FI Guinness Notes
 

 
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30th September 2007 Progress is slow but compelling. I seem to have developed something of a mission to write up the collection as a series of displays for my local stamp club. The first results are here.
I have also started work on a new FI variant, first miniature sheets. The first results should be available towards the end of 2007.

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11th September 2007, found a fine quote from Time magazine 25th October 1926, see here,

'Hundreds of thousands of silly little pieces of paper, oblong, square, three-cornered, printed in faded colors, smudged with ink marks, none of them bigger than a square inch or so, none of them very beautiful, and none of them the least use in the world. Such rubbish, said a woman with an umbrella, eyeing disdainfully a red and black oblong all by itself in a glass case ten times too large for it, such rubbish might as well be burned, and better. She turned away and, crossing a large white granite hall, found a taxi that would take her away as quickly as possible from the Grand Central Palace, Manhattan, and the International Collection of Postage Stamps which opened there last week.'

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13th August 2006. the first update for quite some time with the discovery of Courland and Pernau, other German Occupation corrections and some new First Booklets. I have been compiling lists of my 50 most wanted stamps (mostly firs commemoratives) and my 50 most wanted images (the ones I cannot afford) and will pursue these after my exams in October. The general collection in Scotts is making steady progress through stamp packets.

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26th June 2005. You reach the point where it's no longer worth typing 'Scott Sc1' into eBay every day - you already have the stamps which come up and which you can afford. My progress is slow and largely limited to FICC auctions and the occasional find in packets from my local stamp clubs, such as the Guayana #1 today. Another problem in improving these pages is that my site is now banned in my workplace (nothing specifically personal, it's just on a long list of personal sites which are not allowed as they may contain some unpleasantness). This means that my practise of colour laser printing pages from the web to use for further research and refinement has been curtailed: doing it at home by inkjet is rather expensive. Most of my stamp time is currently taken up trying to fill a set of Scott Internationals: I have assembled a run of used albums from eBay and am now aiming to collect 'every stamp issued up to 1960 which I can get for 1 or less'; preferably mounted mint. The Scott's are just the thing for this task as they ignore expensive stamps and watermark and perforation variants, going for a 'representative' collection: just my cup of tea.

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24th January 2005. A belated HNY to all our visitors. Three months since the last update and not much progress on the FIs or Timelines during that period - my time has been consumed by researching First Booklets. I will update the FI counts soon.

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11th October 2004 This update is rather late because I have been updating the pages after considerable success at Autumn Stampex where I found a dealer specialising in the Far East and then a Beckenham Fair where my favourite local dealers had recently acquired an album of Portuguese Colonies where I had first pick. Thus, the score of #1s has increased by 22 to 587 - 70% of the 835 I can afford. Progress has therefore been slow on the African Timelines, where I am still gathering data.

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30th August 2004 Progress has been slow on the collecting front, with only 6 #1s in July and 4 in August (total now 565 of 833 for 68%), although the other categories are doing a little better. Timelines are coming on, with Africa currently under construction. I have still not settled on a presentation style, but organising the data is the first priority. I have started adding Michel catalogue numbers to the listings, where I have them: for some reason, those few British dealers who sell South American stamps often use these.

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29th June 2004 Month end score, 555 out of 836 affordable issues, 66%. This month's new initiative is tracking Timelines - another long job and I'm not sure I have the software to handle it yet.

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10th June 2004 The first pass of the pages is complete at last (about 13 months' effort). There are blanks and issues to be addressed and my approach has changed since page 1, so there will be plenty of work to be done in the second pass, but I now have a fairly complete wants list [Aug 2013 now replaced by this], which was a key aim of the exercise.

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7th June 2004 The month end score is 519 out of 847 - 61%. This is a fall on last month as I have discovered more new items to collect then I have acquired stamps. Pages complete up to 31 (1968) - three to go.

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29th May 2004. I had hoped to complete the first pass of all first issues for the end of May, but that looks unlikely - I am working on the last four pages simultaneously. One feature which I intend to add on the second pass is the First Sensibly Priced stamp where the #1 is ridiculously expensive. I have started with British Guiana. These stamps will be marked .

