Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The Wednesday Post
"The Stamp Collectors Stockbook": Page 3
From the Estate of Grandpa5000
Not every stamp can be a masterpiece of fine engraving. "Hrvatska" is Croatia in Croatian, and has been ever since 1992. But Hrvatskan stamps were also issued by the Nazi puppet state of Croatia in WWII, and in the late 1910s. This newspaper stamp dates from around 1918, when Croatia was a constituent of the ephemeral State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. By the end of that year, the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs had merged with Serbia to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which would eventually rename itself Jugoslavia or, as everyone in the world except stamp catalogs and albums called it, "Yugoslavia."
Back when Africa was divided up between a handful of European countries, the Portuguese government privatized the administration of a big chunk of its Mozambique colony. Predictably, the "Mozambique Company" failed miserably in its mission to provide education, infrastructure, and good civil order for the third of a million people entrusted to it, although it did take advantage of having been granted the privilege to tax them. The Company was also charged with providing postal service in its domain, a responsibility it diligently discharged by having huge numbers of attractive, colorful stamps printed in London, where they would be available to the greatest number of needy philatelists.
New Caledonia and Dependencies is a long chain of islands to the northeast of Australia. It has long been a French territory, although there is apparently going to be a plebiscite sometime in the next few years that might cut it loose, or as loose as a chain of islands can realistically be. These handsome stamps seem to date from around 1905.
None of the stamps in this stockbook are "rare" in the sense of being expensive and sought after, but they are for the most part interesting and obscure relics of interesting and obscure (to me) places. Which makes it kind of fun to find, mixed in among them, some real chestnuts. Anyone who has ever poked around at stamps has probably seen dozens or hundreds of these ultra-common French, British, and Canadian issues.
Back to the obscure: these ones show the Sobranye Palace. Some sort of fabulous prize can go to the person who first identifies the country and approximate year of issue.
It's interesting to track what South Africa has called itself on its stamps. You see "SuidAfrica" a lot on the older stamps, but I guess most stamps had both an Afrikaans and an English version from 1910 to 1961. Then they ran with "REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA / REPUBLIEK VAN SUID-AFRIKA" for five or six years until, exhausted, they simplified it down to "RSA." In 1997, there seems to have been a brief run of "South Africa/Suid Afrika" and then a settling on just "South Africa." You have to think this is one of those small, small things beneath which roll vast oceans of contention and resentment.