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Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008



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Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Bureau of Engraving and Printing, agency of the U.S. Treasury Department, established by the Appropriation Act of 1869. Actual printing of currency notes by Treasury employees began in 1863. The bureau designs, engraves, and prints U.S. paper currency; Treasury bonds, bills, notes, and certificates of indebtedness; U.S. postage, customs, and revenue stamps; and engraved items for the various departments and agencies of the federal government.

All U.S. currency notes are printed from plates made from hand-tooled steel engravings; this type of printing is known as intaglio, the most difficult process to produce and to counterfeit. Annually, paper currency with a face value of more than $35 billion is printed, averaging about 16 million notes a day.

The bureau began producing U.S. postage stamps in 1894; previously the work had been done by private firms under government contract.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Before World War II, Andorra’s economy was based largely on farming and the processing of tobacco and timber (see Forestry). Tourism has boomed since the 1950s and now dominates the principality’s economic life. Andorra receives more than 3 million tourists and more than 8 million excursionists (day trippers) every year. Visitors are drawn by the excellent facilities for winter sports, the sunny alpine climate, the old churches and quaint towns, and the availability of a wide assortment of duty-free goods. Andorra also collects revenues on the sales of its distinctive postage stamps, which are purchased by tourists and collectors.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Before World War II, Andorra’s economy was based largely on farming and the processing of tobacco and timber (see Forestry). Tourism has boomed since the 1950s and now dominates the principality’s economic life. Andorra receives more than 3 million tourists and more than 8 million excursionists (day trippers) every year. Visitors are drawn by the excellent facilities for winter sports, the sunny alpine climate, the old churches and quaint towns, and the availability of a wide assortment of duty-free goods. Andorra also collects revenues on the sales of its distinctive postage stamps, which are purchased by tourists and collectors.



Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The sale of postage stamps to foreign collectors is an important source of trade revenue. Niue has a very small tourist industry, with only a few hundred visitors each year. Exports include canned coconut cream, copra, honey, passion fruit, limes, and handicrafts. Agricultural production suffers occasional setbacks because of storms. New Zealand is Niue's chief trading partner; a small amount of trade is carried on with the Fiji Islands, Japan, Samoa (formerly Western Samoa), Australia, and the United States. In 1993 imports totaled about $1.9 million, while exports amounted to less than one-seventh that amount.



Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Tuvalu is listed by the United Nations as one of the world’s least developed countries. The Tuvaluan government requested this distinction in 1986 in order to qualify for loans from relief organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The economy is mainly a subsistence one, especially on the outer islands. Tuvalu depends heavily on economic assistance for government and other major expenditures. Income from a trust fund established by Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom in 1987 provides about half of the government’s recurring budget requirements. Other important sources of revenue include the sale of postage stamps designed for collectors, the sale of licenses to foreign fleets fishing within Tuvalu's exclusive economic zone, and remittances from Tuvaluans working in the phosphate mining operation on Nauru and on ships around the world. In 1994 the gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $8 million, or about $800 per person.



Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1939: Philately

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1939: Philately

More than most hobbies, philately is sensitive to political and social change. Except for the United States, the 1939 stamps of most of the major powers, and of many minor ones, were affected by war or conquest. Five stamp-issuing governments — Albania, Alexandretta, Czechoslovakia, Danzig, and Poland — lost their identities; five — Carpatho-Ukraine, Ethiopia, Greenland, Hatay, and Slovakia — were added to the list.

The current war in Europe did not, however, add nearly so many new issues in 1939 as were produced during the corresponding period in 1914 — a few hundred as against more than a thousand.

About 920 new designs, exclusive of overprints and surcharges, were issued by all governments during the year, and about 2,600 major and minor varieties — new designs, new issues of earlier designs, overprints, surcharges, souvenir sheets, etc. — were produced for postal use. The number is probably a trifle smaller for 1939 than for 1938, but the two years are nearly equal in the number of new stamps.