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8th May 2004 A personal milestone and a mild conceit with the acquisition of a Penny Black with my initials on it.

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1st May 2004 Page 27 now complete (1948). A minor celebration is in order for the current score of 504 out of 815 - 62%, after almost exactly 1 year of collecting.

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26th April 2004 Notes moved to a separate page. I have been giving some thought to the images shown on the site for stamps I cannot afford. Rather than scan the images from Scott or Gibbons and incur their wrath (which I will probably get for using their numbering system anyway), I will look to other sources. My first port of call is my favourite stamp dealer David Olson, who has kindly given permission to use any of the images available on his site. I will add a few now and then work through them more thoroughly on my second pass of documentation. Another obvious source will be sale catalogues. Credit will be given in the text and the sources listed below.

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1st April 2004 Page 25 now complete (1942) - well, largely complete, but I'm leaving the resolution of some of the Occupation Issues for the second pass. The current score is 427 of 784, 54%. Results of a Special FICC Auction tomorrow, so progress could be considerable. A new feature added this month is Alternative Views, giving a variety of slices through the data.

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1st March 04 Pages complete up to #21 (1921). Rather slow progress as I keep buying stamps and have to add these to the pages rather than progressing the research. Score 384 out of 783 - 49%.

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1st Feb 2004 Pages complete up to #20 (1919). Score  340 of 757 - 45%.

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1st Jan 2004. Pages now complete up to #18 (1911). Current #1 score 297 out of 754 - 39% (note, I don't count the 61 #s I cannot afford). And a Happy New Year to all our readers.

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I now have a copy of the splendid colour 2004 Gibbons Simplified, so prices from page 14 onwards will be more up-to-date. This also means that scans of stamps I cannot afford may now be in colour, but these are fairly low in my priorities.

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The Express SubSet now includes Russia, Egypt, New Zealand and Ethiopia and a Finnish Charity stamp.

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Dec 2003. Now working on page 13, about 1/3rd of the way to completing the first draft of these pages, there are a few points I would like o make on my approach, as developed since starting in May 03. I have introduced  the notion of the first real stamp: many colonies began with overprints of their colonising nation (GB, France, Germany etc.) and in addition to this #1, I am also identifying the first stamp produced specifically for that country. This will be useful where the #1 is excessively expensive - at least I will have something to show. Now I am working through the 1890s, there is a seemingly unending stream of French Colonies overprints (#1) followed by a French Tablet type (real #1): neither of these are particularly exciting and I might extend the idea further to the first real and specific (or perhaps first interesting) stamp. A similar approach has developed on airmails, where the first is an overprint of a non-airmail (often with an aircraft), I also show the first stamp designed specifically for airmail. Again, this is both fun and useful when C1 is too costly. I am thinking of extending the idea to commemoratives (where so many GB colonies' first is the Silver Jubilee issue, and French colonies begin with the Colonial Exposition) and Charities (where so many firsts are War Tax and Red Cross overprints). I would like to show what those countries really wanted to commemorate and fund.

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Now (1st Dec 2003) 268 out of 763 - 35%.

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Latest score (3rd Nov 2003) 244 out of (an adjusted) 743 - 33%

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Wants list added November 2003. Old lists removed August 2013 and replaced with these.

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Current score (5th Oct 2003) 223 first issues out of 798 - 28%.

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Oct 2003 - this is now my main First Issues page - I will not be updating the original pages with every acquisition.

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I have also realised that in addition to the 100 stamp limit, I am unlikely to pay 10 for a postage due or official stamp, so expect scans of those.

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June 2003 I have contacted James Mackay, inspiration of these pages, via another FICC member and he has given permission for me to borrow his idea.

Images sources:

  1. David Olson

  2. Hobbyphilatelie sales catalogue

  3. FICC pages

  4. USA Sc3694

  5. Sandafayre

  6. eBay auction item

  7. Universal Philatelic Auctions sales catalogue

  8. Spink sales catalogue

  9. Raflet Stamp Club packet (and me to cheap to buy it)

  10. FICC auction catalogue

  11. Prestige Philately auction

  12. Stamp Magazine

  13. The World of Classic Stamps, James Mackay