First Issues - Ardath Cigarette Cards 1939

Page 3


34 A Stamp which Changed the Map
35 The Romanoff Tsars
36 The "Death Mask" Stamps
From early days men had dreamed of a short cut to the East via a canal, for which Nicaragua and Panama offered the best routes. In 1901 Nicaragua had almost won the coveted prize, after lengthy negotiation, discussion and intrigue. On the eve of the final debate in the U.S. Senate, however, each Senator received a copy of the stamp illustrated (which was described as "an official witness of the volcanic activity of Nicaragua") and the Senate decided in favour of the Panama route. Our picture shows a ship in one of the locks of the Panama Canal. In l913, much to the disgust of conservative Russlans, portraits of the Tsars were shown on stamps for the first time, the occasion being the celebrnation of the Tercentenary of the Romanoff dynasty founded by Michael in 1613. Among the portraits are two of special interest - those of Peter the Great, the Tsar who introduced European civilization into Russia and moved the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg, and ill-fated Nicholas II, the last of his line, who was murdered in 1918 during the Russian Revolution. The Russian peasants objected very strongly to the defacement of the stamp likeness of their "Little Father" by a postmark. One of the greatest stamp mysteries is linked with the 1904 issue of Serbian stamps, which commemorated the Coronation of King Peter I and the centenary of his dynasty. The stamps were hardly issued when it was noticed that, turned upside-down, they showed a grinning "death-mask" of King Alexander, Peter's murdered predecessor. The famous French engravĀ·er who made the die denied all knowledge of the "death-mask," and to this day no one knows whether fate, or some human agency, took this striking revenge for the murder . Our reproduction of the 10 para stamp shows the "mask" outlined in white for emphasis.
37 A Postmark Frame
38 A Rare Error
39 Fortunes on Old Letters
When the issue of postage stamps for Sicily was being discussed in 1858, it was decided that "the sacred effigy of the King" (Ferdinand II, nicknamed "Bomba") would provide the most suitable design. As his ministers did not dare to propose to the King that his "sacred effigy" should be obliterated by the usual type of postmark, the difficulty was overcome by the use of specially-designed postmark, in the shape of a frame, which left the Royal portrait and the value of the stamp untouched. The view shows the Temple of Concord at Girgenti, Sicily. In making the printing plate of the 6 reales. blue, Spain, 1851, a cliché (duplicate metal cast) of the 2 reales was inadvertently included, so that each sheet of the 6 reales iucluded one blue 2 reales stamp. For many years the experts regarded this error as a forgery, but when the famous collection of Count Philippe von Ferrari was dispersed in 1922-5, a pair of stamps showing the 6 reales and 2 reales joined proved its authenticity. The Ferrari pair fetched £2,400, and a single 2 reales blue is today catalogued at £1,500. The view shows the immense Royal Palace, Madrid, an 18th-century Renaissance building. U.S. stamps for general use were first issued in 1847, but, in the years immediately preceding, some postmasters issued stamps for local use. Chief among these are the circular stamps issued by David Bryan, Postmaster of Alexandria, Virginia, in 1846. The few known copies were mostly discovered on old letters, one of whic h fetched £600, being on a. love letter kept for sixty years without anyone realizing its value. An "Alexandria" to-day will fetch from £2,000 to £3,000, according to colour and type. The vew is of the historic Christ Church Alexandria., Va., in which Georqe Washington and Robert E. Lee worshipped.
Stamp collecting has well been termed "The King of Hobbies and the Hobby of Kings," and certainly a nuber of monarchs have devoted their leisure to the hobby. Chief among these was the late King George V, whose magnificent collection of British Empire issues, in over 300 volmes, is housed in a special room at Buckingham Palace. We show his portrait on the Southern Rhodesia issue of 1924-28. With King Carol of Roumania (left) Roumanian issues take first place, while the late King Fuad of of Egypt (right) was a general collector with a partiality for the issues of his own country. The King of the Belgians, President Roosevelt and several Indian princes are also keen philatelists. It is not often that a national of one country is portrayed on the stamps of another, but several distinguished Britons have received this honour. In 1924, Greece celebrated Byron's centenary in this way (right), and in 1921 J.D. Bourchier, Times correspondent at Sofia, was the subject of a series of nine Bulgarian stamps (centre). Several Chilean stamps portray Admiral Cochrane (left) who, alter falling into disgrace at home, was employed by Chile and served his adopted country well. From 1823-25, he commanded the Brazilian navy, and in 1827-28 the Greek navy. In 1832 he was restored to his rank in the British navy. From the days of the earliest postage stamps, the authorities have been faced by the problem of obliterating stamnps effectively as they pass through the post, so that they cannot be used again. The first British stamps were postmarked with an elaborate "Maltese Cross" device (left). Strangest but most effective method was that employed in Afghanistan (centre), where a. section of each stamp was cut out with scissors before affixing to the letter, or, where no scissors were available. a piece was roughly torn out, Early Venezuelan issues were often cancelled with pen and ink by the postmasters (right).
