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Posted Oct 16, 17 16:27 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

Pre-UPU exchanges of sample stamps?

There would not have been any reason to exchange specimen stamps. The 1861 convention specified rates to be charged on incoming mail -- 3c for letters -- but all incoming mail was charged postage due and postage in the receiving country could not be prepaid by stamps of the sending country. So there was no need to have samples of the other country's stamps, since sending postage was irrelevant in the receiving country.

Posted Oct 16, 17 15:27 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Pre-UPU exchanges of sample stamps?

Were there written agreements between countries or an established practice prior to the GPU/UPU that they would exchange samples/specimens of their current postage stamps?

Mexican postal records from 1864 show the issuance of 6 copies each of all four denominations of the current issue to the "Postal Administration in London and Washington." (That is a translation of the original Spanish which is not known.) The US and Mexico signed a Postal Convention in 1861 but there is no provision requiring exchange of stamps in that or the 1862 regulations under that convention.

If there was an established practice of such exchanges, is there any source I can cite?

Also, does anyone know what was meant by "Postal Administration in London and Washington"? Shorthand for two different shipments?

Thanks for any help!

Posted Oct 16, 17 14:44 by Leonard Hartmann (hartmann)


Everyone's signature changes with time and conditons when written, 
i am convinced many Free Franks of major people and even minor were by 
secretaries, etc. as they are often quite simular and often done in an office, etc.

For Jefferson Davis his wife has written that her signature for his name 
was virtually idential and she signed many documents for him but when she signed she put a "period" after the name


Posted Oct 16, 17 13:01 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Two of the Three Tylers

I have been tied up and have still not had a chance to read the article .... However, the Hamilton book shows autographs of John Tyler (father of the President) who has a much different signature, Julia Tyler whose signature is like BOTH of those shown below by Mike Gutman, as well as President John Tyler. Interestingly, none of the President's signatures shown by Charles Hamilton have the "y" joined to the "l" in his name ...

I suggest we refer a query to John Reznikoff or Katharine Barnes ...


Posted Oct 16, 17 12:46 by Michael Gutman (mikeg94)

Julia or John

Thanks very much to all who read my article and commented both on and off the board. Pleasantly surprised at the interest level.

What got me started on this is the difference between the handwriting that I observed. The scan here shows what I think is Julia's at the top and John's below. To me they look very different. I would like to find a handwriting specialist that is not cost prohibitive to examine franks and letters to provide a professional opinion.


Posted Oct 16, 17 10:50 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


There was at least one Civil War era Congressman who franked envelopes on mass and distributed them to soldiers.
Scott, I cashed that check your dog gave me for a beautiful 1847 cover and it went through, no problem. 

Posted Oct 15, 17 18:39 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Free franks

Not only were envelopes addressed first and then franked with a signature, blank envelopes were franked with a signature and given to friends and family for their use.

I would need more persuasive evidence and handwriting analysis (specific to John Tyler) to accept the franking signatures as Julia's hand.

Differences in a signature over time or even in a short batch of signed items is not unusual, as anyone who has signed a lot of stuff will testify. If you lined up every check and American Express slip I have signed, you would think my dog was signing my name sometimes.

Posted Oct 15, 17 16:19 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Tyler Article by Savage

Added here (will link from articles tab on Monday). Thanks.

Posted Oct 15, 17 15:05 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

Presidential free franks

I share the opinion favored by Ken S. regarding the Tyler franks. Letters "from the president" were often written by staff members, then the envelope addressed, and both given to the president for approval and signature.

Many of Franklin Pierce's presidential correspondence was addressed by his secretary, Varina Davis, although Pierce did free frank the covers.

Posted Oct 15, 17 14:58 by Ken Stach (kenstach)


I, for one, am not yet convinced that John Tyler didn't free frank ALL the letters illustrated in the article. Yes, the letters may have been written by another hand and envelopes addressed by another hand, but unless a handwriting expert can say that the actual J. Tyler free frank is by a different person, I believe they may all be by the same hand.

