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Posted Aug 19, 17 21:03 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


Scott,  Please read or reread both of my previous postings.  If you, or anyone, really needs more detail about the interactions I mentioned or examples of bad articles, and intends to do something creative about it, please get in touch with me offline. 
    I will expand on one point.  In my opinion, the lack of a letters section, where problems could be easily addressed and new information made available in response to articles, results in regrettably imbedded, rather than transient (interesting word)  faults. 

Posted Aug 19, 17 21:02 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

Stanley Gibbons Park Row

Just did a google search on Milton J. Mirman.

Fourth item that came up was his 1999 obituary.

Posted Aug 19, 17 21:00 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Stanley Gibbons Inc.

The British and American firms were separate entities and unrelated except in name.

The business was run by Gordon Nowell-Usticke. He was an extremely knowledgeable dealer and disovered a large number of 2c Harding Rotary Perf 11s (Scott 613). He was also a prominent conchologist (shell collector) and collector of Rembrandt etchings.

Siegel and Weill bought the SG Inc. stock and Usticke estate, including the etchings, which they turned over to Parke Bernet. It is still considered the greatest collection of its kind ever formed or sold. I recall Siegel and Weill lamenting that the etchings they sold for a shallow six-figures would have been worth a solid eight or nine figures if they had held it until the 1990s.
That handstamp is definitely Stanley Gibbons Inc. It is also found on Bluish Paper stamps bought close to the time of sale at the post office.

Posted Aug 19, 17 20:58 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

Stanley Gibbons NY


The two companies might have been related at one time. When I visited their office in 1973 or 1974, they were not.

Just checked the 1970 ASDA directory:

Stanley Gibbons Inc., 38 Park Row, NY 10038 (212)-CO7-2766. Owner is listed as Milton J. Mirman.

I believe they produced the handy 'guide' to US envelope papers which contained samples of the different color/paper varieties.

Posted Aug 19, 17 20:42 by Gregory Waldecker (stampman2002)

FDR's National Parks Imperforate Sheets


It could very well be. I thought the two firms were related. They weren't?

Posted Aug 19, 17 20:28 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

FDR's Sheets

Could the handstamp be that of the long-established Nassau Street firm Stanley Gibbons, no relation to the London-based firm?

Posted Aug 19, 17 20:19 by Gregory Waldecker (stampman2002)

FDR's National Parks Imperforate Sheets

I'm looking for information about the break-up of FDR's National Parks Imperforate sheets. Here's what I have so far:

Roosevelt received a complete set of sheets from PMG Farley before they were gummed and perforated. This was in 1934, not to be confused with the 1935 Reprints. This is well documented in the philatelic and news press of the time, as well as Ralph Sloat's book "Farley's Follies."

Roosevelt retained these and they were sold by H.R. Harmer in 1946. The National Parks sheets were sold together as one lot. Again, well documented.

Here's where I need the help. Sometime after the 1946 sale, Stanley Gibbons acquired the sheets. They broke the sheets up and rubber stamped a small Stanley Gibbons Incorp logo on the reverse, penciling in "FDR" and the position of each stamp.

Does anyone have any documentation about this? An advertisement, a suggestion as to where and when to look, a news article or some other documentation. I've even called Stanley Gibbons but no one there knew what I was talking about.

I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say about this.

Here's one of the FDR stamps with the markings described above. This is from the 9 cent stamp. I chose this one because of its clarity; I have a full set of these.


Posted Aug 19, 17 18:54 by Scott Trepel (strepel)



You wrote:
"The Chronicle is a precious resource, but the editorial oversight for a supposedly scholarly journal, is occassionally pretty awful.  Also, there seems to be limited capacity to correct scholarly infelicities."

I have reviewed articles at Michael Laurence's request and, in a few cases, have worked with the author to revise or expand the content. In my experience, Michael is diligent about peer review. For the most part, peer review has helped the authors and improved the content.

Historians have a knack for criticising others' research and alluding to "sloppiness." It's part of the game. However, placing the blame on the editor is misguided. We are lucky to have volunteer or modestly-compensated editors who do all of the work gathering articles, reviewing content (and in many cases translating them into an acceptable form of English), creating the printer-ready document and frequently writing articles.

I think John Barwis made an excellent suggestion. You should produce one or more substantive articles for the Chronicle. I think you would make a valuable contribution.

As for the past, I am sure we can find lots of errors, factual or otherwise. I am certainly prolific in that category of publishing. So be it. The moment one believes he or she has achieved infallibility, it is time to stop writing.

