Project Gutenberg's Peeps at Postage Stamps, by Stanley Currie Johnson

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Title: Peeps at Postage Stamps

Author: Stanley Currie Johnson

Release Date: December 21, 2011 [EBook #38359]

Language: English

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Portraits of King George V Portraits of King George V





M.A., D.Sc., F.R.E.S.









5 Vols.

Heraldry; The Heavens; British
Army; Royal Navy, etc.

Published by A. & C. Black, Ltd.
4, 5 & 6 Soho Square, London, W.


64 & 66 Fifth Avenue, NEW YORK

205 Flinders Lane, MELBOURNE

St. Martin's House, 70 Bond Street, TORONTO

Macmillan Building, BOMBAY
309 Bow Bazaar Street, CALCUTTA
[Pg iii]


[Pg iv]


1. Portraits of King George V.Frontispiece
2. Overprinted Stamps8
3. Some Members of our Royal Family17
4. Postage Stamps having Special Uses24
5. Specimen Stamps27
6. Some Penny Stamps of Great Britain30
7. Portraits of Some European Monarchs41
8. Curious Stamps48
9. Stamps bearing National Emblems57
10. Noted Statesmen of the U.S.A.64
11. Some View Stamps73
12. Zoological Stamps80
13. Some Hapsburg Portraits83
14. Stamps From the Great War Zone85
15. Stamps coming from Countries which No Longer have Separate Issues88
16. Commemorative Stamps90

[Note.—The other volumes in the "Peeps" Series, with few exceptions, contain coloured illustrations; but, in order to conform with the regulations of the Inland Revenue authorities, the pictures in the present volume are necessarily printed in black.]

[Pg v]


[Pg 1]


Every boy and girl—and, we might add, man and woman—should collect stamps. Our reasons for making this statement are many.

First, stamp-collecting is a highly fascinating pursuit, which helps to while away countless pleasant hours. On this score alone it is worth following.

Secondly, it encourages methodical habits. We examine our stamps carefully, we discriminate between the good and the bad specimens, we keep a watch for minor varieties, we marshal our treasures in correct order, and so on.

Thirdly, a vast amount of geography is learnt by collecting. The stamps bring all sorts of out-of-the-way countries to our notice, whilst the postmarks make us conversant with various towns.

Fourthly, we get to know of hundreds of interesting facts concerning the currency and language used in every corner of the globe. The inscriptions on the specimens teach us these matters.

Fifthly, stamp-collecting assists us to gain a real knowledge of history. Ask any collector when Columbus discovered America? Who was Prince Henry the Navigator? Over what country did King Amadeus reign? What form of government is possessed by Paraguay? His answers will be far more intelligent than those given by a non-collector.

But the foregoing are not the only matters which our stamps teach us. What is the difference between an engraving and a lithograph, between cream-laid paper and wove paper, between magenta and cerise? These and a thousand other questions the stamp collector can answer correctly and without hesitation.

Surely a pastime which can help us to gain so much valuable knowledge is worth the attention of every boy and girl, as well as man and woman.

[Pg 2]



Adhesive.—A stamp which is kept in position by moistening the gummed under-surface. Most stamps are adhesives. Postcards, envelopes, and wrappers which have the stamp printed on them, are not adhesives.

Block.—A number of stamps not torn apart. A strip of stamps and a number of stamps forming an odd shape are, however, not considered as blocks.

Chalk-Surface.—A surface given to stamps by[Pg 3] means of a preparation of chalk, in order that obliterations may not be cleaned out.

Commemorative Stamps.—Stamps issued to remind people of bygone events.

Control Letters.—Letters on the margin paper of sheets of stamps, for official purposes of control.

Entire.—A postcard, wrapper, or envelope complete as it has passed or would pass through the post—i.e., not the stamp cut from it.

Error.—A stamp which contains some faulty workmanship, of whatever kind.

Facsimile.—See Forgery.

Forgery.—An unofficial stamp, one made in order to cheat. In cases where a real stamp is given an unauthorized overprint (which see), the stamp constitutes a forgery.

Hinges.—The papers gummed on one surface used for fixing stamps to the album.

Imperforate.—Stamps that are not provided with perforated margins to facilitate separation.

Label.—Another name for a stamp.

Local Stamps.—Stamps which are available for use in some town or special area. There are none in England at the present time. Russia and Morocco are probably the only areas where they still exist, though Switzerland, Turkey, Germany, China, and the United States recognized them until within recent years.

Mint.—A term applied to an unused stamp in perfect condition, including the gum on the back.[Pg 4]

Mounts.—See Hinges.

Obliteration.—Marks placed on a stamp by the authorities to denote that it has gone through the post.

Obsolete.—A stamp that is no longer issued by the postal authorities.

Official Stamps.—Those printed for use in Government offices—i.e., the obsolete Inland Revenue officials of Great Britain.

Overprint.—An inscription printed on the face of a stamp to alter in some way its original use.

Perforated.—A frame of small holes around a stamp made in order to facilitate separation from its neighbour.

Perforation, Compound.—Exists when the holes are not of the same size and distance apart around the four sides of a stamp.

Perforation Gauge.—An instrument for measuring the perforations of a stamp. Usual cost about 6d.

Philatelist.—Not merely a stamp collector, but one who "loves" (φιλος=a lover) his stamps.

Plate Numbers.—Usually spoken of in connection with the line-engraved stamps of Great Britain. They serve to indicate the plate from which any particular stamp was printed.

Provisionals.—Stamps which are intended for temporary use whilst a permanent issue is being prepared.

Remainders.—Genuine stamps left over after the particular issue has become obsolete. There is no objection to remainders as there is to reprints.

Reprints.—Stamps printed from dies after they have become obsolete. Many countries sell their obsolete dies, with the result that more or less inaccurate reprints are made from them. Reprints, for philatelic purposes, should be classed with forgeries.

Rouletted.—The presence of a frame of small slits around a stamp in order to facilitate separation from its neighbour.

Speculative Stamps.—Postage stamps issued by an unscrupulous Government for philatelic, rather than postal, purposes.

Strip of Stamps.—A row of stamps joined together (compare Block).

Surcharge.—An overprint placed on a stamp to alter its face value.

Variety.—A term to describe a stamp that differs from another in some slight way.

Watermark.—A thinning of the paper on which a stamp is printed so as to create a distinctive design.

[Pg 5]



Most philatelists drift into stamp-collecting—that is to say, the start is made unconsciously, and without any definite planning. Probably the first specimens are obtained through the generosity of a friend who possesses a few duplicates, or may be the letters coming regularly from a relative living in some remote part of[Pg 6] the world supply the earliest treasures. But however the beginning is made, progress will be slow unless friends are very generous or a little money is spent on buying sufficient specimens to make a fair start. In the ordinary course, the collector will be wise if he spends a few shillings on buying a packet of the commoner stamps which form the basis of all collections.

The packet should cost as much as the beginner can reasonably afford, and be composed of different stamps—that is to say, without containing any duplicates. If four or five shillings are to be invested, as many as four hundred varieties may be expected, whilst a thousand varieties will usually cost about half a guinea.

Armed with such a nucleus as this, the fascinations of the pastime begin to make themselves evident. Duplicates will quickly accumulate, and serve to form the basis of exchanges amongst friends. Approval sheets will invariably come to hand from dealers, and permit of additional specimens being secured at a very cheap rate; whilst attractive bargains will be obtained, from time to time, through the medium of advertisements in newspapers and magazines.

But the reader may argue that stamp-collecting is a costly pastime if every specimen must be bought. In practice it is anything but an expensive hobby. If the writer were to sell his collection, he would obtain about three or four times the amount he spent on forming it. The reason for this lies in the fact that stamps seldom lose their value, but frequently rise in price.[Pg 7]

When a hundred or more varieties have accumulated, an album should be procured. These may be obtained at all prices and in a bewildering variety of patterns. Too often the young philatelist provides himself with a voluminous album in which his tiny but growing collection appears as a drop of water in the ocean. It is far better to buy a small, cheap album which may serve as a temporary home until the treasures have grown sufficiently numerous to warrant a more expensive one.

Many collectors prefer to house their stamps in a scrap-book containing a number of fairly stout, smooth, blank leaves. In such a book as this we are free to arrange the stamps just as fancy dictates; we can place them close together or far apart, and we can reserve as many or as few pages as seems desirable for each individual country. The writer's collection is contained in two books of this description. Great Britain fills the first fifteen pages, and the Colonies follow in alphabetical order in the first volume. In the second volume the foreign countries are set out in the order in which their Governments first issued stamps—i.e., Brazil comes first, then the United States, then France, Belgium, Bavaria, Spain, etc. This is, of course, a somewhat unusual plan to follow, but it certainly has advantages.

Whilst speaking of albums, it will be well to point out that stamps should never be fixed to more than one side of a page. If both faces are used, the stamps will rub against each other and also catch one with another.

Before the specimens are placed in the album, each[Pg 8] should be carefully examined, and cleaned, if necessary. When paper is adhering to the backs, it should be removed. This unsticking process is easily performed when the specimen is immersed in a bowl of hot water, but, unfortunately, many stamps will be utterly ruined if even a trace of moisture is allowed to come in contact with their colours. No rule can be given as to which stamps spoil and which do not when treated with a hot bath, but it is safe to say that valuable specimens suffer considerably, whilst common varieties emerge from the ordeal unscathed. Perhaps this is just a matter of natural contrariness.

To be on the safe side, however, no stamp should be plunged into hot water. Cheap varieties may well be floated on the surface of warm water, but the rarer kinds must not be subjected to even this treatment; they should be placed face upwards on a sheet of wet blotting-paper, and left until the adhering paper can be peeled off without an effort. After the under-surface of a stamp has been cleaned, it should be pressed between two sheets of dry blotting-paper and carefully dried. If it seems liable to cockle or is creased in any way, it is a good plan to flatten it out by means of a warm, though not hot, iron, the stamp being protected by three or four thicknesses of white blotting-paper.

Fixing the stamps to the album is the next operation. On no account should the under-surface be gummed all over and the whole stamp stuck down to the page of the hook. The collection will need constant re[Pg 9]arranging, certain specimens will have to make way for more perfect copies, and so on; this will be quite impossible unless hinges are used. These contrivances are thin but tough pieces of paper, approximately one by three-quarters of an inch in size, and gummed on one surface. They cost about sixpence per thousand.

Overprinted Stamps Overprinted Stamps 1 Indian stamp used by Chinese Expeditionary Force 2 Great Britain: Army Official 3 India: On Her Majesty's Service 4 Indian stamp used in Patiala 5 North Borneo stamp used after institution of British Protectorate 6 Indian stamp of 1/2 anna converted to 1/4 anna 7 Great Britain: Inland Revenue 8 Bulgaria: Change of value 9 Bermuda 1s. value converted to 1/4 d. 10 Portugal stamp surcharged "Republic"

When a stamp is to be fixed to the album, a gummed strip is taken and folded so that the adhesive side is turned outwards; one flap is then moistened and stuck to the stamp and the other is moistened and stuck to the page. The specimen is thus hinged to the album in such a way that its underside can be inspected easily—a necessary matter when the watermark or the quality of the paper requires examination. The hinge should be fastened as high up on the back of the stamp as possible, but not so high that it touches the perforated edge.

One little point needs mention. On no account should cheap hinges be used or hinges made at home and fixed with ordinary gum. Unless the adhesive is entirely free from acid—and ordinary or cheap gum is not—the stamps will become discoloured and entirely ruined. The writer laments to this day a fine set of old Queenslands which he fixed, many years ago, by means of some cheap and nasty hinges. The stamps grow more and more discoloured as time wears on, but the exasperating thing is that good copies of these Australian treasures are now worth almost as many pounds as they were pence in the days when the offending gum was applied to their under-surface.[Pg 10]

Some method must be adopted for the arrangement of the stamps in the album. Beginners are apt to fix the specimens in no particular order, merely one after the other as they come into their possession; but this is clearly a wrong plan to follow. Either of the following methods is worth adopting:

1. Sort out the stamps of each country according to the prices printed on them, and then stick all the specimens of one value together, but in order of age.

2. Sort out the stamps of each country according to their issues; then arrange each set in the album, in ascending order of the values.

To follow either of these plans, we must know the date of issue of all our specimens. This, of course, requires a certain amount of knowledge, but information of such a kind comes with marvellous rapidity when once the collector's interest has become fully aroused. As a guide, however, a catalogue such as the one published by Messrs. Stanley Gibbons, Ltd., should be procured. The colour, pattern, watermark, approximate market value and date of issue of every postage stamp may then be learnt with certainty.

We must guard against cramping the specimens too closely together. In order that our collection may grow naturally, space must be left for additions which may reasonably be expected to fall into our possession. Every distinct issue should be started on a fresh line, and room must be allowed at the end of a country for future issues.[Pg 11]

As to the stamps which ought and which ought not to be admitted into the album, a great deal could be written. In the first case, it is well to rule out every specimen which is not perfect in every detail. Torn stamps are almost worthless—even though they may be copies of rarities—and on no account should a place be found for them in the collection. There is no need to throw them away or get rid of them; they might well be allotted a home in a minor album. Not only torn stamps, but copies which have lost two or three teeth of the perforated edge, copies which have been heavily postmarked, copies which are dirty or discoloured, and copies which have served for revenue and not for postal purposes—all these should be kept out of the collection.

Concerning the stamps which have been cut out of entires—that is to say, from postcards, letter-cards, wrappers, and impressed envelopes—a difference of opinion exists among experts. Some say that they ought not to be included, whilst others urge their inclusion. Without a doubt, these stamps are interesting; and as they serve for purely postal uses, there seems no reason why they should not be allowed a home in the collection. Perhaps the collector should be advised not to seek after specimens of this nature, but that is quite another thing to excluding them rigorously.

There are many kinds of stamps which do not serve for franking letters in the usual way, but as their func[Pg 12]tions are purely postal, a position in the album should be awarded them. Among such stamps as these may be mentioned the "Postage Due" issue which Great Britain put into use early in 1914. These labels serve the purpose of indicating and at the same time checking the fees which are levied on letters and parcels that have been insufficiently prepaid. It is interesting to note, that though our authorities have only issued stamps of this nature recently, foreign countries have used them for close on half a century. Such stamps from abroad may be recognized by the inscriptions which they bear—"A Percevoir," "A Payer," "Te Betalen," "Deficit," "Segnatasse," "Too Late," etc.

Another kind of stamp which should be accepted is the "Parcels Post" label. Though we at home have no special labels for this particular service, many Continental countries use them, notably Belgium and the United States. Then there are the "Express Delivery" stamps of the United States, Canada, Italy, etc. The purpose of these labels is sufficiently explained by the wording on the United States stamp: "Secures Immediate Delivery at any Post Office." A fourth stamp of special usage is the newspaper stamp. Though many of our home railways employ these labels, there are no Governmental varieties. Abroad, however, we find a number of countries use them—the newspaper stamps of Hungary and Spain being fairly common.

