The Rail Philatelist August 1998 Newsletter
Number 3 August 1, 1998
Volume 3 . Number 3 August 1, 1998
Dear Fellow Rail Philatelist:
Sorry for the delay in getting this mailing out - since the E-F lists are always a little short, I spent a few extra days combing the weeds going through everything I have tucked away trying to find additional items without much success. I did come up with a treasure trove of DIE PROOFS - unfortunately, a European collector had made them into CUT SQUARES for his exhibit as they used to do - the full size items had too much blank space for the exhibit pages so common practice was to trim them down to a smaller size - FDCs were also trimmed in this manner, damaging a lot of valuable material. I guess they hadn't discovered "windowing" back then. These DIE PROOFS would sell for $300-$800 or more if still intact; I'm offering them at about one tenth that. Note these are all ONE-OF-A-KIND items - I have added a "#" at the end of the catalog number to designate such limited numbers for this and future lists.
LEGENDARY TRAINS FACT & PHOTO CARDS: I have received several promotional mailings from Atlas Editions, P.O. Box 16732, Columbus, OH 43216-6732 offering FREE photo cards. I usually throw these promos away, but I sent this one in. These colorful 7 1/2 x 10 Fact & Photo sheets may be a useful supplement to a train stamp collection, either as inserts into the collection or as sources of information for your write-ups. I can't vouch for the accuracy of the information but the few I skimmed seemed to read pretty well. To see a sample page, click HERE or HERE. There could probably be hundreds in the complete series but I think I'll explore it further. Has anyone else signed up for this yet?
LOCOMOTIVES OF THE WORLD: I finally came across a complete album of the "Locomotives of the World" put out by the Stamp Collectors Society of America about 10 years ago. It is actually pretty impressive. 372 fact-filled pages including the index in an 11 x 81/2 format in a Green with Gold lettering leatherette 6 ring binder 3 inches thick. 208 pages contain two stamps each (should be 416 stamps, but mine has 3 missing) plus detailed write-ups of the locomotives pictured. The other pages contain black and white photos, historical information on locomotives, railroads and railway pioneers and personalities, and other useful info such as a Glossary of railroad terms and a page of logos for the U.S. railroads. All in all, a gold mine of information but probably not worth the over $700 it cost via subscription. To see a sample page, click HERE or HERE. The album (including stamps) is available as one of this months SPECIALS @ $250.00.
"ALPHABETILATELY":The origins of this previously mentioned presentation by Bill Senkus are discussed in his own words. "In February of 1997, about the time I was trying to decide what I needed to do to get ready for Pacific 97, my friend Alyson approached me, suggesting we put together "some sort of presentation to promote Pacific 97 and stamp collecting" for the local chapter of the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts), of which she is a board member. She has a very enjoyable obsession for alphabets, so that seemed an obvious format. We enlisted our mutual friend Sheryn to help, and developed the concept further. We picked one philatelic topic for each letter, and envisioned a rather casual presentation in which I would talk informally, somewhat as though I were simply sharing my collection with my friends in my stamp room - something I enjoy doing with Alyson and Sheryn. The idea was to illustrate how rich and varied stamp collecting really is, while of course entertaining a very graphic-arts-oriented audience with imagery that they would enjoy. I agreed to prepare slides to show real examples of the topics, while Alyson said she would try to interest S. F. Bay Area designers in creating original artwork of some sort to illustrate the topics. I soon had far too many slides to show - some I prepared myself from material in my own collections, others I borrowed, or made from pictures in auction catalogs (some of which are amazingly good); and Alyson succeeded far beyond her hopes in getting local designers to join the project - we ended up with twenty-six rather extraordinary stamp-like images - the one for "R is for RPO" is my favorite, of course. The original presentation on May 14, 1997 was a great success. We used two screens, with the artist-created images on one, and my examples of the topics on the other. We had the sponsorship not only of the AIGA but of Crane Business Papers (for whom Alyson works), and they put on a gala reception before the show, and another after. I was far too nervous to enjoy either, of course, but I'm told the show went well. I decided I wanted to try it on a philatelic audience, so I got a last-minute spot at Pacific 97, and presented it again on June 2, 1997 - the audience was small, mostly friends from where I work, but they and the few collectors who showed up seemed to enjoy it. Then this April, on 4/22/98, we presented the show in Seattle, again for the AIGA, where the audience was very warm and appreciative. And on June 19, 1998, we presented it to a group of stamp designers meeting under the auspices of the USPS - it was part of a yearly conference they hold to get design input from all segments of the stamp creation process. I'm still not sure what they hoped to get out of it, but they were very polite, and seemed to enjoy it as well. We got to meet several members of the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee -CSAC (they pronounce it see-sack!), and saw some very hush-hush yet-to-be-issued designs (there will be a set of trains next year, though we did not get to see those). Finally, I've booked a slot in the program for the APS STAMPSHOW in Santa Clara, CA (Saturday, August 29, 5pm), to try it out on collectors again. As we've gone along, I've been creating souvenir covers for each showing - we've had not only the 26 artist images (which exist at this point only as slides), but show-specific cinderellas and engraved invitations for each of the AIGA presentations, with which I've created "first day covers". For the USPS event (in Newport Beach) I made covers using the new Trans-Mississippi stamps, which I had autographed by some of the CSAC members and other attendees, and intend to send in for First Day cancels. Meanwhile, Alyson has been working to get the rights to the artist images assigned to the AIGA, so that they can be reproduced as a set of postcards that the AIGA could sell. The issue of rights to the images has been the biggest frustration of the project, as it has prevented me from sharing it more widely. I'd like to write a set of articles, perhaps even a book, and while I could do that without using the images - the topics stand on their own - still I consider the artist images an essential part of the concept now, and any sort of publication is impossible until the legal issues have been wrapped up. So for now it remains a traveling slide show. Still, it's been a lot of fun - far more work than I ever envisioned, and expensive - I now have twenty-six additional collections! But fun!" If any of you readers plan to attend STAMPSHOW 98 in Santa Clara, I hope you will set aside an hour and join us for the next presentation of "Alphabetilately - From A is for Advertising Cover through Z is for Zeppelin." See - there is no telling where your collection will lead you!