Posted Aug 19, 17 16:32 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

Jay Bigalke

Matt, that was my understanding as well. The opportunity with Amos Press, which might possibly go beyond Linn's in the future, plus the difficult weekly commute from Ohio, was just too much to be overcome with a pay increase at the APS. My own view is that Jay has done very well with the AP, bringing much more interesting articles into the magazine for all levels of collectors. We will miss him, but all wish him well in his new position.

Posted Aug 19, 17 16:17 by Matthew Kewriga (mkewriga)

Linns verse APS


As I understand from Scott, the determining factor for Jay was not the money but proximity to home. He was traveling away from home to Bellefonte for the job.

Posted Aug 19, 17 14:28 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

The Chronicle

John,  I am not that eager to make this about individuals who are putting in a lot of valuable volunteer effort, excellent or misguided as those may be.  But I suppose I need make some response to your challenge.
    I will, without naming names, point out that my article was first deep sixed for obviously false reasons, and in the face of a positive recommendation from Richard Frajola who was consulted by the editor on his own initiative, (the editor claimed my article might make people think the covers were more valuable than they are.  I'm not kidding.  For the form of it, I pointed out that I no longer owned the covers and they had been sold to two leading experts).  The editor promised response, but, unsurprisingly, did not reply.  Under a new regime, the article was published, but a new editor added a false footnote. 
     More recently I was asked to help review submitted articles, to which I agreed.  I pointed out the first article submitted was probably wrong, that exciting things could be done with the material, but that a simple addition of about two sentences would change the ariticle from great weakness to acceptability.  Not only were my suggestions rejected (which I could live with) but I was lied to about the problem, which is unacceptable.  As I recall, the Chronicle unilaterally terminated the consultancy, although I would not have continued in any case without an apology.
     If you wish examples of weak articles, I am ready to discuss this offline.
     Would you be chary of publishing in a journal that had repeatedly lied and undermined you?   Do you understand why I did not want to get too specific in my previous sending? 

Posted Aug 19, 17 13:11 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

The Chronicle


Instead of scatter-gun innuendo, why don't you give a specific example of poor editorial oversight?

Better yet, if you would like to see the journal improved, why not submit a scholarly article? The last time you published in The Chronicle was 17 years ago.

Posted Aug 19, 17 12:46 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

Number of Stamps

JK, RS, & PD,

Thanks very much for your comments.

Wasn't aware of Kortelainen and his estimate. Pretty impressive. Factoring in the stamps issued in 2016 & 2017, I'm feeling comfortable with his quantity of 800,000+.

In my thinking, I had included Postage Dues and other Back-of-the-Book stamps but not Revenues or any Postal Stationery. Even if one includes Local stamps, those surely would add less than 100,000 to the total quantity.
Wouldn't be at all surprised if there are actually more than 1,000,000 different stamps. For my presentation, I'm now planning to say an estimated quantity of 800,000 to 1,000,000.

Posted Aug 19, 17 12:36 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Bernard B

The Chronicle is a precious resource, but the editorial oversight for a supposedly scholarly journal, is occassionally pretty awful.  Also, there seems to be limited capacity to correct scholarly infelicities.
One example that would be funny if it were not so tragic --- a contributor was not allowed to include important covers that he could not explain (as part of a larger study).   But of course getting out unexplained material gives access to the wider community to contribute to the solution. 

Posted Aug 19, 17 12:31 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


I think the weekly might be imperiled, with most issues down to 36 pages, but the monthly looks sound with plentiful advertising.

Posted Aug 19, 17 12:28 by Matthew Kewriga (mkewriga)


The real question is how long it will last. They have some peculiar business ideas that really don't help it's cause. Maybe Jay can keep it viable but i am sure it will be an up hill climb.

Jay will be missed at the AP, but i am sure the travel/commuting was not fun.

Posted Aug 19, 17 11:37 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Gripsholm cover

I asked John Hotchner to decode the Div. For. Act. Cor. abbreviation. He consulted the State Department library.

It stands for Division of Foreign Activities Correlation.

Further from the State Department website:

Under the pressures of wartime, the Department had developed a few rudimentary intelligence operations. A Division of Foreign Activity Correlation handled liaison with the FBI and OSS, provided such Departmental and Foreign Service support as they required, and disseminated their reports in the Department.

