Monday, June 29, 2009

Plate block swap

I received a mailing from a fellow plate block collector in Australia today. I believe I first started corresponding with this person from a classified ad he placed in the SIP, but I could have found his e-mail address somewhere else. Anyway, he had 33 Shekel plateblocks from my want list, and I had a handful of seven species and zodiac plateblocks from his, so we did a straight swap. Much better than having to purchase these on E-bay, or from a dealer. There are so few dealers I have found that actually carry what I am looking for that the few who do have the items charge outrageous prices. Anyone else interested in trading? I still have more plate block duplicates to trade, as well as a ton of special cancels and post office openings.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

More details

Ok, here are the scans. The one on the left is one of the set of 8 sheets offered by the philatelic service. According to my source, the first day these were available was June 1, 2009.

The one on the right is one of the ones available at post offices around Israel.
While they are similar, they are not identical. The key difference to me is the label attached to the stamp. The ones from the philatelic service have the generic label, while the ones at the post office have different images. There are at least 5 labels for each stamp that you can find at the post office. The other differences are the text in the yellow box in the center, and trhe inclusion of a web address in the white section on the bottom of the philatelic service ones.
Below you can see the envelopes that these are sold in at the post office. There is no way to know what one you are buying until you open the package. It is more like collecting baseball cards in packs then stamps. Each package at the post office is NIS4.90, or about $1.25. Unfortunately, based on my experience at 1 post office, about 80% of the ones you buy are duplicates. Maybe the chances are better if you buy a few at a bunch of different post offices, but I didn't have the ability to test that out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just when I thought it couldn't get worse....

I am on a trip to Israel for work, the first time I have been on a business trip in 10 years. I arrived here Sunday evening (having left home on Saturday morning), and I leave here tonight (to arrive back home Friday morning). I took advantage of the trip to meet up with some of the people I have been buying stamps from for years. I found out about some intersting items that I had not heard about before. Apparently, there was a printing 1a for "The Israeli" booklet. It has the die cuts for the stamps inverted. The only way to see the difference is to look at the corner of the stamp, and see if it has a peak or a valley. This printing was released in October.

The next item I found out about was an even bigger surprise. The generic stamps that Israel has been issuing for the past few years have been the traditional lick and stick variety. Now, for some contest run in Israel starting in February, they are selling the same stamp in a self adhesive variety. There are 8 stamps, each with 5 different personalized stamps (I think it is 5, I might be wrong though). They come on a sheet with 1 stamp, 1 personalized label, and 3 stickers. The sheets are sold in a foil wrapped envelope, so when you buy them you don't know what stamp/label combo you are getting. Apparently, the first 10 people to collect a complete set win a PSP. At this point, there is no way to buy a set of these anywhere, and I have not seen any offered for sale (on E-bay or elsewhere) in the US. The only way I found out about it was talking to Zohar here in Israel. I went to the post office in jerusalem myself, and bought the few they had for available there. I only managed to get 4 of the 8 stamps, and no more than 2 different labels for each stamp. I did get a few duplicates, and I will probably be listing them on E-bay when I get home. This might turn out to be one of the rarest new issues from Israel in a long time, and one of the hardest sets to put together. Or, the postal service might decide to offer complete sets to collectors once the contest is over, and it will merely be an interesting variety. Only time will tell, I guess.

There is a second variety of the same stamps that were made available on June first of this year. It has the same self adhesive stamps, but just with the generic smiling face label attached. It is 1 stamp and 1 label per sheet. The sheets are the same format as the ones above, but the text on the sheet itself is completely different, since it is not part of the contest. I did get a set of 8 of these, but they didn't seem to be available at the post office (at least, the one I went to). I haven't seen these offered from the philatelic service yet. I will have to call them and see.

When I get back home, I will scan and post the items so everyone can see what I am talking about.

Friday, June 12, 2009

New ATM Stamps

Last month, Israel issued a new ATM stamp to commemorate the visit of the Pope to Israel. It was available with 3 different machine numbers (001, 010, 015). I am not sure how long they were available for in the machines, but if you collect ATM stamps, you should be aware of this issue.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Julie's 2nd stamp show

Two weeks ago, I received a postcard in the mail about a stamp show in Sacramento. Before I even had a chance to look at it, Julie had seen it and declared she was going to the show. The show took place this last weekend (Sacramento Stamp Expo), and Julie and I went on Sunday. We got there around 10:30, and spent only an hour at the show. Julie was disappointed that there were no tables piled high with penny stamps for her to look through, like she had seen at the last show we went to. However, we went around to all the dealers, and several had boxes of stamps available at face (usually 3 and 4 cent plate blocks), and one even took out a book of Disney stamps for her to look through and pick out a few at 20 cents each. There were 2 dealers that gave her some free covers that she liked. She had fun, but not as much as she did at the last show. Hopefully, the next show will have a table of used stamps at a penny or two each for her to spend hours digging through.