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The Philatelist

Stamp Nook: Masters And Postmasters

The Philatelist | 2006-04-23.3030 LMT

Good day, and welcome to another enthralling edition of Stamp Nook! Today we look at the hubris that lurks in the hearts of men of great power -- Postmasters-General.

In 1859, Charles Connell, Postmaster-General of the then British colony of New Brunswick, was entrusted by Lieutenant-Governor J.H.T. Manners-Sutton with procuring new stamps for the switch from pence to decimal currency for postal use by May 1, 1860. These would include 1, 5, 10, and 12½ -cent denominations. Connell, foreseeing the need for overseas postage, added a 17-cent stamp to list. Late that year, Connell went to New York to oversee their production by the American Bank Note Company, whom he had contracted to do the printing.

Connell Stamp (Scott #5)

In April when a set of the new stamps arrived at the office of the Lieutenant-Governor, furore erupted upon learning that the 5-cent stamp -- the most commonly used denomination, being the rate for domestic first class mail -- bore a portrait of Postmaster-General Charles Connell himself! Unprofessional behaviour even today, but positively scandalous at a time when nearly every stamp featured the likeness of Her Majesty or one of Her Majestic Offspring.

This controversial stamp (Scott #5) resulted in Connell's resignation on May 18. Writing to the Lieutenant-Governor, Connell unrepentantly declared: "I have fulfilled my duty and did what I supposed I was fully authorized to do ... At all events I have violated no law." Quite.

The stamps were never issued. Connell's replacement, James Steadman, had new 5-cent stamps printed bearing Queen Victoria (Scott #8). Connell supposedly purchased all 500,000 of his stamps and burned them "sheet by sheet in his garden". Still, some of them managed to escape the conflagration, including a set of printing proofs up at auction by Sotheby's next month that are expected to bring US$50,000. (See here for more on how many Connell Stamps actually survived and insights into Connell's anti-Royalist sentiments.)

While a bold move on Connell's part, the idea of placing Postmaster-Generals on stamps is hardly novel; the first regular postal issue by the United States in 1847 (Scott #1) bore the image of Continental Congress Postmaster-General Benjamin Franklin, who was stripped of his Crown appointment as Colonial Postmaster-General for his role in fomenting anti-Royalist rebellion in order to form a new society based on Philatelic Enlightenment. Undoubtedly, Franklin served as a role model for Connell.

Even today, this position of postal power leads its holders to controversial and subversive acts. The current US Postmaster General, John E. Potter, is embroiled in an attempt to "circumvent the will of Congress" -- apparently there's one Sioux too many for Gen. Potter. (Interestingly, Potter is an alumnus of the Sloan School of Management, which is aligned with the Tavistock Institute, a crypto-Royalist faction of the NWO. Of topical interest to Mr Zapato, the SSM is based at MIT, that hotbed of mind-control boffins.)

But are these acts of hubris or a justified movement toward a new and natural Postal Paradigm? The essence of the post is the flow of information -- and hence power. This has been so since the time of Xerxes and his Angarum, without which the mighty Persian Empire wouldn't have been possible. All the military might in the world won't be of any use if you're not up on what's what.

Those who control the post are the gatekeepers to this power, and while Postmaster Generals are the most powerful agents of the post, they are still subservient to other political masters -- uncomfortably so, as can be seen in the actions of Franklin, Connell and Potter. But if the King is only the King because the mail is addressed to him, what happens if the mailman stops delivering?

In 1516, King Henry VIII established the office of "Master of the Posts", a title that eventually became "Postmaster". That subtle name change was an act of deliberate irony by those who hold the office as post-master is in fact a crypto-anarchic statement -- a call to put our masters behind us. Postmasters want nothing less than the overthrow of our current power structure, replaced by their own system of information-power flow in which we will all be post-men (little do parents suspect that Postman Pat is actually conditioning their children to accept a form of transhumanism!)

According to my connections in philatelic circles, when the Postmasters finally take their rightful place as the informed leaders of a post-master society, the collective Postmaster Generals of the world will unite under the command of a more powerful post officer -- Postmaster Ultra:

Postmaster Ultraman photo from Mainichi Daily News

I, for one, eagerly await the Philatelic Golden Age he will bring. Can't be much worse, can it?

In the mean time, happy philateling!

The Philatelist

Stamp Nook: Ultimate Wealth Investment

The Philatelist | 2006-02-11.7700 LMT | Crass Commercialism
US tulip stamp (Scott #3902)

Exciting news for those intrigued by the rare stamps featured in my previous two posts. Stanley Gibbons, the world's foremost philatelic company, has a new investment opportunity for sophisticated savers looking for diversification in their pension plans: Stanley Gibbons Rare Stamp Investment Fund.

