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Posted Jan 20, 20 8:23 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

what watermark?

Maybe somebody wants to play with some new equipment. After all, that stamp probably is "genuine as it exists" or stated a different way, "if it does exist genuine, this stamp is one of them" so, maybe of use.

In this post-factual world, if it is accused of being the no watermark variety and if everybody proclaims it to be so, then it is. (Same as the "Z" grill?)

(insert 10 smiley faces here)

Posted Jan 20, 20 2:14 by Charles E. Cwiakala ([email protected])

Scott 476A again --- again ...

Ken   ...

That Harmer-Schau OrCoPEx 2020 Auction 121 Lot Nº 959 was purchased on the floor at a $5500 Hammer Price by a very well known and respected, and very knowlegeable, U.S. stamp dealer. Since the accompanying PSE Certificate is dated 2005, the stamp is open for re-certification. Knowing the buyer, am sure that it'll be re-submitted, but do not know where it might go, whether to the PSE, or to the PF.

Posted Jan 19, 20 7:06 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Scott 476A again

A few days ago Harmer-Schau realized $6,325, including 15 percent buyer's premium, for this stamp, certified as genuine with original gum, never hinged, and graded VF-XF 85 by Professional Stamp Experts in 2005. In 2006 PSE declared that no such stamp exists. In the debate that ensued on this board a few years ago, Caj Brejtfus pledged to share PSE's forensic evidence to support that opinion, but never kept his promise despite repeated requests. What will happen next, if the buyer of the stamp resubmits it to PSE? Will PSE repudiate its 2005 opinion?


Posted Jan 16, 20 18:26 by ken harrison (westpaper2)

Curlew - Loosing my manuscript reading touch :(


Posted Jan 16, 20 18:07 by Brian Buru (brianb)

San Francisco shipping document - Hawaiian Mail?

Ken, I believe that your document refers to the schooner Curlew.

Posted Jan 16, 20 17:29 by ken harrison (westpaper2)

San Francisco shipping document - Hawaiian Mail?

Interesting early document relating to customs and postal shipments. I am Guessing Hawahae is the clerks spelling of Hawaii. We see covers with the clamshell Clipper markings on various Schooners  but don’t remember the Arlen.


Posted Jan 16, 20 16:33 by Ravi Vora (nusivar)

Seeking Member Feedback on a US Consular Literature Project

Many of you know of my long standing interest in the US Department of State and related US Consular and Diplomatic postal and related political/military history. Recently I have been thinking of various ways to share information about this area through publication media (On-line or hard print). I am at an early stage of toying with the idea of developing a catalog or illustrated listing of cachets, corner cards, cancellations, wax seal imprints of US Departent of State and US Consular / Diplomatic correspondence. The chronological period would be close to 1789 (When the US department of foreign affairs was established) to say World War II?

I would like to brain storm with anyone on this board interested in exploring this topic. Please contact me directly if you wish to share your views so as not to clutter the board. Richard: Thanks for letting me post this message. Ravi Vora

Posted Jan 16, 20 16:22 by Brian Buru (brianb)


Thank you Rainer!

Posted Jan 16, 20 3:33 by Rainer Fuchs (rainer)

French Post Offices in Mandate Syria/Lebanon, Mail handling the 1860th...

As many of you know, I am a collector / exhibitor of the Overland Mail Baghdad-Haifa 1923-1948 which also has some impact on mail from French Mandate Syria/Lebanon to Iraq as the French mandate had implemented some Overland Mail surcharges for the use of this service.

Recently i also have developed some interest on the so-called forerunners and have acquired a cover from France via Alexandria and Beirut to Baghdad on which i still have some questions.

The cover as per the image was sent on 6 October 1868 cover from France (Paris) via Marseilles, Alexandria und Beyrouth to Baghdad, the rate of 40 c is the correct rate at the time of posting. The cover bears no transit markings...

(Note: I am aware of 3 covers from this correspondence and know 3-4 covers from the German State Saxony which took the same route).

The French PD marking indicates the postage was paid up to the destination of the cover.

But, what is the destination in terms of the Postal System? Was is Beirut from where the cover was most likely handed over to the "British Courier" who carried mail through the Syro-Iraqi Desert or was the fee paid to Beirut only?

Does someone knows a collector or society who may have some detailed information of the so-called "British Courier"? That courier also carried mail for some time up to 1840 mail from/to India through the desert...

You see, even after almost 150 years there are so many questions which in the past apparently now one raised.


Posted Jan 16, 20 3:12 by Rainer Fuchs (rainer)


Brian, a valid comment.

The early SCADTA Postmarks (the circular postmarks) did not had a date in, this was introduced in 1923 only. the earlier covers had the postmark and a usual single line date stamps.

