Tag Archives: stamps

Coins, coins, coins…

Yesterday, we had quite a few people in the shop and I spent a lot of the day in the front of the shop talking rather than working. Today was the opposite and I spent most of the time sitting in the back room typing a seemingly endless list of coins into eBay. 

These aren’t just ordinary coins, these are tedious modern coins mounted on First Day Covers commemorating things like the Queen Mother’s birthday, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and a Royal Visit to the Isle of Man. They are badly made, dull, uninspired and bring out the worst in me.

I’m generally in favour of tradition and  resistant to change. However, after a couple of hours of this I’m prepared to put the entire Royal Family up against a wall and shoot them (normally I only feel like this about Prince Andrew and Fergie and their unpleasant offspring). A couple of hours later I’m also prepared to undermine the entire capitalist system which makes the successful marketing of such trash possible.

Just a short post for now, though the new editor seems to lack the capacity to count my words. I’m off to polish my hammer and sickle and raise a red flag.

Meanwhile I still haven’t worked out the benefits of the new editor, in any, compared to the old one. I may well go back to the old one.

Royal Family 1937

Inspiration

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Heavily stamped envelope

This is my version of the Random Idea Generator. I just stick a load of stamps on and take a picture to remind myself later.

Spanish Armada, Fishermen, Sign Language, Tropical Fish, Horse Chestnut, The Mallard, Landscape, Flowers, Gramophone,  Postal Union, Fire Engine, Radio Broadcasting, Inigo Jones building, Inigo Jones masque costumes.

That’s just a taster. Many of them lead on to other thoughts.

Here are a few others.

More Stampish Inspiration

More Stampish Inspiration

 

Roald Dahl, Cats, Morgan Le Fey, Merlin, Christmas, Cricket, Edward Lear, Pathe News, National Trust Cliff, Bittern, a couple I’m not sure about (including a French Horn), Rugby League, Golf, Football, something to do with Springtime and Queen Elizabeth II.

I really must read them more thoroughly next time and remember what they are.

I’m not sure they will convert to haiku very easily, but they should work for haibun and other forms. The prompts will be incorporated into my writing challenges. (Because they aren’t already hard enough…)

 

Some more stamps…

We bought some stamp sets last week and I put this one to one side for a photo. The five stamps come to £1.89, which is, coincidentally, (and 20 years after issue) the value of second class Signed For postage.

They are a bit shiny so the individual shots didn’t come out too well.

 

Sorry about that. They are a good set, featuring some great stories, and deserve better pictures than this.

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Just a short post today. I may try another one later. It was a hectic day with 24 parcels to do – one with 46 items in it and another with 24 medallions. They take some packing!

Sounds silly after some of the jobs I’ve had to say I’m exhausted after packing a few parcels, but there you are – old age.

I also failed my blood test this morning, so I’m back again next week. Pah!

A Few Bright Spots

The high point of the day was probably repairing my camera with a penknife. It’s nice to know that although everything is now chipped, computerised and digitised a quick jab from a Mk I penknife can still do a useful job.

It wasn’t a particularly technical job, just adjusting the fit of a socket in the side of the camera. I have been having problems with the lead falling out when downloading photographs. I don’t have that problem now, and I’m going to charge myself £50 for the repair. This, I’m fairly sure, would be the situation if I sent it away.

There was a time, when every boy carried a penknife, and knew how to use it for repairing things, sharpening things and opening things. It’s a lost art now. We have unrepairable sealed units, health and safety and cunning packages that don’t need cutting. In addition we have legislation about knives so I daren’t even keep it in my pocket.

I keep it in the plastic box I use for carrying my writing materials and use it for sharpening pencils. (Just in case anyone in law enforcement is reading this).

Over the last few days I’ve added 23 postcodes to the list, including 14 on Monday when working alone. It was hard work on Monday but it’s actually easier working on your own, as nobody takes the stamps or sellotape when you’re in the middle of using them.

At the moment I’m in danger of having more postcodes than interesting facts, so it’s clearly time to get searching.

I’ve also been trying to use as many different stamps as possible: I’m easily amused.

 

 

 

Football, a Spider and an Educational Parcel

We didn’t have much to do in the way of packing parcels this morning, or much activity from customers, so I was able to continue with the soul-crushing task of compiling a drop-down menu of Topical Times football cards for the eBay shop.

They aren’t like normal cards, which had to fit in a cigarette packet or pack of gum, these were given away with a magazine. The ones I did this morning are the miniature size – as wide as a cigarette card but about twice as high. This makes them difficult to photograph efficiently as they need cropping whichever way you do them. They are also in black and white, which makes them look very similar – I’m used to a world where football shirts come in different colours, not just black, white and grey.

Having said that, they had better names in 1938.

James Argue - Chelsea FC

James Argue – Chelsea FC

 

Sam Barkas - four of his brothers were also professional footballers, as was his cousin Billy Felton

Sam Barkas  – Manchester City

There were five Barkas brothers, all professional footballers. Sam and his cousin Tommy Felton both played for England.

We were lucky during the week when a lady rang up with a few things to sell – I checked if she had anything else and was able to buy some WW2 propaganda leaflets and wartime maps. They had belonged to her late father. but she was (quite rightly) keeping his DFC and other medals. More of this later.

Towards the end of the afternoon we had a number of sales, which we packed ready for Monday morning.

I scanned some of the propaganda leaflets ready for auction next week. This, though tatty, is probably the best of the lot – a magnificently evil Nazi spider with Hitler’s face.

WW2 propaganda leaflet

WW2 propaganda leaflet

My Greek was weak in the 1970s when I actually made a serious effort. It’s worse now.

I’m still good at sticking stamps on envelopes though, as you can see here.

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£3.95 – absolute bargain!

History, nature, Christmas, royalty – it’s not an envelope, it’s an education. The Winston Churchill stamp provides balance to the Nazi spider.

Fun with Stamps

We get offered a lot of stamps in the shop, and turn most of them down. The stamp market is such that there is no real call for First Day Covers, schoolboy collections or, indeed, most stamps we are offered. We even turned away a Penny Black the other day. As you can see from the link – they printed 68,808,000 of them and many used examples were saved. They were hand cut from unperforated sheets and only ones that have been well cut, with four even margins, are really worth anything. They frequently sell for under £30 on eBay, with several under £20. It’s not much for a cultural icon. (On the other hand, Stanley Gibbons have a nice one for sale at £250,000. Well, I assume it’s nice for quarter of a million.)

The ones we buy are the Presentation Packs. We then break them up and use them on parcels. As long as they are priced in decimal currency you can still use them. You can even use the ones priced in 1/2p denominations even though we stopped using the 1/2p coin in 1984.

It can take a while sorting all these stamps and working out the postage, as you can see from the accompanying pictures. It’s good for your mental arithmetic, if nothing else.

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Bluebells and Winnie the Pooh

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A very orange stamp

The first perforated stamps were Penny Reds. They were originally issued to replace Penny Blacks in 1841, and continued until 1879. In the beginning they needed cutting like the Penny Black but in 1854 they were issued perforated for ease of use.

1854 – we couldn’t run an efficient army nursing service but we could perforate stamps…