There are many examples of presidential free franks (and likely others) in which a letter was written and addressed by one person and free franked by another. I have them from Washington and Lincoln, for example.

Posted Oct 15, 17 14:44 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)


I had to stop and immediately read Mike Gutman's short piece on John and Julia Tyler. Presidential and first lady philately is a fascinating subject. A good friend of mine had written an article about 5 years ago on the Tylers. Richard, I'd like to send it to both you and Mike. Can you send me his email address?

If you feel it is appropriate, you can post this piece next to Mike's

Posted Oct 15, 17 14:13 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Hidden for a Century +

Always had an interest in the Canadian 1897 Jubilee series (Scott 50-65), along with the early US airs. The "sister" set in US material would be the 1cent-$5 Columbians.

This $4 (Scott 64) trial color in Green was virtually unknown for nearly 120 years, and is the only $ value of the entire set in trial color (issued stamp is purple),

None were in the Banknote archives sale, nor in the Canadian Postal Museum.

Amazing that such an item went unnoticed (to the philatelic world) so long!!

Just wanted to share. (No--it wasn't on Ebay!!)


Posted Oct 15, 17 14:01 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

de Gustibus

Ken, Some wise person once pointed out that de gustibus is very much to be disputed, whether in wine, music, politics, sports, or elsewhere.  And people, of course.

Posted Oct 15, 17 11:37 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Julia or John

I just uploaded a short 5 page article received from Mike Gutman. Title is Julia or John? (Tyler). Informative piece ... If correct, I have mis-identified the signature.

Thank you!

Posted Oct 15, 17 10:56 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

As a footnote to my previous post, it's ironic that Dann was the leading advocate of maximum exhibit text, because on the Hemingway-to-Faulkner scale, lot descriptions in his War Covers auctions sat at the extreme short end.

Posted Oct 15, 17 10:04 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


Fashions in exhibiting fluctuate.

I am old enough to remember when champion exhibits had no words at all on the pages, and what counted was how much more the exhibitor stowed in the bin room. In the 1990s I judged at a show where Bud Hennig had entered two wordless exhibits and Bud Sellers had entered one. As recently as three years ago I viewed an air mail exhibit in national competition that had no text.

When I became an apprentice judge, Dann Mayo was still an active APS judge. He was a vocal advocate of write-the-book-on-the-exhibit-page style. Fred Blau won gold and grand national medals and FIP large gold medals following that plan. 

The current requirement for terseness arose in AAPE seminars, when unhappy exhibitors were told to cut down the words because judges don't have time to read them. One positive aspect of digital exhibiting is that we all have time to read what the exhibitor chooses to tell us. We ought to respect that opportunity, not disparage it.

But de gustibus non est disputandum.

Posted Oct 15, 17 9:56 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Digital Exhibits

I really think that exhibitors can utilize the digital platform to advantage to present narrative exhibits (such as my PDR entry based on my Grandfather Cook's journal of his life in Dakota Territory; certainly more text than most 8 frame exhibits) as well as concise exhibits. 

My primary interest in providing a digital presentation platform is to increase the number of ways philatelists have available to share the material that we love and collect. Taos Philatelic Rendezvous was a similar endeavor as is this board.

No single solution fits all. If one, or more of these platforms serves to increase the enjoyment of the hobby, I am satisfied.

Posted Oct 15, 17 9:39 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

Single Frame Exhbits

I came to the Philamercury board to learn, and something said last year about some PDR exhibits being more suitable as “Articles” made me think. Now in PDR 2017 I realise what that comment meant. There is a natural visual balance in some exhibits that is pleasing to the eye (Beauty is in the eye of the beholder), and a visual imbalance in others. Where an exhibitor gets carried away with words and tries to impart a history lesson (and I am as guilty as anyone), it is indeed better to write an article rather than try to pack it all into a single page. That impresses no-one.

No harm surely in elegance? After all, I would rather enjoy a single stem of perfectly cooked asparagus than plough through a mess of overcooked stew.

John W.

Posted Oct 15, 17 9:01 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

re: Square peg in a flat frame .....

