I really enjoy getting comments on this Blog and a comment I received a couple of days ago is the reason behind this Blog. I was asked for more information on the “red stamp” in this set (see my album page below)
First off I started to specialise in the stamps of Ireland and prepared a page for every issue. It was October 1970, almost fifty years ago and I was just 18 years old. The information I used here was from a book on Irish stamp issues, produced by the Irish Post Office. As you will see, I have these stamps in both mint and used condition. You will note that there are “SG” numbers under the stamps. These are the numbers in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue.
Gibbons and other major stamp dealers like Scott in United States of America produce a catalogue, often regarded as a Bible by stamp collectors. The interesting thing is that the numbers are 138 and 139, which means that just 137 stamps had been issued from 1922 (independence) until this set which was issued in 1946. Many of the previous stamps were British stamps (overprinted) and printing varieties of those stamps.
The first set of Irish commemorative stamps was issued in 1929 and there were just fifteen commemorative sets issued before this one.
What is the commemoration? Well, it is the centenary of the birth of two prominent figures in Irish History in the late 19th century. Michael Davitt and Charles Stewart Parnell were politicians, who were Irish nationalists and campaigners for land reform and rights of tenants over (often English) landlords.
You will note the design features cottages, a tenant and the inscription “Tír agus Teaghlach” (Country and Homestead).
It is almost fifty years since I wrote that page. And looking back to that very first album, I was 18 years old and trying to make the transition from schoolboy collector to adult collector (or in hindsight “novice adult collector”).
Stamp Collecting is all about making mistakes. Back in 1970, I had no idea that I could design” and print my own pages on a home computer.
The traditional way to collect stamps is mint and used.
Thru an almost accidental purchase of a lot of slogan postmarks on envelopes, bought from the same dealer over several months at a local stamp fair, I discovered that these covers brought a texture and context to a collection.
Take this page from my album.
These are two envelopes sent from Dublin to the same address in Newry, County Down. They were sent at the same time. As the “red” stamp was enough to ensure delivery it follows that the recipient was a stamp collector who needed both stamps for his/her collection. There is a pencil note on each envelope to check the date. Presumably the original collector had passed these at a later date (selling up perhaps?) to a second collector who was wondering if these were posted on the first day of issue. Actually they were posted a week later.
You will also note the slogan postmark “Save Bread and Flour”. This is just a year after the end of “The Emergency” (as the Second World War was known in Ireland) and the country still endured shortages.
The three envelopes above are not in my album. They were part of the purchases I made over several months. So I have five showing these Davitt-Parnell stamps on commercial mail and I daresay I have about 150 envelopes showing stamps from 1929 to about 1960. There are maybe only four or five issues that I dont have. I keep a lot of these covers so I can change the album “display”.
As you will see, the three “spares” were all were posted in Dublin and all have the same slogan postmark. Two were sent to London and one to Dublin.
I could speculate that in offices in London and Dublin, there were staff who collected stamps themselves or brought home stamps to their children.