There is one kind of postage stamp, however, that should not be extended a welcome in the usual way[Pg 13]—we have in mind the specimens known as "local" stamps. These special labels—they are mostly obsolete—came chiefly from Germany, Russia, Switzerland, and China, and were used by private companies which possessed certain postal privileges. As a rule the operations of these bodies were carried out in small areas (hence "local" stamps), usually in out-of-the-way districts where the ordinary postal arrangements did not penetrate. Genuine obliterated stamps of this class possess a certain amount of interest, and in some cases command high prices; but as there were so many varieties, and as it is difficult to discriminate between the genuine and the fictitious, collectors are well advised to leave them all alone. Undoubtedly a number of the carrying companies went on printing and selling their stamps to collectors long after the postal rights were taken from them. This fact alone should make the cautious philatelist hesitate before purchasing specimens known as "locals."

More dangerous than the "locals" are the commemorative stamps which certain impecunious Governments issue with the idea of attracting philatelists.[1] These stamps invariably bear exquisite designs, and are usually current for a limited period. Their appearance is heralded with much beating of drums, and the idea is carefully spread abroad that only the earliest purchasers will be able to secure copies. As a rule these labels are[Pg 14] printed in millions, and are often sold to large buyers under face value. The proceeds go towards making the country solvent, or in providing for palatial postal headquarters. Of course, such stamps can hardly be considered postage stamps, as the number used for postal service is but a minute fraction of the whole issue. It is on these grounds that the wise collector should refuse to treasure up labels, the main purpose of which is to amass money for an unscrupulous Government.

[1] Some commemorative stamps are, of course, issued in a purely legitimate way, and must not be confused with the above.

The objection to commemorative, or perhaps it would be better to say speculative, stamps disappears in cases where the specimens have been through the post. Such labels have franked letters or parcels, and have thus fulfilled the conditions which we demand of genuine used stamps. Unfortunately, this fact has been noted by at least one Government, and in order that its gaudy labels should not be shunned by the collector, it has had some thousands of unused copies specially cancelled in the hope that the obliterations will serve to make them more acceptable. Undoubtedly some of the stamps marked in this way are very attractive; but, of course, they are not postage stamps in any sense, and can thus make no appeal to the philatelist.

A third group of undesirable stamps comes from South America. About thirty years ago a Mr. Seebeck, of New York, entered into an agreement with Ecuador, Honduras, Salvador, and Nicaragua, to supply each of these republics with new stamp-dies once a year on[Pg 15] condition that the old dies should be handed to him as they fell out of use. As soon as a set of dies became superseded, he printed from the plates and flooded the market with unused copies. The Seebeck issues, needless to say, are of little interest.

Seebeck is not the only man who has printed from discarded dies; there are, in fact, many types of stamps on the market which have been produced from obsolete plates. Such stamps are known as "reprints," and are worthless except as curiosities. Perhaps the best-known reprints are those bearing the inscription "Heligoland"; but as these labels emanate from the Government printing works at Berlin, and have never been to this little island, it is clear that they have served no genuine postal purpose.

Reprints are difficult to distinguish from the original stamps, but as a rule slight differences in colour prove sufficient clues to their identity. Often the correct kind of paper and watermark are unobtainable by those who print them, and then the merest novice may detect their origin with the aid of a catalogue.

There are so many undesirable stamps to be found on the market in an unused condition that the beginner may feel that the safest plan will be to confine his attentions to obliterated varieties alone. There is much reason in such an argument, but it is not altogether a wise course to follow. Unused specimens, as long as they are issued for genuine postal purposes by reputable countries, are more sought after than those which have[Pg 16] been obliterated, and their value is more likely to rise in the future.

One matter which often puzzles the novice is how to decide whether two particular stamps are similar or different. If there is the slightest variation in—(a) Design; (b) method employed of printing; (c) colour; (d) method employed for separating the individual stamps; (e) texture of paper; (f) watermark—then the two stamps may be looked upon as being different, and both should be placed in the album. Certain stamps bear designs on their reverse side—i.e., the horn on early issues of Sweden. Copies both with and without the design should be added to the collection. The addition of advertising matter on the reverse side (see New Zealand issues), however, does not constitute a difference. In the case of recent Belgian stamps which bear the inscription, "Not to be delivered on Sunday," in both French and Flemish, specimens with and without the label should not both be given a home in the collection. Lastly, it may be well to point out that stamps, on paper of various textures, which have been cut from entires, should not be considered as individual varieties, seeing that most Governments are prepared to impress any letters, cards, etc., that may be supplied to them, and varieties of such stamps must be, on this account, unlimited.

When the collector has amassed a number of good duplicates, it will be a wise plan for him to join one of the many exchange clubs. In this way he will be[Pg 17] able to turn his surplus stamps into specimens for the collection. The working of these organizations is simple. Each member sends a sheet of his own stamps, with prices marked on them, to the secretary of the club, who places them all in a portfolio which is forwarded to each member in turn. When a member receives the portfolio, he selects specimens at will from any of the sheets, but he generally endeavours to balance his own takings with the takings of all the members from his sheet.

Some Members of our Royal Family Some Members of our Royal Family 1 Prince Albert in 1851 2 Queen Victoria 3 Queen Alexandra 4 Edward VII 5 George V 6 Queen Mary 7 Prince of Wales

Another and perhaps better way of enriching one's collection is open to the philatelist who is able to obtain quantities of the medium class British and Colonial stamps. Briefly, the method is to insert an advertisement in a journal, which enjoys an overseas circulation, to the effect that for every hundred stamps sent of the reader's country, a hundred or more well-mixed British and Colonials will be despatched by the advertiser in return. The writer used to make it a practice of inserting some such notice as this two or three times every season, and the plan invariably brought in many valuable additions to his collection. Suitable mediums are the Overseas Daily Mail, the Boy's Own Paper (in the Boy's Own Column), The Philatelic Journal of America, and L'Écho de la Timbrologie.

Before closing this chapter, it may be well to give some hints on how to value one's collection. Possessed of a stamp catalogue, the philatelist can easily jot down the price of every stamp in his album, and so arrive at the total catalogue value. But this figure will be much above the price a dealer would give for the treasures. The catalogue value of a stamp is the selling price. What we want to know is the buying price—a very different matter.

To get an approximate idea of the value which a collection would realize, we should calculate as follows:

1. Nothing for all stamps catalogued at 1d. or 2d.

2. One penny each for stamps marked 3d. or 4d. each.

3. Three-halfpence to twopence each for stamps marked 5d. to 8d.

4. Quarter catalogue value for stamps quoted between 9d. and 4s.

5. Half catalogue value for other stamps, except for rarities, which often command full catalogue figures.

None but first-class specimens, and, in the case of used stamps, only those which have served postally, should be taken into consideration.

[Pg 18]



As a rule it takes but a few months for the young collector to discover that he much prefers the stamps of one particular country, or group of countries, to any of the others figuring in his album. When such a preference manifests itself, it is a good plan to specialize[Pg 19] in the favoured country or group. By this we do not mean to say that the general collection should be discontinued, or even neglected, but merely that special attention be given to the stamps which have made the greater appeal to the philatelist.

Some countries are better suited to specializing than others. Undoubtedly Great Britain holds the premier position. Not only does it stand first from patriotic motives, but the plate numbers and plate letters which the earlier issues bore, the control letters which later issues bear, and the colour varieties known to exist amongst certain of the current values, all help to make it a country full of interest.

Among the Colonies there is much scope for the specialist, notably in Queensland, South Australia, India—if the Native States be excepted—Canada, including the specimens issued by the various provinces prior to 1864, and the Transvaal.

In other parts of the world we may single out the United States, Portugal, the Argentine Republic, the Spanish Colonies, together with the subsequent occupation of certain of them by the United States, and the French Colonies. Of the latter only used specimens should be collected, as unused copies of any of the Dependencies may be bought at face value in Paris—a matter which largely robs the labels of their interest.

But the specialist need not necessarily confine himself to a country, or even a group of countries. In this connection the following divisions may be suggested:[Pg 20]

1. Stamps issued owing to wars.

2. Edwardian stamps.

3. Parcels post stamps.

4. Commemorative stamps, as long as they are not issued for speculative purposes.

5. The line-engraved stamps of Great Britain (see following chapter).

Just as certain countries or groups present exceptional chances for specializing, so others offer but poor opportunities. In cases where the issues are few, or where the stamps are high priced, the path of the specialist is beset with difficulties, and should not be followed.

The first need of the collector who intends to pay particular attention to an individual group of stamps is a blank album containing about two dozen pages. Into this volume should be gathered the specimens bearing on the chosen section as they are obtained. Less formality and regularity will be called for when placing the stamps in this book than was demanded in the general collection; in other words, the stamps need not be ranged so precisely according to age and value. Whatever method is adopted should be used rather for contrasting and comparing minor details than for showing complete issues. In the stamps of Great Britain, for instance, we should not place, say, the Edwardian issue in two or three methodical rows, the halfpenny first, followed by the penny, then the three-halfpenny, and so on, up to the one pound. We should group[Pg 21] together the varieties of, say, the threepenny, which include such shades as purple on yellow, purple on lemon, deep purple on lemon, dull purple on yellow, and which are found perforated 14, also 15 by 14. When placed side by side, these various shades and perforations will show up clearly; but if scattered over two or three pages of the album, their meaning will be lost entirely.

It is clear that the specialist must know a good deal more about his stamps than was demanded of the general collector. In the first place, he must be able to distinguish one form of printing from another. For his benefit it may be well to mention that the chief processes employed in printing stamps are (1) Typography, (2) Lithography, and (3) Engraving.

Typography, or surface-printing, is the process employed in the production of our current British stamps. A die is cut with the design standing out in relief—i.e., the portions which are to receive the ink are raised. From this die a number of identical moulds are taken and ranged side by side. They are then clamped together and placed in an electro bath which deposits a layer of copper upon the moulds. When the coating is deemed sufficiently thick, the electrical action is arrested, the moulds are removed, and the copper plate reveals a number of replicas of the original die.

Lithography is a process which results from etching on stone. A piece of stone possessing a flat surface is taken, and the design drawn in ink upon it either by[Pg 22] hand or some mechanical means. The surface of the stone is then flooded with a weak acid, which eats away the unprotected parts, but leaves untouched the parts covered by the greasy lithograph ink. The stone is then sponged with water, and printer's ink, also greasy, applied. This latter adheres only to the lines made by the lithographic process, with the result that impressions of the design may be transferred to paper. Lithography, it should be added, is only suitable in cases where comparatively few copies are needed, or where a temporary issue must be printed expeditiously. It is a process which demands but little capital outlay, a fact which has made it a favourite means of stamp-producing among the poorer republics of South America. With forgers, too, it has gained favour in their work of imitating genuine stamps.

Engraving, known variously under the name of copper-plate printing, engraving in taille-douce, and line-engraving, produces the finest stamps figuring in our collections. The process is worked much on the lines detailed for typography, but the main difference is that in the latter the design is printed by the raised parts of the block, whilst in the former the recessed parts produce the lines which form the design.

In addition to the above, the following occasional methods of producing stamps may be registered:

1. By the use of ordinary printer's type. (Examples may be found among the earliest issues, as in the case of the first stamps of British Guiana.)[Pg 23]

2. By photographic means. (Example—the Mafeking stamps bearing the head of Baden-Powell.)

3. By means of rubber hand-stamps. (Example—first issue of New Republic, South Africa.)

4. Embossing. (Example—the current British stamped penny and halfpenny envelopes.)

After the various styles of printing have been recognized, the specialist must study the papers used in stamp-production. The chief varieties are—

1. Wove.—This paper possesses no patterns of any kind, but under the microscope appears to have a number of porous marks. It is used for the current British stamps.

2. Granite.—A variety of wove, used fairly frequently. It may be distinguished by the short, tiny, coloured hairs which are impressed upon the paper.

3. Laid.—This paper possesses a number of parallel ribs, which can only be seen when the stamp is held up to the light.

4. Quadrilled.—A paper bearing vertical and horizontal watermark lines of a somewhat obvious character.

The various methods used for separating stamps is the next matter for study. In the earliest times postmasters used ordinary scissors for detaching one stamp from another. The specimens so treated are styled "imperforate." The use of scissors was clearly an awkward way of performing what is now a simple matter, and it is well known that from the outset the need for a more expeditious method was felt. As a[Pg 24] consequence many people gave the question of stamp-separating their attention, with the result that, eight years after the advent of the first postage adhesive, Henry Archer patented the rouletting machine, which cut slits along the margins of the stamps. The slits served the same purpose as the perforation holes in the stamps of to-day, but the drawback to this pioneer method was that in pulling one copy from another the labels were likely to become torn. Between 1848 and 1854 Archer tried many systems for separating stamps, and, in the latter year, perfected a machine for perforating instead of rouletting the margins of adhesives.

Most stamps are now described as "perf. 13, 14, or 15," which means that within the space of 2 centimetres a specimen contains 13, 14, or 15 holes. A stamp catalogued as "perf. 15 X 14"—e.g., British fourpenny bright orange, Edward issue—has fifteen holes per 2 centimetres along the top and bottom edges, and fourteen holes along either side. As a difference of perforation often makes a considerable difference in the market value of a stamp, every philatelist should possess a gauge for measuring the holes; these are obtainable from dealers at a cost of sixpence each.

We said at the commencement of this chapter that Great Britain offered the greatest opportunities to the specialist. Let us now see how the stamps of our own country should be treated in a specialized collection. First of all, it should be the aim of the philatelist to procure not merely one specimen of any particular[Pg 25] label, but specimens in pairs and in blocks of four or more. Individual copies of the early penny black are worth about two shillings, but four copies in one block would fetch as much as ten to twelve shillings; also a fine copy on a postal wrapper would be much more valuable than a loose specimen. The moral, therefore, is clear: we should never separate costly stamps nor tear them from their envelopes. Young collectors seem to dislike the plan of admitting entire envelopes to their albums, but this is a prejudice which should be overcome.

Postage Stamps having Special Uses Postage Stamps having Special Uses 1 Canada: Registered Letter Fee Stamp 2 Belgium: Parcels Post Stamp 3 U.S.A.: Parcels Post Stamp 4 Italy: Unpaid Tax Stamp 5 India: Telegraph stamp 6 Germany: Official stamp 7 Austria: Stamp for franking newspapers 8 Sweden: Official stamp 9 Spain: War-tax stamp levied on letters

An ideal first page for a special collection of British stamps would show a whole wrapper bearing a nice copy of the penny black, then the individual stamp in pairs or blocks, followed by a somewhat similar arrangement affecting the sister stamp—the twopenny blue.

The page should not be crowded with specimens, but much space ought to be given up to explanatory written matter. At the head of the page, for instance, the following might be neatly printed: "Line-Engraved Stamps. Issued May 1st, 1840." Elsewhere room might be found for the statement that the adhesives given on the page were engraved by Mr. Frederick Heath, and printed by the famous firm of Perkins, Bacon and Co.; whilst below each stamp the particular watermark, paper, and method of separation should be mentioned. Nor should the notes end here; any little piece of postal information which may be discovered should be added to swell the interest of[Pg 26] the collection. As an example of such matter, we may quote the following recipe for making red obliterating ink, which was sent to every postmaster in the kingdom when the penny black was first issued:

Take 1 lb. printer's red ink,
1 pint linseed oil,
1/2 pint of the droppings of sweet oil,
And well mix.