A number of stamps have designs which either resemble coins or reproduce coins. One of the most handsome is the 5/- stamp issued by New South Wales in 1861 (see picture, top), the design of which imitates a. piece of money, while Tasmanian revenue stamps, which could be used for postage, reproduce the St. George and Dragon device of our British gold sovereign. This latter device also features on a Cretan 5 drachmae stamp of 1900 (picture, bottom); but both Crete and Greece prefer to reproduce ancient coins and the former done so on several fitamps of the 1005 series, while Greece bas t1. classic coin on the 40 lepta stamp of 19:37 . An ingenious idea is the "divisible stamp" - a stamp of fairly normal size, so designed that it can be divided into smaller stamps of proportionately lower postal value. Spain had stamps (left) which could be divided into quarters and so did the German states of Brunswick (centre) and Mecklenburg-Schwerin (right), while the famous "double Geneva" stamp of Switzerland could be used to pay cantonal postage when entire, or the local postal rate when cut in two. Early Mexican stamps, though not fractionally designed, could be cut into smaller pieces to pay postage proportinate to their size, and are often found so used.
The three stamps illustrated feature on the Small Stamps page.
There are many reasons for issuing stamps in unusual shapes, the principal being: (1) to make it easy to recognize correspondence which has to be handled in a special way (e.g. , to go by Air Mail ), and (2) to attract collectors. Three queerly-shaped stamps are shown here: an octagonal from Thessaly, with its complex perforations (top), a lop-sided triangular from Colombia (centre), and a diamond-shaped parcel stamp of Salvador (bottom). Circular stamps have been issued by various countries, including Afghanistan, British Guiana and Kashmir, while quite a large display of triangular stamps can be made by a keen collector.
Charity stamps - issues for which an extra sum, which goes to charity, is paid by the public - often appear nowadays, but at the time of the South African War they were something of a novelty. In 1900 Queensland issued two stamps with the flags, soldiers and royal portrait, typicalof the period; we show the 2d stamp which sold at 2/-. Victoria reproduced the Vlctoria Cross for one of her special stamps (picture, top), while the other showed Australian troops on the veldt. Both states sold these issues at heavy charity premiums, but New Zealand commemorated her forces by a 1½d stamp which formed part of her ordinary postal series. The earliest "sports stamps," in classic designs, were issued by Greece in 1896, when the Olympic Games were revived. Since then many countries have illustrated various sports on their stamps, not only in connection with the Olympic Games, but in celebration of national and international sports meetings. Among sports which have been shown on stamps are football, baseball, lawn tennis, boxing, fencing, swimming, rowing, yachting, skating, ski-ing, bob-sleighing and numerous track and field events. We show a. runner (Holland, Olympic Games series, 1928), a bob-sleigh (Germany, Olympic Winter Games series, 1935) and a footballer (Italy, World Championship, 1934). The world's largest postage stamps (intended for use on newspapers and periodicals) were issued by the United States in 1865. We show a portion of one of them, actual size; each measures 95 millimetres in height. At the other end of the scale come the first three stamps of the Department of Bolivar, Colombia, issued in 1863 - it would take four of them to cover a postage stamp of normal size. Stamp illustrated is actual size. Such tiny stamps must have been very inconvenient in use, though Great Britain and the Australian states of South Australia and Victoria each issued ½d stamps of half the usual 1d size.
In periods of emergency it is often difficult to maintain supplies of stamps, and unusual substitutes have to be provided . Early in the Great War, when Australian forces occupied German New Guinea, the labels ordinarily used on registered letters were converted into 3d stamps (see picture, top). Persia (now known as Iran) is another country which has used registration labels as stamps (picture, second from top), while the use of revenue stamps for postal purposes is a frequent happening in some countries. Ecuador, in emergencies, has converted consular stamps (picture, third from top), tobacco tax stamps (picture, bottom), telegraph stamps and railway stamps, to postal use. Two countries, Russia and Belgium, have issued stamps in commemoration of work in the stratosphere, the upper layer of the atmosphere. Belgium issued three stamps in 1932 with a picture of Professor Piccard's ba.lloon, in aid of a fund to assist his work (see picture, bottom), while in the following year three stamps came. from Russia in honour of the setting up by Russian scientists of a new height record of 19,000 metres (picture. top). The Russians emphasized the idea of height by including a tiny view of .Moscow at the foot of the very tall stamps.  

Thanks to Acrobat OCR for the word scan.

page started February 2014