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Sunday, February 12, 2017

North Korea [6th Post]

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When we are working with North Korean stamps, we often stumble with several different kinds of design,coexisting harmoniously in each year issues... I'm talking of the period that goes from the end of the 40's until the end of the 70's...we have some simple designs, almost childlike (1)  , other not very attractive (2)  but  very colorful,  and even very nice Landscape Painting works (3) , some were made by Artists specialized in Poster Design (4)  and in the end the Engraved stamps (5) ... all of this 5 types of design exists at the same time during this large period of 30 years.... the reason why many people don't like North Korean stamps is that the most common stamps available are from the first and second types....the engraved stamps, for example are much more scars and do not appear commonly on sellers in the Internet...but they are many, and for example in the 50's and beginning of the 60's are a considerably large part of each year issues... I think that all of us should take a minute to know more of these sometimes very beautiful stamps... I should say that most part of these engraved stamps are not [Recess] printed,but are more commonly in a  [Litho] printed form.... 
Today I have a small selection of stamps, where the these 5 categories  are very well represented...I do not know what are the reasons behind this mix of simple and detailed designs, but it is clear for me , that the most part of other countries always tried to have the best Artists of the moment designing their stamps...this mix is somehow incomprehensible..!
Another fact that always kept North Korean stamps a little out of the system is the Ferocious Animosity to US ideas and Life  Style... North Korea have the most offensive stamps towards another country in the all world... I often say that we , as collectors, should not mix Politics and Hobby, but I admit that to a US collector some of NK stamps are really "not collectible"....


We have here a first series ,from 1966 , that could belong to the first group of stamps... As you can see, a very simple design, with no work trying to get better details... just a colorful design...it is clearly a PDSMID (Please don't See Me In Detail) stamp....
1966 "North Korean Folk Dances" (5) [Litho] Sc(714,...,718)

These are single stamp issues,they have nothing in common except the year of issue...Scott Catalog display them individually in their issue date...but I had a hard time trying to find them in SG catalog, because there they are grouped in a series... As you can see the design and level of detail is very different from the one above.. they are engraved , not the best nor even a very good engraver work but now we could say that a detailed view of the stamp won't harm anyone..! (Now is the time to say that the level of quality of some other NK engravings is much higher than these...)
in the [left stamp] , the dredger boat 'September 2' is represented, and in the [right stamp] a view from recent buildings in Pyongyang is showed...
[Left] 1968 "Dredger boat 'September 2'" (1) [Litho] Sc(718)
[Right] 1968 "Building in Pyongyang" (1) [Litho] Sc(831)

 These two stamps are also from a 1968 series , and could be placed into the category of those who were designed by Poster Designers... these are clearly small posters, with a clear message ...the series is about the 20th Anniversary of the NK Republic and the Anti US felling is notorious in the [Left] stamp... this category of stamps is in the most part ,very Politically oriented , very warmongering and following the example of other Nations , very Nationalistic , with the only desire of lifting the People's Morale...I want to talk a little about two other characteristics of these stamps... they are also very colorful (as the others from the first group) and the printing has a distinctive singularity.. the image does not seem to be well focused.. it is almost if there was a fog layer above the pictures, and as a result we can not see all the details... but these are good designs, and nice stamps.... 
1968 "20th Anniversary of the Founding of the Korean Democratic People's Republic" (8) [Litho] Sc(843d,843h) [ this series was issued as part of a MS with all the 8 stamps...]


Another single stamp series , now from 1969... the stamp is focused on the Chollima statue, present in numerous other NK stamps...it is again an engraved stamp, and I cannot refrain myself from thinking in this strange coexistence of some of the simplest and colorful stamps in all the world with the continuous issue of single colored engraved stamps... 




A very nice series of engraved stamps from 1971...good quality work and good examples of this high detailed branch of NK stamps...the series show us several accessories or tools for the industry in general... tools to construct or results of the industry work...
1971 "Accessories for the industry" (4) [Litho] Sc(993,...,996)


This is clearly a type 3 design, with very nice landscape paintings... As many others they call our attention by their fresh and vivid colors... beautiful stamps..!!. there are many of these series, specially in the 60's and 70's , with landscapes from NK, and they are without doubts one of the strong points of NK Philately...
1973 "Moran Hill Scenery, Pyongyang" (4) [Litho] Sc(1147,...,1150)

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I like to open now a small section for Space stamps... some of the first and simplest space stamps I have seen...


well, there is not much to tell about these stamps... they are part of the category 1 !!
1959 "Launch of soviet Moon rocket" (2) [Litho] Sc(160,161)


1961 "Launching of Soviet Venus Rocket" (1) [Litho] Sc(282)


Here we have a distinct type 2 series.. it is a series with that common look we don't like to find... the stamps are not bad, but they have nothing that really appeal to our sense of beauty or that ignite our will to buy....they are  just stamps...that is the reason why You find so much of these stamps in sellers in the NET... few people buy them...they could be space stamps, animal stamps, commemorative stamps  , but they simply don't appeal ...they are type 2..!
1966 "Cosmonauts Day" (3) [Photo] Sc(703,...,705)

Now that I'm ending this post , I am seeing that this division of the stamps by sections (from 1 to 5 or more ) could be applied to any country... the real difference is that  in most part of the countries You will find only one or two of  these sections coexisting in time... That what's troubling me in North Korea... they have stamps that fit all the sections in the same time frame... Unbelievable..!!!
I sincerely hope that this post  have contributed to bring you to the group of those who like very much North Korean stamps...
something that is happening for a year or so, is that the market is increasing the prices of NK stamps... some years ago it was easy to find large lots from the 50's and 60's and now they are almost impossible to find...