Another early stamp which will well repay attention is the perforated penny red with control letters in the four corners. This specimen bears various plate numbers, from 71 to 225 (Nos. 75, 77,[2] 126, 128 excepted). The collector will do well to seek out a copy of each number and arrange them in numerical order on three or four pages of the album. The distinctive numbers are to be found on either side of the head, hidden among the filigree lines. No. 225, it may be said, is somewhat difficult to obtain, but all the others are fairly common.

[2] Plate No. 77 is supposed to have been rejected as unfit for use. An unused copy, however, figures in the Tapling Collection in the British Museum.

"Plate reconstructing" is another favourite work of the specialist. Let us first explain that many of the early British stamps contained various letters in the four corners. In a sheet of 240 stamps, the specimens found in the first row were all lettered A, in the lower left-hand corner, those in the second row B, in the third row C, and so on throughout the twenty rows. In the right-hand lower corner the first stamp of every row was lettered A, the second B, and so on until the twelfth stamp bore the letter L. The following diagram will make the arrangement quite clear:

Row 1. AA, AB, AC, AD, AE, AF, ... AL.
"  2. BA, BB, BC, BD, BE, BF, ... BL.
"  3. CA, CB, CC, CD, CE, CF, ... CL.
"  4. DA, DB, DC, DD, DE, DF, ... DL.
"  5. EA, EB, EC, ED, EE, EF, ... EL.
.      .      .      .      .
" 20. TA, TB, TC, TD, TE, TF, ... TL.

Specimen Stamps Specimen Stamps 1  Imperforated stamp 2  A perforated stamp 3  A rouletted stamp 4  A line-engraved stamp 5  A lithographed stamp 6  A surface-printed stamp 7  An embossed stamp 8 } 9 } Three of the best known rarities 10 }

The work of plate reconstructing consists in obtaining one stamp of each of the combinations of letters, placing them in their correct positions as given above, and so remaking a whole sheet of stamps.

Such is the way in which a specialist's collection should be managed. Our remarks have been directed more particularly to the stamps of Great Britain, but the suggestions apply equally well to any country which the philatelist may select for particular study.

[Pg 27]



So far these talks have dealt almost entirely with ways and means of stamp-collecting, but now our attention must be centred on the stamps themselves. We naturally turn to the issues of Great Britain, the first specimen to be considered being the "penny black," bearing a portrait in profile of Victoria the[Pg 28] Good. Not only was this stamp the first to be issued within our kingdom, but it was also the pioneer stamp, of the whole world. It is thus one of the most interesting labels which can figure among the treasures of any collection.

To Sir Rowland Hill, the promoter of the penny postage and other postal reforms, belongs the credit of first suggesting that the postage on a letter should be prepared by means of an adhesive label. Not only may he be called the inventor of postage stamps, but he also sketched in rough the design which was used for the first stamp. To him, also, was entrusted the work of arranging for the issue of this novel label.

On August 17, 1839, Parliament sanctioned the use of adhesive stamps, and immediately afterwards the Lords of the Treasury asked the public to suggest suitable designs. Nearly 3,000 drawings were submitted, but none were considered satisfactory. It was then that Hill made the rough sketch mentioned above.

Many were the difficulties which Hill had to overcome, but probably the most perplexing was how to get the stamps printed. We must remember that in those early days colour-printing was a slow and tedious process, and there were very few firms who could be entrusted with the work. After much consideration, Sir Rowland went to a Fleet Street house of printers named Perkins, Bacon and Co., and asked them whether they could undertake the task of producing the proposed[Pg 29] adhesive stamps. Their reply is sufficiently interesting to be given in full.

         "69, Fleet Street,
                           "December 3, 1839.


"We have given the subject you mentioned yesterday afternoon all the attention the time would allow, and beg to say as the result that we would engrave steel dies of the size you gave us, containing work of any conceivable value as to cost and quality, transfer them to any number of plates that could possibly be wanted, and print them in any numbers per day, at a charge of eightpence per thousand stamps, exclusive of paper, which, we understand, would be supplied us; and, assuming that the numbers wanted would be very large, we have only named a fair price for the printing, and have considered the plates and dies, which ought to be very costly in the first instance, as given in without charge. You are probably aware that, having prepared the original die, we could insure perfect 'facsimiles' of it for a century.

"Our charge would not exceed what we have named above, nor be less than sixpence per thousand; but what relative position it would take between these two extremes would depend upon the exact size of the stamp, and the number which the paper would allow us to put upon one plate.

"We could prepare everything so as to commence printing in a month. Our present belief is that we could print 41,600 labels per day, or double that number in a day and night, from each press employed upon the work.

         "We are, sir, very respectfully,
                  "Your humble servants,
                           "Perkins, Bacon, and Petch."
[Pg 30]

The Perkins' firm was entrusted with the printing; instructions were also given them to elaborate the rough sketch made by Hill. They called upon a then noted engraver, Frederick Heath, to complete the design which has since become world-famous. He engraved the head and the lettering, but the beautiful curves forming the background of the stamp were "engine-turned" by means of a Rose engine, a contrivance consisting of a series of moving wheels which produced curved lines in geometric pattern.

The stamp proved a great success, thanks to the energies of Hill and the assistance of the printers; but it had one great fault—it was printed with a fast ink, which enabled dishonest people to wash out the obliterations and use the cleaned copies a second time. As a result, the black specimens were superseded in less than nine months by red ones printed with a fugitive ink. The short life of the first stamp has, of course, much to do with its present high price.

The dies used for the black impressions were employed for the red pennies, so that the two stamps are identical in all respects but colour. Gradually, as years passed along, slight changes were introduced. First, the small check letters in the lower angles were substituted by large letters, then perforated edges were provided, whilst in 1854 the whole of the dies were re-engraved. Stamps printed from the old and the new plates may be distinguished fairly easily. In die I. the nose is straight, there is little shading around the[Pg 31] eye, and the lobe of the ear terminates with an upward curl. In die II the nose is slightly rounded, the eye is surrounded by much shading, and the lobe of the ear finishes without any upward curl.

Some Penny Stamps of Great Britain Some Penny Stamps of Great Britain 1 1841 issue 2 1854 issue 3 1858 issue 4 1880 issue 5 1881 issue 6 1902 issue 7 1911 issue 8 1912 issue 9 1912 issue 10 Envelope stamp 11 Letter-card stamp 12 Envelope stamp

The black and red penny stamps were line engraved (cf. previous chapter). The only other stamps printed in this style were the twopenny blue, issued concurrently with the penny black; the halfpenny rose; and the three-halfpenny red rose, both issued on October 1, 1870.

It seems somewhat remarkable, in these days when we have thirteen different stamps of values lower than a shilling, that in the early years the country was able to carry on its postal arrangements with but a penny and a twopenny stamp. That there was need for specimens of higher value seems certain, as the inland registration fee was a shilling, and the postal rates abroad were surprisingly high. In 1847 the letter rate for the United States was lowered to a shilling, and for France to tenpence; consequently, the time seemed appropriate for introducing three new stamps—a shilling, a tenpenny, and a sixpenny.

Though the line-engraved stamps had proved extremely satisfactory, there were certain high officials who claimed that these labels were by no means proof against dishonest practices. It was partly to please these dissentients that the three new values bore the familiar head of Queen Victoria in cameo relief. The innovation was almost if not a complete bar to forgery,[Pg 33] also to the removal of obliterations by people of questionable character; but it made printing a slow and expensive process. Hitherto a sheet of stamps had been printed by one movement of the machine, but every embossed stamp needed a separate pressing. There were twenty-four stamps of these three new values on a sheet, which meant that instead of one action completing the sheet, twenty-four actions were required.

Some of these old stamps are to be found with the impression of another partly overlapping; this is due to the fact that the machines were fed by hand, and unless the workman placed the paper in exact position one stamp was bound to fall partly on to its neighbour.

One curious feature of the tenpenny and shilling stamps must be mentioned. Into the paper on which these adhesives were printed was introduced a number of silk threads in such a way that each stamp bore two portions of the thread. The silken lines ran either horizontally or vertically across each specimen, and made counterfeiting an almost impossible task. The sixpenny value was provided with a watermark as a safeguard.

The cameo stamps gained but little popularity, and were current less than ten years. Of the sixpenny specimen, we know that 6,659,920 copies were printed, and of them, 2,941,640 were destroyed after their withdrawal, probably about as many copies as are sold of our current penny stamps on an ordinary weekday.

On July 31, 1855, a fourpenny stamp was introduced.[Pg 34] It was produced neither by the line-engraved process nor by the embossing method. A system of typography, or surface-printing (see p. 21), had long been used on the Continent, and it was this process which was employed for the printing of the new fourpenny value. Messrs. De La Rue and Co. were entrusted with the work.

The fourpenny surface-printed stamp proved very successful, and was followed by other values—the shilling green, the threepenny rose, the sixpenny lilac, and the ninepenny straw colour. Many of these early stamps bore minor distinguishing marks, and consequently command high prices. A very dark shade of the shilling green is worth £65 in an unused condition, the threepenny rose, with a white dot on either side of the word "Postage," has changed hands for £40, whilst the ninepenny straw colour, with a fine white line drawn across the exterior angles of the square spaces for the corner letters, is catalogued as high as £30. Specimens of these values should be carefully examined to see if they happen to be the rare kinds.

The surface-printed stamps issued between 1862 and 1881 bore angular check letters as well as plate numbers, and therefore prove of exceptional interest to those of us who wish to specialize in the stamps of our own Kingdom. Unused copies should be carefully preserved with the original gum on the backs, as their prices advance with every season. The used copies, also, prove a good investment.[Pg 35]

In 1881 (July 12) the well-known penny lilac, with a large head of Victoria, was issued, and continued in use until the accession of King Edward. The stamps sold during the first five months had fourteen white dots in each corner, but afterwards the number, for some unaccountable reason, was increased to sixteen. The early variety, needless to say, commands a much greater price than the later one. The two stamps are easily confused, but a careful examination of our copies will soon tell us whether each used specimen is worth a fraction of a farthing or a sixpenny piece. Some time after the accession of King Edward the writer went into a post office and bought two dozen penny stamps. The clerk who served him half apologized for still selling the old specimens bearing the Queen's head. On reaching home, however, the adhesives were carefully examined, and found to be the rare "fourteen dot" variety, worth, unused, about four shillings apiece. It is hardly necessary to add that the block, intact, has found a home in the writer's collection.

The next stamps to attract attention are those of King Edward. At first sight there appears to be one variety of each value, with the exception of the halfpenny and the fourpenny, which are both found in two obvious varieties. On closer examination, however, the Edwardian stamps will be found to possess many minor but interesting differences. In the first case, most of the values were printed in turn by the firm of De La Rue, by Harrison and Son, also by the Government at Somerset House, and each set of impressions shows marked variations in colour. The most interesting Edwardian differences, however, are due to varieties of paper. In 1905 the authorities came to the conclusion that the then current stamps were not sufficiently protective against fraud. It was easy enough, they said, to compound an obliteration ink for use in the post offices which could not be cleaned away; but, as postage stamps were also used in increasing numbers for revenue purposes, it was also necessary to make the stamps of such colours that they could not be cleaned of even ordinary writing-ink. As a consequence, the labels on the usual paper were gradually superseded by specimens printed on a specially prepared "chalk-surface" paper. When this paper is wetted, the chalky glaze breaks up, and the coloured design is ruined. This innovation provides a complete check to the practices of fraudulent "stamp cleaners," but makes it almost impossible for collectors to remove the paper backing which disfigures many of their treasures.

"The easiest way to find out whether a stamp is printed on ordinary unsurfaced or on chalk-surfaced paper," says Mr. F. J. Melville in "King Edward VII. Stamps," "is to draw a small silver coin across one of the perforations or a piece of the marginal paper adhering to the stamp. If a black line appears where the silver has touched the paper, it indicates a chalk surface."

A third minor variety of the Edwardian stamps must be recorded. In certain of the halfpenny and penny[Pg 36] values the large crown watermark is found inverted. Such specimens were not, as might be expected, the result of faulty printing, they were made especially for the stamp booklets, which have grown so popular since their introduction in 1903. The plates from which the booklet stamps were printed were divided into four panes, each of sixty labels. Each pane consisted of ten rows of six stamps surrounded by a fringe of blank paper. The panes were cut vertically down the centre and then along every second horizontal row. This gave ten blocks of six stamps, five coming from the left of the vertical cut and five from the right. Now, it was necessary to have a strip of edging paper on the left of each block for the binding-pins of the booklet to pass through; consequently, the stamps placed on the right of the vertical cut were inverted. As the watermark was not similarly turned round, the specimens in 50 per cent. of the booklets were provided with inverted crowns.

The stamps of King George require but little mention. When first issued they caused considerable adverse comment, owing to their poor design and inferior gum. The earliest dies of the halfpenny and penny values were re-engraved at least twice, but not until the small head was replaced by the larger profile bust could they be considered even passable. As a whole, the Georgian first issue may be now considered fairly attractive in pattern and colour; but the Mother Country has yet much to learn in the matter of stamp designing from her young Dependencies, notably Canada.

[Pg 37]



What a curious thing it is that some stamps—mere scraps of paper—cost over a sovereign apiece to buy! It is still more wonderful, however, that quite a number sell for over £100 each, whilst a select few command prices running into four figures. Probably the reader will never possess any of the more costly rarities, and as likely as not he will never see copies of them, unless he has access to the Tapling or other public collections; but, none the less, it is interesting for him to know of them, of their prices, and their peculiarities.

Among the stamps of Great Britain there are a fair number which are worth between £30 and £100 each. In the previous chapter we spoke of the deep green shilling of 1862, which sells at £65 in an unused condition, and the ninepenny straw, catalogued at £30 when used. To these we may add the famous £5 orange of 1882, worth about £100 when unused, and the £1 brown-lilac, also of 1882, which varies between £90 and £100. Neither of these labels were in currency for more than two years. This fact, coupled with their high face value, readily explains why collectors are so eager to possess them.

There have been three different brown-lilac £1 stamps, all issued within a few years of each other, so the collector is advised to note their descriptions care[Pg 38]fully. The valuable type referred to above measures 1-1/8 by 1-3/8 inches, and is watermarked with an anchor. Of the remaining two types, one has a watermark consisting of three crowns (worth £12 unused), and the other has the watermark known as the three orbs (worth £20 unused). Both these stamps have the top and bottom sides much longer than the vertical sides. Other £1 values, in various colours and designs, command good prices, and should be carefully preserved, if only for speculative purposes.

Were the question to be put, "Which is the rarest stamp in the world?" probably the answer would be, more often than not, "The twopenny 'Post Office' Mauritius." Though it is not the rarest, it is probably the best-known philatelic treasure, and the one which collectors covet beyond all others. Just how much it is worth would be difficult to say; we do know, however, that the copy which figures in King George's Collection was sold at auction in 1904 for £1,450. Were it placed on the market to-day, it is safe to say that it would change hands at a higher figure—probably a much higher figure.