Those unable to afford an OCM or 3SY of their own will be able to buy into ultimate wealth with a starting subscription of a mere £20,000 -- what better way to start investing in the world's most valuable commodity by weight!

According to Gibbons, rare stamps were rated by a Salomon Brothers study among the top four investments of the 20th century, giving an average annual return of 10% between 1907 and 1990. Now you too can share in this heritage of timeless value.

No word yet if investors are allowed to visit the stamps. It would be a bloody shame if you couldn't get your tongs around your Penny Black, even if you only own one three-thousandths of it. High returns on investment are all well and good, but a philatelic timeshare would be smashing! Otherwise you might as well be so crass as to invest in numismatics.

(ZPi Note: The Philatelist is not a qualified financial advisor.)

The Philatelist

Stamp Nook Addendum: One Cent Magenta

The Philatelist | 2006-02-09.7380 LMT | NWO

Controversy is brewing over the Treskilling Yellow's claim to be the most valuable thing in the world. Mike writes in to defend the One Cent Magenta's claim to the heritage of ultimate wealth:

One Cent Magenta

A quibble about the Treskilling Yellow

On the treskilling yellow being the most valuable thing per weight in the universe, as a partisan of the One Cent Magenta I beg to differ. There's been no recent sales data for the One Cent Magenta due to the fact that its multimillionare owner, John Du Pont, was the victim of an NWO murder frameup and is now serving 30 years. Mr. Du Pont bought the One Cent Magenta for $935,000 in 1980, which given the dollar's higher value, was substantially more than the 977,500 Swiss francs laid out for the Treskilling Yellow in 1984.

Jolly good point, and a pity that Du Pont didn't invoke the sacred right of philatelic anonymity which would have kept him from being a target of an international conspiracy of Wrestlers.

Unfortunately, until the One Cent Magenta is put on the market again or the Du Pont family launches an OCM brand, its true value will remain a mystery. For now, those who want a brand that embodies the rare and singular desire of the most valuable thing in the world will have to stick with 3SY.

The Philatelist

Stamp Nook: A Brand Worth Its Weight In Antimatter

The Philatelist | 2006-02-09.5600 LMT | Crass Commercialism
the Treskilling Yellow (3SY)

Hello, and welcome again to Stamp Nook.

In this edition we look at the most valuable individual thing in the world: the Treskilling Yellow, an 1855 Swedish stamp misprinted in yellow instead of green, estimated to be worth upwards of £40 billion per kilogram (or £2 million per unit, which is the only way it can be purchased since only one is known to exist).

This is a celebrity among stamps! Much has already been written about it and the controversy and mystery surrounding its ownership. I won't repeat all that here. There is, however, exciting news in the world of the Treskilling Yellow.

As with any celebrity, it's important to turn fame into successful name marketisation. So it comes as little surprise that the brand management consultants at FutureBrand (creators of the Aflac duck), in conjunction with Stamp Collection AG, have developed 3SY (Three Skilling Yellow) into a brand.


Lyle Zapato

Fonts: Duarte Centenario y Duarte Juramento

Lyle Zapato | 2005-04-20.6000 LMT | Fonts

Here are two fonts I just created...

Type sample

Duarte Centenario is a somewhat irregular title font. Good for your resistance movement's posters calling for the overthrow of foreign rule.

Type sample

Duarte Juramento works well for comic lettering. Or serious lettering.

This pseudo-family is based off of hand lettering from a 1938 Dominican Republic stamp (Scott #335) honoring the centennial of La Trinitaria, an underground resistance movement led by Juan Pablo Duarte that helped repel the Haitians from the eastern side of Hispaniola. The country name and the names of the three founding Trinitarios (Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, and Ramón Matías Mella) were written in what is now Centenario. The entire Oath of the Trinitarios (including vexillogical directives) was squeezed into a triangle of microprint, which I have made into Juramento. (Both the originals had no accents, but the fonts have full sets of accented glyphs.)

I have also created a fonts page to house them and any future fonts I make.

The Philatelist

Stamp Nook: R. Buckminster Fuller

The Philatelist | 2005-03-08.6400 LMT | Aluminum

This edition of Stamp Nook looks at a U.S. commemorative issued last year that was brought to my attention by Reuben in the guestbook:

At the local post office this afternoon I found something wonderful that I thought perhaps Lyle and the Philatelist would enjoy. It is not a candy heart stamp left over from Valentine's day, but one honoring R. Buckminster Fuller and the geodesic colossus of his disembodied head. ... The futurist scene is monorail-free, but it does have some kind of a three-wheeled Winnebago.

