STEVE LEVINE

Postal Stationery
and Stamps

UX1 Postal Card

Steve Levine
P.O. Box 951
Linden Hill Station

Flushing, NY 11354
Phone: 718-939-5788

 email:steve@stevelevinestamps.com

 

JULY, 2013

HOW TO ORDER:
1.  DINOSAUR STYLE 
If ordering Dinosaur Style (thru the mail), you can print out this sheet, then circle the price of what you want and mail it in with your payment.  PLEASE circle with a fine colored marker; any color will do.
2.  ONLINE  Sorry, this is not a full-function interactive website with a shopping cart and card processing ability.  It's Dinosaur-style; it only has listings.  Still, we can improvise!
    
You can
send me an e-mail and type out what you want and the price.
     OR, you can cut & paste the item with its description and price.
IF the item exists in several conditions or forms (such as f-vf or vf for stamps, or as Cut Squares or Full Corners) please indicate which you want.
     OR you can cut & paste large portions of the list and
HIGHLIGHT whatever you want.  Green (the 00-80-00 shade for the techs out there) works well, as does Red (the FF-00-00 shade).
     I accept VISA, Master Card, and American Express.  I also accept PAY PAL,
at my e-mail address of "slwarking@erols.com".
3.  PHONE  IF your order is relatively simple or if you have a few questions, you can phone me at 718-939-5788.  For me, "business hours" are flexible.  I'm usually in, and if I'm not, you get the answering machine.  Leave your #; I'll get back to you.


TERMS OF PURCHASE:  Items from this list may be combined with items from my other lists for a MINIMUM ORDER of $15.  ALL ORDERS will be shipped via Insured or Registered mail, for your protection.  Please add $2 for postage and insurance to all orders.  Smaller orders will carry private insurance and will have NO USPS markings.    There's no "handling" fee; just actual postage expenses.  This is for U.S. orders only.  Overseas shipments, please e-mail me in advance for shipping information.
     New York State Residents, please add the appropriate Sales tax.  VISA, Master Card and American Express are accepted: please include all information which appears in raised print,
PLUS the 3 digit security code which appears on the back.  PayPal accepted.
          
       
SATISFACTION IS GUARANTEED ON ALL ORDERS


Dear Friends & Collectors,

      For many years both I and my fellow dealers in Postal Stationery -- as well as many of you collectors -- have been taking advantage of a section of the DOMETIC MAIL MAUNAL which has allowed us to redeem U.S. Postal Stationery at the Post Office.  The section is 604, 9.1.6, and here's http://pe.usps.gov/text/dmm300/604.htm#1080980 a link to it.
    
     Now, this rule has been around pretty much forever; its original intent (the "spirit" of the law) was to allow business mailers to redeem stationery which had been recently purchased, but which had become damaged before the mailer had a chance to use it. 
    
     However, the LANGUAGE of this section (the "letter" of the law) never addressed 2 questions;  1. Could one turn in Postal Stationery which was issued 40 years ago?  2.  Exactly what was meant by "unusable" or "spoiled"?
    
     What it boiled down to is this; if you could find a willing Post Office, you could turn in practically anything.  And -- depending on their "policy" at the time of the request -- you could receive cash, stamps, or other stamped paper in exchange.

     The KEY to this was finding a willing Post Office...or rather, a willing friend in the Post Office.  MOST Post Offices have traditionally greeted requests to redeem Postal Stationery with every excuse under the sun not to provide the requested service.  They would define "unusable/spoiled" in such a way that you would have to either burn or drown your Stationery to get it redeemed.  Some smaller P.O.'s would claim that they couldn't do it; you had to turn it in at a "main" P.O..  Others would simply claim they didn't have the time.  Some would flat-out claim you were violating the spirit of the rule ...even when you were operating within the letter of the law.  Some would try to discourage you by accepting your Stationery... but then, you would wait 6 months to get paid.  Excuse?...they had to have someone COUNT your material before they would destroy it and put in for the redemption....and they were shorthanded.

     This turn-in arrangement was vital in building and maintaining my inventory.  You see, I've seldom purchased a "lot" or "accumulation" which contained ONLY the items I wanted.  Most of the time I'll buy a lot -- usually at auction, sometimes from other dealers, sometimes from collectors -- which will contain a few hundred dollars worth of stationery I need, and a few hundred dollars worth of stationery I don't need.  SO I keep what I need and dump what I don't.  I know that some of you collectors out there have also used this system to advance your collections.

     Now, as they say in Star Wars; "There is a disturbance in the Force".  The USPS, probably motivated by their recent financial condition, has come to view this situation as one of many leaks in a rusty old boat... a leak which must be plugged.  Recently (March, 2013), in a Government Publication called the "Federal Register", they gave notice of their intent to change the rules for the redemption of Postal Stationery.  Basically, they intend to redeem only stationery which has been on sale for less than a year.

