Wednesday, 27 February 2013

QEII Definitives - Jamaica 1956 (Part 2)

Jamaica 1956 Part 2

On 1 May 1956 Jamaica issued its first Queen Elizabeth II definitives. The set consisted of 15 stamps, all on paper watermarked multi-script CA. The series incorporated five different design formats. The series was recess-printed by De La Rue.

In Part 2 we shall study the second design format, which consisted of four stamps. All of these four stamps are perforated 13.

The first stamp is the 3d emerald and red-brown. This stamp was issued 17 December 1956. The theme of this stamp is the flower of the Blue Mahoe tree, which is Jamaica's national tree.

The Blue Mahoe is a beautiful and durable timber that is widely used for cabinet making and also for making decorative objects such as picture frames, bowls and wood carvings. The inner bark of the tree is often referred to as Cuba bark because it was formerly used for tying bundles of Havana cigars...

SG 163

The second stamp in this design format is the 4d bronze-green and blue. This stamp was issued 17 December 1956. This stamp can be found with wmk inverted, so be on the lookout. Such stamps have a cv of £110 mint. The theme of this stamp is breadfruit.

Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry family. It is found throughout Southeast Asia and most Pacific Ocean islands. Its name is derived from the texture of the cooked fruit, which has a potato-like flavor, similar to fresh-baked bread...

SG 164

The third stamp in this design format is the 5d scarlet and bronze-green. This stamp was issued 17 December 1956. The theme of this stamp is the Ackee, which is the national fruit of Jamaica. Ackee and saltfish is the national dish...

SG 165

The fourth and final stamp to use this design format is the 6d black and deep rose-red. This stamp was issued 3 September 1956. The theme of this stamp is the Doctor Bird.

The Red-billed Streamertail (Trochilus polytmus) also known as the Doctor Bird, is indigenous to Jamaica, where it is the most abundant and widespread member of the hummingbird family.

SG 166

Stay tuned for Part 3. Until then...

Stay Stamp Crazy!!

Monday, 25 February 2013

QEII Definitives - Jamaica 1956 (Part 1)

Jamaica 1956 Part 1

On 1 May 1956 Jamaica issued its first Queen Elizabeth II definitives. The set consisted of 15 stamps, all on paper watermarked multi-script CA. The series incorporated five different designs. The series was recess-printed by De La Rue. In Part 1 we shall study the first design, which consisted of four stamps. All of these four stamps are perforated 13.

The first stamp is the ½d black and deep orange-red. The theme of this stamp is coconut palms.

SG 159

The second stamp is the 1d black and emerald. The theme of this stamp is sugar cane.

SG 160

The third stamp is the 2d black and carmine-red. This stamp was issued later than the first two on 2 August 1956. The theme of this stamp is pineapples.

SG 161

The fourth and final stamp to se this design format is the 2½d black and deep bright blue. This stamp was also released on 2 August 1956. The theme of this stamp is bananas.

SG 162

Stay tuned for Part 2. Until then...

Stay Stamp Crazy!!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Australia's KGV Commemoratives

Opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, 1932


The building of a steel "through arch" bridge that spanned Sydney Harbour was a colossal undertaking. It was designed and built by the British firm Dorman Long and Co Ltd of Middlesbrough under the direction of Dr J.J.C. Bradfield of the NSW Department of Public Works. The bridge's design was influenced by the Hell Gate Bridge in New York. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened in 1932. At the time, it was the world’s widest long-span bridge at 48.8 metres (160 feet). 

The southern bridge end – the CBD end -  is located at Millers Point in an area known as The Rocks. The northern end touches down at Milsons Point in an area known as the North Shore. The bridge carries six lanes of road traffic on its main roadway. Additionally, on its eastern side are two lanes of road traffic, which were formerly two tram tracks. It has a footpath, and on its western side are two railway tracks and a bicycle path. The main roadway across the bridge is known as the Bradfield Highway, named after the man who oversaw construction of the bridge. The highway is approximately 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi) long, making it one of the shortest highways in Australia.

An official ceremony on 28 July 1923 marked the "turning of the first sod". It was held on the spot at Milsons Point on the north shore where two workshops to assist in building the bridge were later constructed.

Arch construction itself began on 26 October 1928, and in less than two years, on Tuesday, 19 August 1930, the two halves of the arch touched for the first time. Workers riveted both top and bottom sections of the arch together, and the arch became self-supporting, allowing the support cables to be removed. On 20 August 1930 the joining of the arches was celebrated by flying the flags of Australia and the United Kingdom.

Arch Construction

The deck for the roadway and railway were then constructed. The deck was completed in June 1931. On 19 January 1932, the first test train, a steam locomotive, safely crossed the bridge.