Posted Aug 19, 17 10:46 by Terence Hines (thines)

Philatelic editing

As Scott pointed out earlier, many (most?) of the authors contributing to the American Philatelist were not trained writers. But this makes it even more important for an editor to attend to the mechanics of the final, printed, piece, not less. An editor dealing regularly with such input can't afford to do little else than think Important Philatelic Thoughts. Presumably this will not be a problem at Linn's where there is a staff of professionals.

Posted Aug 19, 17 9:35 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Garrett, Wyoming

Anyone out there with a card or cover (any time period) cancelled Garrett, Wyoming? Thanks in advance, Joe

Also looking for the precancel (as below) on the 16 cent Jenny (C2).

Blocks of 4 or so (1918 airs) with that precancel really desired.


Posted Aug 19, 17 8:58 by Paul Dessau ([email protected])

Number, Please

Would the number include, worldwide, all known locals, postal stationary, and postage dues?

Posted Aug 18, 17 21:38 by Richard Drews (bear427)

APJ editor

Jay did a fine job in putting his imprimatur on the magazine. He will be missed. The APS tried to keep him but Linn's upped the ante to the point where we couldn't keep him.

If any member of this board has suggestions about who would be a suitable long term replacement, please contact Scott English. I've spoken at length with Jim Lee and we've sent him 2 names. We have a tight deadline for finding someone.


Posted Aug 18, 17 20:55 by Robert Skinner (1840to1940)

Number, Please

Keijo Kortelainen on his Stamp Collecting blog estimates there are approximately 830,000 major number stamps issued 1840-2015. This is based on a database of the Michel catalog. 

Posted Aug 18, 17 20:27 by William Duffney (bill duffney)

American Institute of the City of New-York

I am mainly looking for material from the 1840s.

Posted Aug 18, 17 20:18 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Number, Please

Steve-----Pretty confident the issued # would easily exceed one million, especially with the USPOD involved. (Actually, who could legitimately argue about any quantity given?)

Posted Aug 18, 17 19:59 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

Number, Please

For a presentation I'm preparing on China's 1980 8 fen Monkey stamp (Scott #1586), can anyone supply the following information?

Approximately how many different postage stamps and souvenir sheets have been issued (worldwide) from 1840 to date? Just need to be able to state with some confidence: "More than _____".

Thanks in advance.

- sf

Posted Aug 18, 17 19:32 by Russell Crow (cornwall2)

APS magazine

Count me among those that believe Jay will be missed. After he took the helm, I actually found myself reading the magazine more. Jay shook up the old stodgy format and added new life to it. Generally I think philatelist like the status quo and don't like change but I believe the changes instituted by Jay were long overdue and well received. I think folks would accept a few errors or miscues in exchange for a superior publication. I applaud Jay's efforts to make the APS mag relevant and up to date/current. Godspeed Jay and good luck in your future endeavors.

Posted Aug 18, 17 19:19 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Rebuttal to Terence Hines

Jay is a young and dynamic philatelist who injected the American Philatelist with a much-needed dose of scholarship, range and depth. His departure is a great loss for the APS.

I really didn't notice a lot of grammar problems or typos. In fact, given the quality of the contributing authors, I think the writing was excellent. With so many non-professional editors producing journals for the hobby, the general quality of writing and editing has dropped over the years. (Of course, the Chronicle remains the beacon).

You should rethink your comment. Jay will be hard to replace. I wish him well and hope your snarky comment rolls off his back.

Posted Aug 18, 17 17:51 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

American Institute of New-York

Because the Crystal Palace burned down during the American Institute annual exhibition hosted there, I have a substantial library of its publications, and some collectible artifacts, such as an admission ticket signed by George Nesbitt..

Posted Aug 18, 17 17:51 by Terence Hines (thines)

New editor for the American Philatelist

I'm not surprised. The editing under Bigalke has been sloppy. The topics have been fine but the individual articles often contained poor grammar, redundant sentences and outright errors. The AP had to introduce a "Corrections and Clarifications" section recently.

Posted Aug 18, 17 17:13 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Charles Fricke AP article

One could be equally surprised that Mr. Fricke's article ever saw publication in the AP, assuming the many "renowned" airmail rate experts there saw it prior to publication. Wondering how much "negative" feedback that story saw in the ensuing months!!!!

But then again, just a little knowledge of a specialty could be a real hindrance.

Here's another SD stamp paying that fee during the 16 cent rate.


Posted Aug 18, 17 16:31 by William Duffney (bill duffney)

American Institute of the City of New-York

Anyone have material from this group, which held rather extensive agricultural fairs at Castle Garden, NYC, from 1827-?

