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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : New guy with a few questions/general advice

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Mark_Newbie
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30 Jul 2016
11:09:20am
Hi Stamporama,

First of all just wanted introduce myself a bit before going into further detail, I expect this will be a long post so will try to keep it interesting. My name is Mark and I live in Canada (from the UK originally) and I am looking into building a little stamp collection. Like many of you I was in a stamp club as a boy but this was during the mid 90's right before the internet got big and my interest at the time quickly waned when faced with flashier new video entertainment.

However I've always been interested in history and this led me to collecting something other than stamps, that being paper money. Although my collection isnt massive I think I have some quite interesting bits from the last 150 years and honestly it isnt worth that much but I have most of the pieces I want and more importantly can afford. This brings me back to the topic of this forum however and I was debating whether to jump into coins or back into the stamps I enjoyed as a kid. I decided that although theres certainly a lot more to learn compared to coins I think I'm a lot more interested in stamps.

Sadly my recollection of stamps that I acquired 20 years ago has all but vanished, infact the only thing I could remember is that the first stamp was the Penny Black which i`m sure is common knowledge. This leads me to some questions that I'm hoping to have cleared up without sounding too stupid.

On the topic of storage:

Preferably I'm looking to own a single album at least until I needed to split it up.

Ive been looking at the following pages and wondered what the general consensus is on these plastic type holders vs the more elaborate albums. Are they a false economy or a great place to start? Should I go for one that uses hinges instead?

Image Not Found

Next there are a few acronyms/phrases I've seen but am unsure of:

FDC: First Day Cover(?) From what I can tell this is when a stamp is used on the first day of release (complete with envelope)?

ODP - No clue

Cancelled - This means that the stamp has been 'marked' as used?

Cinderellas - These are one off stamps of some significance?

Now this is more of a concept and I hope this doesnt seem silly (bare in mind I grew up with email) I wondered if all stemps are issued as 'sets'. Pardon me if thats not the correct term but I mean are they always issued in various denominations e.g. 1c, 2c, 5c and so forth. Are there ever such a thing as a stamp that comes out at say 50p for instance and is not part of a collection.

Various online shops sell 'fake'stamps which seems a little odd to me. I gather that spotting a fake is somewhat of a science so I wont ask about that but I am curious about how common such fakes are? With banknotes there are plenty of fakes but they are usually a little easier to spot (given they are much larger and often have various security features) or clearly marked as 'reproduction' by reputable sellers. Do people collect fake stamps?

As for used versus unused stamps, which are preferred by collectors? Personally I think a used stamp has more appeal but can understand wanting a nice clear one/.

I am very excited about how much variation there is in the stamp world and the possibility of holding a (very small) piece of socio-historical art that I could never afford if I wanted to buy paper currency from that place/period. Heres a few ideas of what I am thinking, let me know if you have similar collections or if you think they sound interesting or not.

To begin with I think I will mostly be concentrating on stamps from now ex European colonies (like Honduras, Rhodesia, Belgian Congo and more obscure places like the French Antilles and Dahomey).

Then I'm thinking either I will go for stamps from the USSR + satellites or for countries that no longer exist (such as Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia).

Then possibly current countries that dont officially exist like Transnistria, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh if you are familiar with these lands.

Lastly I love both the sport of cricket and locomotives in equal measure. I am confident these wont be too tricky to track down without the use of ebay.

As for that that is most of my questions so far. Hopefully I havent hit some kind of hidden word count. I understand that a lot of the hobby is the fun of research but if any of you have any links to any kind of large database I can use as a reference point when searching for a specific country that would be greatly appreciated. I've found many great a link here already though.

Cheers.


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Winedrinker
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30 Jul 2016
12:35:48pm
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

Welcome aboard Mark.

The beauty of this hobby is you can collect any way you want, any country you want, used or unused. I prefer unused stamps if they are in my budget, if not I try to purchase a used version with a nice cancellation. Some people in this club prefer to collect used.

I collect mainly Great Britain, U.S., and Australia and house those stamps in DAVO pre-hinged albums. "Pre-hinged" albums are considerably more expensive. I have other countries that I collect on the "plastic" pages such as you depicted. But everyone has there own way to house them.

Good luck on keeping it to one album! Happy

Cheers!
Wine (Eric)


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ikeyPikey
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30 Jul 2016
02:49:23pm
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

Quote:

"... ex European colonies ... more obscure places like the French Antilles and Dahomey ..."



Welcome home. Wave

Yes, clearly, you have been away awhile; its stamp collecting, man, there are no obscure places.

