the end of the day, I suppose, it is important to get the mail through as quickly as possible rather than suffer delays just because a handful of collectors want a nice postmark on their packages.

Thread: A censored piece of mail
22/12/2020 08:53:59

This is a British censor label, so it was checked upon arrival in the UK.

This 1944 airmail letter from Mexico would have gone to the UK via the US and it was routine for both countries to censor the mail as it passed through their areas of authority. I have quite a few complete envelopes with both the US and UK censorship labels attached.

Most letters were censored regardless of name. An address, however, would attract more attention, especially one in Latin or south America for example. Anyhow, that name wouldn't be that unusual in the big US cities as it would perhaps be in the UK.

Thread: Post card
21/12/2020 10:07:34

Sorry, I don't see anything odd.

The Swastika was a common symbol on good luck type cards in the 19th and early 20th Century.

This Swastika has nothing to do with National Socialism, if that is what you're referring to.

Thread: Bequeathing stamp albums
19/12/2020 18:32:07

Yes, I have actually given this precise subject some thought recently.

My plan is to have my collections sold off upon my death and for the proceeds to go to an animal charity. I will now need to document the collections and provide information for the executor(s) so that they will know where to send the collections in order for them to be sold.

However, I may decide to get rid of the collections before I die whenever I 'downsize', with the proceeds going to the charity of my choice.

Either way, they are destined to be sold with the money going to a good cause.


Thread: Any ideas on early Afghan stamps
09/12/2020 06:28:06

Hello Keith

A good source of information is the Stampboards site. They have quite a lot of input about these stamps. These circular stamps were, apparently, hand printed after 1880 after the British destroyed the Afghans' printing plates during their occupation of that country. However many of these stamps are forgeries, as is indicated by your 'Tiger Head' example.


Thread: Germany - Schwarzdruck
02/12/2020 17:57:02

These proof prints, or Black Prints, are produced by a number of European countries. Usually they are printed in very limited numbers and some postal authorities include them in, for example, their year books or sell them as limited editions.

They are collected by some people and there are catalogues about them but I don't have any details so, alas, you'll need to search further yourself. There are German language catalogues, both from Germany and Austria, for example and probably others as several European countries have produced them, eg Sweden, Czech Republic and Lichtenstein. No idea where you could get a catalogue. Maybe ebay or try, for example, the Germany & Colonies Philatelic Society and leave a request for advice on their message board.

I believe that they started off as production proof prints of the eventual issued stamps and some folk call these 'Test Stamps'.

Hope that helps a little.

Edited By Alex on 02/12/2020 17:58:48

Thread: Poohbear
01/12/2020 18:45:12

I agree with your assessment.

I wasn't born in this country, nor did I grow up here, but I was given a Rupert annual as a youngster. I was therefore aware of the bear before I came here and Rupert (and Bestall) gave me my first mental impressions of the UK.

I do like the vintage feel of the stamps with the Bestall artwork and the rhyming couplets evoking the panels in the original cartoons.

Good work, Royal Mail, though I doubt that I'll actually see any of the stamps on my mail.

Thread: Princess Diana
01/12/2020 18:29:44

These kind of stamps have been a problem for a long time. I remember as a child in the 1970s seeing similar sheets and miniature sheets churned out for kids like me who didn't know any better. Still have some of them, mostly stamps of ships, cars and rockets from Middle Eastern countries like Ajman.

I suppose that there is a demand for these stamps and I suppose that the price reflects the supply and demand. I suppose that they're as valid as the old Ajman issues of my youth were. I see that the Afghan sheet is already CTO. A sure sign of their postal validity, perhaps?

(Holding up the old Sarcasm sign!!)

Thread: GB Stamps: Latest Issues
26/11/2020 11:43:45

I think that the days of collecting everything that is produced by Royal Mail are well and truly over. This decline has been going on for the past twenty years and is probably the main reason that Royal Mail had to change its output. While it is true that trying to buy everything to do with an issued set is somewhat of a financial burden, I feel that the items produced are geared to different types of collectors and not necessarily for someone who still collects 'GB' in the traditional manner.

Many of the recent output seems geared to niche collecting areas, serving the thematic collector or even people who don't 'collect' the stamps for what they are but because they have an interest in a particular artist or movie franchise and the stamps thus fit into a wider, non philatelic, collection.

At the same time Royal Mail still caters to genuine collectors with, for example, those Machin booklets, FDCs and similar output.

The cultural climate of the country has changed over the past two or three decades and stamp collecting is no longer part of growing up in modern Britain. It no longer forms part of childrens' lives as they won't see stamps in their everyday lives. When I grew up stamps were on most letters received at home, you could buy cheap packets in the local store and even gas stations gave them away (which, incidentally, is how I started 50 years ago. Dad would give me the little stamp packets that he had been given for every gallon of gas that he bought).

At the same time, growing up in the 1970s, I wasn't interested in the interests of the earlier generation. I didn't collect bird eggs or cigarette cards or play with tinplate clockwork toys, things that seem like quaint ancient history now! Why try and 'force' youngsters into stamp collecting if it has little, or none, relevance to their lives?