The twopenny and the penny "Post Office" Mauritius have an interesting history. The officials of this little island in the Indian Ocean decided in the year 1847 to follow the lead of the Mother Country and issue stamps. Whilst waiting for supplies to come from England, they commissioned a local watchmaker to engrave two dies, one for a penny and one for a twopenny stamp. The watchmaker took a small piece[Pg 39] of sheet copper and engraved upon it, side by side, the two dies, and a neighbouring printer took off 500 impressions—that is to say, 1,000 stamps in all. Instead of cutting into the copper the words "Post Paid," the engraver scratched the inscription "Post Office" by mistake, with the result that his dies were soon discarded. The stock of stamps was quickly used up, for just as the labels were issued, a ball was being arranged at the Government House, and numerous invitations were sent out by post. About twenty-two copies only are known to exist, and most of these have been discovered on the communications which, nearly seventy years ago, summoned the Governor's friends to the long-forgotten festivities.

The rarest stamp in the world is usually considered to be the one cent (1856) of British Guiana. A single specimen only of this variety is known, the owner being Monsieur de la Renotière, a celebrated collector of Paris. To say that this treasure is worth its weight in gold is to understate its value by a great deal, for specialists claim that £2,000 would not buy it.

One would suppose that so costly a square inch of paper would have a prepossessing appearance or claims to artistic merit, but the unique specimen is said to be ugly, of a dullish magenta colour, and not in the best of condition. The design is a ship, around which the motto "Damus petimusque vicissim"[3] is written, together with the words "British Guiana, Postage One Cent."

[3] We give and we ask in turn.[Pg 40]

Another very rare British Guiana stamp is the sorry-looking two cents of 1851. Having more the appearance of an obliteration stamp than a postal adhesive, this specimen bears the name of the colony and the value, two cents, in a circle. It was printed at short notice by the proprietors of the Royal Gazette, and was intended to serve for a new rate of letter-carrying which applied to the town of Georgetown alone. Apparently the new charge failed to serve its purpose, and was withdrawn after a brief space of time. Very few copies were made use of, and those which still exist are worth about £600 each.

From the Hawaiian Islands comes another valuable stamp, also of poor design: it is the two cents (1851), black on bluish paper. This adhesive was printed at Honolulu, and served mainly for franking the letters which the American missionaries sent home to their relations in the States. The issue suffered an untimely fate, for no sooner had the stamps been put into circulation than a serious fire devastated the quarter of the town in which the post office was situated and destroyed almost all the stock in hand. A round dozen copies are known to exist. One reposes in the Tapling Collection at the British Museum, but the authorities have removed it from the show-cases, where it used to lie, and placed it under lock and key in the Cracherode Room. It may be well to add that it can be inspected on request. Its value is probably £800 or more.

If we turn to the United States, many rarities will[Pg 41] be found, but none are so much sought after as the issues known as the "Postmaster Stamps." For the want of a better term these adhesives have been called "locals," but they must not be confused with the worthless labels spoken of in Chapter II.

Portraits of some European Monarchs Portraits of some European Monarchs 1 King George V 2 Albert 3 Nicholas II 4 Peter 5 Victor Emanuel III 6 Christian X 7 Gustav V 8 Manoel 9 Franz Josef I 10 Alfonso XIII 11 Wilhelmina

Each postmaster in the early years of the States designed and printed his own stamps, and some weird and curious effects were produced as a result of this arrangement. The master at Milbury, then a tiny place in Massachusetts, issued a two cents label (1847) which was no exception in the matter of design. Milbury was such a small town that the demand for this two cents stamp was insignificant, and consequently to-day copies are worth quite £300.

Another local stamp—more highly priced on the Continent than in England—is the ten centimes "Double Geneva." This curiosity was issued by the Canton of Geneva before Switzerland possessed a regular supply of adhesives. The stamp is composed of two sections, each bearing the value five centimes, but a narrow strip of paper joins them together and bears the value ten centimes. The idea was that, in its entirety, the stamp would frank a letter anywhere within the Canton of Geneva, but if cut in halves, the postage was only sufficient for letters circulating within any individual commune. A complete "Double Geneva" is worth £80 odd unused, but a halved copy may be procured for a £5 note.

Before concluding this chapter on rarities, some mention must be made of the triangular "Capes." Curiously enough, everybody has heard of these stamps, whether they are collectors or not, and every non-collector who happens to possess a copy nourishes the idea that some day a huge fortune may be realized by selling the valued possession. Granted that the specimen is not a forgery, which it very well may be, the stamp is perhaps worth no more than five shillings, for this is the market price of the fourpenny blue, 1855—the stamp most frequently met.

There are two valuable triangular "Capes," however, namely, the fourpenny red and the penny blue, both of 1861. The origin of these stamps is as follows: In making up the dies for printing some penny and fourpenny stamps, a block of the penny stamp was accidentally placed in the plate of the fourpenny value, whilst a fourpenny block found its way into the penny plate. As a result of this mistake, one stamp on each sheet which was printed bore the wrong colour for its value. Gibbons catalogues the blue penny at £85, and the vermilion fourpenny at £95.

[Pg 42]



Probably the twelve commonest stamps which have ever been issued are the following:

1. Great Britain, Queen, 1d. lilac, 1881.

2. Great Britain, King Edward, 1d. scarlet, 1902.[Pg 43]

3. Germany, 1880, 10 pfennig (without the final "e") rose.

4. Germany, 1889, 10 pfennig rose.

5. Austria, 5 kr., Francis Joseph, 1857, red.

6. Austria, 5 kr. rose, 1883, double-headed eagle.

7. Austria, 5 kr., Francis Joseph, 1890, red.

8. Belgium, 10 c., Leopold II., 1885, rose.

9. Belgium, 5 c., arms, 1893, green.

10. France, 15 c., Mercury and Commerce, blue, 1877.

11. France, 5 c., Mercury, etc., green, 1877.

12. Hungary, 5 kr., numeral on envelope, rose, 1875.

From the above list it will be seen that all but three of the adhesives are of the penny value, or its foreign equivalent. The presence of the French three-halfpenny (15 c.) stamp is due to the fact that, for many years, this was the rate charged for letters circulating within the Republic.

Of these stamps the Queen's head of Great Britain enjoyed the longest life, whilst the two French specimens took second and third place, they having a prosperous run of sixteen years to their credit.

Whilst speaking of the length of currency enjoyed by stamps, it may be well to say that, of all the adhesive specimens issued throughout the world, the large fivepenny green, New South Wales, remained unchanged for a longer period than any other; whilst the Queen Victoria penny embossed envelope, with a light pink stamp—not, of course, an adhesive—was current still longer, being on sale from 1841 to 1902. Neither[Pg 44] of these labels, it should be added, may be reckoned among the commonest varieties.

Of each of the twelve stamps mentioned in the list above prodigious numbers must have been issued. Just how many copies of each were used for franking letters cannot be gauged, but by turning to the postal records published annually by Great Britain some idea may be obtained of their colossal totals. During the year 1913 the General Post Office dealt with—

3,298,300,000 letters.

899,000,000 postcards.

1,079,000,000 halfpenny packets.

202,300,000 newspapers.

130,200,000 parcels.

Of the letters, postcards, and halfpenny packets, it seems fair to assume that three-quarters were franked by halfpenny and penny stamps in the proportion, probably, of two of the former to one of the latter. In other words, roughly 1,500,000,000 penny stamps and 2,500,000,000 halfpenny stamps were used in Great Britain during the year 1913 alone. As the life of our British stamps averages a trifle over ten years, we must multiply the huge figures by ten to obtain a rough estimate of the individual copies which are likely to be printed of these two stamps.

Looked at from the point of view of use, the dozen adhesives mentioned above have undoubtedly scored heavily; but if they be examined from the artistic point[Pg 45] of view, little can be said in their favour. The lilac head of Victoria, it is true, is a fine dignified stamp; whilst the two French specimens, depicting Mercury and Commerce, are pleasing. The remainder, however, can claim but little respect, either on the score of design or workmanship. Truly the commonest labels seem to be the least beautiful!

What can we do with our accumulations of valueless stamps? is a question often asked by the young philatelist. A good plan is to collect the various shades of colour and minute variations of design, which are sure to creep into issues that extend over a lengthy period. In this way an interesting assembly of stamps may be secured which might, in time, prove extremely valuable to a collector who specialized. The Georgian stamps of Great Britain, for instance, though they have only been in use a few years, already show numerous variations in design and colour, and thus lend themselves to such work. The halfpenny is known in two or three shades of green; there are at least two different engravings of the penny; the twopenny varies in shade from dark to light orange; whilst the threepenny may be found in dull purple and also vivid purple.

Another good plan is to make what might be called a type collection, with the aid of the accumulations of common stamps. Such a collection should comprise (a) specimens of all known perforations from eight to sixteen; (b) cases of varied perforations—i.e., one gauge for the vertical, another for the horizontal sides; (c) stamps separated by other means than perforations; (d) stamps of every shade of the spectrum, arranged in a line and gradually merging from red through orange, yellow, green, blue, and indigo to violet; (e) labels printed by different processes; (f) labels printed on all the commoner forms of paper; (g) stamps mounted face downwards to reveal the watermarks, etc.

A third form of collection, which helps to use up the valueless stamps, is a historical collection. In such a gathering as we have here in mind, it becomes possible to trace out, by means of postage labels, such interesting matters as the genealogical tables of royal families, the changes which certain Governments have undergone, lists of succession, etc.

[Pg 46]



Most stamps as they repose in their rows on the pages of the album look very sober, matter-of-fact, little squares of paper. Some appear travel-stained, others are in the pink of condition, but all have undergone an experience—we are speaking of the used copies—which, could it be related, would make reading matter of a highly interesting nature. One specimen which lies in the album did duty, say, in the backwoods of the United States; another carried a letter across the[Pg 47] snowfields of Siberia; a third franked correspondence in the unsettled land of Mexico; and a fourth brought a message from the battlefields of Belgium and Northern France. Viewed in this light, every obliterated specimen which figures in our collection is a curiosity.

There are, however, other kinds of curious stamps which are worth discussing. Who, for instance, would ever dream that a stamp could cause serious disturbance among a whole race of some millions of people? Yet this is what happened quite recently in India. The offending stamp was the two annas, bearing a profile portrait of King George. The trouble can be related briefly. The label showed the King attractively arrayed, and bearing a number of decorations, one of them being the elephant which denotes an Indian order. Unfortunately, the engraving was a trifle indistinct, and instead of the creature appearing as an elephant, as it should have done, it seemed to be an exact representation of a pig. Now, the latter animal is considered a most unclean thing by all faithful Mohammedans, and the people of this religious creed were not slow to suppose that somebody in power had placed the animal on the King's breast merely to insult them. Had it not been for the tactful assurances made by the authorities, and the early substitution of another stamp more carefully engraved, the results would probably have been of a serious character.

Another curious stamp is the Connell label, emanating from the colony of New Brunswick. Connell was the[Pg 48] postmaster-in-chief of this British dependency. On one occasion he was requested to journey to New York to place a contract with a firm of stamp printers. What possessed him nobody knows. Instead of directing that Queen Victoria's portrait should appear on all the stamps to be engraved, he ordered that the five cents value should bear his features, which, to be candid, were not at all attractive. In due course the stamps arrived, but the authorities, on discovering Connell's audacity, issued a proclamation declaring the label to be worthless. The postmaster, so history tells us, became angry, and rather than appear before a prosecuting council retired hastily to the States. The Connell stamp, needless to say, is a rare curiosity, and few copies are known to exist. It is perhaps a little doubtful, however, whether the label can be reckoned as an authentic postage stamp, seeing that its use never received official sanction.

Vanity seems to play an important part in the lives of people—at least, this is the testimony which many of our stamps bear out. Some men like Connell crave for such notoriety as a postage stamp can afford them, but there are others—crowned heads—who will not allow their features to be portrayed upon the labels of their country, lest the obliteration marks may render them grotesque.

Among conceited Kings of recent times, King Ferdinand of Sicily stands out pre-eminently in the minds of philatelists. He possessed something of the[Pg 49] Connell weakness, for he evinced a keen desire to have his head portrayed upon the stamps of his little kingdom; but running counter with this desire was a strong fear lest the marks of the postal obliterator should disfigure his none too prepossessing countenance. In the end, he thought of a kind of compromise. He called in one of the best engravers of the day and commanded him to execute a fine series of adhesives bearing his profile. When the issue was ready, Ferdinand provided the postal authorities with obliterating stamps, each of which consisted of a circular framework of lines, surrounding an empty space. The idea was that the lines should deface the edges of the stamp, but that the empty space should save his profile from disfigurement. What happened to his overworked officials who chanced to bring their obliterators down upon the royal countenance by mistake is too awful to contemplate!

Curious Stamps Curious Stamps 1 Belgium (Brussels) St. Michael encountering Satan 2 Stamp holding record for length of currency 3 Belgian stamp with two Dominical labels 4 Stamp of King Edward issued at the time of his death 5 Spanish stamps with face value of 1-40th of a penny 6 Orange Free State stamp indicating British occupation 7 Austrian stamp overprinted for use in Constantinople 8 King Manoel's stamps overprinted for Republican use 9 Local stamp 10 Indian stamp showing King George wearing the Elephant (Order of India)

Not only do some stamps betray the weaknesses of individuals, but others reveal the characters of nations. Let us look for a moment at the stamps of Belgium. Each is provided with a small label which bears the words, "Not to be delivered on Sunday." This label is very insignificant, and stamp collectors have seen it so often that they are apt to pass it by unnoticed. But this tiny strip of paper has a deep underlying purpose. The Belgians, as a nation, are sharply divided on matters of religion into two great bodies. The Roman Catholic section objects to having its letters[Pg 50] delivered on Sundays, whilst the section of Freethinkers can see no harm in a postal delivery on the day which we in England set apart for rest. The Belgians are a tolerant race, however, and the matter has been settled by providing each stamp with what has been called a Dominical label. The Catholics use the label with the stamps they buy, but the Freethinkers detach them. The postmen are instructed to deliver letters on Sundays only when the footnote is missing from the stamps.

Another curious stamp is the twopenny plum colour King Edward issue of Great Britain. Who has ever heard of this adhesive? Who has ever seen it? The chances are that few collectors know that such a stamp ever existed, yet a used copy figures in the collection of King George.

The story relating to this stamp is as follows: In the early months of the year 1910 it was decided to change both the pattern and colour of the twopenny green and carmine. A rather attractive design was selected instead, and eventually printed in a hue which the authorities called "Tyrian plum." Some thousands of these labels were printed and held ready for issue, but just as they were to be placed on sale, the sad and unexpected death of King Edward took place. Rather than issue a new stamp after the King's demise, the whole stock was gathered together and burned. A few copies, however, were preserved for record purposes, and one at least was stuck to an envelope[Pg 51] addressed to our present Sovereign, and posted at the East Strand Post Office.

The V.R. penny black is another stamp of the Home Country which every philatelist should know about. It is a famous label, not because it has ever made history or fulfilled any important mission, but because people have grown to look upon it as a rare form of the ordinary penny black. In reality the V.R. stamps never attained to the dignity of a postal label, for, although intended for official use, the authorities decided at the last moment not to make the issue, and destroyed the stock. A certain number of copies leaked out, and found their way into collectors' albums, and these command a fair price.

