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Germany Definitives: Flowers 2005-2019

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You may have noticed a ton of attractive flower definitives in any recent mixture from Germany.  The series starts in 2005, where the Scott catalog has 18 sheet stams and 4 coils (#2307-2326B).  I recent got a few ounces of just these stamps off paper and was surprised how many values there are.  The second series (#2404-2423A) has 12 sheet stamps and 9 self-adhesives.  Throughout the series, since these are all in euros, the conversion to US dollar catalog values is about $1.80 per euro.  Germany continued to issue a few new values in this set every year, for any changes to postal rates, through at least 2019 when my catalog ends. It's a very colorful set which has a lot more to see than I initially thought.  I will fill some stock pages with these and see if anyone is interested.   I have other stock pages planned that are just the high values from the past 40 years (over 200pf or €1).  This would be more of a pure catalog value discount dump since all of these stamps catalog for

Year of Issue

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I was just sorting a big mix of Brazil commemoratives, getting them ready to fill up a stack of stockpages. They all have prominent dates in the design, "Brasil 2001" and so on. So as I sort them, they deserve a shout out for making life easy for their collectors. Right after that, I had a pile of Antigua topical sets with no dates, which wastes a lot of our time looking over 6 to 8 pages of catalog entries trying to visually find a match.  Dates are so helpful for collectors trying to organize and locate specific stamps that I am surprised so few countries include them in their designs. Even if they don't care about collectors or convenience, you would think they would all want a date stamp as a kind of copyright notice.  The most detailed year info was always China, which used to have the year at bottom left along with the set number and stamp number within the set, like "69.(4-4)". This is essentially an exact catalog number, as no two would ever be the

Germany Definitives: Historic Sites 1987-2004

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The Historic Sites Series is a long-running set of definitives from Germany, starting in 1987 and running through 2004.  Although the designs are mostly buildings, some statues are included.  The first series (Scott catalog #1515A-1540A) has 27 stamps from 5pf to 400pf values, all regular sheet stamps.  These are mostly of minimal values, but only the 280pf lists for over $2.  Keep an eye on the issues which include "Berlin" in the name.  Next there are 7 self-adhesives in the 1990s which are all $2 or more, and 23 more sheet stamps (#1838-1860) where the ones from 300pf to 720pf (the highest value in the whole series) are in the $2 to $6 range.  Nine of these are denominated in both pfennigs and euros.  This is followed by the last set of 18 from 2002-04 (#2199-2216) denominated in euros only, with die-cut self-adhesive coil and booklet stamps.  Here, the values over 1-euro are worth about $1.50 per euro. It's not a colorful series, using a lot of blue-gray and pale gree

Malaysia modern issues: $ vs RM

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I came across about a half pound of Malaysia off paper recently, and sorted them by definitive series like always, with a pile for states issues and a pile for commemoratives.  I had fun filling up stock pages with rows of these issues, and did a quick check of catalog values to see if it was worth doing.  That's when I found that the fruit series splits into two major sets: the first set has the denominations in C and $, where the second set has values in sen and RM.  The first set catalogs from minimum up to about $1, but the second set of sen/RM list for $6 each with a few unpriced, even in the 2024 catalog. I have no idea why these are unpriced.  They are essentially the same as the other values, showing up in mixes in the same quantities.  There is nothing that makes them more uncommon or harder to appraise.  I was actually expecting the prices to go down between the 2021 and 2024 catalogs, as always happens for issues from 5-10 years ago. On the interesting side, I saw a few

Brazil 2002 fruits

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I have seen a few of the 2002 Brazil self-adhesive fruits in mixtures before, but never thought much about them.  They're brightly colored and cute, but the designs don't stand out well.  After seeing a few hundred of them in a hoard I acquired recently, I can now describe the three main perf types of the series. The initial set is described as a serpentine die cut.  These are mostly under $1 each but a few go higher.   The second series is die cut with no perfs and rounded corners, and although I see far fewer of these than the first group, they have minimal catalog value. The third series looks like it's die cut with sharp square corners at first, but it is actually microperforated.  These are much less common and list from $6 to $20 each. This is a tricky set to collect since the stamps are self-adhesive and often have paper stuck to the backside or sticky spots left over from a hasty attempt at soaking them.  I would collect them on paper.   Here are the first few types

Gotta Keep Them All

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After writing about the Under-Collection in the last post, it seems like the natural follow-up would be the "Gotta Keep Them All" school of collecting, where owners just fill stock pages with every copy of every stamp they find, hinging down hundreds of the same stamp, book after book of them. I suppose these books are usually made for trading, although if I put together a trasing book, I would have as much variety as I can pack onto the pages.  If someone doesn't want that 10k stamp from Russia the first time they see it, why would they want a whole page of them? In my own collecting history, the one thing these books are good for is picking through them for postmarks, which I have done on many occasions.  If the stamps are old, then we can search them for tiny design differences (flyspecking) or plate positions.  I admit have spent hours staring at pages of penny reds over the years, just trying to grasp all the details. It's just another style of collecting.  Maybe

The Under-Collection

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About one out of four of the big collections I handle have a detail which always bugs me: hinging stamps underneath other stamps.  It almost makes sense when the top stamp is mint and the under-stamp is used, to show that you found one of each.  But it's can get really sloppy, making the whole page an unsightly jumble for no apparent reason.  It's already a considerable challenge to fill most album pages for a country.  Why would you need to have more than one of each stamp, and then why overlap them so you can't even see them all?  On some pages, only a few stamps are overlapping, but on other pages it's 80-90% of them. If I am going to scan the collection and sell it, it's just a visual mess and makes it hard to appreciate just how many stamps are on the page.  I have come to think of the hidden stamps as the "Under-Collection".  The collection under the main collection. With some of the recent collections I have been selling for the library, I started t