Morning Rob and all,

Rob: The material I was referring to is a wonderful study of 3rd class material back in the day before parcel post. Most are smallish boxes with stamps and post making on them. They do NOT fit into our traditional almost two dimensional exhibiting frames.

All: Let us not get hung up comparing traditional and digital exhibiting to the point we overlook the advantages and disadvantages of both systems and lose sight of the objective of exhibiting and our hobby - enjoyment.

Let us all work to maximize the enjoyment collectors and those outside our hobby looking in derive from our efforts. This is the true practice of positive philately.

Best regards,

Russ Ryle

Posted Oct 15, 17 8:56 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Single Frame at AmeriStamp Expo

In 1994 AmeriStamp Expo was held at Indypex. I entered "The World's First Coiled Stamps" (U.S. 1857 issue) in the U.S. Classics section. It was an experimental presentation that required illustrations such as this one. My entry won a platinum medal and the grand award for the class. Later that year the Bureau Issues Association sponsored a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington on the occasion of the centennial of the first BEP postage stamps, followed by a banquet. As we waited in line to pass through Treasury Department security, Clyde Jennings accosted me and yelled out that the AmeriStamp jury had awarded "his" grand to me; that he had done everything according to the book and I had violated all the rules. Eventually juries fell in line, rewarded the usual suspects,and banished upstarts to lower ranks, but it was nice while it lasted.


Posted Oct 15, 17 7:06 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Single Frame Exhibits


USCS was not the only antecedent. The Collectors Club single frame shows also have a separate history. But the current system began when the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors announced the rules for entering exhibits at AmeriStamp Expo at Midaphil in the early 1990s, an adjunct to the APS national competition judged by an APS qualified jury. The explicitly stated purpose was to create a format that would induce novices to try their hand at exhibiting. AmeriStamp Expo was an instant success, and rotated from one national exhibition to another each year until AAPE could no longer afford the overhead. At that point APS took it over and made it a feature of the APS  annual winter convention. However, Greg is correct that the format became a favorite of experienced exhibitors, while the features designed to attract new exhibitors did not catch on. That's why we are now stuck with most of the same terms as multi-frame, including terse write-ups that juries can zip through instead of thoughtfully composed texts that explain multiple dimensions of a subject. The original purpose was to encourage creativity. The current rules reward emulation and uniformity.

Added: Also, Garfield-Perry had a 12-page single-frame annual competition at March Party as long as anyone can remember. My "Key PNC" exhibit won one year.

Posted Oct 15, 17 5:50 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

Single Frame Exhibits

In many ways the single frame exhibit demands a disciplined approach, and a careful appraisal of the balance between text and illustrations in order to achieve a display both pleasing to the eye and informative to the intellect. I am very grateful to Richard for instituting PDR, which gives the opportunity for long term study of the various (very various) entries. Looking at the 2016 exhibits made me focus on what I found attractive, and allowed me to explore the “Less is More” approach for 2017.

I spent hours polishing my first attempts, trying to express what I thought important in as few words as possible, taking my inspiration from Steve Walske’s presentations. I’m very happy with the results, but as an engineer I wanted some data, so using Adobe Acrobat (which I heartily recommend) I did a word count on this year’s PDR showing. Steve’s “Pre-contract Overland Routes” used 1911 words on sixteen sheets. I managed with 1628 words on my own offering, which contrasts markedly with the 3753 words on sixteen sheets managed by another display…..!

I shall continue my “polishing” technique in the future in the hope that one day I might approach the skill of Picasso as in the attached sketch by him, which demonstrates that “Less can be More”.

John W.


Posted Oct 15, 17 0:17 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Single Frame Exhibits

The point of single frame exhibits being offered was to get people interested in exhibiting, not that serious exhibitors could take on the idea as well. What has happened is just the opposite, many serious exhibitors have entered single frame exhibits. In my case, this is actually how I got started because I felt it would be easier to start exhibiting in the single frame format. After developing three different single frame exhibits and getting my feet wet so to say I took on a multiframe exhibit which eventually became 8 frames. Single frame exhibits are a good way to start and should be encouraged.