Of late there has been a great increase all over the world in the picturesque type of stamp, and these have provided a fairly large crop of pictorial "inexactitudes." As an example, two adhesives of the well-known United States Columbian issue may be mentioned, seeing that they have evoked many a smile among philatelists. The stamps in question are the one and the two cents values. The former portrays Columbus sighting land, whilst the latter reveals the famous traveller in the act of landing. As is well known, an interval of but twenty-four hours separated the two events, yet in the first picture Columbus appears clean-shaven, whilst in the latter he possesses a beard of ample and stately proportions!

Another interesting picture stamp of the United States is the one dollar value of the Omaha issue. The stamp bears the title of "Western Cattle in Storm," but those of us who know the canvasses of MacWhirter will recognize it as a reproduction of his painting, "The Vanguard." Mr. F. J. Melville, a noted philatelist, says in "Chats on Postage Stamps" that the United States Post Office "literally cribbed" MacWhirter's picture, apparently without permission or any sort of payment.

Many stamps possess particular interest owing to some speciality in manner of production. Just now a semi-perforated adhesive is becoming popular. Its upright sides are imperforated, but top and bottom the usual perforation marks are present. Such specimens are manufactured in rolls—not in sheets—for special use in automatic machines. They come largely from the United States and the Union of South Africa, and are, of course, only available in the penny and halfpenny, or equivalent, values. These semi-perforated stamps are of undoubted interest to-day, though the time may not be far distant when they will completely oust the usual perforated type.

[Pg 52]



Stamps are forged for two purposes, first to cheat philatelists, and second to cheat the postal authorities. The former kind of trade is fairly lucrative, but in England, at any rate, the production of fictitious stamps[Pg 53] for postal uses seldom enjoys more than a short-lived success.

The forger hardly ever takes up his abode in the Home Country, for the pains and penalties awaiting him, when apprehended, are severe. He far prefers a Continental existence, where he can work his printing-press in obscurity. His unsavoury wares, however, are made to circulate in England just as much as abroad, and the novice must be ever on his guard in consequence.

Some forgers possess elaborate and costly plant, and have the means of turning out labels printed quite as well as the originals. But most people in this dishonest trade are handicapped for capital, and have to rely on the cheaper processes—usually lithography—in the production of their forgeries. It is here that a knowledge of the various means of printing stamps proves so valuable to the collector. A specimen, say, of a line-engraved stamp produced by lithography immediately excites suspicion, and a close examination shows it to be an undoubted counterfeit.

The watermark is another stumbling-block with the stamp faker of small means. He has no opportunity of procuring paper impressed with all the various watermarks, and so he often prints on ordinary paper, and trusts to the philatelist's ignorance or lack of examining powers. Of course, the beginner is often caught by such practices, but it is really wonderful how soon a serious collector grows to know at sight the real and the unreal.[Pg 54]

An ingenious trick of the forger in a small way of business consists in transforming a common stamp into a valuable one. His work is not very arduous, and his apparatus costs but a few pence. All he needs is an aptitude for drawing, a few paints, brushes, and some chemicals. He selects, first of all, an issue where the stamps all bear an identical design and are printed in the same colour, the value, and perhaps an additional word or two, only being printed in a distinctive colour. His choice of stamp is by no means limited, for in Queen Victoria's time it was a favourite arrangement with many Colonies for the head and ornamentation to be printed in a shade of purple and the name of the colony and the price to vary on each value.

The forger takes a nice copy of the halfpenny, and cleans out the price and any features which make the stamp distinctive, by means of chemicals; then he fills in the blank areas with the particular lettering—using, of course, the correct colour—of a high-priced stamp. His work takes but a few minutes, and in this time he can transform a label worth, say, a penny into one catalogued at, perhaps, ten shillings. This form of faking is particularly dangerous, because such distinguishing marks as perforations, watermark, and quality of paper, are correct in every detail.

The length to which some forgers will go is positively amazing. A few years back a case came to light where one of these rogues regularly used real stamp-paper on which to print his worthless imitations. His plan was[Pg 55] to buy a whole sheet of low-priced unused stamps, to remove all the printing by chemical means, and then to print on the blank paper so obtained a complete sheet of high-priced stamps. Of course, he had to select his paper and his stamps with care, but this was a matter simple enough. It is interesting to point out that the home authorities, seeing the possibility of such practices, have made it a rule to use one watermark for adhesives of low value and another for those of high value.

What is the best way to tell whether a specimen is a forgery? This is a question often asked. The first test is the watermark, but sufficient has been said already to show that too much faith must not be placed on this detail, especially as we may add that a very respectable imitation may be produced by painting the back of the label with oil. The next point to note is the perforation. These marks must be shaped in a business-like way, and be of the correct number as indicated by the catalogues. The third point is the printing, and the fourth the colour of the ink used. Lastly, the design should be compared with an identical stamp known to be genuine. Beyond such simple tests as these the collector needs to exercise ordinary common sense in arriving at a conclusion. If, say, a specimen is nice and fresh, and the catalogue tells us that it is at least fifty years old, a certain amount of suspicion might not be out of place.

It is not always a simple matter to know whether a stamp is a forgery or not. Cases are on record where[Pg 56] the postal authorities themselves have been unable to distinguish between the real and the unreal. Some years ago the shilling value of Great Britain was counterfeited and used for postal purposes not once or twice, but some thousands of times, and never an atom of suspicion was excited. The case is recorded by Mr. F. J. Melville in his work, "Chats on Postage Stamps," in the following words:

"A romantic forgery, and one of almost colossal magnitude, was discovered in 1898. About that time a large quantity of British one shilling stamps—those of the 1865 type in green, with large uncoloured letters in the corners—came on the market, though, as they had been used on telegram forms, they ought to have been destroyed; probably the guilty parties relied on this official practice, not always honoured in observance, as offering a security against not merely the tracing of the offence, but the discovering of the fraud itself.

"Anyhow, after a lapse of twenty-six years, it was found that amongst these one shilling stamps there was a large proportion of forgeries (purporting to be from Plate V.), all used on July 23, 1872, at the Stock Exchange Telegraph Office, London, E.C. More recent discoveries show that the fraud was continued over twelve months, and, as an indication of the precautions taken by the forgers, Plate VI. (which came into use in March, 1872) was duly imitated, although the change of the small figures was a detail probably never noticed by members of the general public.

Stamps bearing National Emblems Stamps bearing National Emblems 1 New South Wales 5 Sweden 9 Switzerland 2 Belgium 6 Russia 10 Turkey 3 Mauritius 7 Italy 11 Brazil 4 Japan 8 Bosnia

[Pg 57]

"According to calculations based on the average numbers used on several days, the Post Office must have lost about £50 a day during the period mentioned above. Who were the originators and perpetrators of the fraud will probably never be known; possibly a stockbroker's clerk (or a small 'syndicate' of these gentlemen), or, more probably, a clerk in the Post Office itself. It was an ingenious fraud, well planned, and cleverly carried out at a minimum of risk, and but for the market for old stamps it would never have been discovered."

For purposes of reference, we give below a list of the stamps which have been most frequently copied, together with hints on how to detect the forgeries. (G. = genuine; F. = forgery.)

Alsace and Lorraine.—G., the points of the network in the background turned up; F. has them turned down. The "P" of word "Postes" farther from margin in G. than F. Used copies more likely to be G. than unused.

Belgium.—One centime, Leopold, 1861. F., yellowish paper instead of white. The word "Postes" has no outline round each letter in F. Obliterated specimens often F.

Brazil.—The early issues, with numerals in centre of filigree work often imitated. Paper too thick in F.

Germany.—Nearly all the rarer stamps have been copied; specimens should be accepted with caution.

Cape of Good Hope.—Triangular issues, 1853-1864.[Pg 58] G. has knee of "Hope" rounded; F., angular. If top line of knee produced to border, it cuts through the centre of the letter "S." in "Postage," in G. but through letter "O" in F.

Cyprus.—The line-engraved Great Britain issue with overprint. In this case forged overprints have been added to genuine stamps. Forgeries have the "C" in "Cyprus" thicker than the other letters, also the "Y" set higher than other letters. The extreme length from "C" to "S" is seldom accurate, as given in catalogues, in F.

France.—The five francs, 1869. F. perforated 13; G. perforated 13-1/2. Also F. has dots in corner of frame, not rounded as in G.

Mauritius.—Many of the earlier issues F.

Nevis.—The shilling green, 1861. In G. ink seems to stand up from paper, but flat in F. The lines on woman's arm are straight in G., but in dots in F.

New South Wales.—The stamps known as "Sydney Views" have been largely copied. The large fivepenny, sixpenny, eightpenny, and shilling often had unusually wide margins when perforated. The faker has trimmed off the tooth edges, and called the stamps the rare imperforated specimens.

Nova Scotia.—Some of the fine early issues have been lithographed in F., while the G. were engraved.

States of the Church.—These stamps have been largely reprinted from original dies. Only stamps on original envelopes should be accepted by the novice.

Portugal.—Many of the surcharged issues have been forged; the overprinted words being imitations.

Sedan.—No genuine stamps ever existed; all were spurious.

Sierra Leone, 1872-1881.—A type of stamp that is representative of many others. F. lithographed, with the delicate lines on the face as heavy as those constituting the background.

United States.—Early issues often had a grille—i.e., an embossed series of lines to prevent removal of obliteration without being noticed. F. seldom have grille.

[Pg 59]



In a previous chapter we spoke of the penny black of 1840 as the first postage label to be given to the world. The reader must not suppose from this remark that the appearance of the stamp coincided with the commencement of an organized postal system in Great Britain. Such a thing as a post was known to exist in this country as far back as the year 1609, but not until some thirty years later were its operations extended to the public in general.

Across the sea, in France, the idea of letter-carrying was also developing in this period of stress and struggle. In the year when Cromwell was installed as "Pro[Pg 60]tector," a Comte de Villayer was permitted to place pillar-boxes in the thoroughfares of Paris and provide the inhabitants with a local postal service. Villayer seems to have been greatly concerned as to the best method of collecting the postage on the letters placed in his charge until the idea of issuing a wrapper bearing some distinctive design occurred to him. These paper bands were placed on sale in a number of shops, and cost two sous apiece. Each letter had to be wrapped in one of them, which Villayer's men tore off prior to effecting delivery. The system is of unusual interest to philatelists, because the ornamental wrapper devised by this Frenchman supplies us with the origin from which postage stamps sprang.

At home the business of letter-carrying was growing with considerable rapidity, considering how troublous were these times. Villayer's counterpart in London was a man named Dockwra. He organized a system of depots throughout the city for receiving correspondence. People took their letters to these depots, paid the postage in actual coin, and an attendant franked the communications by means of a hand stamp. This was a device exactly similar to the obliterating stamps seen to-day on the counters of our post offices. Dockwra's hand stamp bore a triangular design bearing the curious legend, "Post Payd, Peny."

We now know the history of the first stamped wrapper, the first franking stamp, and the first adhesive stamp. At this point we will speak of the first stamped[Pg 61] envelope. The "Mulready," as this pioneer envelope was called, owed its origin to Sir Rowland Hill and his co-workers. The penny black adhesive label was considered to be too great an innovation by Sir Rowland's followers, and, as a sort of compromise, it was decided to issue a stamped envelope as an alternative to the penny adhesive. The two were placed on sale at the same moment, and, curiously enough, the adhesive immediately proved a tremendous success, whilst the Mulready only received slight favours. This happened in spite of the fact that the authorities were confident that the stamped envelope would prove the more popular of the two.

The Mulready was a curious, if not weird, production. The design covered half of the face of the envelope, and consisted of Britannia surrounded by people and animals treated symbolically. The paper used for the envelope bore the silk threads spoken of in an earlier chapter.

The Mulready deserved a better fate. All the comic papers at the time reproduced grotesque imitations of it; every wit used it disparagingly, and in all ways it became a butt for humour. Perhaps the best-known caricatures of this unfortunate envelope were those produced by Doyle, a boy of fifteen. Though his drawings never received postal sanction, they are often sold by stamp dealers and treasured by collectors as curiosities.

Before leaving the Mulready, we must admit that[Pg 62] two other envelopes claim to be older than this production of Sir Rowland Hill. The first is the special-letter cover, which was issued to members of Parliament in January, 1840, and the second, the New South Wales embossed envelope of 1838. Of the former we need only say that its use was merely of a private nature, whilst of the latter our knowledge is very imperfect and hardly trustworthy.

The first postcard was issued by Germany in comparatively recent times; its use was suggested by Dr. von Stephan, a high authority in postal matters. The pioneer letter-card emanated from the Kingdom of Belgium, and bore a red ten centimes stamp with the head of Leopold II.

Having discussed the earliest forms of postal stationery, it will be interesting to examine certain of the adhesive stamps which claim notoriety on account of their positions as pioneers. The first stamp of all, as we have said before, was the penny black of Great Britain, but the earliest issue of foreign stamps (i.e., omitting those of Great Britain) dates from the year 1843, and came from Brazil. The labels are not attractive in appearance; they are large, and bear large numerals surrounded by a circular background of filigree work. They have been nicknamed, not inappropriately, the bull's eye stamps of Brazil. The stamps remained in currency but one year, and are, therefore, rare.

It is rather curious to think that Brazil—a republic[Pg 63] not usually associated with progressive measures—should have been, with Great Britain, the only country to issue stamps for nine whole years after their introduction. In short, no other Government issued adhesives until the January of 1849. On the first of that month, however, both Belgium and France provided stamps for the convenience of their people. The Belgian stamp consisted of two varieties—the ten centimes, dark brown, and the twenty centimes, blue, both bearing a head and shoulder engraving of Leopold I. In France one label was issued; it bore the value of ten centimes, in dark brown, and was ornamented with the head of Ceres. These three specimens were, therefore, the first adhesives to receive recognition on the Continent.

It is pleasing to note how Brazil, Belgium, and France, all imitated Great Britain in the colour and values of their first issues; it is also an interesting coincidence that the earliest labels of all these countries, Great Britain included, were extremely short-lived.

The first colonial stamps were the two Mauritius "line-engravings," which were described at length in the chapter dealing with rare specimens.

The first picture stamp is often taken to be the large Congo adhesive bearing a view of the port of Matadi, whilst sometimes pride of place is awarded to the Columbus ship stamp of the Argentine Republic. In reality neither of these can claim the honour of being the forerunner of our picture issues, an honour which rightly belongs to the early "Sydney Views" of New South Wales. These latter stamps are extremely scarce, and change ownership for from £5 to £10 a copy.

Turning now to the stamps of our Mother Country, the penny black may be again mentioned as being the first adhesive to bear the head of Queen Victoria. King Edward was first revealed to us philatelically by the halfpenny, penny, twopence-halfpenny, and sixpenny values of Great Britain—these four stamps being issued on the same day, January 1, 1902. King George's earliest stamp was the twopence-halfpenny label issued by the Union of South Africa.

[Pg 64]



In recent times it has become fashionable, in certain countries, to celebrate national events by means of special issues of stamps. The idea is a very acceptable one so long as it is not abused. Unfortunately, however, we must say that many countries do abuse this interesting way of commemorating their historic achievements. The consolidation of an empire, the discovery of a continent, the centenary of a great victory, are all matters of history which we are glad to see recorded in the pages of the stamp album; but when a series of labels is issued to acquaint the world of the death of an[Pg 65] unheard-of poet, or the erection of an obscure post office, then we can only surmise that the stamps were printed more for philatelic than postal purposes.

