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Tibet is a land-locked region between China, India, Nepal and Bhutan. The Empire of Tibet started breaking in the ninth century, and the region was broken into different tribes which at times was dominated by Chinese, Mongolians, Sikhs among others. Although Tibet was never a country in the way we understand this word today, it has maintained its culture, identity and varying degrees of autonomy at different points in time.
In the start of the 20th century it was the Qing Dinasty that controlled Tibet. The British controlled neighbouring India and feared Russian influence on the north, leading them to send the military and forcing Tibet into a trade agreement with them. This led to China invading Tibet in 1909 in response.
An agreement involving Great Britain and Russia recognized Chinese suzerainty over the region. The Xinhai Revolution, however, began in 1911 and overthrew the last imperial dynasty. The Chinese Republic was founded, while the Chinese were forced out of Tibet.
If you are a classic-period-only collector, you might be missing out on this country. First issues collectors have it in sight, but when we think of the first stamps of Israel, we usually consider those issued a couple of days after its independence, on May 16, 1948. Interestingly the series coincided with the it’s declaration of independence, and were so quick to reach the post offices that not even the name of the country had been decided upon at the time, reason they carry the Hebrew inscription ‘Doar Ivri’ (“Hebrew Postage”), differing it from subsequent issues. It features the shekel, based on archaeological findings, and relevant for the nation’s history. Like Israeli stamps issued today, the Judean Coins set also had tabs attached, reading “Bronze coin from the period of the Maccabean or the first revolt: For the redemption of Zion”. They were printed by letterpress, and can be found either rouletted or with perforations 10, 11, or a combination of 10 and 11 (both rouletted and perforate versions can be seen in the picture above).
Always joyful when more experience collectors share their 20 cents around. Thank you, Rossi for making this post possible.
Ancient Judea Coins value for denominations 3-250m: used and unused *
Ancient Judea Coins value for denominations 500 and 1000m: used **, unused ***
(Ancient Judea Coin Stamps with attached tags sell for a much more)
Rishon Lezion: Perf unused *, Imperf unused ***
Stampboards Forum Post "Rishon Lezion and Interim Israeli Stamps 1948". Available online at: http://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=74708
Besieged Rishon. Available online at http://interimpost.wikia.com/wiki/Besieged_Rishon
The first issue of Chile features an effigy of Christopher Columbus (Cristóvan Colón, in Spanish), the Italian navigator who discovered the New World. It was printed in England by Perkins, Bacon & Co. In sheets of 240 stamps printed very close together, and issued on the first of July of 1853.
The stamps varied on printing quality, they were imperforated and engraved. The 5c brown red stamp was first printed on blue paper and watermarked with a number 5. The first deep blue 10c stamp was watermarked with a number 10 and printed on white paper. Re-prints were made from 1954, and they differ from the original in colour, paper, watermark or type of printing.
By law, Chile only had Columbus on its stamps until 1910. The decision of featuring Columbus was most likely taken due to the politics driven by president Manuel Montt, the navigator was a good representation for a period where economics focused on higher productivity and exports – crossing the country’s borders. (F. Piniella, 2014)
Catalogue Value: Unused ***, Used **
Source: F. Piniella (2014). ¿Por qué los primeros sellos de Chile fueron temáticos?. La Lupa - Blog de Filatelia Tematica. [Online] Accessed on 23 of August of 2015. Available at http://filatelia-tematica.blogspot.ch/2014/10/los-primeros-sellos-de-colon-chile-1853.html
Alwar, today an Indian district in the state of Rajasthan, was a princely state and the first of the Indian feudatory states to sign an alliance with the British East India Company. It had an independent postal system that issued stamps for use within the state until 1902, when the stamps were replaced by British India Issues.
The first stamps were of ¼ Anna and 1 Anna, unwatermarked (although some copies may show papermakers original watermark (W.T.& Co.)), lithographed and rouletted from early 1877 (the exact date of issue in unknown). The stamp features a native dagger called Katar, and the design remained very much the same throughout all issues.
All issues of Alwar were widely forged (including cancels), even though they have quite a low catalogue value listed. The first upper letter and the point of the dagger are usually good spots to look at when trying to detect forgeries.
Catalogue Value: Unused *, Used *
The first stamp of Denmark was issued on the first of April of 1951. The stamp was typographed, imperforated and printed on paper with yellow brown burelage in slight relief on the background (this is an important fact since reprints do not have the underprint in recess). Full margins at 1mm, they are watermarked with a small crown.
The engraver of the Danish first stamp was M.W. Ferslew, whose signature can be seen over the M in FRIMÆRKE, as a small F. RBS stands for Rigsbankskilling, the currency at the time, which in later issues appears with the abbreviation ‘S’, which could be used both for Skilling as for Schilling, the currency in the German speaking Schleswig Holstein.
It is most likely Denmark did not choose to feature the royal portrait due to the recent changes in the country’s political scenario. Denmark turned to a constitutional monarchy in 1949, when the growing bourgeoisie pressed for more political power. The Crown Regalia was chosen instead, as a symbol of the still very present monarchy to represent the State, since the ruling monarch now shared his authority.
Although stamps circulated in Denmark from 1851, it was still possible to send letters without them, although more expensive (6 RBS). Stamp usage was only made obligatory in 1871. Furthermore, the country name did not appear on stamps until 1875, since the first stamps were used for internal postage only.
It is also worth noting Scott Catalogue lists the 2 RBS blue as number 1, which was issued later in the same month for local use in Copenhagen, thus a choice by denominator and not chronological order.
Catalogue Value: Unused ***, Used *
The first stamp series of France is nicknamed Ceres, the Roman mythology goddess for agriculture and fertility whose effigy surrounded by grains is used on the stamps, although the official name of the series was Liberté (“Liberty”).
