First Issues Display




Not much happening on FID at the moment because I am concentrating on a rewrite of FICC.
Worth mentioning, though, for both tasks, that I have found reasonablypriced copies of the two other catalogues, Yvert for £59 on Abebooks and a Michel on for £29. More details here.
There's an interesting piece in the December 2013 issue of Stamp Magazine, under the heading Michel loses court battle over numbering
Philotax issued a catalogue of stamp booklets in 2006 using its own numbering system, but also showing the Michel numbers. Michel sued, claiming copyright on its numbers but Germany's 'highest civil court' found against Michel on the basis that not allowing others to use their numbers would be anti-competitive.
Diary of progress against tasks
1. 25th Nov - about 2 hours' work
2. check completed 1st Dec, another couple of hours
[8Dec] During a weekend visit to Wales,
3. ordered the entries. that can be fiddly, but another couple of hours, and
4&5. made a start on the first listing (1881-85), about 6 hours' work, now being continued back in London.
Progress on China is slow, due to reluctance to tackle a tricky subject and so I am working on 1881-90 too.

I thought I might document the processes involved in building the pages and monitor how long it takes. I am also considering switching these notes to an external blog and extending the scope to all my stamping activities.
Here's a list of the processes:
  1. Write a table of the countries/regions from the Guinness Pages, noting the name, year of issue and category (Indian state, Portuguese colony etc.).
  2. Check this against FICC, noting any additions, adjudicating any discrepancies and adding the precise date of issue.
  3. Decide on an order for the entries (roughly country by date, but group the states/provinces together and make any other logical or convenient adjustments).
  4. Split the list into two Displays of about eight pages each (that has worked so far).
  5. Build the displays in Word.
    • The text should include the whereabouts of the country (unless it's obvious, e.g. Canada, France) and its attachments, for example if it is colony or it has colonies or provinces that will be listed separately.
    • Also note any special characteristics of the stamps to be shown, for example: missing any of the basic types; any First Firsts; any particularly expensive stamps that will be replaced by substitutes.
    • Build boxes for the stamps and their descriptions, all the same size initially.
    • Check Scott for any late additions to the list.
    • Print this as a draft and gather all the stamps already stocked.
    • Adjust the box sizes to the actual stamps, taking a gues from the catalogue entry for those not owned.
    • Remove the box borders and print the word document on exhibition paper.
  6. Add stamp mounts to the pages and move in the stamps.
  7. Create the draft web pages in Dreamweaver to match the Displays.
  8. Transfer the contents of the Word document to the web pages, first the entity names and the text, then fiddle with the boxes and the descriptors.
  9. Scan the paper pages and create images of all the stamps then add these to the web pages.
  10. Add any necessary links between pages.
  11. Update the index pages.
  12. Update the wantslist.
  13. Create the Thumbnails, the Summary pages and update the Scores.

That took about two months for Displays 9 and 10 (and I have not done the Thumbnails, Summary or Scores yet) .
Displays 9 and 10 have been completed and a visit to this month's Strand fair produced a decent pile for £50, all from the Ashfield & Faulkner stand.
Before starting on the next decade, I'll try a China Special as this will save complications later on.
The drafts for 1871-76 and 1877-80 are complete. Print tomorrow and start assembling the stamps: a couple of China substitutes were ebayed during the draft and will be shown soon.

There's a note below on Ikaria and Samos, which would be easy to miss. While writing up Malaysian states, I have noticed the 1943 Thai Occupation of Malaya, page 238 of Gibbons Commonwealth.

The draft of D9 has been done and just starting work on D10.
Displays 7 & 8 complete, with the exception of the back pages.
I have, at last, made a start on checking for new BoBs: the first page of the index is done, three to go - E-J [done], K-R, S-Z. Once that is done, I'll try to keep up with it when writing the displays. [completed later that day - half a dozen new stamps found, including the French semi-Official
First Firsts catchups remain outstanding (as does a rewrite of the FF page itself).
The early stages of the 1871-1880 displays are beginning - it looks as though they may fit on two eight-page displays.
[The original version of this paragraph rambled significantly.] There is no good time to start a book on the subject: the bottom line is that the whole idea works best online.
A bumper crop has arrived from two FICC colleagues in the US - Thanks Tim and Martin