If you want to learn more about storage options, I suggest you search on: stockbook, vario, hingeless & mount ... to start.

Quote:

"... Hopefully I haven't hit some kind of hidden word count ..."



Today is 30/July/2016.

Let's see how long it takes until you only wish that we had a hidden word count. At Wits End

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey


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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
30 Jul 2016
03:45:53pm
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

hi Mark,

on your first four queries,

Quote:

"FDC: First Day Cover(?) From what I can tell this is when a stamp is used on the first day of release (complete with envelope)?

ODP - No clue

Cancelled - This means that the stamp has been 'marked' as used?

Cinderellas - These are one off stamps of some significance?"



Yes, FDCs are first day covers. In the states and Canada, they are usually, not always, collected as pristine covers, with cachets and never addressed. They are typically NOT postally used. Early ones (in the 20s and 30s) are postally used and do not show cachets because they weren't yet a fad. George Linn popularized these in the late 30s. Elsewhere, Tigger discusses one specific FDC issued as part of an omnibus.

Never heard of ODP, but OCR is optical character reader and refers to the spray on bar codes at the bottom of US and many British and Commonwealth nations; DPO refers to Dead Post Office and is a town where once a PO existed, but no more.

Cancelled.... you got it.

Cinderella is a label that looks like a stamp but has no postal franking power. This can be stamps from fictitious countries or those not recognized by UPU (Staffa, some dunes, Abkhasia), or seals (like Christmas or Easter), or poster stamps (like the propaganda labels issued during the Spanish Civil War in the late 30s).

David
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Bobstamp
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30 Jul 2016
08:45:56pm
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

Welcome to a great hobby, Mark! Stamps, yes! Coins, no! (I can't say just why, but coins have never interested me as collectibles, unless they are collecting in my stock portfolio. As if I had a stock portfolio — lol! Although if I could afford them it would nice to have a few coins of Ancient Rome….) Now I'll try to answer a few of your questions:

Quote:

"Cinderellas - These are one off stamps of some significance?"



No, not stamps, but stamp-like labels. They are generally printed as promotional items by an interest group or business. Some look exactly like stamps but don't include value tablets. Some are gorgeous and can be very pricey. Lots of stamp collectors collect Cinderellas. I do. Are they significant? Depends. Those that I'm willing spend money on are significant to me, but perhaps not to you.

Quote:

"I've been looking at the following pages and wondered what the general consensus is on these plastic type holders vs the more elaborate albums. Are they a false economy or a great place to start? Should I go for one that uses hinges instead?"



The "plastic type holders" are called stock sheets. A great many collectors use them instead of albums. There big advantage is that you can easily move stamps in and out and arrange them at will.

While stamp albums are excellent teaching tools for beginning collectors, they won't necessarily serve you well. I quit using albums when I was collecting Canadian stamps was faced with the prospect of buying modern Canadian postage due stamps, which I really don't like, or having blank pages. I opted for no album at all and began making my own pages. Regardless of what you collect, if you buy a commercial album it will undoubtedly a) have spaces for stamps that you don't want and/or b) not have spaces for stamps that you would like to put in the album, a situation that arises when when you obtain varieties (stamps of the same design in different shades, with different perforations or watermarks, printed on different paper, etc.), want to collect both mint and used copies of the same stamps, or come across collectible covers.

Another concern with albums is whether to use stamp hinges (cheap, but stamps are easily damaged or devalued by them) or stamp mounts (expensive but safe for stamps).

In addition, buying a commercial album requires you to buy new pages for it for each year's new issues (assuming that you want a "complete" collection. (Completeness can be a chimera, by the way, depending on how "complete" a collection you want, regardless of the country or theme you're collecting.)

Quote:

"Then possibly current countries that dont officially exist like Transnistria, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh if you are familiar with these lands."



No, no, no! These "stamps" are totally bogus, worthless, and often printed by criminal syndicates, often with very high standards of quality.

Some stamps supposedly issued by actual countries are bogus. A case in point is Democratic Republic of the Congo, which as far as I know doesn't even have a functioning postal system and hasn't had for years. Having said that, I did buy a "souvenir sheet" supposedly from Democratic Republic of the Congo, only because I wanted a "stamp" (or at least something that looked like a stamp) picturing Jane Fonda; I collect stamps related to the Vietnam War, and Jane Fonda certainly had a connection to that war. Here it is — Jane is at the upper left "stamp". Historical interest in the war is the only reason I bought this souvenir sheet. Seriously! Angel

Image Not Found

Good luck in your collecting. Stamporama is a great place to start.