Although I must admit to not being very fond of these newer self-adhesives with their ersatz perforations, it is nonetheless a lovely looking stamp. The illustration was done by Boris Artzybasheff (more) and was originally used on a 1964 Time Magazine cover for an article on Fuller entitled 'The Dymaxion American'.

The 'three-wheeled Winnebago' is actually Fuller's Dymaxion Car. It could seat eleven, travel at 193kph, get at least 13km to the litre, perform a u-turn in its own length, and was designed to eventually be equipped with 'jet-stilts' to allow it reach a house placed anywhere on 'Spaceship Earth' (Fuller designed a Dymaxion House that could be airlifted to any location, no matter how inaccessible, and suspended from a pole; a multi-tiered variation can be seen on the left side of the stamp). The car was also sheaved in aluminium, which, I have on good authority from Lyle, made its passengers quite immune to psychotronic mind control.

It was by all technical accounts a smashing success; however a mysterious 'accident' in 1933 involving the first Dymaxion Car resulted in the death of a famous race car driver and serious injuries to two dignitaries on their way to catch a Zeppelin. This generated negative press and soured any potential investors. (Interestingly, Zeppelins, which also had coverings made with aluminium, would a few years later suffer their own mysterious accident with similarly disastrous publicity.) Although Fuller's design was later vindicated when it was learnt the fault lie with the other, conventional-style car involved in the accident (driven by a shadowy Government official who fled the scene of the crime), it was by then too late and the project died, leaving today's motorists at risk for vehicular mind control and municipalities at the mercy of marauding Monorailists.

A sordid state of affairs indeed, but all in all a very collectable stamp for the transportation topicalist.

Until next time, happy philateling!

The Philatelist

Stamp Nook: Porcupine Fish Helmet

The Philatelist | 2005-02-18.0250 LMT | Fashion | Nature

This edition of Stamp Nook takes us to the tropical Gilbert Islands of Micronesia, now known as Kiribati, where we encounter a curious artefact. Issued on December 6, 1976, the stamp (Scott #289) depicts a porcupine fish helmet (or te barantauti), a traditional Kiribati warrior's helmet made out of the inflated, dried carcase of a porcupinefish, a close relative of the pufferfish.

Porcupine fish helmet icon.(I should also point out that Mr Zapato has an icon of the porcupine fish helmet available in his Archæologicons set. Very useful for differentiating your want-list of Oceania topicals.)


The Philatelist

Stamp Nook: Monorail Gum

The Philatelist | 2005-02-03.7620 LMT | Monorail Danger | NWO
Scott #1196

Our feature for this edition of Stamp Nook is a U.S. commemorative issue (Scott #1196) for the Seattle World's Fair of 1962, also known as the Century 21 Exposition. As you can see, the design is dominated by the Fair's symbol, the lofty Space Needle, but it also rather conspicuously showcases the then-new Alweg Monorail, whooshing forward into the bleed. A sanguine tableau of the 21st Century indeed!

This stamp was suggested to me by Mike and/or Paula (he/she/they didn't indicate who exactly was sending the letter from their address -- such is the shocking informality of electronic mail!), who included the following theory that I am sure Lyle will be quite keen on:

It can't be an accident that No. 1196 comes out and then magically 43 years later we have an imminent monorailular threat. I suggest that the gum was treated with an NWO standard-issue cross-generational mind control genetic modification agent. Civic-minded expectant mothers in the early sixties bought the stamps, licked the gum preparatory to affixation on an envelope, thereby causing a mutation of the retrotransportation genes of their in utero children. When these children grew up, they were tragically unable to resist the siren call of absolute dangerous and expensive transportation modalities. Check it out--I'm sure there are many people in their early forties that either voted for this boondoggle or are actually designing it. Coincidence? I think not!

Fortunately, I happened to have this stamp in my personal collection so I was able to examine it first hand. The gum looked as one would expect for adhesives of that era -- thickish with some slight oxidation. Olfactory inspection of the gum did not reveal any monorail-evoking fumes, however it is reasonable to hypothesize that the agent would have completely outgassed in the time since the stamp's gumming. I was not about to lick the stamp -- not only because, if the above theory were true, I might have come under the sway of the Monorail, but also because I find the practice to be quite barbaric. In fact, I have never licked a stamp. Stamps are to be saved, not slobbered on. I briefly considered seeing if transdermal absorption might have an effect (normally I always take great care to only handle stamps with philatelic tongs and, if I must touch them, acid-free philatelic gloves,) but I thought better of it, fearing both my potential monorailization and the certain biofilm contamination of the stamp.