Posted Oct 14, 17 23:32 by David Kent (davekent)

Single Frame Exhibits

I must take exception to the idea that the purpose of the single-frame exhibit is to help beginners to get started in exhibiting. I recently came across the program booklet of the 1976 convention of the Universal Ship Cancellation Society in San Diego, at which I had a (multi-frame) exhibit. For many years there had been single-frame ship cover exhibits, because there are many subjects within that specialty that can easily be well covered in only 16 pages. It might be a the life of a short-lived ship, a study of a seldom-used style of Naval postmark, or the work of a short-lived cachetmaker, to list just a few ideas. As a result, there were half a dozen or more single-frame exhibits in the show. The Society invited a panel of APS judges to serve as the jury, and they refused to judge the single-frame exhibits, saying they were "too limited" to bother with. Needless to say, the exhibitors and the USCS were outraged at this insult to a major national society (founded 1932), and as a result the USCS established its own judging and judges-training program, which I headed for a while. Needless to say, one rule was that single-frame exhibits had to be judged as seriously as multi-framers, although the judges could consider whether the subject as drawn was suitable for single-frame treatment. The USCS no longer has the resources to host its own independent conventions (I chaired the last one in 2002), but we exhibitors continue to believe that single-frame exhibits can be as serious as longer exhibits (I'm working on one for the APS winter show in Birmingham). They are not just for beginners, and I believe that many can be more challenging than longer studies.

Posted Oct 14, 17 20:19 by Roger Heath (decoppet)

online exhibiting

Gordon and Sheryll - thanks for your comments. I will probably be getting back to you later. ); >) I have bookmarked a number of sites, but have not yet found exactly what I want. I'll continue looking.

Posted Oct 14, 17 19:17 by Gregory Shoults (coilcollector)

Digital Exhibiting/PDR

The current format of PDR, show what you like, is a great venue to share your favorite material. In comparison to exhibiting at the national and FIP levels, that is another venue to share what you like, but with guidelines and rules stated before hand that exhibitors need to follow in accordance with the judging guidelines. In the PDR format we saw an exhibit win that was not a single frame topic if entered under the current rules and guidelines of national exhibiting. If you consider multiframe exhibits one could pick and choose the best material and even though it does not fit into the frame work of what a single frame exhibit was intended for, it may win just on the merit of material. From what I understand, the single frame format was intended to get people interested in exhibiting and then maybe carry over and get them to put together a mutlframe exhibit. The good intentions of the idea did not quite work out as planned and many experienced exhibitors have entered numerous single frames which are great topics and wonderful material. Digital exhibiting maybe the answer for those interested in taking a shot at sharing what their interests are without the worry of rules and guidelines. If the participants want to take the next step and enter something at the national level then there are options for them to get their exhibit critiqued before they enter this arena.

Posted Oct 14, 17 17:29 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)


Thank you all, especially Cary who nailed it !

Posted Oct 14, 17 16:21 by Cary Johnson (fastmail)


Using Towle Catalogue, postmark is Claremont and Boston 26-K-1 from the Boston & Maine RR Dates reported 1904-06

S.R.=Short Route

Posted Oct 14, 17 15:18 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Feldman Sale

It was called the "Ambassador" collection, in this Rarities sale in December 2014. The covers described as first days were Alan Berkun's.

Posted Oct 14, 17 14:24 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

David Feldman Sale of Berkun material

Any idea of the Sale # or dates for the Feldman-Berkun material?

Also looking for any of our readers who collect/specialize in the Canadian 1897 Jubilee material (Scott 50-65). Especially looking for the 1/2 cent (#50) on cover, unusual items, etc.

Posted Oct 14, 17 13:08 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Alan Berkun

He can be reached at his old e-mail address. He is out of philately. Harvey Bennett sold his remaining U.S. collections for the government, to meet restitution requirements. His first days and EDUs of first issues worldwide were sold by David Feldman for the mother of his younger children shortly before he was released.

Posted Oct 14, 17 13:02 by Rainer Fuchs (rainer)

Fake Exhibits...