Writeups complete and the stamps are being mounted. Writing two Displays simultaneously seems to have worked quite well and so next time I'll try a decade (1871-1880) which may be two or three displays, or somewhere between the two.
Most of the items listed on 22nd July have been done. The BoBs check and First First catchups remain.
Now working on the next two displays for 1865-67 and 1868-70.
Note to self: When you get to 1912, don't forget Ikaria and Samos (SG Part 3 pages 336 and 337), briefly independent before Greek Occupation.
I spent a while at work today listing the tasks needed to bring the pages up to date:
  • Install the occupation issues - done 24 Jul, Index done 25 Jul
  • Update the wants list - done 26 Jul
  • Check Scott for new BoBs
  • Complete the back sheets - done
  • Complete the summary pages - done 8th Aug
  • Complete the thumbnails - done 27 Jul
  • Install and link the back sheets:
    • Summaries - page 2 done 30 Jul
    • Thumbnails - done 27 Jul
    • Rules and references (3.8a) done 31 Jul
    • Italy commems (6.5a) made a start
    • Stats, following 4.8 done
    • Others: 4.6a (links 4.6); 5.1a (links 5.1, 5.5); 6.1a (links 6.6, 6.7 (twice));
  • Consider the tangent pages
    • Express
    • First First catchup
    • Argentina
    • [Blackburn to follow]
  • Check Twinnings - add 5.2
  • Update the Index with First Firsts
In the Argentina entry, it was noted that the country had used stamps to publise its quest to regain (or obtain) the Falkland Islands (or Malvinas) and that this would be explored in more detail at some point. Stamp Magazine has done all the work with an article in the current edition that notes that the Islands' own issues might have prompted Argentina to do so.
Sixth display complete and in the process of being transferred online. The first Occupation Issues display has been written and is ready to print and populate.
There is some catching up to do on summary displays and the various other things that go on the back of the main display pages. I have an inchoate notion to unite all the 'back pages' in a separate structure with 'forward and back' links which bear no relation to the parent pages.
A good day at the Strand fair. The first two items were from a recent Beckenham fair, but that's not worth returning to. Nearly all of today's stamps were from the excellent Ashfield & Faulkner stand with the Russian express and Rumanian definitive from elsewhere.
Off for a few days to Brighton and returned to a gratifyingly large postbag, comprising wins from the latest FICC auction, Philippines items acquired by a FICC friend in the US plus several ebay purchases.
D5 complete, apart from getting hold of the missing stamps and writing the web pages. That is, the physical display is complete. I have tried to force too much into 8 pages, with so much text that I had to reduce the font size again and still there wasn't enough room to lay out the stamps elegantly. If I were showing D5, I would have to rewrite it and probably drop 1860. As it is, I'll just carry on.
Next the D5 web pages, then complete the second summary page and then it's either 1861+ or get the Occupation Issues and Offices Abroad finished.
When I have completed the standard pages to 1870, I might try working on a book, rewriting everything to get the level of descriptive detail in D5: time to rekindle my InDesign skills again, send it to LuLu and learn about ebooks.
The text for D5 is complete with the exception of Thesaurising the 12 occurences of the word 'expensive'. Other options (from are shown on the right.
Of those, costly, overpriced and perhaps pricey will suffice.
an arm and a leg, at a premium, big-ticket, costly, dear, excessive, exorbitant, extravagant, fancy, high, highway robbery, holdup, immoderate, inordinate, invaluable, lavish, out of sight, overpriced, plush, posh, pretty penny, pricey, rich, ritzy, sky-high, steep*, stiff*, swank, too high, uneconomical, unreasonable, upscale, valuable
* = informal
The pages for D5, 1858-60 have been drafted and gathering the stamps for Occupation Part 1 is in progress
I visited SG in the Strand today and picked up a few discounted catalogues - the upgrades are logged here.
I won't make it to the Strand stamp fair this month so any acquisitions (and the wishlist is building up) will be on ebay.
Ignore the previous entry. I have been dissatisfied with the scans from the Canon scanner which has served us well for many years. The full-page scans seem to have developed hotspots and the image of the stamp mount is too discernible. I have replaced the old LIDE60 with a LIDE210 which is doing an excellent job. I am scanning them at 300, inserting the image in the table in Dreamweaver (which sets height and width) then reducing the measurements by 50%. This keeps the images to reasonable sizes but allows for decent enlargement.
I am in the process of inserting the images for Display 4, 1855-57. The text and draft layout have been done for Occupation Issues Part 1 and I have made a start on the text for FI Part 5, 1858-1860.
Scan physical pages at 150 for correct size on web pages.
A visit to Strand stamp fair brought a few goodies from the wish list:
  • a MS of Canada beaver commems
  • Uruguay FGI commem and MS
  • FI commems from Finland, Peru, Norway, Ceylon
  • S Africa CoGH triangular commems
  • an early (not the first) Mexico airmail
  • the stamp which appears in Luxembourg's first MS
  • Ceylon's first charity
  • a better commem of the Scinde dials
But nothing from the Philippines, which is my largest void at the moment. I tried FICC for any contacts with Phil collectors but no luck there either.


started May 2013