Printed circular attached.

Please contact off-Board.


Posted Aug 18, 17 15:49 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


     They tried very hard to negotiate fair deals.  It is true they were small businessmen trying to go large.   But they were probably also reasonably in thinking it would be very easy for the big guys to rip  them off, and were somewhat secretive as a result.   Do the drug companies, who don't risk their own lives in developing drugs, give up their patent protections without vast battles?  And monopolistic deals to prevent other companies from competing once they go off patent. 
     Orville later thought that initially they would have sold for $10,000.  He was a very punctilious guy, but I think that or 50 or 100 thousand would have done it for sure.  Peanuts.
    The aircraft industry, under govt pressure, did end up with a patent sharing agreement.
    They moved aviation ahead seven to ten years and slowed it down three or so (in America).
     Another tragedy was that their wind tunnel data and propellor design methods, etc.  didn't get out.


Posted Aug 18, 17 14:05 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

May 1918 air mail again

Note that the 24¢ rate could be paid "with special aeroplane postage stamps or with ordinary postage stamps," but there was no authorization for the use of special delivery stamps. That Fricke's cover was tolerated did not mean that its franking was legitimate.


Posted Aug 18, 17 13:55 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


The claim is based on the number of members, and if Les Winick were still alive he would challenge it. Does anyone here know the current membership of the German, Russian, and Chinese philatelic federations?

Posted Aug 18, 17 13:53 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Wright patent

A few weeks ago (more or less; I don't recall the issue) Barron's editor Thomas Donlan argued that the Wrights were foolish to litigate their patent, and would have been far more successful had they simply dedicated themselves to building and selling better airplanes.

Posted Aug 18, 17 13:51 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Why am I not surprised that Charles Fricke's faulty statement about the 24¢ per ounce air mail rate, of which 10¢ (not per ounce) went for special delivery service, ended up on this board?

Posted Aug 18, 17 13:47 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


Yes, Curtiss, not Martin.  Both were great flying boat developers.  Curtiss was a churl,
Martin was, well, Martin -- I believe he absorbed the Wright company down the line.   He had a snazzy all girls baseball team.
The Goldstone comment on the Whitehead is not au pointe.  If you don't have the Wright direct differential lift system,  you need a lot of dihedral to convert a skid (rudder) into a roll (vectored wing lift).  This system works very well on model aircraft (I was fourth at a World Champs with it once.)

Posted Aug 18, 17 13:44 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Non-C3 in period flown cover

Does anyone know the present whereabouts of the wonderful airmail cover shown here in the 2007 AP issue? Would love to locate---great article by the late Charles Fricke!! Thanks in advance---Joe


Posted Aug 18, 17 13:18 by Rainer Fuchs (rainer)

APS, the world’s largest non-profit, stamp collecting organization?

The American Philatelic Society, the world’s largest non-profit, stamp collecting organization?

Based on what? Revenue, Number of members???

Posted Aug 18, 17 13:13 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

The American Philatelist

needs an editor.

Posted Aug 18, 17 12:54 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Glenn Curtiss

builder of the JN4H "Jenny" biplane, not Glenn Martin of the China Clipper

Posted Aug 18, 17 12:28 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


The McC is lovely, but limited.  McC evidently fell in love with Wilbur and is unfair to Orville.
I talked to one of the Wright experts at the Smithsonian and he was pretty dismissive.  McC is good on social history,  but says not much about the invention of the aeroplane.
The Wrights pointed out that they risked their lives to do something that was said to be impossible, and that their claims of success -- backed by many witnesses -- were poopooed.   And when they solved a problem by dint of brilliant hard work, surviving many crashes, masses of mosquitoes, storms, and considerable personal expense, had a valid patent (which is often misrepresented as weaker than it was) everyone wanted to steal it.  They let the Exp. Aero. Assoc. (may not be right name) use their work for research purposes, then Glenn Martin worked very hard and with much success to steal it.
Orville wrote interestingly about Whitehead.  Certainly the claims for the plane are bogus.  I doubt that it ever got into full flight, although a hop is conceivable (as for the Ader).  I have not looked into the details, but the reproduction that was built has phoney propellors.

Posted Aug 18, 17 10:59 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


Here is the review of that book I posted two years ago:

Posted May 13, 15 7:24 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Spring reading

I have just finished reading David McCullough's new book The Wright Brothers. It is as elegantly narrated as his readers and viewers have come to expect. One can feel and almost smell the perspiration on the brows of these young geniuses at work in their Dayton bicycle shop, shiver with them at Kitty Hawk, and contemplate their seemingly stoic, almost selfless acceptance of fame and fortune. Although the book makes no reference to postal history except in vague anticipation, understanding these dramatic events in context is crucial for every student of 20th century mail.