Bob



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bluparrot
30 Jul 2016
09:58:44pm
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

The upper right stamp is definitely NOT Ingrid Bergman! I'm pretty sure that's Brigitte Bardot. Drooling

-Les

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CapeStampMan
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Mike
31 Jul 2016
09:17:47am
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

Welcome to SOR Mark. After all is said and done with gathering hints, clue and ideas about stamp collecting, in the end you are the only one that can make that final decision about your field of interest. I would suggest taking your time, obtain more and more stamps and I'm not suggesting massive amounts of stamps, then sort them out and see what tickles your fancy. I would even hold off investing in albums, stock sheets and other more expensive items until you just kinda sorta figure out which road you want to take. Believe me there are many forks in the collecting road and you will more than likely branch off into many of them before you find something that really draws you in and really tickles your fancy. The beauty of stamp collecting is there are so many countries that issue such a variety of stamps it really is hard to make those decisions, even years later on. Good luck and fun with your adventure!
Mike

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Bobstamp
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31 Jul 2016
11:12:19am
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

Excellent advice from Capestampman:

Quote:

"I would suggest taking your time, obtain more and more stamps and I'm not suggesting massive amounts of stamps, then sort them out and see what tickles your fancy. I would even hold off investing in albums, stock sheets and other more expensive items until you just kinda sorta figure out which road you want to take."



Almost all of my most interesting collections began while I was pawing through large box lots, old albums, and boxes filled with covers, or while I was perusing on-line offerings on eBay, Delcampe, Poppe Stamps, and similar web sites. There isn't a better way to learn about stamps than to examine them closely, compare stamps that look alike but may actually be different issues, organize them, and evaluate them, basing your evaluation on your own subjective criteria rather than their catalogue value and supposed rarity and/or "collectibility". The same suggestions apply to cover collecting, which is even more subjective than stamp collecting, and often has little to do with the stamps franking them.

Bob


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Bobstamp
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31 Jul 2016
11:26:24am
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

@Bluparrot — You're right. That isn't Ingrid Bergman. Actually, I didn't even notice that stamp — my eyes were drawn to the excellent perforations. Big Grin

boB

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lemaven
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31 Jul 2016
02:26:33pm
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

Quote:

"I collect stamps related to the Vietnam War, and Jane Fonda certainly had a connection to that war.
"



Bob:

I looked it up and found Elizabeth Taylor had no connection to the Vietnam War and as such I believe detracts from your souvenir sheet. If you carefully detach her stamp and add $1 I will let you send it to me so that your theme is unsullied.

Mark:

Welcome aboard, see how we support each other?

If you search for THE HOARD you will see I have a similar tale. Awesome advice from people here, all offered pro bono, and very helpful if sometimes poles apart in strategy. After almost a year of sorting, organizing and repeating I am just now putting stamps to pages for a couple countries I definitely want to collect with many thousands more in shoe boxes and envelopes for those I may collect once I,m better organized.

75.3% of the fun is looking through without a definite plan, just discovering beautiful, interesting, and unknown stamps to put aside for future consideration.

Welcome and good luck!





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Bobstamp
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31 Jul 2016
07:08:35pm
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

Lemaven said,

Quote:

"I looked it up and found Elizabeth Taylor had no connection to the Vietnam War and as such I believe detracts from your souvenir sheet. If you carefully detach her stamp and add $1 I will let you send it to me so that your theme is unsullied."



I don't know where Leaven looked it up, but I looked it up too, and found this at Jack's Flash blog:

Quote:

"When Elizabeth Taylor was in the news, she sucked the oxygen out of every other story right to the end.

I, however, will remember her most for the two courageous stands that she took later in her career in which she used the full power of her enormous celebrity to achieve extraordinary good.

The first was her powerful and unconditional advocacy for AIDS research and compassion. The second was her early support for the creation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. "



In my book, this counts as an Elizabeth Taylor-Vietnam connection! Interestingly, I also found a 1967 newspaper story that quoted Richard Burton saying he and Elizabeth Taylor might visit both South and North Vietnam during a world tour, but I could find no reference to such a visit taking place. Back to the Liz Taylor "stamp,", it's clear that it would spoil your collection and I certainly wouldn't want to do that to you, so I'll keep Liz here at home with me.

Mark: Please note that Lemaven is just plain wrong when he says that 75.3% of the fun is looking through stamps without a definite plan. It's really only 75.25% of the fun, so don't get your hopes up! The other 24.75 percent of your time will probably be wasted here on Stamporama!

