CHAT: The US Newspaper Stamps, or: The Headaches of a Philatelist (epilogue)

(If you'd like to start reading from the beginning, then click HERE!)

15 August 2017
Although the research project as such has come to an abrupt end, I still need to figure out what and how to collect these stamps. Thankfully, I received D's handbook on the proofs of these items today, which, by the way, you can order here, as well as his other handbooks.

The amount of information is a bit overwhelming to begin with, especially because there are not only the regular progressive die proofs, large die proofs, plate proofs and colour proofs (usually 14 for each value) to be found, but there is also a multitude of reprinted dies on the market. I like it how the author optimistically states that one needs a micrometer (check) and an overactive imagination (uncheck) to collect these and determine what they are exactly. I have long since drawn the line at shades and paper thickness, being rather hopeless at especially the first.

Having read the handbook twice, it becomes clear that the situation with regard to the proofs is much more simple if you just look at the 1895 series, by the BEP. Those are the ones engraved by GFC Smillie. There are only the regular large die proofs to collect and only a handful (12 I believe) of colour proofs.

To sum it all up:
1875: a myriad of proofs to try and make sense of, several vignette engravers involved.
1895: a finite and manageable number of proofs to find, just the one vignette engraver involved.

The fact that I am now the proud owner of my first Newspaper stamp, the $2 of the 1895 set, "worked over" by Smillie, makes my choice rather easy: I will concentrate first solely on the 1895 set, just to see how far I will get and what will come my way, and then after that I may or may not decide to go down the advanced 1875 route.

And with that happy thought I put in an offer for the $50 value currently on sale...


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