Despite the author's grace and diligence, his book will disappoint anyone who knows the larger story — the less attractive sides of Wilbur's and Orville's personalities and business practices, and the important contributions of other pioneer aviators whom the brothers Wright fought fiercely to discredit. For balance I again recommend, as I did last July, Birdmen: the Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies by Lawrence Goldstone.

In an odd diversion, New Jersey promoters who insist that Gustave Whitehead flew a heavier-than-air winged aircraft in 1901 have taken aim at McCullough, who dismissed their claim as fiction. Personally, I'm an agnostic about this detail. Goldstone made no mention of Whitehead's claim in his book, but did comment last week. "Here's the deal with Whitehead — maybe he flew and maybe he didn't," he told a reporter. "If you look at the Whitehead flyer, the wings are set in a severe dihedral, which means turning would be very difficult and would be highly susceptible to wind." His conclusion: "To people like Tom Crouch at the Smithsonian, you mention Whitehead and it's sacrilege. But to me, the Whitehead flyer was like the Neanderthals — an evolutionary dead end."

Posted Aug 18, 17 1:09 by Roger Heath (decoppet)

Wright Brothers

I assume those discussing the Wright Brother have read the book "The Wright Brothers" by David McCullough. Very interesting and explains why the French were so enamoured by the Americans and their machine.

NY Times Review here

Posted Aug 17, 17 20:35 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Wrights and Lindbergh -- a great historical mystery

By mid 1927 dozens of people had crossed the Atlantic by air.  Perhaps the most epic success was the first nonstop by Alcock and Brown.  It is hair raising to read.  Lindbergh's major problem -- he was sleep deprived before he took off -- was staying awake.  Though I think he, like Alcock and Brown, had icing.  And yet, perhaps because he did it alone and there were several recent failures, he became a mega hero.  Eventually it went about half way to destroying him.
The Wrights, although there were many good witnesses, were very controversial, in the US and France.  By the time Wilbur showed up in 1908 in Hundieres (I think that preceded Le Mans) there had been a number of well attested heavier than air flights in France, plus dirigibles, including the giant Zeppelin (which wasn't spectacularly slower than a heavier than air).   Now it is easy to understand how the afficianados were floored by Wilbur's magnificent ability to maneuver tightly,  it is much less clear why the French went mad for the man.  As with Lindbergh, his character was easy to  build a hero around.  I see some elements, but I wish I understood it better.

Posted Aug 17, 17 20:12 by Bill Weismann (billw2)

Blackish Violet

Blackish violets are easy to spot compared to a Dark Lilac.

Take a Black Jack or a 12c or 15c '61.  If the stamp is that black, but with a purplish tinge to it, kind of like how a Pigeon Blood Pink has a bluish tinge to it, then it's probably going to get a good cert from the PF.

If the stamp's a dark charcoal grey then it's a dark lilac and will likely get a cert as a 78var Dark Lilac.

If any of you guys ever get the chance the PF has two magnificent shade references of the Blackish Violet on cover, one of which is an absolute tragedy (Stamp torn nearly in half from opening the cover) but they are absolutely unmistakeable as a 78c

Posted Aug 17, 17 20:09 by Bill Weismann (billw2)


I just saw this...  trying to catych up on forums and emails.

I have a cover in the census to Saxlenher from 1895, 22746 with a block of 6 4c 1st bureaus on it.

One of my favorite 4c covers.

Posted Aug 17, 17 19:34 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Wright flight

The many flights in Virginia in 1908 were well attended.  This was after the sensation that Wilbur caused in France had already happened, along with the tests at Kittyhawk that year.  I certainly have no idea if there were postal cards from the many heavier than air flights before the 1909 celebration, but there certainly should have been.

Posted Aug 17, 17 19:00 by Matthew Liebson (liebson)

Ken:  nice card.  Always nice to see something from Ohio with some significance.  Perhaps one of the pioneer collectors would have some more information...

Posted Aug 17, 17 18:54 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Wright Flights

There's a difference between public and not secret. To the best of my knowledge the Hudson-Fulton flight was the first one in the United States to have been widely anticipated, and with contemporaneous photographs in the newspapers. But even for that one I have not seen any postal souvenirs.

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