Friday, April 4, 2008

Technique - How to Find Stamps in a Catalog - Part 2

In today's entry, we continue listing ways to try to pinpoint the date of a stamp. To review the first part of this entry, be sure to check out Part 1.

  1. Review the stamp for Anniversary dates. Stamps are often issued to mark anniversaries of well-known individuals or famous events. Knowing this, one can estimate the date that a stamp was issued.

    For example, many stamps that celebrate the life of someone are issued on a 50 or 100 year multiple of either their birth or death. If the person's name is noted on the stamp, a quick search of the internet, might help you zero in on anniversary years.

    The same can be said for events. Many stamps were issued honoring the 50th anniversary of key dates of World War II. By knowing a little about the subject, you might be able to tie the stamp to a specific date, such as the Allied Invasion of Normandy (D-Day) and pinpoint the anniversary date.

  2. Review currency changes for the issuing country. Some countries have changed their base currency due to wars, financial crisis, or regime change. Careful analysis of the currency change can place the stamp in question to a specific date range.

  3. Examine the country name. Along with the root causes of a currency change, the country's name may also change. Often, after a military coup or after achieving independence, the country will be known by a different name . For example, after a monarch is deposed, a country may not longer be called the Kingdom of xxx, but they may now be the Democratic Republic of xxx. These changes in country title will place you in specific eras in the country's history and should help establish date ranges of the stamp.

  4. Compare the denomination of the stamp. There are exceptions, but postal rates generally go up in value as time goes by. By carefully comparing the denomination of a stamp to listed stamps, one can sometimes place a stamp in an appropriate era.

    For example, if the stamps of a country are denominated as 40 cents during the 1980s, the 35 cent stamp that you are trying to locate was probably issued in the 1970s. This technique does not always work, because definitive stamps, the workhorse stamp of most postal administrations, are usually distributed with a wide variety of denominations, since they are used to make up any possible rate.

    Also, drastic changes in the denomination printed on a stamp can pinpoint dates of hyperinflation. Stamps issued as Germany was losing World War II were printed in staggering denominations, as the currency was considered to be almost worthless.

These are just a few examples of how you can place the date of issue for a stamp. Tomorrow, I will wrap up this topic with a few additional tips to help you.

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