This blog shares my stamp collections and highlights individual items which I feel might be of interest to others.

While my focus is on the stamps of the Philippines, you will find classic stamps, aviation covers, postal history, and many others included.

I hope you enjoy my blog, and please visit often!

Dedicated to Almira and our children, Jimmy, Ana, Lance, and Isabella.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Hi everyone!  I hope you are all having a wonderful December.  It's been a rather mild winter here in California so far.  However, others around the world are having a difficult time with the weather.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those struggling in the southern Philippines with the recent typhoon.  The destruction and loss of life has been enormous.   Please help with your donations to charitable organizations assisting those in great need.

To herald the liberation of the Philippines in 1945, the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing overprinted the Philippines 1937-1940 "Commonwealth" issues with the VICTORY legend.

These official VICTORY overprints followed the provisional, handstamped issues that were created locally in Tacloban, Leyte in 1944. 

These officially-overprinted VICTORY stamps were put on sale at various post offices throughout the archipelago, as each were reopened.  As a result, there are several "First Day of Issue" cancellations that can be found, for example:

19 January 1945 - Tacloban, Leyte
16 April 1945 - Manila
4 June 1945 - Iloilo
21 July 1945 - Cebu
1 August 1945 - Bacolod

The postcard and cover pictured above were prepared in Tacloban, Leyte, and cancelled on 19 January 1945, the First Day of Issue for these overprinted VICTORY stamps.

The official cachet, in violet ink, reads, "FIRST DAY COVER, FIRST REGULAR VICTORY STAMPS SOLD IN REOPENEND POST OFFICES IN THE LIBERATED PHILIPPINES, JANUARY 19, 1945".  This cachet was only used in Tacloban, Leyte.

In my collection, I have several VICTORY First Day Covers from Manila and Cebu, but I do not have examples from Iloilo or Bacolod.   If you have VICTORY First Day Covers from these cities, or others, please send me a scan so that I can post them here.  If you have spares to trade, I would be interested in possible exchange.
(Reference: Philippine Postage Stamp Handbook, 1854-1982, by Peter W.A. Harradine, 1987, McFarland and Company, Inc.  Photos of covers and postage stamps from my collection.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Philippines, Scott B4 and B5, the 2c + 2c and 4c + 4c semi-postal stamps.
Sunday, November 11, 2012, is Veteran's Day in the United States.   Today, we Americans of all backgrounds remember and reflect on the service and sacrifices made by our veteran's and their families.  

During World War II, many Filipinos served bravely and honorably alongside the Americans defending the Philippines during the Japanese invasion and occupation.   Today, many Filipino-Americans serve in America's armed forces.  During our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many Filipino-American families made the ultimate sacrifice.  This post is dedicated to all those families.  Today, we remember, and we honor them.

In the Philippines, a set of two semi-postal stamps were issued on November 30, 1950, to raise funds for war victims and their families.  These stamps are listed as Philippines Scott B4 and B5.
Die proof of Philippines Scott B4, the 2c+2c semi-postal stamp, originally from the American Bank Note Company archives.
These were recess printed by the American Bank Note Company in sheets of 200 stamps, comprising two panes of 100 each (10 x 10).  Perforated 12.  No watermark.  Plate number F13052.

First Day Cover with 30 November 1950 issue date.

(Photos of stamps, cover, and die proofs from my collection.)

Monday, November 5, 2012


The German postal authorities showed interest in the possibility of the rocket as a future method of mail transportation, until it was eventually proven unsatisfactory.

The first experimental rocket mail was on 15 April 1931 in Dielingen, near Osnabruck, by R. Tiling.  Further experiments were conducted in the Hartz mountains by Gerhard Zucker beginning in 1933. 

The first night rocket mail flight was attempted in Stiege on 4 November 1933.  The rocket exploded and the mail was destroyed. 

The second night flight was successful, carrying mail from Stiege to Hasselfelde.