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Liberia [1st Post]

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A year ago , I bought a beautiful lot of Turkish stamps from the Ottoman period...to complete the lot , there were some Iranian stamps from the early days, and two small envelopes with stamps... I saw they were from Liberia,but I didn't pay them much attention...last Friday I remembered them and today I like to present You my first Liberia stamps...

Most of these stamps belong to large series, and so just two of the series I present today are completed...if you take a quick look to Your Liberia catalog ,you will find that there are many overprints and Surcharges, and a large part of these stamps are part of this group...






These are stamps from the first design issued by Liberia ... it was used in several issues from 1860 to 1879...I present them here and now , but I didn't classified them , so they are not part of the collection yet...I choose not to classify them because there are many important details differing from issue to issue...
1) the thickness of the papers decrease from the 1st to the 5th issues...
2) the brightness of the colors also decreases from the 1st to the 4th issues... the 5th issue(1879)  is a "New Colors" series...
3) we have to know that in the 2nd and 4th series, an extra line 1mm apart from the exterior frames, exist... 
4) all the 4 first issues have only 3 values and the same 3 colors(6,12 and 24c)(red, blue,green)
5) we should take a good look at some internet sites about this group of series... You will see that it is a complex job to distinguish these issues...after seeing some sites I decided to stop the classification, and wait until I have more stamps of each value... it is the only way..! I leave here a link to a good site about Liberian stamps...
6) all the five series are [Litho] printed...it is notorious that the last one has a very poor printing...

looking now to my 3 stamps, I know that the 3rd is from the 5th and last issue, because it is a 1c stamp (this value dont exist in any of the 4 previous issues), and I also know that the 2nd stamp belongs to the 2nd issue of 1864, because it has the extra line bordering the exterior frames, and because the blue doesn't seem to me like a pale or faint blue....
If we look carefully to the designs, we will find that they are all different...the face is different , the engraving is different , there are several details of the boat that are different, and even the exterior (to the vignette) background is different... for experts, all these differences are important..
In the end , I only have doubts about my 1st stamp... I prefer to wait for more of these 6c stamps...


this is a stamp original from a "Various Designs" series of 1896 ,overprinted in 1900 with OS...I must say that the spacing between the two letters could differ from stamp to stamp...
1900 "Overprint OS on 1896 'Various Designs'" (15) Sc(O32)


this is another overprinted stamp, this time from 1903... the stamp is original from 1903 and represents the Liberty ..it is a beautiful design and very good engraving from Perkins, Bacon &Co.,London... the Overprint OS was done in the same year, but the original stamp was black, so we have the same design but a different color ....
1903 "Overprint OS over 'Liberty' (New Color)'" (1) [Recess (Perkins,Bacon & Co., London)] Sc(O43)









Another group of overprinted stamps and I am glad to notice that the designs and engravings continue to be very good.. I like specially the 2c and 10c stamps .. very good stamps!.. the overprint is again a OS, but this time it was printed obliquely... the original and the overprinted series are both from 1906, but we should notice that some of the values of the overprinted series were issued with different colors (10c,25c,30c,50c, for example..)..
1906 "Overprint OS on 1906 'Various Designs'" (13) [Recess (Perkins,Bacon & Co., London)] Sc(O46,O47,O48,O49,O52,O53,O54)



Triangular stamp with a very beautiful design .... The engraving and printing is again of Perkins, Bacon ....the original colors of this stamp were the 1909 black and purple ...in 1910 this stamp was issued in black and blue with an overprint OS and a surcharge '3 Cents Inland Postage'...this stamp could appear with perforation 12.5 or 14 or just rouletted  13...
1910 "Overprint OS and surcharge '3 Cents Inland Postage' on the 10c '1909 Commerce(New color)'" (1) [Recess (Perins,Bacon & Co., London)] Sc(127E)



When we entered the WWI period in Europe (1914/1918) there was only one series issued with original designs...the rest of the issues in this period were only overprinted and surcharged series of original stamps of previous years...in 1915 a series of 2 stamps was issued and printed by the Imperial Printing works, Berlin... about this series , SG tell us that "the 2c and 3c were the only two values to escape the British Navy's Blockade. The supply of the rest of the set , being addressed to the German consul in Monrovia, was not released to the Liberian government until after the war".... we have to know that Liberia was surrounded by Territories of the French and British Empire's and the Naval Forces of both Empire's were enormous if compared with those of Liberia (remained neutral until 1918, when the Country declares War to Germany) , so the trade with Germany (very active before the War) was very affected by the start of the War... 
we will find the rest of this 1915 series , only in 1921... I have some of these stamps to show , but in their  overprinted format...
the stamps remained  well engraved and with good papers and printing...nothing to say about it..
1915 "Various Designs" (2) [Recess (Imperial Printing Works, Berlin)] Sc(135)















These are some of the stamps we were talking about above...The designs are the same of the original series .but there are new colors to some values...we have again overprinted stamps with OS...
1921 "Overprint OS on '1921 Various Designs'" (14) [Recess (IPW,Berlin)] Sc(O116,O117,O118,O121)




To end this post , I have another complete series of Overprinted stamps...if you remember , the two first stamps were those issued in 1915, now with new colors... the 20c stamp was issued in 1921 , but also have new colors...
1921 "Overprint 'OFFICIAL' on stamps of 1915 and 1921 " (3) [Recess (IPW,Berlin)] Sc(O113,...,O115)

there is no doubt that Liberia has beautiful and well engraved stamps in this period of time...but what really called my attention was that first group of series with the vignette of Liberia...I think it is a demanding and "detail friendly" series.. I will try to get some more of these stamps ...

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