The Paraphilately Page - Ephemera Society of America
The Paraphilately Page
Visit one of the big shows—see what turns up!
By Arthur H. Groten, M.D.
arch is a great month for collectors in the Northeast: the ASDA
has its Spring Mega show in New York, March 15-18; the
Ephemera Society of American holds it annual convention at
the Stamford (CT) Marriott, March 8-10 (for further information check
out their website: www.ephemerasociety.org); the Antiquarian Book Fair
is held in Boston, March 31-April 1 (website: www.bostonbookandephemerafair.com) not to mention myriad smaller shows and antiques fairs.
These venues are treasure troves for the philatelists seeking to add collateral to their collections. Not only can you find the perfect companion piece
to fill that pesky blank space on a page but, more importantly, you can find
answers to seemingly unanswerable questions. Each of the items illustrated
on this page were found by me at a philatelic venue and demonstrate this
serendipity. They are shown not only for your amusement and edification
but also to remind us all that a dealer’s customers often ask a question for
which we have no answer but the answer may lie, inadvertently, in our
stock. We are not expected to know everything but we should know our
stocks well enough to be able to direct a client to a possible category to
begin their search. For the client who says “I don’t know what I’d want (or
need) until I see it”, a willingness to let him or her wander through your
stock can produce surprising, and remunerative, results.
The Czech Association for the Care of Orphans, like many other organizations, issued charity stamps, theirs from 1927-1941. All were printed in
blocks of 6: three across and two down. The denomination is 20 h. (there
are two very rare 50 h. stamps known), printed in 6 main colors and 12
main types. There is a small illegible squiggle in the lower right of the image rendering the artist uncertain until the accompanying postcard surfaced
to tell me it is by the great Art Nouveau posterist, Alfons Mucha, well
toward the end of his career and quite unlike his earlier work and unlisted
in his catalogue raisonne.
For 35 years I have had a small Limoges ashtray with a splendid unsigned Art Deco design. Imagine my delight at the last spring’s Mega show
to find this postcard with the clear signature of Art Deco icon Charles Martin upon it. Case closed!
From the days when I dealt in Topical meter stamps, I kept the lovely
image of a child blowing on her hot chocolate and wondered who designed
it. Voila, while perusing a stock of poster stamps a number of years ago,
I found its mate with the tell-tale monogram of Baron Sigismund von
Sucholdowski and have since learned that he was a prolific designer of
poster stamps, many of great topical and thematic interest.
Answers in search of a question: in many instances, a poster stamp or
label may be geographically non-attributable unless it has been applied to a
cover. It was the custom for musicians from German speaking countries to
adopt the Italian or French equivalent of their Teutonic name. Were Luigi
dell’Oro’s letter seal to be found alone, it would be reasonable to assume it
was of Italian origin. This postcard, written in a German, not Italian, hand
and signed ‘Luigi’ pins it down.
I’ll end with a neat item found at the fall Mega: a somewhat-the-worsefor-wear cover from San Francisco to Orcutt, CA, sent December 2, 1891,
with a label emblazoned with the initials “K.R.G.” on the back. Its red,
white and blue color suggests that it is some sort of patriotic organization
but a quick Google search turns up nothing. Anyone got any ideas? )
40 • The American Stamp Dealer • February 2007
A visit to a show can turn
up wonderful surprises!