Fun with Stamps Part 4.


Part 4

Tete Beche to Zoology.    

by Ron Shanahan

The A to Z of Stamp Collecting Showing that the hobby can be fun.

T is for Tete Beche

Tete Beche

In some circles a.k.a. 'Tatty Bitch' :-

'Head to foot' or 'Head to tail' A joined pair of stamps of which one is shown upside down in relation to the other.

They are occasionaly issued 'deliberately', though this is not a popular format, but when it happens accidently it is a valuable commodity indeed! Booklet printings are often laid out in sheets side by side, one inverted to the other and if the cutting operation fails, this can lead to se-tenant blocks. Very nice items in a collection!

So, should you come across something similar to the illustration, PLEASE do not cut them apart, after all they will lose all their attraction if you do!

Also you are likely to lose a friend if he/she knows you have done it..

Great Britain KEVIII 1d scarlet, block showing two imperforate tete beche pairs

Ex Christie's Robson Lowe N.P.M. Archives sale.

Are they in my collection?

"In my dreams!"

U is for Underprint



Great Britain issued various values with 'underprints' printed on the reverse of the stamp over the gum.

They were usually on stamps issued in 'discount' booklets when the booklet was sold for less than face value. They consisted either of stars of various shapes and sizes or the letter 'D' (for Discount). The booklet bundle wrappers had accounting instructions printed on them.

Was this to prevent 'organised crime' moving in to make a killing on the 10p savings?

For more on Discount booklets Click here

Great Britain

Discount booklet.

Showing reverse of stamps.

Bundle wrapper with accounting instructions.

V is for Varieties


are the spice of a collectors life.

They add the 'thrill of the chase' and if found they lend an extra dimension to what may otherwise be a very straight forward collection.

Always keep an eye open for little oddities such as this one!

The 'Rainbow Pitta' on the bottom stamp appears to have an extra eye in the back of its neck.

This flaw appeared on only a few sheets.

Misplaced colour (Centre.)

"Let me out of here!".

"Beware! Falling heads!".

(progessive misplacement of gold head)

W is for Wildings


Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne on February 6th 1952.

For the first permanent series of stamps for QEII, issued by Great Britain, there were five different basic designs from five artists.

They all incorporated the portrait of the Queen by Dorothy Wilding Ltd.

Although all the Wilding issues were printed by Harrison & Sons, the series offers a wealth of interest due to various changes affecting the stamps.

These include changes of watermark and paper, experimental graphite and phosphor-graphite issues and different types of phosphors.

'Wildings' were updated for the 'Definitive Portrait' booklet, and though I have seen no examples myself, it has been said that Post Office Officials confused the stamps with the original issue, classified them as 'invalid stamps' and surcharged them accordingly.

For a look at a 'variety' on the 3d wilding Click here

The 'real' Wildings.

The 'Definitive Portrait'

prestige booklet Wildings.

For more about Prestige books Click here

X is for Xmas


Most people know the Post Office slogan 'Post Early for Xmas' and the illustration above shows one of the postmarks associated with a scheme in England in the period 1902-1909.

Correspondence that senders wanted delivered on Christmas Day could be handed in at Post Offices in advance but delivered on the day.

To show that the delay was intended and not due to Post Office ineffiency a special mark was applied.

A thematic collection of 'Christmas' would be very interesting and could take in stamps, postmarks, slogans, cards, booklets etc.

Quite a lot of philatelic bureaux send Christmas cards to their customers and they, in themselves, would form a colourful display.

"Not a happy little Vegemite"

Cameo from a Christmas 1986 Official envelope.

Part of a Greetings card from Australia Post Philatelic Bureau.

The 'Official Mail' area of an envelope used for mailing the 'Australian Stamp Explorer'.

The 'Official Mail' area of an envelope used for mailing an 'Australian Stamp Bulletin'.

Y is for Year Book

Year Books

are a good source of extra philatelic revenue.

The first one issued by Australia Post was 'The Collection of 1981 Australia Stamps'

The brown-covered book with gold printing on the front contained Australian stamps for that year, from Australia Day to Christmas, plus 'Ships of the Antarctic — Series III'.

The book was inserted into a 'slip-case' and the whole thing sealed with a plastic wrap.

Australia Post also issued a book called 'The 1990/1991 Collectors Year Book' which had spaces for Frama, Booklet & Self-adhesive stamps.

Though that idea was short lived the first did contain the hard to find 'Across Town' labels.

The first Year Book issued by Great Britain was 'Royal Mail Special Stamps 1984' and the sticker on the plastic wrap read 'This Royal Mail special stamp book contains all the special stamps (valued at over £8) for 1984.'

One of the attractive stamps from the G.B. Yearbook.

These Year Books are beautifully produced and contain a wealth of information and illustrations. The only problem is that they tend to take away the 'individuality' of collections.

Z is for Zoology


"Natural history of animals, science of their structure, physiology, classification, habits and distribution." (Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English)

From the cuddly to the bizarre on Australian stamps.

Another Australia Post Official Mail 'Stamp' area from a bulletin mailing envelope.

If you 'baulk at the fence' when it comes to collecting animals on stamps, remember that a topical collection can be as large or small as you want it.

This, in my view, is part of the enjoyment of stamp collecting. It is a hobby to enjoy in your own way.

No one can tell a philatelist what he/she MUST or MUST NOT collect.

It is YOUR collection....


Copyright EARS Leisurewrite 1999.

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