I hit the road this morning for COMPEX at about 7AM, normally a nice easy drive of 2.5 hours door to door. However, it’s Construction Season here in The Peoples Republic of Illinois, compounded by torrential rains all the way there. All in all, NOT a pleasant drive.
Nevertheless, I arrived about 10 minutes before the show opened, and there were roughly 25 people waiting to get in. Shortly after the show opened there was a moment of silence in memory of stamp dealer Robert Weisz, the original “Stamp King” who recently passed at the venerable age of 95. This was followed several minutes later by an event new to COMPEX this year: presentation of the colors by local veterans and the saying of The Pledge of Allegiance.
My first stop, as always, was with Denny Peoples, home of the esoteric. He had a small carton of material that he had been putting aside for me since I saw him in December. Nothing major, just lots of random revenues and revenue documents that will be fun to go through over time.
I also purchased several RNs just for aesthetics (I don’t specialize in them), a very nice illegal usage of Scott #63 on a billhead, with socked-on-the-nose handstamp (very unusual in that the vast majority of illegal usages are manuscript cancels), and a “poor-man’s” solo 6-cent (R30c) usage. I say poor man’s, as it’s not paying an actual 6-cent rate (which would be hella-scarce), but rather overpaying a 5 cent tax. Still, ANY solo 6-cent usage is not in any way common. While I have several combination usages of R30c, this is the first solo usage I have seen.
Stamp Center of Texas had a large tub full of miscellaneous Civil War-era documents small and large, all priced for $5-10 each. That provided quite a bit of fun for several of us. Denny actually beat me to it, so I ended up buying some of the documents he just purchased… even doubling his investment was pretty cheap for the items I wanted. Probably the nicest item I picked up form the tub was a vertical pair of the 50-cent mortgage showing one of the plate scratches that crosses both stamps.
From dealer Terry Kurzinski I picked up a cover that, while outside my area and obviously philatelic, I just loved the aesthetics: A 1928 first flight cover franked with a plate block of 4 of Q3, the 3-cent parcel post. Philatelic or not, you’re not going to encounter that very often on cover.
I also picked up various and sundry minor double transfers and potential silk papers for $1-3 each from a number of dealers.
Probably the neatest item I picked up was a 3-ring binder labeled “2-cent revenue calendar and R15 variety study”. The calendar, which was “meh”, was a modern calendar that someone had affixed examples of R151 in the appropriate date spots for the cancels. Not very complete though. I would have been happier had it been 1st issue rather than R151.
No, the neat thing was the remainder of the binder: 12-14 pages of R15c, the majority being double and twisted transfers, with most written up by the owner’s hand inking the relevant diagnostics on the page in the margins surrounding each stamp. Several hundred stamps… a lot of work went into this. I shudder to think what the lot would have cost from a revenue specialist dealer. As it was, neither Denny nor the dealer who sold it really had much interest or enthusiasm for it (Denny actually passed on it saying it was more up my alley).
Meanwhile, as I flip through the pages, I’m mentally doing the Snoopy Dance. And I got it at a nice discount off the marked price too. Bonus.
Before I integrate it into my collection (which won’t be any time soon), I plan to image the pages at high resolution to retain all the research.
Lastly, as I check back in with Denny before I left, he offered me a bargain price on several small collections of classic worldwide material on old pages; stuff I can pull cancels from for my worldwide SOTN collection.
The weather for the drive back was much better… but leaving Chicagoland at 4PM on a Friday makes for some WONDERFUL gridlock traffic. It’s good that I take these jaunts every now and then; it completely reinforces the fact that I will NEVER live and commute in the big city or its suberbs. I would either kill someone in a road rage incident, someone would kill me, or the sheer stress of the driving would kill me. I firmly believe that vehicles sold in Cook County do not have turn signals as standard equipment.
But I made it home safe and sound… trunk heavier and wallet lighter.
Pictures on some items to come… eventually.
Until next time.