The continued business depression and the deflation of the boom which had sent values in some speculative issues soaring, were reflected in the general lowering of the catalogue prices of stamps in 1939 as compared with 1938. Quotations in the current (1940) catalogue represent a net loss of approximately $6,000 from the previous year, and price levels would seem to be about on a par with those of 1937. The greater part of this loss was accounted for by a few of the higher priced stamps, like the United States 5 cent brown of 1861, unused, which dropped from $2,250 to $1,500. Prices generally were at their lowest at about the time — September — when the catalogue was issued, and tended to rise in the later months. In the auction sale of the Brown collection of United States stamps, held in New York in November, most of the items sold at catalogue or better, and many brought from two to three times their estimated price.

The Philatelic Agency in Washington announced that the fiscal year ending June 30 had been the fourth in the Agency's history in which sales had gone over the million-dollar mark, total for the year being $1,312,016.48. Although the Presidential series was completed in 1938, final figures on its distribution were not immediately available, and the announcement comes properly in a review of 1939. First day sales of this series of thirty-two stamps brought $639,036.91 for 7,970,732 stamps.

Seven commemorative stamps, all 3 cent values, were issued by the United States in 1939. These were the two World's Fairs (San Francisco and New York) and the Washington Inaugural, issued in April; Baseball, in June; Panama Canal, in August; Printing in America, in September: Four States, in November. The 'Heroes of Peace' series of famous Americans, which was to have been started in December, was postponed. In addition to the United States' Panama commemorative, both the Canal Zone and the Republic of Panama issued series of stamps marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the opening of the canal.

From the stamp collector's point of view, one of the most important events of the year was the establishment of regular transatlantic air mail service in May. A special 30 cent air mail stamp was issued for transatlantic service. With the opening of this service the last link in regular air mail routes around the world was forged. First day transatlantic covers, and first 'round the world' covers, although not among the great rarities, are among the most historically significant air mail items. It is, of course, impossible to predict how much the war will affect transoceanic air service, but 1939 was a year of both expansion and preparation, and created an unprecedented number of international air-mail covers.

The year's most spectacular philatelic event began late in 1938 and was completed in January with the sale to a New York collector, Mr. E. B. Martin, of the now famous 24 cent green, United States 1869, block of four stamps with inverted centers, first used to pay postage from the United states to Liverpool. This block, the only one of its kind known, was sold at the Crocker sale in London, in November 1938, to Mr. Y. Souren, a New York dealer, who kept in touch with the sale by transatlantic telephone, the first time this system of communication had been used for a stamp sale. After its purchase, the block came to New York and was exhibited, with other rarities, at the Waldorf-Astoria in January. Two thousand collectors attended the exhibition. The block was purchased from Mr. Souren by Mr. Martin for $25,000, approximately twice its auction price of £2,500.

Although an unusual number of interesting pictorial stamps appeared during the year, there were few new designs of outstanding merit. The United States produced two of the worst in its history — the Washington Inaugural, A313, and the Four States commemorative, A317 — and two that are well above average. Both of the latter, the Golden Gate commemorative, A311, and the Printing commemorative, A316, are successful departures from traditional American design. From foreign countries the French semi-postal, SP51, reproducing Fragonard's 'The Letter'; Mexico's printing commemoratives, A134, A135 and A136; Morocco's air mail, AP4, using flying storks as a motive; and the railroad commemoratives from the Netherlands, A43 and A44.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1942: Philately

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1942: Philately

Estimates as to the number of stamps issued by all governments in 1942 vary from 2,000 to twice that number. Only about 600 were added to the Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue during the year, although an equal number were classed as 'tentative.' There are two reasons for the discrepancies in figures, first the Government ruling that no stamps of enemy countries, issued after the declarations of war, should be imported, offered for sale or catalogued; second, the impossibility of determining the nature of many stamps reported to have been printed. It is known, for example, that there have been many 'occupation issues' of both new stamps and overprints, but there is no means of knowing how many of these have really been valid for postage. Some, like many of the Vichy colonial issues, were obviously printed for propaganda purposes and may never have been used on mail. Other stamps issued by or for the Axis or Axis-controlled countries are equally doubtful.