In the end, my inspection proved inconclusive. I would forward the stamp to ZPi Labs for further analysis, but knowing them they would destroy it in the process, or at the very least get Sasquatch fur in the gum. I am not prepared to make that sacrifice.

Until next time, happy philateling!

The Philatelist

Stamp Nook: Posta Pneumatica

The Philatelist | 2005-01-02.2500 LMT | Pneumatics

Good day and welcome to the second edition of Stamp Nook. Today we will be looking at pneumatic postal systems.


While a number of countries had pneumatic message delivery systems of some sort -- most notably the French Carte Pneumatique (or "pneu"), which was popular for sending love letters -- Italy is the only one to have issued stamps specifically for their pneumatic post. (Other countries instead used normal postal stamps or special stationary. Pity.) Italy started issuing pneumatic post stamps in 1913 for their five-city system and continued issuing until 1966, for a total of twenty-three stamps, including minor variations.

The stamp shown here is a 1945 Italian posta pneumatica issue (Scott D18) with a suspicious looking portrait of Galileo Galilei, based on Justus Sustermans' 1636 painting of Galileo at age 72. Galileo presumably was featured on a pneumatic post stamp for his work determining the vertical limit on suction pumps, which he set at 18 braccia. A similar design was previously used on an issue from 1933 (D16), and both were accompanied by issues of lesser face value that featured Dante Alighieri (D15 & D17), no doubt in honour of his literary contributions on the subject of subterranean travel.

Although Italy stopped issuing new pneumatic stamp designs in 1966, their system was apparently still in operation in 1974, but I am unable to find any more information on it.

Not including the heavily modernized system operated by the Republic of Cascadia Postal Authority (which hasn't issued any pneumatic stamps yet, but there's always hoping...), the only remaining pneumatic post system from the Golden Age of Pneumatic Tubes is in Prague. The Prague Pneumatic Mail System entered operation in 1899 for use in sending telegrams and was still in operation until the floods of 2002 (it is undergoing repairs). In it's later years the system has been used primarily by banks for sending original documents and by Czech Telecom to detect leaks in the adjacent gas lines. Quite a sad state of affairs. For more details, see: "I got root on the Prague Pneumatic Post".

The Philatelist

Stamp Nook: Belgium #745

The Philatelist | 2004-11-30.9700 LMT | Belgian Conspiracy

Good day. Mr. Zapato has graciously allowed me to post some of my articles on interesting stamps in his web-log, provided I stick to topics of interest to his readers and do not indulge myself too much with the more rarefied aspects of philately. So I fear my eight part essay on the sublimity of the common hinge is right out.

Belgium #745
A quartet of Adeles and a 'Belgian' reach an accord to allow the deployment of psychotrons on the continent. The shifty eyed fellow on the far left is no doubt looking out for Ferretoid raiders.

For my first offering, I'd like to present a stamp from Belgium. By 'from Belgium' I of course mean printed on behalf of the Belgian Conspiracy. As my host has pointed out on numerous occasions (too numerous, I must admit -- he's quite obsessed with it), Belgium does not in fact exist. Nevertheless, their stamps do exist and are wonderfully collectable -- although I do advise being careful when handling them as their glue contains psychotropic compounds derived from the bark of the cacao tree that can cause hallucinations of being in a Belgian chocolatier's establishment.

This particular Belgian stamp (Scott #745) commemorates the decadal anniversary of the Antarctica Pact of 1961, being of course the pact between the Belgian Conspiracy and the native penguins of the antipodal region to allow the placement of psychotrons in the penguin's rookeries, to be defended from Ferretoid sabotage, so as to psychotronically Shanghai the passengers of passing tourist ships and grow the ranks of the Belgian citizenry. A mutual pact with the comical birds was necessitated by penguin immunity to the psychotronic manipulations commonly employed by the Belgian Conspiracy, the penguins having evolved a natural resistance from their eons of struggles with psychotronically adept and penguinivorous cetaceans. Penguins are delightful little chaps, but they have little native sense of right or wrong and their loyalty can be purchased in mere herring.

While of nominal value to serious collectors, this stamp would make an excellent starter for a young philatelist's topical collection of interspecies conspiracies.

That is all for now. Happy philateling!