Bob


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Bobstamp
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31 Jul 2016
11:12:13pm
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

Mark_Newbie asked about Cinderellas. Here are some examples from my collection; I believe that they are called poster stamps:

On cover, issued I assume by the Victoria & Melbourne Centenary committee:

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A single from the same organization, which promoted the 1934 MacRobertson International Air Race:

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This Cinderella is on the back of the cover shown above:

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Ideally, any Cinderella that is attached to a cover should be "tied" to the cover by a postmark or writing (an address or return address, perhaps) to prove that it wasn't attached at some date after the cover was posted. Philatelic life is seldom ideal, however, and in the case of this cover there's nothing at all to indicate that the poster stamps weren't affixed at the time of mailing, assuming that promotion of the Centennial began before 1934.

Bob

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ikeyPikey
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31 Jul 2016
11:23:19pm
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

If only you'd come back to the hobby sooner, you could have acquired these Cinderellas at WSS NY 2016:


Image Not Found

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michael78651
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01 Aug 2016
10:59:46am
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

Regarding the recipient of the letter to Vancouver. If he had children, did he boycott them?

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
01 Aug 2016
11:10:32am
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

not the girls

and only until they reached 18, when they turned into man i cott, but that's a story for another country

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lemaven
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01 Aug 2016
12:25:48pm
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

Cyril Boycott:

Michael beat me to the punch with his joke, but I suspected the name was an old-school prank. But no...


In 1918 Cyril Boycott lost his job as a liquor store employee due to prohibition (boycotting da booze!) and was called to testify about illegal trafficking in liquor at a government inquiry. Interesting that Bob's Cinderella celebrated Australian wines!

No idea what happened to him afterward except his son Cyril Robert Boycott died in 2015, 6 months after turning 100. I guess his attempt to boycott death could only last so long.


Dave.

Rolling On The Floor Laughing

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Bobstamp
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01 Aug 2016
07:43:07pm
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

Now you've opened a can of worms. Well, philatelic worms. Actually, philatelic collateral worms.

About my Aussie cover: Here's what 956 Hornby Street, Mr. Boycott's address, looks like today (it's the Courts Building, housing the British Columbia Supreme Court and the B.C. Court of Appeal):

Image Not Found

I will be a few blocks away south on Hornby on Friday visiting my dentist for a couple of fillings and then again on the same street early on Saturday morning having preliminary work done for a dental implant. Oh joy oh pain.

Hornby Street, where Mr. Boycott lived, was named after Hornby Island, in Georgia Strait off the east coast of Vancouver Island, which was named for Rear-Admiral Phipps Hornby, commander-in-chief of the Royal Navy's Pacific Station, 1847-51. Here's another interesting cover, posted to Hornby Island from North Vietnam during the Vietnam War:

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The 50 zu stamp picture Nguyen Van Troi, a Viet Cong soldier who was captured by the South Vietnamese while trying to assassinate United States Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and future ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., who were visiting South Vietnam in May, 1963. He was executed for his crime, and became a North Vietnamese martyr. I can't help but wonder if we all might be better off today if Van Troi had succeeded on his mission. McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defence at that time, believed that the progress of the Vietnam War could be determined by body counts. The more commies we killed, the closer to victory we were, supposedly.It seemed to me that for each VC or NVA soldier we killed, two more took their place! Anyway, my company commander told me a few years ago that he couldn't be bothered with body counts, and just wrote down numbers that the brass would believe.

(Question: Would a letter from North Vietnam have been delivered to an address in the U.S.? I assume that there was a mail embargo in place. Canada was not involved in the Vietnam War, not officially anyway. Following the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1973, Canada sent Peacekeepers to Vietnam. That turned into a bit of a debacle, with Canadians essentially working as spies for the Americans. But they also helped to broker the release of American POWs.)

And now, the pièce de résistance: Last week, Vancouver's Global News network reported on a festival festival taking place on Hornby Island. Here's what we saw (really!):

Image Not Found

boB

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rvangorder
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APS life member of 25+ years
02 Aug 2016
04:53:12pm
re: New guy with a few questions/general advice

Welcome to philately and Stamporama!
Your scan of stamps in a stock page is what I am responding to.
Vinyl stock pages really are the best way to display your stamps: No hinges needed and the stamps are readily seen. The vinyl is safe and won't hurt the stamps or labels or cinderellas that you collect. You can arrange the items anyway you want and you can put the stock pages in 3-ring binders.
Albums are nice but I find the cost is high for annual supplements and they take up more space than binders as there are a limited number of stamps on the page so more pages are needed and then more albums are needed. Ultimately, you decide how to store and display your collection but for me, stock pages and binders work fine.
Good luck with your collection(s).

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