     Now, WHEN -- and for that matter, IF -- this INTENTION becomes the new RULE is not known.  Could be next week, could be next month, could even be disallowed.  So maybe I'm getting some of you hot under the collar for nothing, maybe not. 

     BUT, if some of you have stationery to turn in, I would strongly suggest that you do it NOW, while the old, somewhat vague rule is still in effect... if you can.  AS OF JUNE 3, 2013, the old rules are still in effect.

     AS for myself, if the old rule is gone with the wind, my ability to maintain my inventory of the common, face-value items may be impacted... but I'm not sure just HOW.  This could be a blessing in disguise for us all.  If we lose the ability to turn the material in, then we just might see a situation similar to that of United Nations postage... which sells at a considerable discount from face value, albeit for different reasons.

     Depite the small knot in my stomach, I do look forward to seeing this play out.

     And now, let's get down to business.  I have several exciting offerings of Postal Stationery, Poster Stamps and U.S. stamps, as well as some news regarding my website. 


CLYDE PANGBORN DALLAS to MOSCOW FLIGHT
OF 1936 SOUVENIR SHEETS  1936 Clyde Pangborn Soouvenir Sheets  

     In 1936, Clyde Pangborn, a famous barnstormer, stunt pilot, and record-setter of his day, planned to fly from Dallas to Moscow, non-stop.  These Poster Stamp souvenir sheets were prepared.
     I haven't put much time into researching this, but it appears the flight never took place.
     These Souvenir Sheets were printed on a parchment-like paper, WITHOUT GUM.
     Now, to the interesting part; I've seen the RED sheet being offered by various dealers, usually in the $5-$6 range.... but I've NEVER seen the blue sheet offered.
     MY STOCK comes from the Nicklin Archives, and it doesn't surprise me that he would be involved in the printing of this issue.  An issue of the Canadian Philatelist from 1998 references an ad from the Airpost Journal dated 1936.  A SHEET of 4 was being sold for 25c.  In fact, this was pretty expensive for that era.  No reference is made to the color of the sheet, and the stock I purchased from the Nicklin Archives was overwhelmingly RED.  The Blue is scarce.

PRICE FOR A SET OF 2 SOUVENIR SHEETS IS $9.50. 


1935 NEW JERSEY PHILATELIC EXHIBITION

1936 New Jersey Stamp Exhibition     One of the early Nicklin sets... not often seen... and then, not always in the best of condition.
     From Nicklin's archives, in excellent condition, well centered, never hinged, with only the most minor bit of discoloration on the backs... as you might expect from 78 year old Poster Stamps.

PRICE FOR A SET OF 4 POSTER STAMPS IS $7.50. 

 

 

 

  


SOME NEW ENVELOPES BY UPSS #

     Some new Envelopes by UPSS #.  All in excellent condition.  Quantities are limited on some, so please get back to me quickly.

Scott#    RA?    UPSS#    SZ     KN     WMK     PRICE
U400a     BELOW! 1496      8     41      17      2.50
 Priced low because it hs a BIG address on the front.
U400a     RA     1502     13     78      19      2.75
U400a     RA     1502     13     78      20      5.50
U400c            1521  W  13     79w     19      8.00
U401      RA     1533a    13     80u     19     32.00
U401a     RA     1540     13     78      19      4.00
U411e     RA     1745     23    110      17      1.20
U481a            2165     23    106      39      1.20
U429g     RA     2280     13     78X     27      1.00
U616      RA     3734     21    128     UNW      5.00
 Large block tag, roughly 16 x 15mm
UO77a            OM-17    23    115      50      6.00
    
YES, this is the elusive "THICK 25" variety of UO77....
and it only took me 24 years to finally have it in stock!!


909-21 OVERRUN NATIONS REVERSED COLORS

     The story of these errors is a muddy one.  The first I ever heard of their existence was about 10 years ago; I believe...but am not certain...they made it into the Scott Specialized catalog in 2002 or thereabouts.
     The American Bank Note Company has a long history of quality printing, including many earlier U.S. stamps, South American stamps, and labels...including the labels for the aborted 1940 Olympics and the 1939 Eaton's Stationey labels.  Super-quality engraved work!
     But with the 909-21 issues, more than just great engraving was required.  In order to make it appear as if these flags were waving, black lines were placed over the colored areas to simulate the rippling effect of cloth in a breeze.
     This required 2 Press runs, and to make a long story short, it didn't ALWAYS work out as intended.  MOST OF THE TIME the black lines were properly placed, but rarely, the black lines were printed first and the colors were placed over the black lines.

     The scan at the left is Scott #909, Poland.  The top picture is the NORMAL printing, black over red.  The bottom picture is 909c, the REVERSE COLOR printing, red over black.  Now, as (I hope) you can see, even with the red over the black, you can still see the black lines!....just not that well.  Unless the red color is very thickly applied, some of the black color will show thru the red.

     That may account for these varteiies remaining undetected for so long.  There is a note in Scott that the ABNC didn't exactly supply a lot of details about the printing to the agency which was then the USPOD (now the USPS).

