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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : "Official" stamps

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rniekamp
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29 Aug 2013
07:43:58am
As I've been accumulating stamps for my re-born collection, I find I'm getting a lot of "official" stamps. I know these are intended for use by government offices. Usually, regular stamps are overprinted with "official." The bulk of mine are from Latin America, but I have them from many other countries. My question is this: Are official stamps worth collecting? How do you all handle them -- as a separate issue, or just a variety? Frankly, official stamps don't interest me, although I've put some in my album as placeholders for the regular issue which I don't have. Thoughts?
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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
29 Aug 2013
08:04:29am

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re: "Official" stamps

Ray, no reason not to do what you are doing. it certainly works in many countries where you have some overprint on a regular issue. Won't work in the states or Germany or Czechoslovakia but will in much of the commonwealth.

in terms of is it a good area, that's defined by you. Frankly, i think finding officials properly used on cover, especially non-philatelic uses (meant in the broadest terms, and not necessarily perjoratively) is a great challenge. Try that in the States, for instance. I know it's not exactly what you asked, but it's precisely what I answered.

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Rhinelander
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29 Aug 2013
11:33:25am
re: "Official" stamps

Yes. Official stamps are very much worth collecting. I like them. However, it does not mean that all stamp collectors must collect them.

Most catalogs distinguish postage stamps for general postage and "special purpose" stamps, such as postage dues, postal tax, air mail, parcel post, official mail etc. If you occasionally work with catalogs other than Scott, you will find that what belongs in the main body of the stamp listings, and what are "back of book" issues is not very clear. Scott separates out many issues that other catalogs include in the main listings. What is general use and what are special use stamps simply differs quite a bit from catalog to catalog. Usually, stamps put in the Appendix to the regular country listings garner less interest than the stamps in the main listings. Then again, there are collectors that specifically only collect certain back-of-book issues, such as airmails or postage dues.

I believe you have a lot of autonomy on this question. You should be aware however that while some official stamps have been created by overprinting a regular issue stamp, it really is an altogether different stamp. An overprinted stamps is not a variety of the un-overprinted stamp. So, if you want to mount an altogether different stamp (despite its similarity in appearance) in a given spot, or if you want to leave this spot empty for now until the stamp that actually belongs in the spot comes along, is a question of personal preference.

However, I have given my opinion on organization as a desirable quality of a collection (all else equal), and if you subscribe to that notion, one would prefer not mixing, but organizing the general use stamps separately from the set for official use. If you want to follow the catalog in doing so, i.e., have all the general stamps first, and the official and other special use stamps at the end of the album, as most collectors do, is one option. I also found it quite effective to do away with the Scott pre-determined organization, but to use a chronological approach, showing the regular set first and mounting the official overprinted set right below. All your choice ...

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larsdog
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APS #220693 ATA#57179
29 Aug 2013
05:35:40pm
re: "Official" stamps

I collect only US, so I can only talk to that area.

US Officials are separate designs, so they are typically found in the "Back of Book" section if a collector desires to include them. Personally, I do include officials.

If they were overprints, however, and especially if they were only overprints, I would be more likely to include them with the non-overprinted definitive, if I decided to include them at all. I suspect I would include them given similar decisions about National Precancels, but it's strictly up to you.

Cheers!

Lars

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bamra1
29 Aug 2013
06:19:11pm
re: "Official" stamps

Officials, because they had a very specific postal function, are a most fascinating area. Although hte stamps may be quite common, have you tried looking for them on cover...?

To illustrate what I mean and how the subject can develop, here is a piece I put together two years ago when I began to look at how Yugoslav Officials were actually used, and how this deviated from what one expects:
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bamra1
29 Aug 2013
06:20:53pm
re: "Official" stamps

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bamra1
29 Aug 2013
06:21:34pm
re: "Official" stamps

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bamra1
29 Aug 2013
06:22:24pm
re: "Official" stamps

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bamra1
29 Aug 2013
06:23:13pm
re: "Official" stamps

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bamra1
29 Aug 2013
06:24:40pm
re: "Official" stamps

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bamra1
29 Aug 2013
06:25:40pm
re: "Official" stamps

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bamra1
29 Aug 2013
06:26:39pm
re: "Official" stamps

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bamra1
29 Aug 2013
06:28:05pm
re: "Official" stamps

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bamra1
29 Aug 2013
06:40:24pm
re: "Official" stamps

Another example of how fascinating Officials can be, are the Ministry stamps of Argentina. Many sets of Argentine stamps were overprinted for use by eight different Ministries, none of whom used exactly the same range of stamps (particularly taking into account variations of watermark, typeface and printing method). There were masses of these things prepared; yet how often do you see one on cover?

Here is a small sample from the Ministry of Justice and Education. (The crosses indicate types which were used by some Ministries, but not by the MJI)
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bobstew617
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29 Aug 2013
08:59:22pm
re: "Official" stamps

If a country I collect has issued Officials, I collect them.

Luxembourg is interesting to me for these stamps as "OFFICIEL" is perfined (perforated)across some of the stamps.

Then comes SWITZERLAND --that's a whole story unto itself.Hypnotized

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