The basic stamp (5 Centavos, yellow) was issued with the 30 cent(avos) on 5 May 1922..., and it is believed that at this day also the "R" overprint was struck...

See copy of the respective page of the handbook by Bortfeldt/Cruz


Posted Jan 15, 20 18:12 by Brian Buru (brianb)


John, I agree with you wholeheartedly! In certain fields, such as my own collecting interest in early Samoa, there is next to nothing useful on the internet. Sure, digitised newspapers are great, but anything deeper is either in old published book form, or more likely in dusty archives that will never make it online.

In my experience, the internet has a habit of regurgitating material sometimes second or third hand, which is of little use to anyone, especially to the original author.

Posted Jan 15, 20 17:33 by John Barwis (jbarwis)


I have only been exhibiting for 21 years, so am relatively new to the game. Having said that, I find it churlish to express a "gotcha" moment about an item one might own, absent an earlier attempt to enlighten one's fellow philatelists.

Stating that if it's not online, it might as well not exist, is of course an exaggeration, the counterpoint to which is if a person does not follow print publications in one's field of interest simply because they are not online, then they are not a serious student of philately.

A useful thought experiment is to ask oneself "If I were a close friend of this person, would I disagree with him in a public forum, or would I first contact him - as a friend - with the information?"

Posted Jan 15, 20 17:14 by Brian Buru (brianb)


Forgive my ignorance, but how can this stamp be assigned to May 5, 1922, without a dated postmark? I must add that I know nothing about these, but would like to learn!

Posted Jan 15, 20 10:33 by Rainer Fuchs (rainer)

"but such articles usually no one reads...", the second

Even if these articles are read by the collectors / specialists in question, they need to modify theire exhibits which also often is not done... and the exhibits are static...

Posted Jan 15, 20 10:26 by Rainer Fuchs (rainer)

"but such articles usually no one reads..."

I am to blame for this as well.., my website for the SCADTA Provisional registration stamps i have not touched basically in years, only the stamp in question I have added, its time to add some content..., but now, since I am in the process of creating an exhibit on these issue there is some chance...

Posted Jan 15, 20 10:20 by Farley Katz (navalon)

"but such articles usually no one reads..."

Rainer is absolutely correct. Articles in most philatelic journals unfortuately have minimal readership. Likely, the group has only a few hundred members at most. So "such articles usually no one reads..., and feedback even less...."

That is why Gary Loew suggested in the APRL journal ("Using As A Source of Philatelic Publicity") to post philatelic articles online. You can use websites such as,, here on, your own site or elsewhere. Putting them online makes them accessible by anyone, anywhere and significantly increases their exposure.

Today, if it's not online, it might as well not exist.

Posted Jan 15, 20 4:00 by Rainer Fuchs (rainer)

SCADTA, Registration Stamps, earliest known


of course..., in an article published in Copacarta, Volume 35, No. 1, September 2017, ...,
but such articles usually no one reads..., and feedback even less....
In this article however only the 14 June 1922 cover was mentioend as the even earlier one I got got a bit later...

Posted Jan 14, 20 17:48 by Scott Trepel (strepel)


Here is cover with large Numeral Due tied by USPO Shanghai cds on arrival 1990. Same period as CHINA hs cover.


Posted Jan 14, 20 17:44 by Scott Trepel (strepel)


Here is a genuine cover with what appears to be same marking. There is another cover showing use of Dues in China, which I’ll try to find and post.


Posted Jan 14, 20 15:45 by John Barwis (jbarwis)



Had you ever published the existence of your covers that predate the "earliest" known?

Posted Jan 14, 20 12:36 by Rainer Fuchs (rainer)

... despite what the elite says...

In the recent Siegel Sale (The Santiago Cruz Collection of SCADTA) i was happy to purchase the shown stamp which is now the missing link in my SCADTA "Provisional Registration Stamps" collection.

The lot description which is what i assume is based on Santiago's write-ups mentions...

COLOMBIA, 1921, "30 cent." on 10c Yellow, Air Post Registration (Colomphil 28; Scott C37 var). Neat violet Bogota SCADTA and "R" handstamps, fresh color, Fine, this is the unique example with the registration handstamp and illustrated in the Cruz-Bortfeldt book on pg. 75, a bit of an anomaly to researchers as the earliest "R" handstamp on cover recorded is July 1922 and no postal rate at this time included a registration fee indicating a possible trial handstamp, ex Gebauer, Cruz, signed Schoendorf

Well, a small German collector is not relevant, but in my own collection i have two covers with provisional registration stamps:

22 May 1922, Bogota to Bad Koesen, Thuringia, Germany
14 June 1922, Bogota to Coburg, Germany...


Posted Jan 14, 20 9:27 by Ray Porter (rporter314)

China (fake?)