Noted Statesmen Noted Statesmen of U.S.A. 1 Washington 5 Franklin 9 Zachary Taylor 2 Franklin 6 Grant 10 Jackson 3 Lincoln 7 Washington 11 Jefferson 4 Webster 8 Washington

Commemorative stamps coming from most European countries, also the British Colonies, may usually be accepted for collecting purposes, but those which hail from one or other of the South American republics should be purchased with caution. Some of these Governments simply cast around for events to celebrate, hoping that each new issue will help to swell the national exchequer in no little measure.

Probably the first celebration issue of any country was the penny envelope of Great Britain, bearing a blue stamp, which appeared on July 2, 1890. The occasion was the jubilee of the "Uniform Penny Postage," an event which was celebrated by a festival held in the South Kensington Museum.

The envelope is undoubtedly attractive. Beyond the familiar profile portrait of Queen Victoria, and an artistic rendering of her coat of arms, it bears a picture of the North Mail coach making for Highgate in 1790 at eight miles an hour. In contrast to this antiquated method of locomotion we are also shown the North Mail railway express approaching Carlisle at forty-eight miles an hour. Two other figures, one a letter-carrier of 1840, and the other a postman of 1890, complete the ornamentation.

This envelope, and a correspondence-card enclosed within it, which appropriately bears a portrait of Sir[Pg 66] Rowland Hill, was sold by post offices on the one day only for sixpence. Though it is a curiosity worth obtaining, there is little demand for it, and dealers are glad to supply copies even now at the original price.

Among the stamps of our Colonies, those of Newfoundland have always been attractive; but probably the set which was issued to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the island by Jean Cabot is the most interesting of all. Cabot, it will be remembered, though born in Genoa, settled in Bristol as a merchant. In 1497 he was commissioned by Henry VII. to search for undiscovered lands. He set out with two small ships, and sighted first Newfoundland, then Cape Breton Isle, and afterwards Nova Scotia. In 1498 he died.

From Newfoundland to Canada is not a great distance. To this British Dominion we are indebted for two fine commemorative sets. The first, that of 1897, was issued in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, and the second to celebrate the tercentenary of the founding of Quebec. This town, on the St. Lawrence River, owes its origin to Jacques Cartier, a Frenchman born at St. Malo. Cartier sailed from his native port in 1534 accompanied by two small vessels of twenty tons apiece. He landed on the Gaspé shores and claimed the territory for French sovereignty. His stay was of short duration, for we read that in 1535 he again set out from St. Malo, and this time sailed up the mouth of the St. Lawrence and landed at a little[Pg 67] native settlement, which afterwards received the name of Quebec. (Kebek is the Indian for "The Rock.") We are bound to state that little came of Cartier's exploits, for not until Champlain visited the district many years later, with the dual purpose of spreading Christianity and opening up commerce, did the French settlement prosper.

The pictures on the stamps are of interest. The 1 cent portrays both Cartier and Champlain; the 5 cents gives a picture of the latter's house; the 7 cents introduces Montcalm and Wolfe; the 10 cents reveals Quebec in 1700; the 15 cents depicts Champlain's departure for the interior, then an almost unknown world; whilst the 20 cents is inscribed "Cartier's arrival before Quebec."

Another set of commemorative stamps comes from Barbados, its object being to celebrate the heroic exploits of Nelson—the Battle of Trafalgar in particular. The tragedy which was enacted on board the Victory, almost, if we may so express it, at the moment of victory, the mournful journey to England, the lying-in-state at Greenwich, and the funeral in St. Paul's Cathedral, are all too well known to need description; but it is less well known that Horatio Nelson spent many of his early years of seamanship in the West Indies, and particularly in and around the Barbados. It is on this account that a fine monument has been erected to his memory in this Colony, and a set of stamps was issued to mark the unveiling.[Pg 68]

Australasia has not given us many celebration stamps, but those which have come from the Antipodes are extremely interesting. What could be more stirring than the design on the three-halfpenny 1901 khaki stamp of New Zealand? It was issued to mark the departure of troops on their way to the fighting-line in South Africa.

Another interesting set of stamps was provided some twenty years ago by New South Wales to remind the world that it had been a colony for just over a century. One of the values bears a portrait of Captain Cook, who discovered the Colony in 1770; whilst another reveals, appropriately enough, the features of Captain Arthur Phillips, the founder of the first convict settlement on these Australian shores. Up till the time of Phillips our prisoners had been banished to America, but after the war, which gained for the New England States their independence, this outlet was closed to our exiles, and fresh fields were found in New South Wales.

Probably no event in history has received more attention on the part of stamp producers than the discoveries of Columbus. The Argentine Republic was, we believe, the first country to honour the memory of this intrepid explorer by the issue of postal labels, but to the United States must be awarded the credit of issuing the finest set of Columbian stamps. This series of postal adhesives is probably one of the grandest collections of historical stamps that has ever been produced, and, fortunately, the lower values are cheap, and easily obtained.[Pg 69]

Other commemorative stamps of the United States have been issued—namely, the Omaha, the Pan-American, the Buffalo, and the Panama Exhibition stamps; but though some of them are exceedingly attractive in design, none of them can compare with the Columbus issue in point of interest.

Another intrepid explorer to receive recognition by means of an issue of stamps was Vasco da Gama. To mention his name recalls to mind the wonderful and perilous journey which he was the first to make around the southern point of Africa, and thence to India. Vasco was fortunate in living in Portugal at a time when this kingdom was at the height of its fame and prosperity. Financed by the then King, Manoel, he left Lisbon on July 8, 1497, with four vessels manned by 160 men. He took four long months to reach the island of St. Helena, and whilst rounding the Cape the trials of this brave band of men were terrible in the extreme. Calicut, in India, was reached on May 20, 1498, and after a short and none too pleasant stay among the unfriendly natives, a start for home was made. On returning to Portugal Vasco da Gama received a tremendous ovation from the King and the people.

The Portuguese stamps issued in 1898 to celebrate the fourth centenary of the discovery of the route to India bear very attractive pictures.

Three events of interest have given rise to special stamps in Italy: (a) The fiftieth anniversary of the[Pg 70] freedom of Sicily; (b) the jubilee of the kingdom of Italy; and (c) the festivities to commemorate the completion of the Venice Campanile.

To appreciate the meaning of the first two events, we must remember that the present kingdom of Italy was, less than sixty years ago, a number of little states, each contending against its neighbour. Sicily, one of the conflicting areas, was ruled by Ferdinand II. of Spain, a man noted for the harsh and tyrannical rule which he inflicted on his subjects. In answer to an appeal from the men of Sicily, Garibaldi sailed from Genoa with 1,000 followers, landed at Marsala on May 11, 1860, and took Palermo soon afterwards. The people were jubilant at his success, and Ferdinand was quickly deposed. Sicily joined Sardinia, and Victor Emmanuel reigned over the two territories.

In the same year, Central Italy, Southern Italy, the Papal States, and Naples, all joined the kingdom of Emmanuel and, in February, 1861, the first Parliament of all the Italian States was held at Turin. It was this event that was celebrated by the Italian Jubilee stamps.

The third event which the Italian stamps commemorated was the completion of the new Campanile in Venice. The old monument collapsed on the square of St. Mark's some ten years ago, and a new erection of similar design to the original one has been built in its place.

A very attractive series of stamps was placed on sale[Pg 71] throughout Austria in 1908 to commemorate the sixtieth year of the reign of Franz Joseph I. The labels are particularly interesting, as they reveal to us many Austrian rulers about whom our history books have much to say. They are as follows:

1 heller: Karl VI. Best known, perhaps, as the father of Maria Theresa.

2 heller: Maria Theresa.

3 heller: Joseph II. A great reformer, but a very harsh ruler.

5, 10, 25, 30, and 35 heller: Franz Joseph I.

6 heller: Leopold II. Brother and successor to Joseph II. Pacified the Netherlands and Hungary which his elder brother had inflamed.

12 heller: Franz I. Assisted Napoléon in his campaign against Russia, and later joined with other countries to break Napoleon's power.

20 heller: Ferdinand. Was persuaded to abdicate in favour of Franz Joseph, as he was too weak to rule in such troublous times.

The last commemorative stamps of which we shall speak were issued in 1913 by Russia to honour the House of Romanoff. The adhesives are printed in attractive colours, with bold designs, indicative of Russian art. The heads revealed to us in this striking portrait-gallery are those of Nicholas II., Peter I., Alexander II., Alexander III., Peter II., Katherine II., Nicholas I., Alexander I., Alexei Michaelovitch, Paul I., Elizabeth and Michael Feodorovitch.

Many other celebration stamps have appeared from time to time in various countries; notice of them may be found in any postage stamp catalogue.

[Pg 72]



That the picture stamps reposing in our collections are highly instructive as well as interesting needs little argument. We can sit in an armchair and learn the geography of half the world by means of the stamps bearing maps; we may wander, mentally, as far as the Antipodes, thanks to the stamps bearing views; we may learn about the birds of the air and the beasts of the forests from the stamps bearing animals. Matters of architecture, heraldry, local customs, mythology, and history, are other subjects which we may become acquainted with from our postage adhesives.

Perhaps the most interesting labels are those which portray the natural wonders of the wide-world. Let us turn first of all to the specimens from New Zealand. What delightful views the 1898 stamps give of Mount Cook, Lake Wakatipu, Mount Ruapehu, Lake Taupo, the Pink Terrace of Rotomahana and Milford Sound—names which to many of us are mere places mentioned in dry geography manuals, but here revealed in all their glory!

From New Zealand let us wander to Tasmania. On[Pg 73] these pages of our album we find interesting pictures of Lake Marion, Mount Wellington, the town of Hobart, Russell Falls, Lake St. Clair, and the waterfalls of Dilston.

Some View Stamps Some View Stamps 1 Lake Taupo and Mount Ruapehu 6 Mount Wellington 2 Llandovery Falls 7 Table Bay and Mountains 3 Sydney Harbour 8 View of Deboj 4 A View in Costa Rica 9 Pass of Narenta 5 A Turkish View

Curious though it may seem, waterfalls are favourite subjects for stamp ornamentation. We have Niagara on the 5 cents United States value of 1901; the Llandovery Falls on the 1d. 1900, Jamaica; the Kaieteur Falls on the 10 cents 1898 of British Guiana; the Stanley Falls and the Inkissi Falls on the 1894 Congo issue; also the Victoria Falls on the 1905 issue of British South Africa. Were we to place these picture stamps and others representing similar subjects side by side on a page by themselves in our collection, we should have quite a fine array of the world's most noted waterfalls.

Perhaps next to waterfalls, mountain views claim most popularity on postage labels. Besides those mentioned already, we have Mount Kini Balou on the 18 cents 1894, North Borneo; Table Mountain on the 1d. 1900, Cape of Good Hope; the Leon mountains on various Nicaraguan issues; Popocatepetl on the 1 peso 1899, Mexico; Mount Konaluanui on the 2 cent 1894, Hawaii, and others.

Historic buildings are, as one would expect, frequently represented in our collections. A most interesting stamp is the Chinese label bearing a view of the Temple of Heaven, a sacred edifice erected to the memory of Confucius, to which the Emperor repairs periodically[Pg 74] and prays for the favour of Heaven. The Kremlin and Winter Palace, both well-known Russian buildings, figure on the stamps of the Tsar. The Grecian adhesives reveal pictures of the Acropolis, including the Parthenon and Stadium; the Egyptian adhesives show a sphinx and the Pyramids; a Dominican adhesive bears a picture representing the Mausoleum of Columbus; whilst a recent issue from Turkey, celebrating the recapture of Adrianople, bears a fine view of the Mosque of Selim.

Of curious things our stamps provide us in plenty. A Newfoundland adhesive shows an iceberg; a Toga stamp, a breadfruit-tree; a Tasmanian stamp, Tasman's Arch; a Kedah stamp, a sheaf of rice; a North Borneo stamp, a sago palm; a Columbian stamp, an American execution; a Bahamas stamp, a staircase; another Toga stamp, a prehistoric trilith; a Canadian stamp, a map of the British possessions; a Roumanian stamp, a picture of the Queen nursing a wounded soldier; a Portuguese stamp, the vision of St. Anthony; a Liberian stamp, a coffee plantation; a United States stamp, an aeroplane; and a Peruvian stamp, a suspension bridge.

The Toga trilith, it may be well to explain, is an erection composed of three large blocks of stone placed together like door-posts and a lintel, and standing by themselves. It may be compared with the monuments at Stonehenge, or the Druidical monoliths to be seen at Carnac, in Brittany.[Pg 75]

If mythology be of interest, the stamps of Greece will prove attractive. This country offers some capital pictures of gladiators, disc-throwers, wrestlers; of Hermes, Apollo, Atlas, Iris, Pallas Athene; of ancient chariots, vases; as well as tableaux representing such incidents as "Atlas offering the apples of Hesperides to Hercules," and "The struggle between Hercules and Antæus."

Ships, some noted and others merely curious, figure on many labels. We have an Atlantic schooner on a Newfoundland stamp; a native canoe on a Papuan stamp; a Nile steamboat on an Egyptian stamp; a dhow on a Borneo stamp; the flagship of Columbus on a Grenada stamp; Cabot's ship, the Matthew, leaving the Avon, and Guy's ship, the Endeavour, on Newfoundland stamps; and the Hohenzollern, the German Emperor's yacht, on the unattractive stamps of the German colonies.

Of animals there are far too many for individual mention, but the following are some of those depicted in our "philatelic zoo": A kangaroo, zebra, dromedary, camel, platypus, elephant, hippopotamus, lizard, giraffe, dog, gnu, codfish, springbok, seal, egret, parrot, wryneck, emu, lyre bird, ptarmigan, chimpanzee, boar, rhinoceros, honey bear, ourang-outang, stag, argus pheasant, panther, crocodile, and kiwi.

Some entire issues of stamps are particularly interesting if they be considered solely from the pictorial standpoint. Probably the Bosnian issue of 1906 is the[Pg 76] finest in this matter. The scenes represented in this attractive collection are—

1 heller: View of Deboj.

2 heller: View of Mostar.

3 heller: Plima Tower at Jaice.

5 heller: Pass of Narenta, with view of the Prenj.

6 heller: Ramatae.

10 heller: Road in the Valley of Vrba.

20 heller: Old bridge at Mostar.

25 heller: Sarajevo.

30 heller: Animal carrying letters on passes.

35 heller: Pavilion at Jezero.

40 heller: Mail waggon with horses.

45 heller: Market at Sarajevo.

50 heller: Mail motor-waggon.

1 kreutzer: The Carsija at Sarajevo.

2 kreutzer: The Lucas Tower at Jaice.

Sarajevo, it will be remembered, was the scene of the assassination of the Austrian Archduke, in 1914, whilst other places shown in the above pictures have come to our notice through the despatches bearing on the great European War.

