Author Archives: Alejandra Xavier

Tips for Preparing Philatelic Exhibits

Collecting stamps is exciting but getting out there and displaying your collection for all to see in an exhibit could be an equally rewarding exercise. First, you must choose what category you would like to enter, for example, Traditional, Thematic, or Postal Stationary to name a few. Once a category is chosen think about how to prepare the story of your stamps in an engaging way. It is also expected to show only Mint stamps or used stamps in a collection. Judging varies according to the particular exhibit but for a starting point to get you thinking about how to organize your preparation here are a few examples of how evaluation will be considered; Title Page, Plan, Arrangement, General Impression, Philatelic Knowledge, Rarity, and Condition. Thematic themes will include Originality of collection, Development and the extent of the theme will be also considered. To begin researching your story before the commencement of page preparation is important so you can see if there are gaps to fill in order to complete a comprehensive story thus showing off your philatelic knowledge. Include philatelic elements to contribute to your exhibit such as Essays, Proofs, or Postal Stationary is typical and adds to the story. Planning your page preparation is instrumental to enhance your presentation to its highest potential. When balancing your page keep the content symmetrical, this is pleasing to the eye. To help prepare, before you start mounting stamps, take pictures and insert them in a Microsoft word document, this way you can move the stamps around and play with ideas before you handle your stamps too much. When you are ready to mount your stamps and information one must consider how you will frame the entire exhibit as well as the individual content. There are many ways to present your frames, over time you will develop your own style. Exploring exhibits and seeing how the winners present their frames is a good place to start pulling inspiration for your own frames. Most of all have fun with the adventure and enjoy learning!

In the United States, a proper exhibit guidelines book can be purchased through the American Philatelic Society.

How The Good Hope Triangle Put A Stamp On Postage History

Triangle Stamps, the first of them made for the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa now more commonly known as Cape Town.  The year 1853, 61 years after the first Post Office in South Africa opened,  marked the first triangular stamps put into production and circulation, made by Messrs Perkins, Bacon & Co in London.  The triangular shape was useful for the post office as it helped quickly identify the origin of the package and moreover for those that were illiterate to sort efficiently. Along with the specific colours and image of the women used the Cape stamps represented a picture of the British Colony to the rest of the world. The triangular shape was used until 1864, after which square stamps were adopted.  Since its inception, most if not all other countries have incorporated a triangular stamp. Today triangular stamps from South Africa dating from 1853 and later can cost anywhere from $100 – $40,000.

Franking

Frank; from Latin francus meaning free,  so when we refer to franking in the postal sector it delivers the message that the mail is free of obligation to pay or in other words postage paid. The most commonly known type of Franking is the physical application of the Postage Stamp, however, franking also includes the form of printed or stamped impressions made in an authorised format. “Privilege” franking is used by government officials which is a signature that replaces a stamp or impression. In the United States, this is called congressional franking. Privilege franking was used before affixing physical stamps from the 1600’s but the privilege was being misused and anyone with a friend in government could potentially attain free mail. In 1884 a Norwegian obtained a British patent to stamp mail and help prevent postal fraud through the use of the counting device which was attached to it.  In the 1920’s when industry and commerce were growing rapidly, the franking machine made the counting, recording, and processing of mail much more efficient and less susceptible to fraud.  Although we are in the age of the internet some ways of the past are still preferred.

Postage Stamp Manufacturing

Once upon a time before the adhesive Penny Black was introduced, ink and hand-stamps, usually made from wood or cork, were used to frank the mail which confirmed proof of payment. Clearly, we see this is where the word stamp came from. Initially, stamps would be manufactured by the same companies that provided a country with currency, or by a country’s mint. Soon it was realized stamps actually required a different printing method than money as it was noticed that the pressure when pressing was different for each. Throughout the years of perfecting the printing of stamps, the outcome would also facilitate the modern development of the printing process. Also, the method of hand cutting stamps would change in England first in 1854 and perforation would be a new way. Even though technology has changed the production of stamps, to this day the method of “intaglio” meaning to engrave in Italian, which is etching into the master die by hand, is still used. This method is time-consuming but allows the most desired effect to show off details of the stamps art. Following intaglio are several exacting steps which are carefully inspected at every stage of the printing process. Primarily the inspector’s duty is to watch for errors and rectify them immediately. As the manufacturing processed has improved the stamp’s final result and most errors found are destroyed, some errors still do happen.

Universal Postal Union

This month we celebrate World Post Day on October 9th the anniversary of the formation of the Universal Postal Union established on the same day in 1874. On this day, in Bern Switzerland, the Treaty of Bern was signed by 22 countries to simplify the process of which mail was delivered from country to country. Before this treaty, each country would have to implement a specific treaty for each country they would mail to. The United Kingdom first echoed the need for simplified mailings in 1840 when they introduced standard postage prepayment within the UK. After global efforts to unify an international postal system the General Postal Union was developed by Heinrich von Stephan, General Post Director for the German Empire, later named the Universal Postal Union.  The official language of the world’s second oldest international organization is French, however, the working language is English and today there are 192 member countries of the UPU.