A special rocket flight was conducted on behalf of the Winterhilfe in 28 January 1934.  All proceeds of this flight were for the Winterhilfe.  Zucker's rocket flight attempted to carry mail from Hexentanzplatz in the Hartz mountains to Rosstrappe in Bodetal.  This flight was successful and carried seven hundred items of mail. 

Twelve hundred sets of perforated special rocket stamps and eight hundred imperforate sets were issued, but normal stamps postage stamps also had to be used to ensure mail delivery.  Three values were issued: 1/2 Mark, 1 Mark, and 3 Marks.

The violet cancellation reads: "Rocket Launch Thale-Hartz 28 January 1934".  Carried mail was cancelled "Hexentanzplatz/Thale (Hartz) 28 January 1934".

(Edited from Philately of the Third Reich, Postage and Propaganda by Alf Harper, 1998, Album Publishing Company, Inc.    Photos of stamps from my collection.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012


ANNOUNCEMENT: I've just created a new blog for military scale modelers and armor enthusiasts.  Please visit my new blog, "Jim Jim Jr's Tank Blog" for clear, detailed walkaround photos of tanks, armored vehicles, and weaponry.  Please follow this link: http://jimjimjrstankblog.blogspot.com/ .  Thank you! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

SPANISH PHILIPPINES - FIRST ISSUES OF 1854 - 1 REAL, Bright Blue (Position 36)

1-Real Fuerte: RE-ENGRAVED, Worn Coarse Shading
(Scott #4; Edifil #3) Used. Bright Blue. Position 36.

Nice used example of the 1-Real Fuerte value of the Philippines first issues of 1854.  The pen cancellation indicates that this stamp was likely used as a revenue, instead of postally.  The pen cancellation probably cancelled multiple copies of this stamp affixed onto a document.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Philippines, Scott 461, with V-PEX black exhibition overprint
I find it somewhat hard to believe that only a few months after the end of World War II that the Philippine Philatelic Club (PPC) held a stamp exhibition in Manila.  Keep in mind that Manila was reportedly the second most devastated city during the war (after Warsaw, Poland).  But as we probably know, philatelists are a unique group of people, and philatelists celebrate events in unique ways... why not a philatelic exhibition to celebrate the end of Japanese Occupation and unconditional VICTORY!

The VICTORY PHILATELIC EXHIBITION, or V-PEX, was held in Manila on October 20-22, 1945 to celebrate the end of the war. Since no exhibition labels were readily available, a number of sheets of Philippines Scott 461 were made available to the shows sponsors to be overprinted locally. 

Philippines, Scott 461, plate #145417 single, with V-PEX red/black exhibition overprint

The PPC obtained permission to overprint Scott 461 to be given out at the exhibition as souvenirs.  These were overprinted with "PPC VPEX, Oct. 20.21.22, 19  45,  To, Commemorate, First Anniv., Leyte D-Day".  The alignment of the lines, letters, and fonts varied.  This overprint is found in Red, Black, and it appears a mixture of Red/Black (appears a very dark Red).  Red is the most common overprint. 

Some sheets were overprinted with both Red and Black overprints on the same stamp, sometimes with one of the overprints inverted, but these appear to be trial printings, and are scarce.  

These overprints were explicitly not valid for postage, but only allowed to be used at this exhibition.

Philippines, Scott UX23a postal card with VICTORY overprint (variety with "IC" of "VICTORY"close together), with black handstamp V-PEX exhibition cachet and blue-green CDS dated October 20, 1945 
An special V-PEX handstamp cachet was also used, and these are commonly found on covers and postal cards with a blue-green CDS with the date October 20, 1945, the first day of the exhibition.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

SPANISH PHILIPPINES - FIRST ISSUE of 1854, 10-Cuartos. MINT. Carmine. Position 29

(Scott #2; Edifil #2) 10-Cuartos. MINT. Carmine. Position 29
With original gum
Purchased from Apfelbaum, Inc. on January 16, 1996.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Tonight, I'd like to share two real-photo postcards, actually studio portriats, that I purchased from an antique shop in the Intramuros during my visit to Manila in 1995.

