Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week #2016.07 on SébPhilatélie, other blogs and medias

A week of crossposts.

Monday February 15th: the century long life and career of Ken Baker.
Thank to the reading of StampBoards threads, I discovered two of the charismatic stamp dealers of Australia. On Sunday 14th I summarized the life of Max Stern who passed away the Thursday before, then I discovered Ken Baker, who left us on January, a Londoner migrant who became a successfull dealer first in Melbourne, then in Sydney.

To read the souvenirs Ken Baker told dealer Glen Stephens in English, the latter published them on his editorial website in March 2012 to mark Baker's centenary.

Friday February 19th: Cyprus classical philately at 41 Devonshire Place.
Despite being a complete moron on classical traditional philately and bored at the idea of sorting all these stamps myself to understand printing methods, I was amazed by Akis Christou's conference at the Royal Philatelic Society London.

About the Victorian stamps of Cyprus from 1880 to 1896, he went into all the details one can know about all the varieties affecting their overprints, even the - difficult - possibility of plating one of this issue by replacing blocks of stamps depending on the full sheet watermark!

As always, the video can be easily found by the Society's members and all guests can browse the pdf file.

Saturday February 20th: The Penguin Post Office backstage on BBC Radio 4.
A small discovery yesterday: British news and culture public channel Radio 4 broadcasted again last Christmas time the behind-the-scene testimony by the natural documentary crew that went to Antarctica to film The Penguin Post Office. between October 2013 and St David's Day 2014.
BBC Radio 4's chosen picture of the museum and post office, and a small part of the thousand noisy and  smelling penguins (Radio 4 website).
The TV show was viewable prime time on BBC 2 on July 2014 and on PBS in January 2015. The United States public channel issued a dvd, surely blocked on zone 1 [Readers in Canada and U.S. will make me happy to check what the dvd zoning number logo is, please].

The backstage documentary is breathtaking during the cruise from South America to the Antarctic Peninsula among the iceberg and the blizzard. The second part of the five episodes manages to present the long and patient wait for the penguins and other animals to do what you need to film, the difficulties of the crew managing both the filming (or lack of filming) and the maintenance of their living equipment.

The philatelist will of course enjoy the small talks with the Postmistress and her assistant, waiting for the tourist boats to arrive. The museum and post office is operated since 1996 by the United Kingdom Antartic Heritage Trust, that found a good brand with "the penguin post office", and uses stamps of the British Antarctic Territory.

Sunday February 21st: hangover or begin of wisdom in Adelaide?
All quiet on the Australian front, just the eBay shells falling here and there - my little centenary of the battle of Verdun touch, while StampBoards generals philosophing on philatelic strategies.

Were are we these past week? A stripe of unused six Adelaide emergency 30 cent stamps seems to be at 2,000 Australian dollars. The albino inverted "$1.00" error in a strip of six passed the 5,000 dollar mark. Used on cover or little kiloware paper clip are under the thousand, largely depending on their date of cancellation: look for anything cancelled well before the mediatisation mid-January ; better the 6 and 7 january ones.

On StampBoards starting with page 13, the talks were a little bit more philatelic than speculative: what happened to create the "30c" and "$1.00" albino inverted errors.

The speculative hopes will come from three catalogue editors (Gibbons, Scott and Seven Seas Stamps), two of them are preparing their new Australia catalogue... A new stampede from overseas now?

In the March 2016 issue of Stamp Magazine.
While I late discovered the now famous "treasure chest" full of undelivered letters, kept by French huguenot postmaster Simon de Brienne in The Hague, in the future Netherlands, my letter to Stamp Magazine was published to highlight the enthusiastic interview of historian David Van der Linden on France Culture.
The famous chest and its letters (© Signed, Sealed & Undelivered Team, 2015. Courtesy Museum voor Communicatie, The Hague, Netherlands).

The speculative bubble in Adelaide, Australia bothers me on a regular bothering matter in philately and postal history: the high cost one goes to buy a unused or clearly cancelled isolated stamp and on't bother that, in the second case, an envelope was destroyed in the process...

... That's why I like David Van der Linden and his colleagues' wish not to unseal the letters and x-ray them in order to read them.

 Records in auctions, again in Stamp Magazine.
This month, in Stamp Magazine's "Auction Highlights" pages, two examples conforts my opinion that some may lose a lot financially, and more importlantly in knowledge for the next generation by focusing only on isolated stamps.

In a sale in Hong Kong on January 17th, Spink proposed Meiso Mizuhara's Chinese Customs Post collection. Projects for the first stamps of China were offered ; one with two drawn on the same sheet of paper (a large dragon and a pagoda) became the most expensive essays in philatelic history at 359,142 pounds sterling...

On the next page, a returned letter label, perforated, from 1872 Norway with a cancel on which you can read the city of origin reached 1,385 pounds at a Skanfil sale. The perforated stamp-size label explained why the mail was returned to sender.

When you think again how all that's said about our contemporary unstamped, labelled mail by stamp collectors...

French happenings on other blogs.
Yesterday, Adrian Keppel brought a TV Timbres video to the intaglio fan's attention. In this documentary Timbres Magazine's editor-in-chief Gauthier Toulemonde visited engraver Pierre Albuisson in his country home. The artist explained concrete things on how to engrave, how to prepare the tools.

A very nice addition to Gibbons Stamp Monthly's recent monthly articles on intaglio printing, started in the December 2015 issue, following the Long to Reign over Us issue.

Laurent Veglio published his second article on his blog in French - non-French readers can read the Italian version too or test Google Translate with both versions.

The postal historian is very efficient to prove a complete envelope is very interesting when the postmen help it: how a innocent 40 centime stamped letter from Paris to Italy in 1867 made a transatlantic return trip to Saint Thomas and Montserrat in the Caribbean.

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