To a greater degree than usual, stamps of the United States led in popularity through the year. Next to these, and perhaps more spectacularly, the stamps of Free France, later Fighting France, were in demand. Some of the early overprints, hastily printed in small quantities to fill emergency demands, have already disappeared from the market or command high prices. The new designs, with the Cross of Lorraine, were also popular.

The war has stressed the importance to the United States of relations with South and Central America, and philately is one of the many fields which has been affected. Collectors showed much greater interest in the stamps of Latin America than they have in the past.

It is natural that there should be unusual interest in the stamps of countries currently in the war news, but the hobby seems also to have been generally stimulated by wartime conditions. In spite of the fact that thousands of the millions of men drawn from civilian life into the armed forces were stamp collectors, there appears to have been no decrease in the pursuit of stamps. Some of the demand still comes from men now in the army and navy, and the United Service Organizations have established 'philatelic centers' in several hundred of their recreation rooms near military camps. In these, stamps, albums, and philatelic periodicals, gifts from collectors, dealers and publishers, are available.

At the beginning of the year, dealers' stocks of foreign stamps were fairly large, but by December even some of the common varieties began to get scarce, since importation from some of the most prolific sources of supply had stopped after Pearl Harbor. For this reason, the general level of prices was higher at the end of the year than in the beginning. This price change was reflected in many of the auction sales, notably the seven in which part of the collection of the late Col. Edward R. Green was dispersed. These sales, held by as many auction houses, disposed of about 14,000 lots of United States, British and other foreign stamps. Prices in all categories were above usual auction levels, and many of the United States items brought full catalogue prices.

In the United States, most of the 'war stamps' issued in 1941 and 1942, 156 out of 161, were for revenue or war savings use. The five postage issues were the 1, 2 and 3¢ Defense Stamps, the 'Win the War' 3¢ and the 3¢ China commemorative. In December 1942, the Post Office Department announced the acceptance of new designs to replace the 1¢ and 2¢ Defense stamps.

Until the summer of 1942, the Treasury Department had not encouraged collectors to mount war savings stamps in their albums, but at that time the government gave its official approval. A number of companies printed special album pages for these stamps and gave widespread publicity to the several philatelic varieties available. By the end of the year, most stamp dealers were offering plate number blocks and other collector's pieces, so far as they could find them, all, of course, at face value. In December, governmental authorities instituted a campaign to promote the collection of war stamps.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1938: Philately

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1938: Philately

Approximately 2,100 new postage stamps were issued throughout the world in 1938, an increase of about 300 over 1937. This figure may be low by nearly 100, since some of the stamps whose official or postal status is still doubtful, notably many of those from Spain, may prove to have seen actual postal service. Of the 149 governments which issued stamps during the year, Venezuela led in number with 95. Two new stamp-issuing governments, Alexandretta and Italian East Africa, appeared; but sixty countries found their current designs and denominations satisfactory and added no new stamps.

Collectors who specialize in the subjects illustrated on stamps have 700 new designs to choose from, ranging from the Australian duck-billed platypus to the newest airplanes. About 350 new air-post stamps were issued, with South and Central American countries taking the lead.

The stamps issued before 1938 by the 410 past or present stamp-issuing governments had a net increase in value of about $6,700, and nearly one third of that amount is contributed by the stamps of the United States. Most of the increase comes from a few rare stamps such as the 1882 special printing of the 5 cent gray brown, valued last year at $500 and now held to be worth $1,500, unused. Other unused United States stamps which have increased in value by $50 or more are the St. Louis (postmaster's provisional) 5 cent greenish ($150-$500); the 24 cent steel blue of the second 1861 issue ($400-$500); the 1894 2 cent pink (Triangle I, imperforate pair) ($375-$450); and the 1851-56 5 cent red brown (Type I) ($350-$400). Smaller increases in value, from a few cents to a few dollars, are shown by more than 400 unused and about 300 used United States stamps.