There is currently a discussion going on at on Fake Éxhibits at Bandung Indonesia 2017

Posted Oct 14, 17 13:01 by Farley Katz (navalon)


D LAR & = ? Denver Laramie & North Western

But not formed until 1906

?SL AR & =?? St. Louis Arkansas & Texas??

Posted Oct 14, 17 12:41 by Roger Heath (decoppet)


George - try GLAR

Posted Oct 14, 17 11:58 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)

RPO Mystery

I've googled myself near-apoplectic trying to figure out the attached 1904 RPO duplex. From what I can make out, it starts off as 'CLAF &...' Anyone have a clue what the full name could be?


Posted Oct 14, 17 11:34 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Alan Berkun

Anyone have a contact address (email, etc.) for Alan Berkun since his release from prison? Wondering what happened to his material, especially the early US airs. I believe some was sold few years ago by Bennett, but not certain.

Posted Oct 14, 17 11:27 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)


If you do a Google search for "convert jpg with text to a searchable pdf" there are a number of links that discuss how to convert a JPG into a file that allows searching the text.

To achieve the potential for online exhibits the approach would be different. For example, an exhibit can be developed in InDesign (Adobe product) and output directly to web pages. This would require an investment in technology especially building the right website support. It would also not allow the 'enhanced' digital exhibit to be shown in frames. It does not mean they could not be shown at a show using monitors.

I am a strong supporter of posting scans of exhibits. PhilaMercury has been a leader in doing this as well as many other sites. The USPCS for example. The point of my comments about online exhibits is that there is much that could be done if the constraint of a physical page was eliminated. Certainly not either/or.

Posted Oct 14, 17 11:01 by George Tyson (gtyson)

I think that a lot of people would agree that when it comes to traditional exhibiting and online exhibiting, it isn't a matter of "either/or." There's clearly a need for both.

With regard to traditional exhibiting, I don't know enough to weigh in on the debate regarding the FIP, reforming the rules, etc. However, I'd like to go on record to say that I don't have any problem with the wealthiest collectors winning top awards for their exhibits of expensive covers.(If it weren't for those exhibits, I'd probably never have the opportunity to view those covers.) On the other hand, I think that there should also be criteria that allow exhibits of less exalted covers to also win the highest awards, perhaps for such things as important original research, etc. It's possible that such criteria already exist - as I said, I'm not well-informed on the subject.

With regard to digital exhibiting, at this early stage I would hope that we would minimize any restrictions on innovation, creativity, etc. Once everyone's ideas are on display, we can begin to form a consensus with regard to what works and what doesn't. For example, I have a small exhibit of covers from small towns with odd names. It only runs maybe 5 or 6 pages but if I put it up on PhilaMercury, other's could add pages of covers from their own collections. This kind of "chain" exhibiting might turn out to be fun or it might be a dud but, as I said, this is the time to start throwing ideas at the wall to see which ones stick.

Posted Oct 14, 17 9:40 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Online Exhibiting


I think there is a line between site building and online exhibiting.  Perhaps that will blur over time, I can't know the future here.


It's time for you to stop taking swipes at traditional show exhibiting and practice what you preach - positive philately.  You can make your points without those comments.


I tend to agree that PDF is the best answer, but I also tend to think that pdf's often result in poorer image displays.  It takes a bit more effort to keep them sharp. 


I tend to agree that the exhibitor should own the material if they are building an exhibit for competitive purposes.  If non-competitive, I also believe credit should be given.  And, yes, anytime you put competition into the equation, it can bring out the worst in some people.  But, the alternative is to not try to do any of these things and I'm sure you'd agree that that is not a good alternative.

Digital throwing off the shackles of the 16 page paper layout?

I understand the discussion.  We're trying to encourage sharing and creativity.  However, we should not discount creativity that is brought about when boundaries are presented.  I am finding that I am considering some alternatives within the traditional frame paper layout because I have the opportunity to show a single frame exhibit at PDR (for example).  I can test the concept digitally before pursuing the actual mounting of an exhibit.  It's a dual challenge, if you will, that appeals to me.