The bridge was formally opened on Saturday, 19 March 1932. The Labor Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang, was to open the bridge by cutting a ribbon at its southern end. However, just as Lang was about to cut the ribbon, a man in military uniform rode in on a horse, slashing the ribbon with his sword and opening the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the name of the people of New South Wales before the official ceremony began. This notorious man was Francis de Groot. For his dastardly deed, he was convicted of offensive behaviour and fined £5 after a psychiatric test proved he was sane.

The infamous Francis de Groot

A Call for stamps
The task of designing stamps to commemorate such an epic moment in history was placed upon the shoulders of the Note Printing Branch. At this time, the bridge was only partly constructed, so it was necessary to study drawings of the proposed design of the bridge. The stamp designers also took an avid interest in the progress of the bridge's construction.

As is always the case many different designs were considered. The chosen design depicts the bridge in a foreshortened perspective and incorporates the landing sheds, the roadway, and a ferry in the foreground. To add a sense of proportion, the overseas liner RMS Orford was added to the design. It can be seen sailing under the bridge.

1932 Opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge

Because of the sheer volume of 2d stamps required, it was decided produce the bulk of them by the letterpress method on watermarked paper. The rest of the 2d, the 3d and 5/- stamps were all recess printed. Because the 2d stamps were printed using two different methods there are two different sizes to collect.

Technical Details:
Issued: 14 March 1932
Designed by: R.A. Harrison. Letterpress and recess dies engraved by F.D. Manley
(a) Letterpress-printed 2d on paper watermark Multiple Crown over C of A. Issued in sheets of 88, perf. 10½, comb. 27,180,616 stamps
(b) Recess-printed on unwatermarked paper, perf. 11, single-line
   1. In sheets of 80. 2d - 9,749,680 stamps; 'OS' overprinted - 256,000. 3d - 3,128,000 stamps; 'OS' overprinted 104,000
   2. In sheets of 20. 5/- - 72,800 stamps

Stay Stamp Crazy!!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Is Stamp Collecting an Adrenaline-Rush??

Anyone who says stamp collecting isn't an adrenaline-fueled hobby has not bid on a much desired item on eBay. 

Sitting at the computer for those last few minutes, eyes glued to the screen, pulse starting to quicken. Your hand clutches the mouse, finger trembling over the button, as you watch the timer click down. You type out your maximum bid, but you don't enter it yet. Not yet. You need to wait till the last possible second. Then your mind starts gnawing at you. Is my bid high enough? Should I go a little more? Perhaps if I place the bid now-- No! Have to wait.
30 seconds...
20 seconds...
10 seconds...
Heart pounding, you draw a quick, sharp breath. Press the Place Bid button...
Will I win?
Is the bid high enough?
You win!!!!!!!
Now if that doesn't get your pulse racing, nothing will...

Monday, 11 February 2013

Australia's KGV Airmails

Air Mail Service 1931

Although a stamp inscribed 'Airmail' was released on 19 March 1931, it was part of a commemorative series (Kingsford Smith) so its availability was limited. See below...

1931 Kingsford Smith Commemorative

In May 1931, the Post Office decided to continue the 6d Air Mail stamp in the same design as the Commemorative, albeit with some alterations. The inscription 'Kingsford Smith's World Flights' was removed from the stamp and was replaced with the words 'Air Mail Service'. And the colour was changed to sepia. The stamp was issued on 4 November 1931.

1931 Air Mail Service

Later in November, some quantities of the stamp were taken and overprinted 'OS'. They were released on 17 November and, unlike other 'OS' stamps which were for official use, these overprints were available for purchase by the public.

Technical Details:
Issued: 4 November 1931
Designed and engraved by F.D. Manley
Recess-printed on unwatermarked paper, perf. 11 single-line
Quantity: 518,200. 'OS' overprinted, 75,000

Stay Stamp Crazy!!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Last Day of Issue

Bahamas Postmark

The postmark on this Bahamas 1954 8d stamp, SG 209, is interesting. It reads 31 December 1963. This series was stopped at the end of 1963. So this stamp was cancelled on the last day of printing for this issue. Too bad it's not on a cover. It would be a Last Day Cover...!!

Stay Stamp Crazy!!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A Definitive Scare!!

Runny Ink

I had a bit of an alarming moment last night. I recently purchased a 1924 KGV Southern Rhodesia 1/- on a terrible scrap of paper. Last night I placed it in water to soak it off. Imagine my horror when the blue ink started to leach into the water!!! I quickly grabbed the stamp out of the water, and it was fine. Phew! The blue is just slightly muted now. I know there are some issues with which one must deal very carefully, but I had no idea the ink on this stamp was so volatile. Anyone know anything about this issue??

1924 1/-

Stay Stamp Crazy!!