STAMP OF THE MONTH: Shown is Yvert & Tellier #9, one of many French Parcel Post stamps listed in both the CERES and YVERT & TELLIER catalogs, but not in SCOTT. These provide the same service as the Belgium Q-value Parcel Post stamps that Scott does list and are every bit as collectible by the rail specialist. There are two different series listed by the French catalogs: "Timbres pour Colis Postaux" which includes the first YT9-14 issued in 1901, all with the design shown. Numbers 174-233 also illustrate railroad subjects; the others in the series do not but are still probably candidates for a railway thematic collection because of the functions they served. The other series, designated "Timbres pour Tous Colis" has only two designs, a steam train on 1-30 and an electric train on 31-47, all of which are difficult to find MINT. Speaking of parcel stamps...
GERMAN PARCEL POST CATALOG: Bill Barr has done a fantastic job updating the Düsterbehn German Railway Parcel Stamp Catalog. I haven't had time to work with my copy extensively yet, but I liked everything about it. (And, yes, I paid full price - I didn't get a complimentary copy to promote it.) He modestly describes the work as "Update of Düsterbehns supplement of 1950. Over 600 full size color illustrations (ED. There were none in the original), many black and white enlargements, 117 pages of text, 4 page index, printed on 32Lb stock, spiral bound. Prices are from the original work as it is easy to use a multiplier if you look at the prices as USD (US dollars). Do not do the revenues as Erler already has. It weighs a pound. New info will be added as available, and included in the next copy printed, as I print it here on the kitchen table. Retail is $40. I have been charging $3.00 domestic and $7.00 European postage." You can order directly from W. Barr, 958 Durlane Ct., Sunnyvale, CA 94087 or I will have several copies available at Booth 726 at the APS STAMPSHOW 98 in Santa Clara Aug. 27-30. Bill adds "Wish it was complete, I need a lot more information first. I put it out in an attempt to get more info. I am happy with it if I can get more information to finish it up." This is definitely a useful volume to have in its present form so order one today! He can print about 2 a day so lets put him to work! And if you have information to add, by all means contact him ASAP.
JULY TRAVELS: There was one train experience from last month that I couldn't fit in so here it is now - On my way to Spokane I watched a Willamette & Pacific (another of the Genesee & Wyoming family of railroads) welded rail train with locomotives "Independence" and "McMinville" set out a couple ballast cars on a siding. Later, I saw the same train on the balloon track in the Spokane yard. Evidently, one of the welded rails had come off its rollers and they were using a fork lift to try to get it back in place. After about an hour of fruitless effort, they got out a torch and cut the misplaced rail and left it lying beside the track. There are orange construction barrels everywhere - I-70 seemed to be one lane the whole way across Kansas but at least they are fixing that teeth-rattling section I complained about last summer. After attending my Mother-in-Law's 80th birthday surprise parties in Ohio and with a week out for my oldest son's wedding and the short trip to Kansas City for the National Model Railroad Association show, I didn't get much train watching in this month. I did spend a couple hours at Santa Fe junction in KC before and after the show on Saturday at 8 trains per hour, but even the BNSF K-9 patrol officer I talked with confirmed that traffic was light compared to normal - I didn't even realize that the railroads had such guys until I met him and his dog (under friendly circumstances, thank goodness!). Because of construction, I took an alternate route to and from KC and saw several trains on the old Kansas Pacific line, now the Union Pacific, between Wild Horse, CO and Oakley, KS including an East-bound coal train sitting on the Kit Carson, CO siding each of the 4 times I passed there - they seemed to be waiting for a crew each time. I also made my first trip to Denver International Airport to pick up wedding guests and got to ride the train between terminals several times. I also discovered that the USPS has a self-serve "Postique" there that was open until 9PM on Thursday so I bought a bunch of the new Trans-Mississippi sheets that my local post office didn't have - see, I never really get very far away from trains and stamps! It is interesting to note that all the self-serve items are packaged with small warning labels on the back: "PACKAGE NOT SUITABLE FOR PHILATELIC ARCHIVING" so DO NOT store these items in the packages they come in for very long!