These two photos were taken at Sun Studios in Manila, probably around the early 1900s, judging from the undivided address-side of the postcard.  Apparently, they had once been in picture frames. 

The photos are of the same lovely young lady, although I have no idea who she is.  But I love vintage photographs, especially of the Philippines and the traditional dress of the early days.   In the United States, these are hard to find.  So, I could not pass up the opportunity to add these lovely real-photo postcards to my collection.

Unfortunately, these photos appear to be disintegrating, leaving powdery residue in their plastic sleeves.  These photos were in rough shape when I purchased them in 1995, but today they seem to be more faded.  Therefore, I want to share these photos now, before she fades away forever.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Postcard Front, "Jolo, Asturias Road, Jolo, P.I."

Postcard Rear, postmarked at Camp Stotsenberg, Pampanga, P.I., August 7, 1910

This weekend I finished reading "The Moro War" by James R. Arnold (2011).  I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in this little known conflict that lasted from 1902 to 1913 in the southern regions of the Philippines, in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, or as it was commonly referred to by Americans at the time, "Moroland". 

This conflict should not be confused with the Filipino-American War of 1899-1902.  The Moro War, sometimes called the Moro Insurgency, was the first time that America battled a hostile Muslim population in its efforts to annex, pacify, and assimilate the people of the Philippines.

After reading this book, I re-examined my Philippine postcard/postal history collection, and found a few items that now had greater meaning to me.

The first item I would like to share is a postcard from George Piver, postmarked at Camp Stotsenberg, Pampanga, P.I., on August 7, 1910.    (Camp Stotsenberg later became Clark Air Base.)  It is addressed to a Miss E.F. Piver in West Oakland, California (which is actually only a short distance from where I live).

This postcard shows American soldiers standing across the Asturias Road in Jolo Island, Sulu Archipelago, Philippines.  Jolo is a volcanic island, which lies at the center of the Sulu Archipelago. The Sulu Archipelago is an island chain in the Southwest Philippines between Mindanao and Borneo. There are numerous volcanoes and craters around Jolo, two craters which became sites for key battles, at Bud Dajo in March 1906 and Bud Bagsak in June 1913.

The message reads, "Lonesome.  Write soon. Letter with these + Picture of a southern island where the Moros run amuck."  As James Arnold wrote in his book, "The Moro War", the term "to run amuck", in the language of that period, referred to a Muslim suicide attack, or "juramentado attack". 

Similar to todays's suicide bomber in Afghanistan or Iraq, the juramentado's goal was to simply kill as many Christians as possible before dying.  And like a bomb, the juramentado, wielding his razor-sharp and fearsome kris or barong, attacked with sudden and unbelievable speed.  And like today's suicide bomber, often innocent Muslim bystanders were caught in the carnage that erupted. 

The pictured Asturias Road was the site of several juramentado attacks on American soldiers, as described in this book.  These attacks occured throughout this period in Jolo, lessening after the Moro defeat at Bud Bagsak in 1913.

Monday, July 30, 2012


(PHILIPPINES, Scott #NO5, complete sheet of 64 stamps with Plate No. 139333 at bottom)
Nice example of the complete sheet.

Hello everyone!  For those regular visitors, I apologize for my very long absence from this blog.  Sometimes it only takes a simple item to regain my focus. 

Today I received this very nice sheet of Philippine Japanese Occupation Scott NO5, issued August 28, 1944.  This is the 5-centavos Official Issue (Second Official Issue), surcharged in black on the 6-cent regular issue of 1939, with the small "commonwealth" overprint.

Although individually these stamps are very common (approximately 500,000 having been printed), complete sheets are not often seen nowadays.  The wonderful thing about complete sheets is that a specialist collector can find examples of known constant varieties of a stamp by checking the position, or location, of that stamp on the complete sheet.  

