First some general notes (30th October 2007).
The list of sheets has been developed by reading through Gibbons
catalogues and the second phase will be to repeat the process on Scott
catalogues to confirm the details and to provide the Scott numbers.
It is inevitable that I have missed some first sheets and
it is clear that Gibbons has made some mistakes. These will be resolved over
My catalogues are not always the latest available, but the new
Gibbons Stamps of the World 2008 claims to include all miniature sheets
and so when this arrives in my local library I will be able to check my results
and update the prices.
As noted elsewhere, I intend to obtain and show images of the
sheets up to around 1960 and thereafter just provide details in text.
30th November 2007
A (reasonably) local library has stocked Gibbons SotW 2008 and so I am working
through those, checking my results and updating the prices. Gibbons' treatment
of sheets is not very impressive as there are few images of early sheets and I
have identified four missing first sheets in Vol. 1, A-C: Anguilla, Bahrain,
Croatia and Czechoslovakia. I have offered to check the rest of the volumes in
return for a free set.
Ethiopia's Province Block
refers to an unissued 1894 sheet. Gibbons Part 12 describes the Province
Block, comprising four imperforate variant copies of the 1 guerche blue,
differing from the original in that four province names (Shoa, Harar, Kaffa,
Tigre) are printed in Amharic script in the scroll on the right, one per stamp.
"It is believed that this was produced without the authority of the Ethiopian
Postal Administration." The stamp depicts Menelik II wearing the Coronation
image source (while waiting for a better copy)
Luxembourg, identifying the first sheet
My various sources agree that Luxembourg issued the first commemorative sheet
but do not agree on when.
|The first sheet identified by number prefix in Gibbons (Part 4, 4th edn)
is the 1923 MS221 (Sc151), celebrating the birth of Princess Elisabeth. This
is Mackay's choice.
image source 1
3rd January 1923 SG MS221 Sc151
|Numbered by Scott but only mentioned in Gibbons are two sheets of the 1921
SG193 (Sc125). The stamp shows Grand Duchess Charlotte and celebrates the
birth of Crown Prince Jean. There is a sheet of five (Sc125a) and one of 25
(Sc125b), whereas the 'normal’ sheet has 100 stamps.
image source 1
6th January 1921 Sc125a
6th January 1921 Sc125b
|The 1906 sheet to commemorate the accession of
Grand Duke William IV to the throne, identified by Wood is not mentioned at all in Gibbons (the
individual stamp is SG162, Sc82) but Scott identifies the ‘souvenir sheet of
10’ as Sc82a.
The 1906 sheet does not have an inscription, but neither does the 1923
MS221. As it meets the Blackburn, Wood, Gibbons and Scott criteria and the
Mackay criteria are not applied consistently, this is the world’s first
commemorative (miniature and souvenir) sheet.
image source 1
Identifying Belgium's first sheet
|Mackay states that Belgium's first
sheet was issued in 1924, though the earliest I have found in Gibbons is the
1930 MS568 (£325 / £300) for the International stamp show in Antwerp.
9th August 1930 SG
|Looking back from there in Scott,
there is a 1924 sheet for the Brussels stamp show that year, presumably
Mackay's choice. Gibbons notes and prices the sheet but does not give it an
Sc171a has 4 x 5fr red brown stamps of the same
24th May 1924 Sc171a
|and a 1921 sheet for an earlier
Brussels stamp show. Gibbons notes a 'trial printing ... in this shade' sold
at the exhibition and numbers the stamp (SG312) but not the sheet.
has 25 x 50c dark blue stamps
26th May 1921 Sc170a
Identifying Japan's first sheet
|According to Gibbons, the first is
this 1934 airmail issue commemorating communications
20th April 1934 SG MS271
|Selling on eBay in November 2007
was this sheet of four of the SG205, commemorating the 50th anniversary of
the Japanese Post. The stamp (SG205, Sc166)was issued on 20th April 1921. The seller notes
that 'I cannot find reference to this item in any catalog, so unable to
guarantee its authenticity'.
Identifying Russia's first sheet
|This is the first sheet in Gibbons,
issues in 1937 to commemorate the Pushkin Exhibition, Moscow.
10th February 1937 SG MS733c
|A recent eBay sale drew my
attention to this 1932 issue. It is mentioned in Gibbons and Scott,
published for a stamp exhibition in Moscow and featuring two each of stamps
SG601 and 602 (Sc485 and 486) but not postally valid, and so the 1937 sheet
The sheet sells for £2,750.
image source 1
|The 1932 sheet was reproduced in
1997 for the Canadian Society of Russian Philately, sold
from where this small image was obtained: there are two versions, the
earlier with two spelling errors,
Image size 400, thumbnail 200 max side.
3. Mayo postal history
Folkestone Stamp Shop catalogue
5. Phil-Index catalogue
6. Gary Posner Stamps