Philately certainly isn't dying. While its probably true to say that it has contracted, as to the number of collectors, it still provides enjoyment to many people and it still attracts new blood. Its just that the way folk collect has changed over to new ways of collecting. Hence the popularity of Postal History, as an example.

Is Royal Mail ripping off the punters? Maybe, but only if the punters are stupid enough to collect everything that Royal Mail produce. Times have changed and philately has changed as well.



Edited By Alex on 26/11/2020 11:47:40

25/11/2020 14:22:08

It would be interesting to see just how many stamps are printed by Royal Mail for each issue for them to continue making a profit.

My guess would be that the numbers of stamps printed per set has gone down since the 1990s and that the volumes that are produced are just enough to supply the demand for these sets which, increasingly, look to be geared towards certain target groups of thematic collectors.

The times have changed and I suppose that the new tactics work well enough for Royal Mail now that the volumes of stamped mail has decreased. Stamps for the thematic collectors, labels for the rest of us seems to be the new business model for Royal Mail.

Thread: Verdict
25/11/2020 14:11:34

I do like this set and I'm guessing that this is aimed for thematic collectors and fans of the franchise. I suppose that there'll be thousands of covers made up, signed by the various actors, to be sold on to collectors.

Alas, my favourite Star Trek character, Elim Garak (played by Andrew Robertson), isn't on a stamp otherwise I may have been tempted to buy a set.

Thread: Post here first! (Sandbox)
24/11/2020 06:21:19

Welcome to the forum, Kevin.

Sadly, the glory days of the forum seem to have passed but there are still a few regulars who pop in from time to time.

Feel free to post any questions, you're bound to receive a reply...eventually.

Seriously though, don't feel shy about asking questions. All collectors started as novices and most forum members are more than happy to share whatever knowledge they may have. Back in the early days of the forum I learnt quite a lot about philately in this way. Hopefully, in time, we may return to having a vibrant and active forum.


Thread: Lighthouse GB album pages
11/11/2020 06:02:04

You could try Dauwalders, a Salisbury based company, and check out their extensive stock of Lighthouse GB pages.

Lighthouse separately prints its GB pages for commemoratives and for regionals and definitive issues, and also by era.

Conversely, you could go down the blank album page route and mount your stamps as per your own particular requirements.


Thread: Perforation Stamps
24/10/2020 09:03:43

Best way to determine the perforations is to buy a perforation gauge. They are cheap to buy and easy to use.

Usually the perforations from a MS and a postal sheet (I'm guessing that you're referring to the stamp sheets used in post office counters?) will be the same, but not always.

Trying to follow your argument, it seems to me that you're asking whether there may be two sets of perforations on one MS, one for postally valid stamps and another for 'invalid' stamps.

With genuine philatelic MS the answer would usually be that all stamps are the same perforation and all stamps in the MS are valid for postal use. There have been a handful that had different perforations but that usually was because the stamps were a different size or format. However, unless one is a label, for a philatelic exhibition or suchlike, all will be valid for postal use.

In my own collecting fields I have not come across the situation you refer to, but it may be a different matter when it comes to these 'souvenir' stamps.

Sorry Julian, I can't help you much here.

Thread: Germany identification help
24/10/2020 08:47:06

The Tienstsin postmarked stamps referred to above were used during the Boxer Rebellion and include German Field Post postmarks, hence their high catalogue value.

As with British Commonwealth stamps, the postmarks on these German colonial stamps make all the difference.

24/10/2020 08:37:52

Hi Martin,

As noted above, its a German Post Office in China issued stamp and part of the 1901 / 1905 set. It was the last set to be issued in German currency, the next issue was in Chinese currency.

No need to send it for expertizing as it is a normal postally used example.

These stamps are relatively common but worth a tad more if still attached to a postcard or letter. Also, some postmarks are worth more than others; unfortunately Shanghai (having had a large German population at the time) is fairly common.

Michel Spezial doesn't list any errors for this 10pfg. stamp.

Thread: Mystery stamp
15/09/2020 10:23:20


Nice looking stamp.

It comes from one of the pre independence Indian feudal states, in this case a place called Faridkot. I gather that these were printed in the 1930s but never actually saw postal use. Maybe a collector of India can help you further.

Hope that helps,


Thread: Racism
11/06/2020 18:41:20

Interesting point.

My own view is that the present climate shouldn't affect the philatelic market or have a negative impact on collectors whose private collections include stamps that display historical people, institutions, subjects or countries that may be deemed 'racist' by a modern audience.

I collect Third Reich items and that is a collecting field that has long had its fair share of negative and subjective criticism from both philatelists and lay people alike. However, the collecting of this type of material has never been banned and I very much doubt that your private collection will suffer any censorship of any kind due to the present political situation.

However, those who display their collections in public, whether at stamp shows or at their local school, may find that social pressure and local councils may dictate what is acceptable for such occasions in future.

Would be interesting to see how others here feel about the matter too.

Thread: Identifying a Stamp's Country of Issue
19/04/2020 08:18:17

Love your attitude! The reason that I left my local philatelic society was because of jerks like you..!!

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