A few stamps account for the greater part of the net gain of about $4,000 in used foreign stamps. The 1854 4 cent red and blue of India, with the head of Queen Victoria inverted, has increased from $3,250 to $5,000, and the stamps of India as a whole, including States, have increased about $2,400 in value. Moldavia's (Rumania) 27p rose tête bêche pair of 1858 has gone to $6,000 from $5,000; Spain's 25m blue and rose with inverted frame, 1867, is worth $500 more than the $1,500 quoted last year.

Still the world's most valuable stamp, the British Guiana 1 cent octagonal magenta of 1856 is valued as formerly, at $50,000, in spite of rumors that it has been offered for less.

After the 1937 outburst of 'commemorative' stamps, nearly 45 per cent of the total number issued, 1938 was a year of comparative calm. The world's philatelic presses added about 400, or approximately 25 per cent of all stamps issued, to the commemorative list.

The chief contribution by the United States to 1938's new issues was the series of 'Presidentials' portraying our ex-presidents. Through McKinley, each president appears on a stamp whose denomination corresponds numerically to his administration. Fractional values, the ½ cent, 1½ cent, and 4½ cent show Franklin, Martha Washington, and the White House, respectively, and so do not disturb the order. McKinley, on the 25 cent, is followed by Theodore Roosevelt (30¢), Taft (50¢), Wilson ($1.00), Harding ($2.00), and Coolidge ($5.00).

When the ½ cent stamp was assigned to Monroe, the fifth president, and consequently each succeeding president became one number out of line, but before the stamps were issued, the change was made, adding the White House to the series on the 4½ cent.

Only four United States Commemoratives, all 3 cent, were issued during the year. These marked the 300th anniversary of the landing of the first Finnish and Swedish colonists in America, the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution by the ninth state, New Hampshire, the sesquicentennial of the settlement of the Northwest Territory, and the centennial of the establishment of Iowa Territory.

'National Air Mail Week,' May 15th to 21st, was designated to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of air-mail service, May 15, 1918, and brought out a new 6 cent air-mail stamp, the preliminary sketch for which was made by the President.

One of the outstanding flights of the year, Howard Hughes' record spin around the world has, so far, produced no available philatelic record. Mr. Hughes carried some letters, which were variously postmarked, and these souvenirs he distributed to friends on his return. It is not improbable that eventually some of them will find their way into flight collections. Corrigan's 'mistake' was not complicated by air-mail covers.

The Hayden-Duffy Bill—the 'new illustration law'—was signed by the President on January 27th. Its provisions made possible the importation of illustrated stamp catalogues and more complete illustration of all United States stamp catalogues and albums.

Sales to philatelists of United States stamps by the Philatelic Agency in Washington were numerically the greatest for any fiscal year (July 1st to June 30th) in the Agency's history. Over the counter and mail order sales numbered 149,499 for a total of $1,685,752,73, an amount unsurpassed by the sales of 1935, 1936, and 1937.

Outside the United States, political changes and unrest were widely reflected in postal issues. Either the subjects illustrated on the stamps or the circumstances of issue, and in some cases both of these, marked the course of European events. German stamps replaced those of Austria; Italian East Africa superseded Ethiopia as a stamp-issuing government; many stamps of Spain, Czechoslovakia and Russia were militant; Hitler was a dominant figure on German postal and semipostal issues.

Both in the United States and abroad, the 1938 stamps showed serious attempts at improved design and less reliance on intricate, and extraneous, ornament. The presidential series is the United States' best contribution. Among the well-designed foreign stamps are Czechoslovakia's Falcon (A78); Finland's series commemorating the 300th anniversary of her postal system (A40-A43); French Guinea's 'Native Women' (A10); the first stamps of Italian East Africa (A1-A6, AP1-AP4, APSD1); Lithuania's 'Olympics' (SP1-SP4); Russia's air posts (AP34-AP40); and Sweden's 'New Sweden' series (A49-A53).

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

1939: Philately

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.

1939: Philately

More than most hobbies, philately is sensitive to political and social change. Except for the United States, the 1939 stamps of most of the major powers, and of many minor ones, were affected by war or conquest. Five stamp-issuing governments — Albania, Alexandretta, Czechoslovakia, Danzig, and Poland — lost their identities; five — Carpatho-Ukraine, Ethiopia, Greenland, Hatay, and Slovakia — were added to the list.