How can we make the most of all these interesting and beautiful picture stamps? Quite a good plan is to build up a collection devoted to these attractive labels alone, arranging them not according to their countries, but according to the subject represented by them. For instance, there are sufficient stamps portraying animals to permit of a zoological section, arranged in scientific groups—mammals, birds, reptiles, etc. Of course, a good deal of written explanations should be provided with each adhesive. The Greek stamp representing Atlas might be followed by a brief account of the arduous duties imposed upon this unfortunate hero; the Toga stamp with the trilith might be accompanied by the short note given a few paragraphs above; whilst the stamps bearing geographical features might have little sketch-maps placed underneath them so that their exact positions may be learnt. If this plan be followed, the picture stamps will become extremely fascinating, and our store of general knowledge enhanced considerably.

[Pg 77]



What a wealth of history is recalled by a glance through the pages of our stamp albums! The romantic changes which France has undergone, the efforts made by Germany for securing a wider empire, the ups and downs of Spain, the gradual growth of Italy, and a hundred other indications of progress and decay are all reflected therein.

Let us take, first of all, the case of Germany. In[Pg 78] the earliest years we find stamps issued by a multitude of little States—i.e., Baden, Bavaria, Bergedorf, Brunswick, Hanover, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Odenburg, Prussia, Saxony, etc.—whilst the towns of Hamburg, Bremen, and Lubeck also had individual postal rights of their own. The first step of consolidation came on January 1, 1868, when most of the above authorities joined what was called the North German Confederation, and nearly all of the separate units ceased to issue stamps. The Confederation adhesives were current from 1868 to 1871—that is, until the German Empire sprang into being. When the Franco-German War of 1870-1871 placed the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine under Prussian rule, special German stamps were sold in the captured territory. As they bore values in centimes, they were withdrawn as soon as "groschens" and "kreuzers" became generally current. A less important instance of Prussian absorption occurred on August 9, 1890, when the labels of Heligoland bearing a portrait of Queen Victoria were replaced by the regular German stamps. Further Teutonic progress is made evident by the numerous colonial issues which this kingdom has placed on sale since 1897. Lastly, may be mentioned the adhesives bearing the familiar effigy of "Germania," overprinted for use in Belgium.

The stamps of Spain are also interesting. The first issue (January 1, 1850) bore very crude portraits of the unscrupulous Queen Isabella II. Various sets, all[Pg 79] of them highly inartistic, were issued between 1850 and 1868. In the latter year a revolution occurred, and the Queen was deposed, a republic being instituted instead of the monarchy. Isabella's stamps were temporarily overprinted with the words "HABILITADO POR LA NACION," and when the stock was exhausted, a new design, bearing an allegorical head typifying Liberty and Spain, became current. The republic did not last long, for the claims to the throne of the Duke of Aosta were considered well founded, and he was crowned King in 1872. Amadeus, as he was called, figured on the stamps for a brief twelve months. These were stormy times. Unable to cope with them, he abdicated, and the republic was reinstated, the new stamps bearing first an allegorical figure of Peace and then of Justice. But even the representative Government was short-lived. The people once more turned to the House of Bourbon, and Alfonso XII. became King. He reigned ten years, and was then succeeded by his son, Alfonso XIII., the present ruling Sovereign.

The Italian adhesives are no less interesting. We have already indicated the manner in which Modena, Naples, Parma, Romagna, the Roman States, Sicily, Tuscany, and Sardinia joined together to form the Kingdom of Italy, and elected the King of Sardinia to be the new Sovereign. This latter was Victor Emmanuel II. He was succeeded by his son, Humbert I., who fell by the assassin's hand whilst riding on the outskirts of Milan in 1900. The present King,[Pg 80] a fine example of soldier and statesman, is Victor Emmanuel III.

Probably no stamps reveal greater matters of historical importance than those of our neighbour, France. When adhesives were first issued by this country a republic was in power, and so an allegorical head, that of Ceres, embellished the new labels. In 1852 Louis Napoléon became President of the Republic, and, being a man who loved notoriety, he placed his bust upon the ten and twenty-five centimes values. Later on, as is known to all, he became Napoléon III.,[4] Emperor of the French, and the wording on the adhesives was changed from REPUB. FRANC. to EMPIRE FRANC. Later on, in 1863, to mark the successes which the French won over the Austrians, the head of Napoléon was encircled in a laurel crown. The final stage was reached in October, 1870, when the Germans gained an almost crushing victory over the French. As a result, the Empire fell, and a republic once more ruled over the country. The head of the Emperor was removed from the stamps, and Ceres again[Pg 81] appeared upon them. Thus the adhesives of France plainly indicate the changing course taken by the Government of our neighbour across the Channel.

[4] As there was no Napoléon II., readers may wonder why the above monarch received the title of Napoléon III. The reason is a highly amusing one. The draft of the proclamation issued by the Government announcing his ascendancy to the throne commenced with the following words: "Vive Napoléon!!!" The printer took the three exclamation marks to be the figures III, and his press accordingly reproduced the mistake some thousands of times over. Before the error was discovered, Paris and the other great towns had been placarded with the incorrect imprints. There was no time to lose, so the Emperor, much to the amusement of his courtiers, agreed to take the title of Napoléon III.

Zoological Stamps Zoological Stamps 1 Dromedary 5 Quetzal 9 Springbok and Gnu 2 Kangaroo 6 Tiger 10 Emu 3 Giraffe 7 Panther 11 Malay Stag 4 Anteater 8 Swan

If we turn to the stamps of Portugal, a most interesting array of monarchs will be revealed. Queen Maria figures upon the earliest stamps, but after two years of currency her portrait gave place to that of King Pedro V., which in turn was followed by a representation of King Luiz. In 1889 King Carlos ascended the throne, and his effigy was given on the issues of 1892 and 1895. The assassination of Carlos and his elder son, which shocked the whole world, resulted in the appearance of King Manoel's features upon the stamps printed between 1908 and 1910. The events which marred his short and stormy reign are known to all, and in 1910 he took up his abode in England. Afterwards a republic sprang up, and the present adhesives bear the imprint of Liberty.

If we leave Europe and examine the stamps of the remaining four continents, many other events of great historical bearing will be revealed. The labels of the Transvaal, for instance, tell of two British occupations and two republics; the Egyptian labels show Turkish influence followed by a British protectorate; the early United States labels hint at the war which was waged to put down slavery; whilst the Cuban labels indicate Spanish occupation, followed first by the protection of the United States, and then by the creation of an independent republic. The adhesives of the Central and South American republics are worthy of special note, as they point to insurrections, wars, provisional governments, and troublous times in general. But no matter where we turn in our albums, interesting landmarks of the world's history will be revealed by our treasured labels.

[Pg 82]



Among the most interesting stamps which figure in our collections are those which owe their origin to the stern necessities of war. Stamps which fall into this division are of two main classes: those needed for the use of troops fighting outside their own territory, and those called into being by the subjugation of the enemy's country.

The Great War of Europe, as the conflict of 1914-15 has been called, has naturally provided many additions to the list of war stamps.

1. Germany has overprinted its own labels with the word "Belgien," and these are of some rarity when in a used condition.

2. Many of the German colonial issues have been overprinted with words suggesting British or French occupation. We have, for instance, the Togo yacht stamps bearing the inscription "Anglo-French Occupation," and the Samoa yacht labels stamped with the letters "G.R.I."

Some Hapsburg Portraits Some Hapsburg Portraits 1 Karl VI 4 Franz Josef I in 1908 7 Ferdinand 2 Maria Theresa 5 Leopold II 8 Franz Josef in 1884 3 Joseph II 6 Franz I 9 Franz Josef in 1878

[Pg 83]

3. In cases where the German colonial issues have run short in the conquered settlements we find that labels of British or French origin have been pressed into service—for instance, New Zealand stamps have been overprinted for use in Samoa.

All these classes of war labels permit of many interesting varieties, but, whenever possible, used specimens should be preferred to those which have not passed through the post. We make this statement because certain belligerent countries endeavoured to replenish their exchequers by the sale, to philatelists, of uncancelled copies.

The stamps used by troops who are fighting outside their own territory are probably the most valuable of war labels. The British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium was at the outset provided with ordinary English postal adhesives. These adhesives, when bearing such postmarks as "Army Base Post Office, France," or the ordinary cancel marks of Ostend, Boulogne, Paris, etc., are extremely valuable. When the British stamps ran short, letters were franked by postmarks alone, and these are well worth collecting. The circular and rectangular marks bearing the word "Passed by Censor" are also interesting.

Communications coming from the Fleet bear cancel marks formed by a number of concentric rings. The varieties of this postal mark should be prized.

In all cases the complete envelope or card must be placed in the collection intact, and not just the cut-out postmark.[Pg 84]

Probably the most carefully planned army postal service is that possessed by our Indian troops. Adhesive stamps are generally used on correspondence, the ordinary Indian issues, overprinted with the letters I.E.F. being employed.

From a Field Service Manual[5] on "Posts and Telegraphs," we have been able to glean a few details respecting the organization and establishment of the Indian military post offices. In times of peace a stock of tents and equipment, sufficient for the supply of three base post offices, fifty first-class field post offices, ten second-class field post offices, and for the supervising staff, is kept in store at Lahore in the charge of the Postal Department of the Punjab.

[5] Quoted from Stamp Collecting, December 5, 1914.

On the outbreak of war the military postal service is organized by the Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs in India according to the requirements of the Army authorities.

The supervising staff is selected by him from a roll of European volunteers for such service maintained in his office, the full war establishment consisting of six Directors or Deputy Directors, eighteen Assistant Directors, twenty-four Inspectors, and fifty Postmasters. The rest of the establishment is selected by the Postmaster-General of the Punjab.

One Director or Deputy Director, two Assistant Directors, and four Inspectors constitute the normal postal personnel of an expeditionary force. They wear[Pg 85] the ordinary field service uniform of the Indian Army according to their respective ranks, distinguished by the word "Post" on the shoulder straps.

Stamps from the Great War Zone Stamps from the "Great War" Zone 1 Russia 6 Union of South Africa 11 Prussia 2 Belgium 7 France 12 Bavaria 3 Montenegro 8 Luxembourg 13 Austria 4 Great Britain 9 Portugal 14 Turkey 5 Egypt 10 Servia

The following extracts from the Indian Army Order, No. 619, dated November 10, 1913, are of interest:

"7. The Director or Deputy Director, or, in his absence, the Postmaster-General under whose orders he is to work, should, on receipt of the first intimation that a force is to be mobilized, take the earliest opportunity to consult the General Officer appointed to command the force as to the postal requirements of the force in respect of the number of field post offices, the classes of postal business to be undertaken, the establishment to be provided, etc. As far as possible, the wishes of the General Officer commanding should be carried out.

"23. The Director-General will arrange that the treasury nearest to the base office is supplied with about ten times its normal supply of ordinary postage stamps (including postcards and envelopes), and that a sufficient stock is maintained throughout the campaign. The base post office should thus be in a position to supply at once the postage stamps required in field post offices. If there is no treasury at hand, a sufficient supply of postage stamps of all descriptions must be kept at the base post office. The base post office will be supplied with an iron safe, or two, if necessary.

"24. The requisite stamps, scales, bags, and other articles of stock sufficient for six months' requirements, will be furnished to the base post office for its own use, and for distribution, under the orders of the Director[Pg 86] or Deputy Director, to field post offices. Section 5 B shows the books, forms, stamps, etc., required for field post offices. All books, forms, and articles of stock should be packed in the prescribed mule trunks, each of which, when packed, should not exceed one maund in weight. The books, forms, and stamps required by the base post office will be the same as those used by a head office in India performing the same classes of business; but in addition to the ordinary stamps it will be supplied with a special 'postage cancelled' stamp."

Another form of war stamp is the charity stamps; these have been issued by various countries in order to collect money for Red Cross and other funds. The labels serve for ordinary postal work, but as a rule cost a halfpenny or penny above face value. A charge of three-halfpence, for instance, is made for a penny stamp, a penny of the sum being appropriated by the postal authorities, and a halfpenny being remitted to the Red Cross Fund. So far, France, Monaco, Belgium, Russia, Austria, and Hungary have printed charity labels, and other countries have such issues in contemplation. It may be mentioned that various bogus charity stamps appearing to emanate from Belgium have reached this country from Holland and elsewhere; all such labels, therefore, should be accepted with caution.

War stamps date back, at least, to the time of the Crimea. In this campaign the British forces instituted a military post office at Constantinople with branch offices at Balaclava and Scutari. No special[Pg 87] stamps were given to the soldiers, the current British penny reds being used. The postmarks, however, were distinctive, and it is therefore possible to distinguish between the red labels used in the ordinary way at home and those used by the Expeditionary Force. The distinctive postmarks were:

1. A crown placed between two stars, with straight bars above and below, the whole forming an oval.

2. A star placed between two noughts; then as No. 1.

As few people know of this rare and interesting form of obliteration, it is quite possible to come across specimens when buying the penny reds in quantities for reconstructing plates.

Other war stamps are—(1) The Alsace and Lorraine issue, which was printed primarily for military use during the Franco-German campaign; (2) the overprinted issues of Peru, used during the occupation of this republic by Chilian forces; (3) the Egyptian issue overprinted with the word "Soudan," at the time when Lord Kitchener was carrying on the Soudan campaign; (4) the V.R.I. issues of the Transvaal; (5) the Italian issues bearing the overprint "Lybia," current during the Italian-Turkish War; and (6) the many issues which resulted from the Balkan War of 1912.

Before concluding this chapter, it may be well to speak of the Spanish stamps of 1874-1879, and 1898-99, which bear the inscription, "Impuesto de Guerra." These labels were not war stamps in the ordinary sense, but stamps issued to collect a war-tax. After the Carlist War, the insurrection of Cartagena, the Civil War in Cuba, and the Spanish-American War, the Government decided to impose a war-tax upon a number of articles, such as letters, telegrams, theatre tickets and railway tickets. The stamps bearing the above inscription were therefore issued to facilitate the collection of these taxes. When the used copies have done postal duty they may be looked upon as postage stamps, but collectors should avoid purchasing specimens which served for theatre, railway, and the various other uses.

[Pg 88]



The ardent philatelist is not only interested in his own collection, but is ever keen on inspecting those of other people. A great treat, therefore, for the reader who lives in London, or who is staying in the great metropolis, is a visit to the British Museum, where the famous Tapling Collection is stored. To find one's way about the vast treasure-house in Bloomsbury is no easy matter, but the stamp exhibits will be quickly located if the visitor, on entering, takes the first public turning to the right and then the first on the left. The cases are placed about half-way down the King's Library, on the right-hand side.

Stamps coming from Countries Stamps coming from Countries which no longer have Separate Issues 1 Victoria 4 Cape of Good Hope 7 Heligoland 2 States of the Church 5 Natal 8 New South Wales 3 South Australia 6 South African Republic 9 Queensland

[Pg 89]

The collection is housed in three separate cupboards, and the stamps are arranged under glass in frames. It may be well to add that the position is not a very good one from the point of view of lighting, and, unless the visitor goes during the brightest part of the day, he will lose much of the enjoyment on this account.