     The difference is obvious when you know what you're looking for...but if you DON'T know, it's easy to dismiss the difference as a "lighter inking", or to blow right by it!  To use my favorite phrase, these errors are not what I'd call "visually striking.  They just don't jump out at you....

NOW, THINGS GET INSANE....

     Enter, the tangled mess of the AFINSA investment scam, which took place roughly 2003-2005.  AS briefly as I can describe it, AFINSA sold portfolios of stamps to Spanish investors.  They weren't the first, but they were the biggest.  Billions big.  It was all a Ponzi scheme, promising unrealistic returns, with the profits to the old investors funded by inflows from the new investors.  Nothing here that hasn't been done before!  There was much manipulation of stamp prices involved (after all, you can't deliver profits if the prices don't go up!) and somehow, these 909-21 issues were perfect.  As is often the case with many newly-discovered errors, the prices of the 909-21 errors were ripe to be driven to ridiculous levels....and so they were.
     These errors are all listed, but unpriced in Scott.  At peak, they were running close to $300 apiece.  Then the scam collapsed, as did the prices.  Many honest, well-intentioned stamp dealers would later receive angry phonecalls from customers who had purchased these errors for inflated prices....

     .....but that's not MY problem... or yours.  I just picked up a bunch of 909c's and 916a's.  Oddly enough, for reasons we'll never know because the ABNC was tight-lipped, on SC. #916, the NORMAL printing (bottom scan at right) is the scarce one and the "flag color over lines" (top scan at right) is the common one.

     While these stamps are certainly not "rare", they're also certainly not "common" either.  Check around EBAY and you'll find some dealers who haven't yet gotten the message are still looking for the big bucks.  The market is a long way from "settled"; when Scott actually prices these issues, we'll know the market is stable.  Until then, we can only guess...and by the way, it should not be assumed that all of these issues command the same price! 

     I OFFER YOU BOTH 909c and 916a, VF-XF CENTERING, NEVER HINGED, FOR $25.00.


HIGH-VALUE POSTAGE DUE SHIFTS - USED!

Postage Due Shifts

If you examine any selection of EFO material -- on Ebay, at a Stamp Show, or in a dealer's store -- you'll notice that the stamps are usually MINT.  Used Errors, Freaks, and Oddities are very hard to come by, and there's a simple reason.
     Just consider; if YOU found a sheet of errors at the Post Office, would you use it?  Or would you put it aside... either for your collection, or to sell it to a stamp dealer?
     Most errors are caught before they are used....IF they are recognized.  Sometimes though, an error may be subtle (like a wrong color), or the user may just be so far removed from the philatelic mainstream that he has no idea he's looking at an error.

     SOMETIME in the mid-1980s, SOMEONE in the town of Higganum, CT who ran a mail-order business maintained a Business Reply Mail account.  This was not a small business.  When I had such an account back then, in the days before the internet, I regularly ran up bills of $3-$4 daily.  This business ran $100 or more daily, and used enough Postage Due stamps to choke a horse....mostly $1 (J100) and $5 (J101) stamps.  I was a STAMP DEALER; these people weren't... so why would they notice that on a few sheets here and there, the numbers were shifted in an unusual manner?  For whatever reason, many of these bills were saved..and found their way into my hands 30 years later.

     The stamps you receive will be in great condition.  The degree of shift will be almost exactly like the stamps above.  The cancels will be generally light, except on the 50c.  The perfs will be good.  Centering will be generally f-vf, sometimes a little better, sometimes a little worse. If you look closely you'll see some patchiness in some of the red areas on some of these.  I'm not sure why, though I DID have to soak all of these off Postage Due bills, and that might be the reason.  It's minor.

THE PACKAGE: $30.00 DEAL!

For $30, you get the following 6 stamps:
     1.  A $1 stamp, shifted to the left
     2.  A $1 stamp, shifted to the right
     3.  A $1 stamp, shifted high, and slightly to the left
     4.  A $1 stamp, shifted higher, and much towards the right (Best of the bunch!)
     5.  A 50¢ stamp, shifted towards the right and slightly up
     6.  A $5 stamp, shifted towards the left.


SIGNING OFF, WITH EMBARASSMENT....

     In my last mailing, I proudly revealed that I had started up a new website, with appropriate "21st Century tech", at www.stevelevinestampsplus.com.
     
Please, delete any bookmark you may have made; the site is history.  Murphy's Law (Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.) caught up to me, and a few days after my last mailing, the site somehow slowed down to a crawl.  Working with the tech people at my website provider proved fruitless...and I'm currently developing a new one.  I'll let you know when it's ready.

         Best Regards,

                         

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           Steve Levine                                           Phone:  718-939-5788
                P.O. Box 951                                      e-mail: steve@stevelevinestamps.com
           Linden Hill Station                               
2013 Empire State Philatelics, Inc. 
          Flushing, NY 11354