Thanks Richard.

I am baffled a faker would target the very small market of postage due cancels collectors. Almost like someone trying to sell ice to polar bears.

Posted Jan 12, 20 13:43 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Pacific Mail Steamship Co.


Thank you for your post showing a page from your book "The United States Post Offices in China and Japan 1867 to 1874" by Frajola, et al, published by the Collectors Club, New York, 2006.

Here is a revenue stamp in my collection with a "Japan" cancel. Until I read your book I never understood the significance of the cancel. Now I know it pertained to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company SS Japan. Here is the vessel's history:

SS Japan (1867–1874): Launched on December 17, 1867 for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company she sailed from New York on April 11, 1868 for Panama, San Francisco and Yokohama. She arrived in San Francisco on July 3, 1868 and entered the San Francisco to Hong Kong service. She burned at sea on 18 December 1874 between Hong Kong and Yokohama.


Posted Jan 12, 20 12:34 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

China (fake?)

Ray - the marking looks like a replica (fake I would think) of the marking shown on page below from the China & Japan book. I have only seen those cancels struck on revenue stamps in blue ink. I always wondered why I have never seen on original document.

I would not be surprised, given the popularity of the revenue stamps with PMSS steamer name cancels, that someone has taken to making fake cancels to use on revenues.

It would be most unusual for a postage due stamp to have both a blue crayon plus a handstamp cancel. Only thing it has going for it at all is that  the the presumed faker chose a likely denomination.


Posted Jan 12, 20 12:09 by Ray Porter (rporter314)

Fake or not fake?

I have read Siegel's intro to US PO's in China and Richard's Fisher catalog on China and did not find abything closely resembling this cancel. The crayon precancel looks suspicious as it suggest the "China" cancel could have been used in US or China, or the "China" cancel is fake.

Anyone seen this before?


Posted Jan 12, 20 9:35 by A. Lavar Taylor (lavart1)

Forwarded Mail

I’m nowhere near my philatelic library, but my recollection is that the UPU rules required the forwarding of first class mail without charge, possibly from the very beginning of the UPU. Exceptions to free forwarding included third class mail, even when forwarded within the country to which it was addressed, and mail sent pursuant to a treaty rate (such as US to Germany and US to GB when those treaty rates applied) if the letter was forwarded to any another country.

What I find interesting is that collector demand for UPU era covers sent around the world from country to country, unnecessarily franked with postage from each of those countries, is often significantly higher than demand for forwarded covers where additional forwarding postage was mandatory.

Posted Jan 12, 20 6:48 by Ravi Vora (nusivar)

1941 India to USA forwarded with 1 1/2c Prexy Stamp

Good Morning Ken: Many thanks for confirming my understanding.

However, during earlier period, USPO did require forwarding postage on first class mail as shown in this example.


Posted Jan 12, 20 4:00 by Stephen T. Taylor (UK) (stevetayloruk)

Letraset (Esselte)


Previous owners of SG are here:

Small world: Esselte (HQ'ed in Sweden) was one of my clients when I worked for Citibank International.


Posted Jan 11, 20 20:51 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Yes, third-class mail could not be forwarded free. The single rate for printed matter was 1½¢.

Posted Jan 11, 20 17:47 by Ravi Vora (nusivar)

1941 India to USA forwarded with 1 1/2c Prexy Stamp

I am sharing this missionary cover sent from an American Missionary in Meerut India to Keeseville, NY which was forwarded to Burlington Vt with 1 1/2c Prexy stamp. While the sender did not mark it so, the Indian postage of 9pies indicates it may be a Printed Matter or Book Post Mail. Can board members confirm the forwarding postage of 1 1/2c was for printed matter mail? Many thanks. Ravi


Posted Jan 11, 20 15:18 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


Scott -- How did Letraset get into the story. News to me.

Posted Jan 11, 20 15:17 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Siegel non sale

Scott -- thanks for the info. I was told that there was a party to celebrate the sale and that Bob bowed out at the last moment.

The purchase of the Haas collection probably counts as a folly.

My impression was that, by the time you got into the picture, Siegel's was functionally hollow and that, after your arrival, it was up to speed within a few months.

Posted Jan 11, 20 11:23 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Siegel Sale

In case Bernard B's characteristically vague reference to the Siegel firm is misinterpreted (in a post about "Scams and Follies"), I believe he is referring to the circa 1980 aborted acquisition of Siegel Auction Galleries by Stanley Gibbons/Letraset for approximately $6m.

There was no scam or folly. The deal fell through when SG's new North American chairman, Donall Healy, decided against it. My first job in the business was working at SG New York (where Mr. Healy had his office), and he told me (at age 18) that he made a decision late in the acquisition process, because he was concerned about the valuation in a heated collectibles market. That's as close to the horse's mouth as it is likely to get.