The current war in Europe did not, however, add nearly so many new issues in 1939 as were produced during the corresponding period in 1914 — a few hundred as against more than a thousand.

About 920 new designs, exclusive of overprints and surcharges, were issued by all governments during the year, and about 2,600 major and minor varieties — new designs, new issues of earlier designs, overprints, surcharges, souvenir sheets, etc. — were produced for postal use. The number is probably a trifle smaller for 1939 than for 1938, but the two years are nearly equal in the number of new stamps.

The continued business depression and the deflation of the boom which had sent values in some speculative issues soaring, were reflected in the general lowering of the catalogue prices of stamps in 1939 as compared with 1938. Quotations in the current (1940) catalogue represent a net loss of approximately $6,000 from the previous year, and price levels would seem to be about on a par with those of 1937. The greater part of this loss was accounted for by a few of the higher priced stamps, like the United States 5 cent brown of 1861, unused, which dropped from $2,250 to $1,500. Prices generally were at their lowest at about the time — September — when the catalogue was issued, and tended to rise in the later months. In the auction sale of the Brown collection of United States stamps, held in New York in November, most of the items sold at catalogue or better, and many brought from two to three times their estimated price.

The Philatelic Agency in Washington announced that the fiscal year ending June 30 had been the fourth in the Agency's history in which sales had gone over the million-dollar mark, total for the year being $1,312,016.48. Although the Presidential series was completed in 1938, final figures on its distribution were not immediately available, and the announcement comes properly in a review of 1939. First day sales of this series of thirty-two stamps brought $639,036.91 for 7,970,732 stamps.

Seven commemorative stamps, all 3 cent values, were issued by the United States in 1939. These were the two World's Fairs (San Francisco and New York) and the Washington Inaugural, issued in April; Baseball, in June; Panama Canal, in August; Printing in America, in September: Four States, in November. The 'Heroes of Peace' series of famous Americans, which was to have been started in December, was postponed. In addition to the United States' Panama commemorative, both the Canal Zone and the Republic of Panama issued series of stamps marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the opening of the canal.

From the stamp collector's point of view, one of the most important events of the year was the establishment of regular transatlantic air mail service in May. A special 30 cent air mail stamp was issued for transatlantic service. With the opening of this service the last link in regular air mail routes around the world was forged. First day transatlantic covers, and first 'round the world' covers, although not among the great rarities, are among the most historically significant air mail items. It is, of course, impossible to predict how much the war will affect transoceanic air service, but 1939 was a year of both expansion and preparation, and created an unprecedented number of international air-mail covers.

The year's most spectacular philatelic event began late in 1938 and was completed in January with the sale to a New York collector, Mr. E. B. Martin, of the now famous 24 cent green, United States 1869, block of four stamps with inverted centers, first used to pay postage from the United states to Liverpool. This block, the only one of its kind known, was sold at the Crocker sale in London, in November 1938, to Mr. Y. Souren, a New York dealer, who kept in touch with the sale by transatlantic telephone, the first time this system of communication had been used for a stamp sale. After its purchase, the block came to New York and was exhibited, with other rarities, at the Waldorf-Astoria in January. Two thousand collectors attended the exhibition. The block was purchased from Mr. Souren by Mr. Martin for $25,000, approximately twice its auction price of £2,500.

Although an unusual number of interesting pictorial stamps appeared during the year, there were few new designs of outstanding merit. The United States produced two of the worst in its history — the Washington Inaugural, A313, and the Four States commemorative, A317 — and two that are well above average. Both of the latter, the Golden Gate commemorative, A311, and the Printing commemorative, A316, are successful departures from traditional American design. From foreign countries the French semi-postal, SP51, reproducing Fragonard's 'The Letter'; Mexico's printing commemoratives, A134, A135 and A136; Morocco's air mail, AP4, using flying storks as a motive; and the railroad commemoratives from the Netherlands, A43 and A44.



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