Posted Oct 14, 17 9:08 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Martin Armstrong

My article about his fake auction, extensive advertising in First Days to sell covers he did not own, Larry Fisher's exposé of his deception, and my interview with Armstrong about that episode, is in a sidebar titled "Fisher Sale May Have Helped Solve An Old Mystery" to my regular monthly United States Stamps column, "Specialized First Day Cover Collecting," in the January 1997 American Philatelist. The glib way he brushed off that episode as a youthful indiscretion presaged his attempts to defend his mammoth investment swindles in later life.

Posted Oct 14, 17 9:02 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

re: Digital Exhibiting

Morning Roger and Tim and all,

Roger, .pdf format, as available for exhibits on this site, offers key word search if you use the F3 search key on your Windows computer.

Tim, I know an apple can read a .pdf file but do not know if it has the equivalent to the F3 key. Any apple folks out there may be able to tell us.

I had a discussion with a long time philatelic friend at INDYPEX last weekend about on line exhibiting. He is not real computer literate or experienced, yet; but, he talked like he wanted to learn more about computers so he could digitally exhibit.

He as never exhibited before despite having very interesting material and years of knowledge about it. His material would never score well the way exhibiting rules are written today.

Digital exhibiting should attract this untapped resource of knowledge?

Digital exhibiting is NOT physically constrained to the physical page and frame sizes found on a show floor. It will take a period of time before digital exhibiting can reach its full potential once folks realize they are free of the physical constraints of the flat aluminum frame.

Best regards,

Russ Ryle

Posted Oct 14, 17 8:59 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

APS courses

APS used to offer Summer Seminar classes on Computers in Philately, but that was more than 15 years ago. There was also an APS affiliate called the Philatelic Computing Study Group.

Posted Oct 14, 17 8:12 by Tim O'Connor (drtimo)

Online Exhibiting

Does APS, or other, offer 1 day, or less, tutorials on Mac/PC skills for philatelists ? Tim

Posted Oct 13, 17 20:39 by Roger Heath (decoppet)

Online exhibiting

Gordon - I have listened to your exhibiting talk and love the eye appeal of your exhibits at shows. I have a template for showing my show exhibits online, but have always known the fatal flaw, being .jpg pages, is that all the text is unsearchable.

Without going to great expense, what are suitable applications that would allow one to display items and text as an online exhibit? How does one limit the width of a page, for example, so it allows for scrolling without being way too wide for the screen, which then requires sideways scrolling as well.

I never found an answer to this problem which is suitable for both images and text, though I know it's possible. I use a Mac. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Posted Oct 13, 17 20:11 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

Online exhibiting

One thing is missing in the discussion of online exhibiting that is most important to the success of this format. The great advantage of a digital display is the flexibility in how it is shown. There is much room for improvement here. It is shortsighted to think of digital exhibits as a published copy of each page from a traditional frame. It is useful to have scans of exhibits that are displayed at shows but we can do much better.

Right now the approach is to put up the images of the frames and allow the viewer to see a page at a time then go back to the frame. The presentation should be tuned to the platform not mirror the way physical presentations are developed and presented. There is also an opportunity to allow the exhibitor to provide additional content - audio and video as well as text. It should be easy to show both sides of an item, give provenance for an item etc. In addition, there comments and discussion could be included.

Both formats for exhibiting are important to the future of the hobby and should be encouraged. Instead of debating about which is better, the focus should be on getting the most out of online exhibiting by not being bound to the way it is done in a different environment.

If there are going to winners ie awards, clear rules and independent judging makes sense. It also makes sense to have no awards and just enjoy what is presented.

Posted Oct 13, 17 10:54 by Stan Grove (alaskastan)

Columbians, anyone?