SURVEY RESULTS PART IV: While I dabble in all aspects of railway philately, most of you it seems stick primarily to train stamps. I was reminded of my survey results by a comment one of my correspondents made regarding the recent TOPEX - "Overall, the show was "cover heavy," which I think is common for APS-sanctioned WSP(World Series of Philately) events since that's the stuff exhibitors are usually hunting for. (I find it's hard for our gang of "collectors only" -- and mostly stamps only at that -- to understand this phenomena)." How true - fewer than 20% of you expressed any interest in collecting FDCs, RPOs or event covers, areas I find fascinating while a similar number expressed interest in cinderellas, my real collecting passion. Slightly more expressed interest in train postcards but I still haven't come up with a reasonable way to present these to you other than at shows and most of you only attend one or two shows a year so our chances of getting together are indeed slim. Several of you indicated that I should do an annual show in your area. I am trying to get around to all areas of the country but at the same time I'm trying to cut back on the number of shows because of the expenses. I've said I want to cut back to 10 good shows by the year 2000 - unfortunately, right now I only know of about 4 or 5 good shows so I'm running around trying to find another 5! Tell me about the best shows in your area.
RAIL THOUGHT OF THE MONTH: "It's hard to stop a train". Actually that's probably spelled TRANE since it's an air conditioning company slogan but it's a cool thought for a hot month.
I ASKED, YOU ANSWERED: I received several friendly letters with useful information this month:
1. John Armitage had included "A.W.N.U.T.S." at the end of his magazine list. I naively asked what that was so he sent me a couple copies - it is a real, slick magazine with the subtitle "The Magazine of Whimsey in Model Railroading. A Publication of the Always Whimsical, Not Usually to Scale Garden Railway Society". It makes entertaining reading and must be doing things right - it is into it's fifth volume at $5.00 per issue. Contact A.W.N.U.T.S. Garden Railway Society, 821 Inverness Way, Sunnyvale, CA 94087-3537 We all need more humor in our lives!
2. Albert J.C. Borgstein, author of Railway Thematic Stamps of Africa plugged a year or so ago wrote from South Africa to correct a few of my African listings and also to remind me that Liberia #52-3 and O26-7, Latvia #SG241 and Mali #C396 belong on the TRIANGLE stamp list. He also pointed out several other DIAMOND stamps but that's another story. He also mentioned three books worth having: World Atlas of Railways by O.S.Nock, Victoria House Publishing, The Guiness Railway Fact Book by John Marshall, Guiness Publishing, and Jane's Railways published annually. I have all three in my library and should have mentioned them before. He added "My goodness, but you are driving around a lot from show to show!!! That makes me envious as stamp-shows are here only once a year(if we are lucky)...Train shows are virtually unknown here. On the other hand you see a lot of your country AND ITS TRAINS! You are indeed fortunate!" I certainly am! Thanks for all the info!
3. Several of you wrote commenting on your vicarious enjoyment of my travels - I can't include them all but thanks for the thoughts. Here is what Al Roth wrote: "I really get a "kick" from your News & Notes when you mention your train experience while traveling. What a passion for railroading! I thought I was "bad"; it is funny how a train can stir the soul. One of the few things I can remember from the New York World's Fair of 1939-40 are all the trains. I enjoyed them even more than the new cars, which I guess was unusual for a nine year old." He also seconded my choice of Perkins Restaurants and went on to say "I have also found that eating at a German restaurant - and not necessarily German cuisine - you usually get not only quality but quantity. Germans are hearty eaters!" I second that - I love a good German restaurant! Or any good restaurant for that matter!
4. Reports from TOPEX indicate those who attended had a good time and found some interesting items for sale but the turn out for the Casey Jones Railroad Unit meeting was small, only 9 attended the free-wheeling question and answer session. I am surprised because I assumed a lot of you Easterners would jump at the chance to finally attend a meeting. At least Oliver Atchison received his well-deserved honor as a Distinguished Topical Philatelist at the show banquet.
APS STAMPSHOW 98: In addition to having all my stamps, covers, postcards, cinderellas and other material at the APS STAMPSHOW 98, Santa Clara Convention Center, Aug. 27-30 in booth 726 near the concession area, I will also be presenting my "Railway Philately" slide show on Friday at 11AM (I think), so come say "Hello" at one or both places.
My apologies, I got a bit long winded this month with all the news and things to report. I hope to be back to the normal two page version for next month. I hope you found at least some of the additional information useful or worthwhile. May your tracks be clear ahead.