It is difficult to say which are the most interesting specimens in the collection, for nearly all the great rarities are present. The issues of Great Britain, however, are very complete, and should, therefore, be examined with care. Not only are there copies of the "penny blacks" and "twopenny blues," sufficient to delight the heart of any very advanced collector, but there are also copies of the most valuable early surface-printed specimens. Some of the essays—i.e., stamps made for purposes of trial—are extremely interesting. These issues, naturally, do not fall into the ordinary collector's possession, but here they are to be inspected in hundreds. There are, for instance, about twenty-five essays, in different colours, of the penny with Queen Victoria's head, which was issued in lilac. There are also countless specimens of the complete 1884 issue in various shades from crimson to blue, whilst the tenpenny value of 1890 is shown in half a dozen different combinations of colour. A very curious essay to be seen here is a penny line-engraved stamp bearing a profile of Prince Consort. Apparently, this tentative label never received official sanction, as the people of Great Britain might have[Pg 90] considered the innovation a slight to the Queen they loved.

Among the entires of Great Britain there are many long-forgotten treasures, such as the penny-farthing postcard, the twopenny card, and the South Kensington Jubilee cards.

Of colonial stamps there are some particularly complete sets of early issues. The "Sydney Views" of New South Wales are shown in whole panes of twenty-five, the triangular Capes are given in numbers, whilst the array of early Mauritius adhesives is not to be surpassed. The postcards of Ceylon are also worthy of mention.

It should be pointed out that some of the greatest rarities have been removed from the ordinary cases and placed in the Cracherode Room, where, however, they can still be viewed at leisure. The whole collection is said to be worth £100,000, was bequeathed to the Trustees of the Museum by the late Mr. T. K. Tapling, M.P., and has been in their hands since 1891. No stamps have been added to the collection since it came into the Trustees' possession, so that specimens of a later date are conspicuous by their absence.

Another fine collection of stamps is possessed by the postal authorities in Newgate Street, but, unfortunately, no facilities are given for public inspection. The labels in this collection are in an unused condition, and consist largely of the specimens which are sent out by every country belonging to the Universal[Pg 91] Postal Union. This collection also contains a number of trial and "imprimatur" sheets of British stamps.

Commemorative Stamps Commemorative Stamps 1 U.S.A.: Columbus issue 2 U.S.A.: Columbus issue 3 Canada: Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee 4 Canada: Penny Postage to Colonies 5 Roumania: Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Establishment of the Kingdom 6 Portuguese India: Vasco da Gama Celebration 7 Switzerland: Jubilee of Postal Union 8 U.S.A.: Jamestown Exhibition issue 9 Italy: Fiftieth year of Kingdom

King George's collection is probably one of the most interesting in the world. It is a private collection, and therefore not on view; but sections of it, however, have been exhibited from time to time. Mr. F. J. Melville, who is well acquainted with its contents, tells us in "Chats on Postage Stamps" (p. 312) that—

"The collection contains the original sketch of W. Mulready, R.A., for the famous envelopes and letter-sheets of 1840, to which reference has been made. Then there is the historic pair of sketches in water-colours, roughly executed by Sir Rowland Hill to show the approximate appearance of the penny stamp in black and the twopenny stamp in blue.

"All the Victorian surface-printed series are shown imperforate, including the 3d., with reticulated background; 3d., plate 3 ("dot"); 4d., in lake, watermarked "small garter"; 6d., plate 1 on safety paper, and plate 3 with hair-lines; 9d., plate 3, with hair-lines, and plate 5; 10d., plate 2; 1s., plate 1 on safety paper; plate 3 with hair-lines, 4 in an unissued colour—lilac; 2s., plate 3; 10s., £1, and £5, on blue paper.

"Of the ordinary stamps of King Edward's reign, the Royal collection contains several essays and proofs of great interest. A photograph of a stamp made up from Herr Füchs's original sketch of King Edward's head, enclosed in the newly designed frame and border, deservedly comes first, and bears the late King's written[Pg 92] approval: from this, temporary copper-plates were engraved so that the effect might be noted, and three proofs therefrom are included. Unfortunately, the final result did not come up to the anticipated standard, and there was some talk about having a fresh design prepared after the style of the then new Transvaal stamps, but this fell through on the ground of expense; proofs of this also are in the collection, together with various colour-trials of the penny value, as adopted."

The King's collection also contains specimens of—(a) The unissued Tyrian-plum twopenny, Great Britain; (b) Mauritius penny red, post office; (c) British Guiana, many of the 1860-1862 issues; (d) some very fine stamps of Nevis, Hongkong, Grenada, Trinidad, and Bermuda.

Other Famous Collectors.

Monsieur la Rénotière, of Paris.
The late Lord Crawford.
Mr. Henry Duveen.
King Manoel of Portugal.
The late Judge Philbrick.
Earl of Kintore.
Mr. Henry J. Crocker, of San Francisco.






Crown 4to., paper boards, cloth back, with picture in colour on the cover, each containing 58 illustrations, of which 32 are in colour.

The Children's World
The World in Pictures
The British Isles in Pictures
The British Empire in Pictures
Europe in Pictures
How other People Live
Beasts and Birds
Gardens in their Seasons
Pictures of British History
More Pictures of British History
Pictures of Famous Travel.

NOTE.—These volumes are also to be had in cloth at 2s. each.

Large crown 8vo., cloth, with frontispiece.

Eric; or, Little by Little
St. Winifred's; or, The World of School
Julian Home: a Tale of College Life

Scott's Waverley Novels. See also list at the end of this Catalogue.



Large crown 8vo., cloth, each containing 8 full page illustrations in colour.

Guy Mannering
Rob Roy
The Pirate, and A Legend of Montrose
The Antiquary
Fortunes of Nigel
Quentin Durward

How to Use the Microscope. A Guide for the Novice. Containing 20 full-page illustrations from photo-micrographs, etc.

Life and Legends of other Lands: Norse and Lapp Containing 12 full-page illustrations in colour.


[Pg 94]

PRICE 1/6 NET EACH (Continued)

Large crown 8vo., cloth, with picture in colour on the cover.


Each containing 12 full-page illustrations in colour.

British North Borneo
Delhi and the Durbar
Egypt, Ancient
Holy Land
New York
New Zealand
South Africa
South Seas

*Also to be had in French at 2s. net each. See "Les Beaux Voyages" Series. For Larger Series of "Peeps at Many Lands and Cities," see list of 3s. 6d. net Books.


Each containing 16 full-page illustrations, 8 of them in colour.

Bird Life of the Seasons
British Butterflies
British Ferns, Club-Mosses, and Horsetails
British Land Mammals
Common British Moths
Natural History of the Garden
The Naturalist at the Sea-Shore
Pond Life
British Reptiles and Amphibians
Romance of the Rocks
Wild Flowers and their Wonderful Ways
Common British Beetles


Each containing 8 full-page illustrations in colour, and 20 line drawings in the text.

The Barbary Rovers


Great Western Railway
London and North-Western Railway
North-Eastern and Great Northern Railways (in 1 volume)
South-Eastern and Chatham and London, Brighton and South Coast Railways (in 1 volume)


Each containing 24 full-page illustrations from photographs.



Peeps at the Heavens
Peeps at Architecture
Peeps at Heraldry
Peeps at Great Men: Sir Walter Scott
Peeps at Royal Palaces of Great Britain
Peeps at the Royal Navy
Peeps at Great Steamship Lines: The P. and O.


India. Containing 12 full-page illustrations in colour.


PRICE 1/6 NET EACH (Continued)


Large square demy 8vo., bound in cloth, each containing 12 full-page illustrations in colour.

Channel Islands
English Lakes
Firth of Clyde
Girton College
Isle of Arran
Isle of Man
Isle of Wight
Peak Country
Stratford-on-Avon Leamington & Warwick
North Wales
Westminster Abbey
Windsor and Eton




Large crown 8vo., cloth, each containing 12 full-page illustrations colour and a sketch-map.



SCOTT'S WAVERLEY NOVELS. See also list at the end of this Catalogue.

"PICTURES OF MANY LANDS" SERIES. See list on page 1 of this Catalogue.


Containing 16 full-page illustrations from photographs. What the Other Children do



Large crown 8vo., cloth, each containing 12 full-page illustrations in colour.

Les Contes de ma Grand'mère



Large crown 8vo., illustrated.

Stories of Old. (Small crown 4to.)
Eric; or, Little by Little
St. Winifred's; or, The World of School
Julian Home: A Tale of College Life
Stories from Waverley. 2nd Series.
Scott's Waverley Novels. See also list at the end of this Catalogue.



Larger Volumes in the style of the Popular One Shilling and Sixpenny net "PEEPS

Each containing 32 full-page illustrations in colour.

The World
The British Empire
The Gorgeous East (India, Burma, Ceylon, and Siam)
The Far East (China, Japan, and Korea)
Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, and South Seas)

Large crown 8vo., cloth.

The Open Book of Nature: A Book of Nature Study for Young People. 16 full-page illustrations in colour and 114 reproductions from
photographs, etc.

The Alps. 24 full-page illustrations from photographs

The Holy Land. (Not illustrated)



Large square crown 8vo., cloth, each containing 12 full-page
illustrations in colour.

Les Petits Aventuriers en Amérique
La Guerre aux Fauves
Un Tour en Mélanesie
La Case de l'Oncle Tom (8 pictures in colour and 16 in black and white)
Voyages de Gulliver

[Pg 97]

PRICE 3/6 NET EACH (Continued)



Square demy 8vo., cloth, each containing 48 full-page illustrations
from photographs.

Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture
Gothic Architecture
Greek Architecture
Norman Architecture
Romanesque Architecture



Large crown 8vo., cloth, each containing 8 full-page illustrations in colour

The Black Bear
The Cat
The Dog
The Fowl
The Fox
The Lion
The Rat
The Squirrel
The Tiger

Large crown 8vo., cloth, illustrated.

*In the Grip of the Wild Wa
Tales of St. Austin's
The Head of Kay's
Mike: A Public School Story
The Gold Bat
Psmith in the City
The Pothunters
A Prefect's Uncle
The White Feather
*The First Voyages of Glorious Memory (Hakluyt)
*Nipping Bear
*The Adventures of Don Quixote
*Park's Travels in the Interior of Africa
*By a Schoolboy's Hand
*Exiled from School
*From Fag to Monitor
The Sea Monarch
*The Scouts of Seal Island
*Cook's Voyages and Discoveries
Dana's Two Years Before the Mast
*The Divers
Stories from Waverley
*The Life of St. Paul
*The Book of Celtic Stories
*The Book of London
*The Book of Stars
*Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress
*Children's Book of Gardening
The Feats of Foozle
Now and Then
The Right Sort
God's Lantern-Bearers
*The Kinsfolk and Friends of Jesus

* With illustrations in colour.

Continued on next page.

[Pg 98]

PRICE 3/6 EACH (Continued)

Large crown 8vo., cloth, illustrated.

The Story of Stories: A Life of Christ for the Young
*Tales from Scottish Ballads
The Story of a Scout
Two Boys in War-Time
*The Story of Robin Hood and His Merry Men
*The Wolf Patrol
*Jack Haydon's Quest
Red Men of the Dusk
The Saints in Story
*The Vicar of Wakefield
The Mystery of Markham
Black Evans
J. O. Jones, and How He Earned His Living
Jim Mortimer
Green at Greyhouse
Tales of Greyhouse
*Robinson Crusoe
*Eric; or, Little by Little
*St. Winifred's; or, The World of School
*Julian Home: A Tale of College Life
*Beasts of Business
Hero and Heroine
*Stories. (Ascott R. Hope)
Half-Text History. (No illustrations)
Black and Blue
Cap and Gown Comedy (No illustrations)
All Astray
*The King Who Never Died
*The Bull of the Kraal
*A Tale of the Time of the Cave Men
Tangerine: A Child's Letters from Morocco
*Willy Wind, and Jock and the Cheeses
*Life of Sir Walter Scott
Scott's Poetical Works
Scott's Waverley Novels. See also list at the end of this Catalogue.

* With illustrations in colour.]


Large crown 8vo., cloth.

Through the Telescope
The Life and Love of the Insect
The Ramparts of Empire
The Moose
Highways and Byways of the Zoological Gardens
Wild Life on the Wing

Demy 4to. (oblong), cloth gilt.

Our Old Nursery Rhymes
Little Songs of Long Ago (More Old Nursery Rhymes)


Crown 8vo., cloth.

Here and There. (Illustrated)
The Schoolboy Abroad
Ready-Made Romance
Dramas in Duodecimo
Half-and-Half Tragedy.



Small square demy 8vo., cloth, with illustrations in colour.

Grimm's Fairy Tales
Æsop's Fables
The Arabian Nights
Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales
Swiss Family Robinson
The Fairchild Family
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Adventurers in America
The Children's Book of Edinburgh
The Children's Book of Art
Children's Tales of English Minsters
Greek Wonder Tales
Russian Wonder Tales
Tales from "The Earthly Paradise"
Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World
Talks about Birds
Red Cap Tales
Red Cap Adventures
The Tales of a Grandfather
The Book of the Railway


PUBLISHED AT 1s. Od., 9d., and 6d. EACH


Eric; or, Little by Little
St. Winifred's; or, The World of School
Julian Home: A Tale of College Life
Rab and his Friends.



Large crown 8vo., each containing 6 full-page illustrations.

St. Albans
St. Paul's

Scott's Waverley Novels. Portrait Edition. Crown 8vo., cloth, each volume containing a frontispiece in colour. See also list at the end of this Catalogue.


Black's Painting Book for Children. By Agnes Nightingale. Containing 23 page outline pictures for colouring. Small crown 4to., bound in attractive cover.



Demy 8vo., picture paper covers.

*Eric; or, Little by Little
*St. Winifred's; or, The World of School
*Julian Home A Tale of College Life
Scott's Waverley Novels. See also list following

* These may be had bound together in cloth cover for 2s. 6d.]



The Authentic Editions of Scott are published solely by A. and C. Black, who purchased along with the copyright the interleaved set of the Waverley Novels in which Sir Walter Scott noted corrections and improvements almost to the day of his death. The under-noted editions have been collated word for word with this set, and many inaccuracies, some of them ludicrous, corrected.


Guy Mannering
The Antiquary
Rob Roy
Old Mortality
Montrose, and Black Dwarf
The Heart of Midlothian
The Bride of Lammermoor
The Monastery
The Abbot
The Pirate
The Fortunes of Nigel
Peveril of the Peak
Quentin Durward
St. Ronan's Well
The Betrothed, etc.
The Talisman
The Fair Maid of Perth
Anne of Geierstein
Count Robert of Paris
The Surgeon's Daughter, etc.

For Details regarding Editions and Prices see below.


New Popular Edition. 25 Volumes. Price 6d. per Volume.
The Portrait Edition. 25 Volumes. Price 1/- net per Volume.
Victoria Edition. 25 Volumes. Price 1/6 per Volume.
Two Shilling Edition. 25 Volumes. Price 2/- per Volume.
Standard Edition. 25 Volumes. Price 2/6 per Volume.
Dryburgh Edition. 25 Volumes. Price 3/6 per Volume.


Transcriber’s notes

Hyphenation has been standardized, e.g., "watermarks." Typographical errors have been corrected as follows:

Page 25 - "separtaion" replaced with "separation"

Figure after page 48, missing parenthesis added

Page 71 - Accent on Napoléon for consistency.

Note: some books are listed twice in the back with different prices, e.g. "Eric; or, Little by Little".

End of Project Gutenberg's Peeps at Postage Stamps, by Stanley Currie Johnson


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