Still in 1848 Jacques Jean Barre was given the task to engrave the 20c black which was introduced on the first of January of 1849 and remained in use until July of the following year, when a tariff change was thought needed. It is worth noting the stamp is not numbered 1 in the Scott or Michael catalogues, which chose to include the series in denomination order rather than chronological.
It was printed by the Direction of Coins and Medals (“Monnaie de Paris”). It was typographed, unwatermarked and imperforated. Over three million stamps were printed, many copies survived and thus, it is considered a quite common item. The black colour was later abandoned as it caused confusion with the cancel and the possibility of re-usage (a similar case of the Penny Black).
Why the Ceres goddess?
A possible explanation for the choice may lie in French history. The end of the XVIII century was marked by bad harvest, famine and rising food prices, which were motors to the crisis that led to the French Revolution (where the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen was drawn based on individual and collective rights) and finally, the decapitation of the King in 1793. Following years of political instability, including the Napoleonic era, re-establishment of the monarchy and finally the Second Republic, Napoleon’s nephew was chosen as president in 1848.
Years of war, hardship and political changes made it quite difficult to choose any political or ideological leader to feature on the stamp. A symbol of fertile crop may have been more appropriate in the rural country which did not completely leave aside the liberty ideals proposed by the Revolution just over half a century before the Ceres Series was issued.
Catalogue Value: Unused ***, Used *
The 1800s was a period of rapid change for the country, with geographical expansion towards the west, along with great political movements, such as the Jackson era seeking more democracy. The differences between northern and southern states grew in the middle of the century, especially regarding slavery, what ultimately led to the American Civil war in the 1860s.
The first national postage stamps of the United States of America were issued on the first of July of 1847. They featured Benjamin Franklin (5 cent denomination) and George Washington (10 cent denomination), both Founding Fathers of the country and likely chosen figures who would be accepted by both northern and southern states alike. The stamps are unwatermarked, engraved on thin bluish wove paper and imperforated. They were manufactured by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson (RWH&E), thus the ‘RWH&E’ inscription on the bottom of the design.
The use of stamps at that time was still option – people could still choose for payment upon delivery of mail, but over four million stamps were used at the time. Stamp use became obligatory on the first of July of 1856 (according to the US Postal Service website).
Catalogue Value: Unused *****/******, Used ****/*****
Even though Norway was united with Sweden and answered to the Swedish crown during most part of the 1800s, it still kept a constitution and its institutions, including the postal authority, were independent. The first stamp of Norway was introduced in 1855 featuring the country’s coat of arms in blue. It was typographed, imperforated, and carried a watermark of a lion holding a flag. Its full margins are 1 ¾ mm wide. The denomination of 4 Skillings is written bellow the coat of arms – denominations of the period being in Norwegian Speciedalers (composed of 120 Skillings), the currency used before the Krone was introduced.
The Scott Catalogue notes few unused versions exist and that many have had hand cancels chemically removed from them. This issue was reprinted in 1914 unwatermarked. Rouletted reprints were also later issued.
Catalogue Value: Unused *****, Used ***
The Brazilian Bull’s Eye was first issued on the first of August of 1843, only 3 years after the English Penny Black. Pedro II, the monarch at the time, did not allow for his effigy to be printed on the stamps, since these would be handled by ‘simple post office workers’. His idea changed years later, once stamps became popular and travelled the world, thus being good means for propaganda.
Many specialists still have doubts about where the stamps were actually printed, since Casa da Moeda (currently responsible for printing stamps and money) did not have the adequate required technology at the time and it was possible they were therefore printed abroad.
The Bull’s Eye was issued in three denominations: 30, 60 and 90 Reis. Imperforated, printed with black ink the stamps were engraved in different paper types: medium grayish (65-85 micron), thick white paper with relief on the back (85-100 micron), thin with see-through printing on the back (90-100 micron), and thick fiber yellowish paper (90-100 micron). The 90 Reis denomination was only used for international postage, and therefore scarcer than the others.
There are also items with suture watermarks, where the accidental watermarks happened during manufacture. These are quite scarce and sell at a high premium.
The cancellation of the Brazilian first stamp series occurred in the same year of its first issue. Almost half a million stamps were incinerated when it was noted they could very easily be detached from the envelopes, washed and re-used.
Catalogue Value: Unused *****, Used ****
Situated in northern Germany, the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin later became part of the North German Confederation and the German Empire, where it was re-joined with the neighboring State Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The area is now part of the German State Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
The first stamp of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was worth 1 Shilling, and composed of four detachable ¼ Shilling parts that pictured a crowned bull in front of a dotted background, the symbol of Mecklenburg’s coat of arms and the word ‘Freimarke’ (which means definitive stamp), ‘MECKLENB’ and ‘SCHWERIN’ around it. Issued on the first of July of 1856, the stamps are unwatermarked, typographed and imperforated. A similar stamp was re-issued a decade later, roulette and with the bull on a white background.
Catalogue Value for the 4/4 Shilling: Unused ***, Used ***.
Value for the ¼ Shilling: Unused *, Used *
* 0.1 - 49 USD
** 50 - 99 USD
*** 100 - 499 USD
**** 500 - 999 USD
***** 1'000 - 9'999 USD
****** + 10'0000 USD
The First Issues Blog is a place to discuss about the stamp number 1 of each country, territory, district, etc. Each additional item to my new collection shall receive a small description about the item, its history and curiosities.
Note that I may add more than 1 'number one' stamp to a place. This happens as I judge that in the case of independence or any other political issue that changed the postal history or when I deemed interesting to do so. This will be noted on the posts when it happens.