The Rail Philatelist September 1997 Newsletter

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Volume 2 ………………………………………………………………………. Number 2 September 1, 1997


Dear Fellow Rail Philatelist:

You probably noticed that the "A-B" lists last time didn't have as many entries as the lists they replaced even with the new issues and some other additions. Many older items sold out and I am having a hard time restocking older sets and singles. Of course, strong show & mail order sales (including a Japanese dealer who is making his second pass at ordering 5 of everything) have also depleted my inventory. So if you have uncommon sets or singles to sell, send them ASAP.

FIFO-FIRST IN ,FIRST OUT: No, I'm not adopting some new fangled "just in time" inventory control system. FIFO is how I fill orders - especially when several pile up while I'm on travel. I start with the earliest postmark first, and work my way through to the most recent in order. Thus for me, FIFO means "First in (the mail), first out (of the red boxes)". Seems to be fairest system in case the short supply items sell out too quickly. So get your orders in the mail as soon as you can!

WHAT A TRIP - PART II: Last time I told you about the trains but I didn't say anything about stamps because I ran out of space. Our tour guide mentioned a postcard shop near our Munich hotel - "'Just look for the Filatelee sign' she said", so of course I DID! Turned out to be in the same building as the railway station. Looked like a fantastic place, but I didn't have time to explore it. A 20 X 10 foot room with a counter down the center and floor to ceiling shelves filled with albums ( a side room the same size had floor to ceiling shelves on the three walls I could see thru the doorway). There were at least three customers going thru albums at the counter. When I asked for "Eisenbahn" stamps in my broken German, the owner properly sized me up as a "topical tourist" and dismissed me by saying he only had some packets. I did find a full box of train postcards on a shelf under the front windows, but the prices were 3 Deutsh Marks and up and my wife was waiting impatiently (after all, we had only been in Germany about 3 hours). So I'll have to go back some time when I can spend 3 or 4 days in the shop! In Coberg, I did manage to buy a few train postcards in an antigue shop across from our Hotel Goldene Traube. I would have bought more but I only had a limited amount of cash on me -he did give me a generous dealer discount - 30 DM for items totaling 41DM. During an evening stroll in St. Moritz, I noticed some stamps in a souvenir shop window. When I inquired, the young lady pulled out three large stock books filled with modern used Swiss stamps at TWICE FACE! Couldn't afford to buy for resale at that price ( 150-200 Swiss francs would be $1.00-1.40 for stamps that catalog 15c or so here). In Pisa, one of the tent stalls that line the walkway from the bus unloading area to the Leaning Tower had mint Vatican, San Marino and Italian stamps but I didn't see any bargains. That was it for stamps except the ones we bought for postcards. Three other train notes: (1)This was the 150th Anniversary of the Swiss Railways so I had to buy a souvenir hat with the logo on it ( actually the tour organizer pointed it out to me or I would have missed it). (2) In Lucerne, during free time , Sue and I toured the Swiss Transportation Museum - lots of great trains, both real and models, as well as professional exhibits and train simulators you can run when they aren't too crowded. Well worth the couple hours spent. (3) I came home with a suitcase full of train books and magazines, most in German or Italian, some in English, gathered from bookstores and magazine kiosks throughout the trip - years of great reading to look forward to (actually, mostly great pictures to view).

STAMPSHOW 97: Not much useful happened at the APS show in Milwaukee except that we have now positively identified my quality-conscious Chicago-area customer who pilfers the one mint never hinged train stamp from UPU and similar sets. Unfortunately, my suspicions were confirmed as my booth partner watched him. I'm not sure what I should say or do to the thief - any suggestions?

STAMP LISTS ON DISKETTE: A few of you have asked if I can provide my stamp lists on diskette or CD. The answer, I think, is no, not because of any insurmountable technical problems ( although there may be some) but primarily because of potential legal problems which I would prefer not to encounter. As you may have read in "Linn's" and/or "Stamp Collector", Scott Publishing has been flexing their legal muscles and canceling their license agreements for the use of their numbers by various software producers. I'm not sure why except for greed but in any event you can't use Scott numbers in a commercial venture without a license, which is now almost impossible to get or keep. Of course there is nothing that prevents anyone who wants them from down-loading my lists from my web site so I'm not sure why it would make sense for me to provide disks anyway.

RAIL THOUGHT OF THE MONTH: Remember when "PC" was a railroad and not a computer?

STAMP OF THE MONTH: Actually, what I believe to be the most attractive early railway event cover and one of the scarcest! APS STAMPSHOW 97 in Milwaukee reminded me to dig it out for you. Printed in Milwaukee red and orange on white envelopes. Only a couple I've found still contain the original letter from the cachet maker -Joseph F. Bronesky. Here are a couple excerpts from his June 1935 letter: "The Hiawatha is still the fastest train in America. Between Chicago and St. Paul, it averages 63 m.p.h., for 410 miles with two minute stops at Milwaukee, Portage, New Lisbon, LaCrosse, and Winona....There are two Hiawathas in all, #1 and #2. While one leaves daily from Chicago at 1:00 p.m., the other leaves Minneapolis at 12:30 p.m....The postmarks identify this cover as actually carried. Ordinary mail train time between Milwaukee and St. Paul is 8 hours, while air mail is 4 hours, but only one plane leaves Milwaukee daily for St. Paul, at 7:15 A.M." (Ed note: Milwaukee post mark is 2 PM, St. Paul is 7:30 PM, a speedy 5 1/2 hours!). He then goes on to describe the details of getting the covers serviced:"This is my first cachet, but I doubt if any cachet director ever had a more difficult task. To conform to P.O. red tape, all your covers had to be addressed to me in order to obtain them back at Milwaukee after cancellation. This was done only by means of peelable labels. These had to be later removed, and the extra 3c stamps affixed enroute, under the curious eyes of other passengers. In addition, half of the covers sent to me had to be retyped because original addresses were too large to leave room for two stamps and postmarks. Nor do I believe any other director had a more expensive cachet. My costs totaled: $10.50 for color plates, $4.50 for printing, $2.20 for artist, 35c for envelopes, and $11.00 for round trip railroad fare. Total: $28.55--for 450 covers! (Ed:He didn't even include the $27.00 postage!) As the Hiawatha is 100% passenger--no mail or express--these covers had to be carried personally."

Event Cover

And a fine job he did too! I am certainly glad he went to all that effort back then. Do our modern cover producers go to the same trouble to obtain unofficial first day cancels, etc.? Probably.

If you are interested, these covers usually sell for $15.00 when I have them in stock ( only a couple on hand right now).


Al's signatureAL PETERSON


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

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