This was shortly after SG London (Howard Fraser) bought the Haas U.S. Postal History collection for around $11m.

They should've passed on Haas and bought Siegel.

Posted Jan 10, 20 19:19 by Charles Hanselmann (southern*patriot)

Whale of a fake

Thanks Richard! C

Posted Jan 10, 20 18:30 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Whale of a fake

Modern fake

Posted Jan 10, 20 18:29 by Charles Hanselmann (southern*patriot)


The real deal or fake handstamp? Any thoughts welcomed! Thanks! C

On ebay now HERE 


Posted Jan 10, 20 18:18 by Leonard Hartmann (hartmann)

Fakers and Frauds

Dr. Paul Singer the Shananaham episode
book in stock 187 pages, cloth $59 + $3 pp to a US address
see our web site for details,

I have my Winter forgery 3 frame exhibit on the computer but i
sold the collection and the availability is up to the new owner but assume
he would say OK

see the 2018 APC book on a good detailed artilce relating by Frank Crown


Posted Jan 10, 20 16:43 by Brian Buru (brianb)

April First Program for Club

1. Paul Singer, proprietor of Shanahan Stamp Auctions in Ireland, (by far!) who operated a pyramid scheme in which 9,000 investors lost an estimated $10 million.

2. James A. Petrie, and his confederate postmaster provisional "finds".

3. Any forger you can think of.

4. Peter Winter, from Germany.

5. George H. Grinnell, Hawaiian Missionaries.

Posted Jan 10, 20 16:32 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Replica Source Material

Same except some used or unused instead of what was on original sheet, these are each signed Sperati instead of "Copie" and the approval sheet does not have Yvert catalog values.

The episode increased Sperati's notoriety and he sold several duplicates of the "famous" sheet shown in previous post.


Posted Jan 10, 20 16:29 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Source Material

This page is rather interesting I think

Add-on: From my favorite acquisition of 2019 - the Carl Walske collection of Sperati material.


Posted Jan 10, 20 14:27 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Scams and follies

You could talk to Arnold Selengut (dealer/collector). He has the story of John Fox's decline into fakery -- or at least a big chunk of it. Another good one is the big investment scheme (I believe Greg Manning is knowledgeable about that one) that afflicted the hobby around the turn of the century. Or the insider at the Pfoundation who was certifying sliders during an earlier investment craze (late 70s). Not a scam, but the story of Siegel's almost sale of his house at an excellent moment and then not.

Posted Jan 10, 20 14:03 by Douglas Chapman (foodrev)

April First Program for Club

I opened my mouth at our local stamp club's January meeting and said I would provide a program for the April 1, 2020, meeting on "Scams and Jokes in Philately".

If anyone has any good source material, I'd sure appreciate it.

And that's no joke.

Posted Jan 8, 20 15:24 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Digitized National Archive

I have not checked whether this is in Richard's excellent list of digitized sources:

Posted Jan 8, 20 14:49 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

William R. Libby

Born 1857. 1880 -- lived at Kirkland in Oneida County.

Posted Jan 8, 20 3:39 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

No reason they should. These devices were not standard issues. Postmasters (and clerks) of small offices were not issued markers by the POD. They had a choice of postmarking letters in manuscript or buying (with their own money) markers from private merchants, several of whom advertised their products in the guides and manuals that post offices received. Nothing prevented an outgoing postmaster or clerk from leaving such a marker behind for his successors to use. The fact that it might have been a vanity device which included his name or initials made no difference.

Posted Jan 7, 20 20:49 by Brian Buru (brianb)

Clinton NY postmaster.

Do B.F.L. cancels actually exist?

Posted Jan 7, 20 17:39 by David Benson (dbenson)




mystery ( or some of it ) solved.

The answer to where it was written will never be known,

The ship left Sydney on the 19th. to Tonga & Apia.

David B.

Posted Jan 7, 20 17:23 by Brian Buru (brianb)


David, I just checked shipping arrivals in the Sydney Morning Herald. The Lübeck arrived there on February 17, 1887. It is mis-spelled Lubeck.


Posted Jan 7, 20 17:16 by David Benson (dbenson)



do you have any records of the SS Lubeck being in Sydney on that date,

David Benson

Posted Jan 7, 20 16:58 by Brian Buru (brianb)


David, the reason for the matching dates, is that it was the practice of the Lübeck to strike the postmarks upon arrival in Sydney. From there, ships of the NDL Australian Main Line would take over the delivery back home, mostly to Germany.

Which way did the SS Chemnitz go? If she was destined north, possibly to New Britain, then it is likely that she carried this cover. Otherwise, it would have been transported by local rail and coaster to Cooktown, and forwarded from there.

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