The Rail Philatelist July 1999 Newsletter

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Volume 4 …………… PRICE $1.00 (10 ISSUES FOR $8.00)………………. Number 4 July 1, 1999

Dear Fellow Rail Philatelist:

COUNTRIES WITHOUT TRAIN STAMPS: David Van Wart writes "My love of trains goes way back. Now what I'm doing is getting at least one train stamp from every country/entity in the world. Sometime in your newsletter, confirm which countries never put out a train stamp." Here is his list with my added commentary:

Did we miss any? Are there really only one or two entities in the entire world that haven't included railways on stamps thus far?

MORE ON LONDON STAMP PRICES: I finally got caught up enough in early June to spend some time working up most of the stamps I bought in London and came to two startling revelations:

1. Even though the Stanley Gibbons Catalog prices are high relative to Scott by a factor of 2 or more in most cases, Stanley Gibbons (SG), the stamp dealer, sells at prices even higher than their catalog! In addition to the new COLLECT RAILWAYS ON STAMPS (CROS) catalog introduced at the show (I'm all sold out for now but can try to get more if there is still interest), SG also had a glossy 28 page 1999 RAILWAYS MAIL ORDER STAMP LISTING (RMOSL) available although their train stamp inventory at the show was somewhat limited. I went through their stock carefully one afternoon and pulled out about $400 worth of hard to find items. Unfortunately, the stamps were in counter books rather than 102 cards like most U.S. dealers now use. Consequently, as I selected items, the young lady assisting me took them from the page sleeves and dumped them into a large glassine where they all intermixed with no indication of prices anywhere! Thus, when I organized them onto 102 cards I had to refer to all three price guides (Scott, CROS, & RMOSL). That is how I noticed that some of the prices I had paid (based on the RMOSL) were twice as high as the CROS catalog prices! So if some scattered prices seem a little high on future lists it is because that is what I had to pay to get the items, most of which I can never find here (as explained next).

2. In working with the CROS, I think I have discovered the reason why some train stamps are so difficult to find here in the U.S. - in the financial world they call it "arbitrage" - buying in one market and selling in another to take advantage of price differences. Where the price differences between Scott and Stanley Gibbons are really significant, it is almost impossible to find the stamps here in the U.S. - savvy dealers and collectors have sent all they can find overseas. Here are a couple examples: Mongolia Scott #134 @ $1.40 vs SG @ $40.00!, Mali Scott #195-8 @ $0.70 vs SG @ $22.70! These aren't the most extreme examples - just two of several that jumped out at me. Why (I ask myself?) would anyone with half a brain sell a stamp set here for a pittance when he can get real money (about 30 times more) for the same set elsewhere? That explains why certain dealers have been hounding me looking for some of the elusive sets. It also explains why I can't find Afghanistan #1234-40 here @ $3.00 (Scott CV) but found 3 dealers in London eager to sell them @ $10.50, similarly #1266 @ $2.50 is almost impossible to find here, but fairly common there @ $6.00 so I bought some of each. This doesn't mean that I am now going to send all the good stuff to England or that I am going to adopt Stanley Gibbons prices for everything but it sure is tempting. Your thoughts and comments, please.

OUTLINE of GOLD MEDAL EXHIBIT "The Railways, We Need You": (NOTE: Some lines lose something grammatically in the translation, but you should gain a sense of the breadth, if not the quality, of the material presented in this outstanding exhibit):

  1. Contents
  2. Where Did I Start? My Origins.
    1. Without Wheels I Cannot Move.
    2. Without Rails I Loose My Direction.
    3. My Life Started in the Mines
    4. Horses Became My First Engines

  3. My Inventor and Pioneers, Their First Steps
    1. The Power of Steam
    2. England, Cradle of Steam Locomotives
    3. George Stephenson, the First Public Railway
    4. The Modern Railway Created by Stephenson's "Rocket"
    5. The Rainhill Trials
    6. They Gave Me More Wheels

  4. My Early Years on the Continent
    1. Belgium Took the Lead.
    2. Tests Were Already Done in France
    3. Construction in Western Europe
    4. The Scandinavian Expansion
    5. The Conquest of the Alps
    6. Construction in Eastern Europe

  5. My Influence in the New World and Colonial Territories
    1. The New World
    2. The African Scene
    3. The Asian Scene
    4. Rails in Australia

  6. My Composition is Always an Engine and Some Wagons
    1. The Locomotive, Techniques & Improvements
    2. The Use of Rolling Stock and Organization
    3. Electrified and Underground Railways

  7. The Building of a Railway Infrastructure, Installations
    1. Laying & Spiking the Track
    2. I Need a Solution for Every Obstacle
    3. Safety On and Around the Railway
    4. Stop Places and Maintenance
    5. Modernization

  8. The Everyday Life of Railroad Men and Their Organizations
    1. On the Road, Track
    2. In the Station
    3. On the Trains

  9. I Will Always Be Remembered
    1. In the Eyes of a Child: Toys & Models
    2. As a Tourist Attraction
    3. In Art & Literature
    4. Through My Universal Symbol: The Winged Wheel

Now take a look at your collection and try to find various philatelic items that tell the story for each section of this outline. You will probably be surprised at how well YOU could illustrate this story!

4 NIGHTS, 3 DAYS; DIARY OF A "WEEK" AT HOME: Since I've shared the intimate details of my life on the road, I figured it was time to detail my "other life". Here is what typically happens during the short periods I am home in more or less chronological order as recorded in March 1999:

STAMP OF THE MONTH: My middle son Jeffrey, who lives near Pittsburgh, PA, sent me a special Father's Day gift - the 1999 Pennsylvania Trout/salmon stamp. It's a beautiful painting of an 1899 steam train with the passenger car "Susquehanna" that was used to stock streams in remote areas from 1892 -1914. He sent 21, the one he had to sign will go in my collection and the others will be for sale next year (I don't think I can legally sell them now since I'm not a registered fishing license sales outlet). If you live in PA or have a friend there, get one while you can. Thanks Jeff!

RAIL THOUGHT OF THE MONTH: "Always expect a train" - an OPERATION LIFESAVER motto that I go by in my travels since I'm always looking for one!

RAIL FACTS AND FEATS: Did you know that the so-called "Standard Gauge" track width of four feet eight and one-half inches can be traced back to the wheel span of Roman chariots and the roads the Romans built in England?

May all your signals be green,


Al's signatureAL PETERSON

Train Logo

P.O. Box 25505
Colorado Springs, CO 80936
1-800-807-RAIL access code RR


News & Notes Back Issues
| Oct. 1996 | Nov. 1996 | Dec. 1996 |
| Jan. 1997 | Feb. 1997 | Mar. 1997 | Apr. 1997 | May 1997 | June 1997 |
| July 1997 | Aug. 1997 | Sept. 1997 | Oct. 1997 | Nov. 1997 | Dec. 1997 |
| Jan. 1998 | Feb. 1998 | Mar. 1998 | Apr. 1998 | May 1998 | June 1998 |
| July 1998 | Aug. 1998 | Sept. 1998 | Oct. 1998 | Nov. 1998 | Dec. 1998 |
| Jan. 1999 | Feb. 1999 | Mar. 1999 | Apr. 1999 | May 1999 | June 1999 |


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