It’s already been 5 months! Time flies, and it keeps getting faster. I’ve been busy with life in general, but I’ve also been busy with my stamps. I’ll round out the highlights below.
Probably the biggest accomplishment over the last several months was finally finishing the 14+ pounds of worldwide mixed material. At the time of my last update, I had a bunch of sandwich bags of stamps by continent which needed to be sorted out, and I had already pulled the countries I either collect or plan to collect out of the mix (Austria, Belgium, Germany, et al). This time around, I went one sandwich bag at a time and sorted by country. So after a few months, everything I have was at the very least separated out by country.
Then came the next step…I went country by country, glassine by glassine, and took out what looked to be old or especially interesting, even for countries that I don’t collect, and set them aside. For instance, a lot of the early South American stuff looked interesting to me, they commonly have beautiful engraved designs. So I set a bunch of those aside. I didn’t have my catalog open when I did this, I just went by gut feeling since these are countries I don’t actively collect. Some countries I didn’t have anything interesting (to me at least) in glassines, so those glassines went straight into the “sell” boxes. Other areas, upon a second look, are relevant to things I do collect, and I was able to file them appropriately. For instance a lot of French, British, and Italian areas and colonies that I didn’t know anything about a year or two ago when they originally went into glassines are now in the box with their “parent” area.
When it was all said and done, I got the material I’m keeping down to two boxes. Seven boxes are material to sell — I plan on making 1 oz packets and selling them either on eBay or to members on the IPP Discord server. (These “only two boxes,” of course, exclude the boxes and boxes of material from countries/areas I’m actively collecting…this is just what I got the “other worldwide” stuff down to.)
Here are my 2 “keep” and 7 “sell” boxes after many hours of work.
The only exceptions to this are an entire tub of African stamps (I don’t collect any Africa so it didn’t seem worth sorting for me) and several sandwich bags of Brazil and Philippine material. There was so much of each that glassines didn’t make sense. I still pulled out and kept early and interesting material from both countries, but it is far outweighed by the stuff I don’t want to keep. It was a huge milestone for me to be able to say that everything I have is sorted at the very least by country (well, except the Africa box, and now that I think about it, the “unidentified” box that I need to get around to eventually…).
Once I finished all the worldwide stuff, I’ve started to go through and re-catalog my Austria collection by the ANK (Austria Netto Katalog) numbers, instead of the Scott numbers. You can see in one of my previous articles why I’m largely abandoning the Scott Catalog for non-US material. I’ve gotten everything through the 1908 jubilee issue newly rearranged into VARIO stock pages/binders. I’ve used a lot more stock pages, however, because the ANK has semipostals and airmail stamps blended in with the rest of the regular stamps, which I like overall. So I had to add in those, newspaper stamps, etc. I also spaced my stamps out a little more evenly now that I have largely stopped acquiring them in bulk. Previously I had them spaced evenly, but after another year and a half of ending up with collections and albums that I broke down, new examples would just sort of get shoved into the mix. Now they are all laid out so I can see the cancellations, etc. clearly.
I did my best to arrange things in such a way that when I go through it again and look for more variations, etc. I won’t have to redo a bunch of pages, I can just go one issue at a time. I’ve also just used handwritten placeholders for my placards — once I get things even more specialized I will type up some better signs/notes. My long term goal is to write up custom album pages, similar in format to an exhibit. I’m still not getting rid of what are presently duplicates because I know there is more and more variation I haven’t explored yet. It will be a long time before I part ways with any Austrian material.
Here’s an example of a handwritten placeholder, which is coincidentally also an example of me putting my foot down when it comes to printing types on the 1867 issue. See Big Blue’s article here for an idea as to why I abandoned separating this issue, at least for now.
I’ve continued past that issue in glassines and 102 cards, getting them reordered by ANK number while also pulling in previously unsorted stuff that also came out of the worldwide stuff. I would have it all in stock pages already, but I had to order some more 7‑row pages since I rearranged.
The box on the left was originally my “back of book” box which included semipostals, airmails, etc. which is getting slowly emptied into my main box as it is mixed in. The box on the right is stuff from the worldwide lots sorted by issue that I’m pulling into the mix as I go.
In another week or two I hope to have all of my Austria stuff arranged by ANK number, and I will take an inventory so I can start looking in earnest for what I am still missing.
While I’ve made myself a rule that I will never again buy mixed, unsorted worldwide lots…I have acquired a few things here and there. My Ukraine material has grown, and I’ve spent a little time working on learning how to distinguish the trident overprints. That will be a huge project when I fully get around to it.
I also recently broke down a two-volume Scott Specialty Series Central Europe album that had some Austria (thankfully I was able to easily work it into what I’ve already sorted), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. I pulled everything except modern Hungary and Czech material. I have a friend in my local club who collects Austria and Czechoslovakia, and I hope to pass the albums and pages on to him, since I don’t really use albums presently.
I also got a nice album full of Yugoslavia material. The early stuff is of interest to me, especially the period of time where it was the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. There are some beautiful stamps from that time. I snagged an album of classic Bulgaria at auction too. For now they’re all just on the shelf in waiting — I have plenty on my plate to get to before them.
The first page of my new Yugoslavia album. It will remain intact for now but my plan is to eventually mix it with my existing material and place it in stock pages similar to my Austria stuff.
United States Material
I don’t think I’ve touched a single US stamp (with the exception of the few that wound up in the worldwide bins, as well as the stamps used on mail that I’ve sent) since my last update. It’s sort of on the back burner for now.
I did spend some time sorting out all of the envelopes labeled “Reich” into their general issues (Germanias, Hindenburgs, inflation stamps, etc.) to prepare for when I get around to it. I wanted a little bit of a change in pace. I also have a few folks I know hoping to swap duplicates, and of course I can’t get rid of anything until it’s fully catalogued. I haven’t touched post-WWII German material yet.
Conclusion and Stampex Note
Things are moving along. I’m looking forward to continuing to specialize and get go of material I don’t need. It’s an ongoing process that from what I understand will never end as long as I’m participating in this hobby.
I also am excited to say that I have made plans to spend a day at London Autumn Stampex at the end of the month. I’m looking forward to seeing my first large, international stamp show, as well as meeting up with some of the folks I talk to on a daily basis on the Discord server. I also am hoping I will get a chance to meet and talk with Graham Beck from Exploring Stamps, one of my favorite YouTube channels.
As always, leave a comment or get in touch with me via Twitter (@turngren_phila) if you have anything you’d like to say, or if you are going to be in London for Stampex.
Andrew has been collecting since 2020, and created this website in 2022 to document his philatelic experiences.