After a couple years’ hiatus I am returning to active philately, but with a bit narrower focus. So it’s time to unload some things, and the first I will offer here (before going direct to dealers or the internet) is a group of 70+ covers with Columbian adhesives (only 3 are PSEs as well). These comprise a wide variety of rates, fees, and (Columbian-only) frankings, with almost no duplication across the categories. I haven’t got around to scanning them yet, but will do so in response to serious buyer interest. No “huge” items here, but the nicer ones include: 4th day of issue 6-stamp franking to Sweden from Argentine, Kansas (Philamercury #9647); Shanghai usage; Guatemala destination with one of just 7 recorded New Orleans registry labels; 4 different frankings (same correspondence) to a non-UPU destination (Cape of Good Hope); rare UPU registered third class; NYC supplementary mail; and 3c printed matter (Philamercury #4089) that has never been on the philatelic market. See also Philamercury #4088. No FDCs, exposition material or frankings above the 15c value. Will sell at a price allowing for resale profit. Inquiries to my email address linked above.

Stan Grove

Posted Oct 13, 17 10:25 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Real and Virtual Philately

I agree that digital has its advantages. Some of them are not new. For decades I have borrowed APRL's copies of important exhibits to study them thoroughly, which is seldom possible at the frames. On-line access makes that even easier. I welcome it. 

I also agree that hands-on has additional advantages. Until I bought Jerry Wagshal's folded letter bearing the canceled 1¢ Franklin on the 1853 New-York year-dated folded circular and opened it, I had not known that it was sent by a Crystal Palace exhibitor. Besides my own stamps and covers, I have experienced the privilege of creating exhibits for clients in which single covers exceeded my net worth.

But the concern I expressed remains. Competitive exhibiting brings out not only the best, but also the ethically challenged competitors. To violate the nil nisi bonum rule so I can make this point effectively: Every one of Eliot Landau's gold medal Abraham Lincoln exhibits contained forged, altered, and misdescribed items, some of them supported by bogus scholarship (including alleged tests performed by Simine Short at Argonne Laboratory that she denied to John Barwis). Both as a judge and as a member of the expert group I wrote these up more than once, but he never changed them, and continued to win top awards from less knowledgeable juries. If his exhibits had been entered only digitally, most of his transgressions would have been difficult or impossible to detect.

Posted Oct 13, 17 10:08 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Martin Armstrong

Actually Martin Armstrong's philatelic fraud was a rehearsal for his major crimes. A Wall Street Journal reporter interviewed me about the former upon his conviction for the latter.

Posted Oct 13, 17 10:00 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Cover Whisperers

Who says they don't exist? I do believe ... I do believe ...

(some people may consider it a mental disorder when covers talk to them - I don't)

Posted Oct 13, 17 8:06 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Tactile Experience

I missed the point of Ken L's post about ownership of exhibit material. I think what he is saying is, digital displays over the internet cannot replace the real thing.

I agree that seeing the actual material is a more enriching experience than receiving the information in bytes. However, the textual content of exhibits is often lost on viewers whose attention span is limited due to the discomfort of standing and reading through plastic. Being able to read the exhibit in the comfort of an armchair has its benefits.

I'll take Ken's point a step further. Studying the material on exhibit pages is not as enriching as having a truly hands-on experience with the items. Professionals (and owners) have the privilege of removing items from pages and examining them up close; opening old letters and looking at the backs of covers; seeing things that were not described or misdescribed; and probing for information or elements hidden from view when the item is mounted. I have discovered something in every collection or exhibit I have handled, both good and bad, when I had the opportunity to handle the unmounted items.

The tactile experience of physically examining items (carefully) is enhanced when items are removed from mounting. Likewise, the tactile experience of seeing the actual exhibit is a step up from the digital experience. Yet I do believe digital exhibits allow owners of collections to share them without the risk, expense and effort of transporting them to an exhibit venue. If the rules say the items must be owned, therefore collected, by the exhibitor, then the honor system will ensure that we are seeing collecting accompllishments, not just digital presentations of data.

A few old-timers might remember when Martin Armstrong created "virtual" Rarities auctions in the 1970s by clipping photos from major auction house catalogs and presenting them as his own offerings... a predecessor to email offerrings using scans taken from internet sources. Armstrong never intended to defraud anyone out of money. I suppose he did it for ego.

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