The Rail Philatelist
Volume 1 . Number 6 March 1, 1997
Dear Fellow Rail Philatelist:
SUPPLEMENT #1 TO ATA HANDBOOK #130: I received a preview copy of the new Supplement #1 to the ATA Handbook #130 from Norm Wright. It's been a lot of painstaking work, but he and his associates have compiled 50 pages (8-1/2"x11") of corrections, changes, additions and new issues through Dec. 1996 - lot's of essential and useful new information. You can obtain a copy by sending $10.00 to Norm at 33 Northumberland Rd, Rochester, NY 14618-2405.
NEW BRUNSWICK #6 AGAIN: Dr. A.M. Goodbody of England writes "Did you know the design for New Brunswick #6 came from $20.00 bill issued by Bank of Chester, S.C. in 1855? Note printed by Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co.". No, but we do now - thanks, Tony! This would be an interesting piece of collateral material to add to a collection. I've never seen one - any one out there have one? If so, send me a photocopy.
STAMP OF THE MONTH: Marshall Islands #613 is the most attractive train stamp issued in 1996, actually 12 steam locomotive stamps in a miniature sheet. Even though the sheet was issued at the APS STAMPSHOW in Orlando, I can't really justify the Marshall Islands commemorating these worldwide locomotives in this manner, but I certainly commend them for doing an excellent job with their artwork. And the 12 individual FDCs are even more spectacular as the special autographed cover my wife got for me at the First Day Ceremony shows (particularly since I'm partial to the Pennsy).
DATABASE UPDATES: Turns out that while Claris WORKS® may be more full-featured than my old Microsoft WORKS®, the database isn't nearly as easy to use. In addition to the conversion items I mentioned last time, I had to develop several work-arounds. My old program used the arrow keys to move from field to field but Claris requires COMMAND-RETURN, SHIFT-COMMAND-RETURN, TAB,SHIFT-TAB - every extra key slows you down. COMMAND-' copied the field above into the current field, no such short cut in Claris. Worse, you can't insert a new record into the middle of the database like I could with Microsoft - this was really handy for inserting new issues or other newly acquired material. With Claris, all new records are added at the end of the database and then you have to sort all the records to get it into the proper logical place - and there's the rub. How do you get Poland #3245 into the right place with 100 other Poland entries already there? If you just sort on "Poland", the catalog numbers seem to be somewhat random. So you can't just sort on "Poland" -you also have to use the catalog # or something. Unfortunately, using the catalog number doesn't work very well either because 1018 comes before 116 in a text field and if you make the catalog number a number field then you can't have C217a (no letters allowed in a number field - Catch 22!). You can do 0116 to solve the 116 vs 1018 problem but the * I use for new entries causes those numbers to come up first rather than in numerical sequence. Thus, I ended up using the ITEM NUMBER field I use in my web page lists, but even there I had to go back in and put in zeros to solve the 116 vs 1018 problem. Lot's of fooling around for what used to be a simple process. Incidentally, the sorting caused a glitch in the "I LIST" mailed last time much to my chagrin (Order of Israel 487 & 487T were switched). Don't get me wrong - there are still a lot of good things about Claris WORKS¨ and I'll probably be thrilled with it once I get used to it's idiosyncrasies. I'm sure this is probably more than you ever wanted to know about my trials and tribulations, but keep it in mind if some strange listing shows up out of sequence in a future price list (as above) - I probably misplaced a 0 or typed an o for a 0 and missed it in the proofreading. (The spell checker doesn't catch those very well). Kindly drop me a note and I'll try to correct it in future listings. Thanks.
FIRST DAY COVERS: In the process of converting all my stamp inventory databases on the new computer, I got the brainstorm to add fields for my first day cover inventory also so you will find an "FDC" column in the attached "K" & "L" lists. I don't have all the inventory entered yet but I did manage to get a few entered before my publishing deadline. FDC prices listed are for the "OFFICIAL" or most common cachet if more than one cachet even exists. I'll experiment with listing multiple cachet types later.
LEADERS OF THE WORLD: The Scott Catalog numbering and renumbering of these issues from Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Tuvalu and many lesser entities has resulted in considerable confusion. I'm not sure that the dust has settled yet but I have renumbered my stock to comply with the latest Scott iterations. However, I have also kept the 4 pair, 6 pair and 8 pair sets intact by issue date so if you missed one or more of these I can probably supply them. As train stamps these are an interesting gallery of locomotive art, but their philatelic value will remain in question.
TOPICAL ALBUMS: How do you mount or store
your train stamp collection? I get a couple inquiries each month
asking if there is a train topical album I can recommend or how
best to display and mount a collection. To my knowledge there
is no good comprehensive train topical album available. White
Ace and others do make "Railroad" imprinted topical
pages for 3-hole binders. With Showguard or Scott mounts, these
can make an attractive collection but the mounts and pages start
costing almost as much as the stamps do! I personally use the
Lindner T-BLANK system - this lets me rearrange the collection
as new items are acquired, but again the pages and binders are
a bit pricey so I usually recommend the Hagner or Vario (or similar)
black stock pages. They come with from one to seven clear acetate
strips per page (also available in white). These allow you to
move the items around from page to page as you acquire new material
and they fit in any 3-ring binder you might have available. This
is probably the best way to get started - later you can go to
the more permanent page layouts. I do not stock or sell any type
of supplies so I have no financial stake in any particular solution.
Your comments and suggestions would be appreciated. I'll try to
share your ideas in a later newsletter.