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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Posts with Pictures

I have been trying to decide whether there should always be photographs in blog posts.

Denmark AFA 379, issued in 1959
My leanings are towards "yes," because I keep thinking of that old saying "A picture is worth 1000 words." My dilemma comes in figuring out what kind of illustration to associate with a post that essentially isn't "pictorial" in nature... like an auction update, or a review of a web site that doesn't really have pictures. Should I use an "irrelevant" picture, just so I am using a picture "for art's sake," or just leave the post as text only?

My experience with the web-- in contexts other than stamp collecting-- is that people enjoy the photos, no matter what. So here's a picture of a fairly random stamp, to go with my fairly random musings!

This is the 1959 Red Cross charity stamp from Denmark-- the higher value of the two stamp set. I always liked this stamp when I was a little kid. At the time this was issued, it was a relative rarity for Danish stamps to be printed in more than one color, and I thought the red crosses surrounding the blue globe looked "cool." Of course, it was a difficult stamp to get a hold of, as the rate it was designed for was for overseas mail, AND it was a charity stamp which few people used, in the first place. And, I also liked it because the design reminded me a bit of the planet Saturn....

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Postmarks: Göteborg, Sweden

One of my stamp collections-- probably my favorite of all-- is my collection of town cancels on classic Sweden. I chose to start this collection after buying a large batch of early Swedish duplicates from a dealer in Copenhagen-- and I noticed how "clean and neat" many of the cancels were... and how they were of a size that fit well on the stamps issued at the time. So I decided to save them.

I have been working on this particular collection for almost 25 years, and it helped develop my interest in "socked-on-the-nose" cancels of all countries.

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to create periodic posts featuring a stamp with a great postmark, alonf with a little information about that place. Not sure how many of these I'll feel like doing, but here's a start.

12 öre Ringtyp, perf 14, with GÖTEBORG cancel
Göteborg, Sweden

Here is a nice copy of Facit no. 21, 12 öre ringtyp perf 14, issued in 1872, with a nice cancel of "GÖTEBORG 24.10.1876."

For collectors of Swedish town cancels, this is by no means scarce, but this is a nice strike of the early "large diameter" postmark, on a well-centered stamp. This was actually one of the stamps in that first lot that got me interested in collecting Swedish cancels, which is why I chose to include it here.

Because Göteborg is a large city, many different cancelling devices have been used, and it can be a challenge for the cancel collector to assemble a complete set of all the possible "Göteborg" cancels.

What is this stamp worth? The stamp itself has a catalogue value of 10:- Swedish kr. A clear readable cancel from this time period carries a premium of another 10:- Swedish kr. Given the condition of the stamp and the quality of the cancel, a stamp like this would probably sell for about 50-60:- Swedish kr. (about US$7.75-9.25) at auction; somewhat more from a dealer.

About the city: Göteborg-- known in English as "Gothenburg"-- is Sweden's second largest city, with a population of a little over half a million people, although almost a million live in the greater metropolitan area. Located on the west coast of Sweden, facing Denmark, it was one of the first places in Sweden I became aware of, as a child growing up in Denmark.

View of the city of Göteborg
Founded in 1621, Göteborg is also Scandinavia's largest and busiest seaport. Geographically, the city is strategically placed almost at the midpoint of the three Scandinavian capitals, Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm. The city's early history was heavily influenced by Dutch traders (and invaders), who designed much of the early city. In fact, the Dutch influence was so strong that-- for a while-- Dutch was seriously under consideration for the official language of the city.

The city is located at the mouth of the Göta River, where it empties into the Kattegat Sea, at one end of the North Sea. Because it is in a location that is natural for having a port, it is likely that there have some kind of settlements here, long before Göteborg officially became a town.

Today, Göteborg is a cultural center in western Sweden, with many things to offer visitors, from museums to festivals to excellent restaurants. It is also home to Liseberg, Scandinavia's largest amusement park, as well as the most visited tourist destination in Sweden. Apart from its busy port, the city is served by two commercial airports and a major railway line.