What a whirlwind few days but I will keep it brief. Basically, our company (agency) lost the contract bidding process for the bulk of our schools for the upcoming term which means that a whole lot of teachers are now out of work whenever the schools are able to reopen. Two months of waiting without an income only to be told that there is nothing at the end of the tunnel but more darkness is not easy. I still have a couple of in-house private and small group lessons on the books (which will resume whenever the government decides to give the green light) so I am not in completely dire straits. It really is the waiting (and uncertainty) that is the hardest part of day to day life.
Fielding a whole lot of messages from other teachers, I had no desire to sit down at the laptop and try to bang out blogs about upcoming new stamps. I do have quite a few images in my folders waiting to be edited and researched so I may do some of that this afternoon. Once the messaging died down yesterday, I managed to finish the book I was reading — A Gambling Man by David Baldacci — and start another — Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier. I watched a documentary about the Hindenburg (previously unseen film footage!) as well as the latest episode of “Grey’s Anatomy”, my first viewing of that TV series in at least two years. Of course, I am hooked again so will need to download the rest of this season and probably the previous one if I can find it.
I also worked — briefly yesterday — on “Big Blue” (my main stamp album). Late last night, giving up on tossing and turning in bed, I got up and returned to the stamps happily working away until nearly dawn this morning. I added stamps starting on page 664 of the album with Madagascar and ran all the way to page 863 and the start of The Philippines as well as adding a few from Russia and the Straits Settlements. All in all, I mounted and catalogued some 379 different stamps. The entity by entity breakdown, along with my earliest and latest-released stamps in this album, is below; I have kept the “alphabetical” order of the album:
- Madagascar – 12 stamps (1908-1940)
- Malta – 7 stamps (1901-1937)
- Martinique – 5 stamps (1908-1933)
- Mauritius – 43 stamps (1858-1938)
- Mexico – 10 stamps (1939-1940)
- Middle Congo – 2 stamps (1907)
- Natal – 5 stamps (1884-1891)
- Mozambique – 5 stamps (1893-1938)
- Mozambique Company – 24 stamps (1907-1937)
- Netherlands – 20 stamps (1894-1940)
- New Caledonia – 9 stamps (1905-1939)
- Newfoundland – 26 stamps (1890-1938)
- New South Wales – 16 stamps (1856-1899)
- New Zealand – 18 stamps (1898-1940)
- Nicaragua – 18 stamps (1882-1939)
- Nigeria – 4 stamps (1921-1937)
- Niger – 3 stamps (1921-1926)
- Niue – 1 stamp (1937)
- North Borneo – 4 stamps (1901-1909)
- Norway – 30 stamps (1898-1938)
- Nyasaland Protectorate – 1 stamp (1913)
- Obock – 1 stamp (1892)
- Palestine – 5 stamps (1927-1932)
- Panama – 4 stamps (1892-1928)
- Orange River Colony – 9 stamps (1900-1903)
- Paraguay – 15 stamps (1879-1940)
- Prince Edward Island – 1 stamp (1862)
- Persia – 24 stamps (1911-1938)
- Peru – 9 stamps (1896-1927)
- Philippines – 1 stamp (1935); I have a few more that I haven’t mounted yet
- Russia – 22 stamps (1918-1922)
- Russia: Army of the North – 2 stamps (1919)
- Straits Settlements – 24 stamps (1867-1937)
It is amazing how much time (and pressure, I suppose) that suddenly not having to worry about writing lesson plans and materials frees up. I may do some more stamp album work tonight and tomorrow. A few more days (and nights) like this, I could finish Part I by the end of the month and move on to Part II.
These stamps from the Mozambique Company brought back some childhood memories. The one with the rattlesnake on it was the first stamp I ever specifically remember buying when I was a child. It was part of a packet purchased at the Natural History Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, sometime in 1975 or 1976. I believe we were on a school fieldtrip. Although I had already begun collecting stamps having received my mother’s childhood stamp album (a 1938 edition of the Scott Modern) as a birthday or Christmas gift around that time and my sister and I had also been given the 1975 and 1976 USPS Mint Sets, I had never used my own money to buy stamps prior to this purchase. Presumably, the packet included other stamps from this lovely pictorial set but I only remember the rattlesnake.
I also remember seeing this set as a young collector, possibly in my Uncle George’s boyhood album (Scott Modern, 1933 or 1935 edition which was given to me about a year after my mother’s album). I can vividly recall saying it was “boring” to have stamps with the same pictures but different colors. It wasn’t until years later that I fell in love with multicolored sets bearing the same design and the engraving by the American Bank Note Company on these 1935 airmail stamps certainly shows the appeal. In fact, everything I have seen printed by the ABNC during this period of time are miniature objects of beauty. I recently saw some amazing “poster stamps” they produced for the 1936 convention of the American Philatelic Society in Omaha, Nebraska, that immediately went on my want list. As a result, I am thinking of adding a column to my Philatelic Pursuits website called something like “Stamps I Love But Do Not Own” so I can showcase those and others like them since I have put a strict hold on any non-food and non-accommodations spending until I return to work.
All of these Persian stamps were in the Big Blue album already when I purchased it late last year. They brought back another memory of another childhood gift. I was a teenager when a large parcel of stamps arrived from my Aunt Edwina in California. It was filled with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of stamps all from Persia and all either on piece or full covers. I remember being surprised that the majority of postmarks were in English as was the handwriting on the envelopes, some of which bore Indian stamps. I never did much with these stamps, other than soaking a few of the different designs and putting them into one of my Scott Modern albums. There were just too many stamps and covers that it was all a bit overwhelming and I doubt I even knew what “postal history” was at the time. At some point, the cardboard box full of this material was dumped into an emptied wooden crate once holding “Lincoln Logs” (kind of the pre-Lego’s version of Lego’s). I don’t know what happened to the Lincoln Logs or the stamps. I probably left the crate behind when I moved out of my parents’ house and my guess is that it was finally removed following my mother’s death and my dad’s move to a different home. I am sure it would have made a specialist collector very happy.
The great thing about hobbies is that they are relaxing and those that you have maintained for very long periods of time can spark long-forgotten memories. That really helps to ease anxiety over these crazy times. Yes, I will spend more time with “Big Blue” tonight. Hopefully, a few more memories return of happier times.