Eugene A. Garrett's book, "A Postal History of the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines, 1942-1945", lists the minor overprint varieties of this stamp, some of which are very minor and would probably not be noticed otherwise.

However, one overprint variety occurs in position 32, or the last stamp on the fourth row, which is quite distinct from the others.  On this stamp, the top bar of the overprint is noticeably misaligned.  Also, the "K" in "(K.P.)" displays a short downstroke.  These features are unique to this one position on the sheet.

(PHILIPPINES, Scott #NO5, enlargement of position 32 on the sheet, last stamp on the fourth row)
Distinct variety showing a strongly misaligned top bar and short downstroke of "K" in "(K.P.)"

Saturday, October 29, 2011


(PHILIPPINES, Scott #46; Edifil #28) USED
This stamp displays a portion of the scarce municipal crown cancel "PROV. DE YSABELA, CABAGAN"
Oval "Municipal Crown" cancels were used in small towns throughout the Philippines between the mid 1860s and mid 1880s. A list of these Philippine towns and provinces that are currently known to have used this type of cancel is available at http://www.nigelgooding.co.uk/Spanish/Crown/Crown.htm .  I would be very interested to hear from anyone that might have a municipal crown cancel not included on this list.

Cabagan is a municipality in the province of Isabela, a mostly rural area in the Cagayan Valley in the northeast of Luzon.  Before the province was created in 1856, the northern part from Tumauini was part of Cagayan, while the south was part of Nueva Vizcaya.

Cabagan, Isabela, has its share of Spanish colonial churches. San Pablo Church, built in 1624, it is said to be the oldest in the province.  It is the only one of the extant Isabela churches that is not made of bricks. It has a very massive belfry reminiscent of those in Ilocos Norte (Paoay and Laoag).  Its lofty bell tower of six layers including the circular apex made of adobe is the tallest in the Cagayan Valley. San Pablo, the oldest town of Isabela, was founded by Padre de Sto. Tomas, 210 years before Isabela was made a province.
In the northern part of Isabela, the Tumauini Church or San Matias Church, a National Cultural Treasure and National Historical Landmark, is most known for its round wedding cake belfry. It's arguably the most exquisite example of brick architecture in the Philippines.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


SPAIN - 1873 Unissued Essay of King Amadeo I of Spain (Galvez 835)
12-centimos de peseta, black, scarce imperf block of 6, remaindered
Amadeo I (30 May 1845 – 18 January 1890) was the only King of Spain from the House of Savoy. He was the second son of King Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy and was known for most of his life as the Duke of Aosta, but reigned briefly as King of Spain from 1870 to 1873.
(Excerpt from Wikipedia)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011


SPAIN, Beneficencia, Huerfanos de Correos (Edifil 34)
Issued: October 12, 1939
Printing: 17,000 (each individually numbered)

The "Huerfanos de Correos" (Orphans of Postal Employees) issues began in 1926 and were a type of surtax stamp, in this case to raise funds for orphans of postal workers.  These were used in addition to regular postage stamps and were not obligatory.  These "Beneficencia" issues are not listed in the Scott catalog, but can be found in specialized Spanish catalogs such as Edifil.  The beautiful souvenir sheet above features the "Cuadros de Valazquez".  The individual stamps are enlarged below to show their fine detail.

SPAIN, Beneficencia, Huerfanos de Correos (Edifil SH 34, detail from sheet above)

SPAIN, Beneficencia, Huerfanos de Correos (Edifil SH 34A, detail from sheet above)


SPAIN, Beneficencia, Huerfanos de Correos (Edifil SH 34B, detail from sheet above)

SPAIN, Beneficencia, Huerfanos de Correos (Edifil SH 34C, detail from sheet above)

SPAIN, Beneficencia, Huerfanos de Correos (Edifil SH 34D, detail from sheet above)