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Valerie Kramer's Interests: Philately

You can send me email at: valerie@mydfz.com

(Page created June 11, 2014)

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Czechoslovakian Revenue Stamps

I had a stamp collection when I was a kid. As I got older, it got put aside for other activities. In my late thirties, I had to sell most of it. The only things I kept were my cats on stamps and my Pitcairn stamps. About fifteen years ago or so I took up the hobby again and have been having fun with it ever since. I haven't done anything with the Pitcairn stamps though they are still with me. The cats have multiplied quite a bit so perhaps I'll have to do a page on them one of these days. Meanwhile, you can learn something about this topical collecting specialty at www.catsonstamps.org.

A near as I've been able to determine, Belgium has produced more stamps with cats (any kind of cat - domestic, wild, heraldic, etc.) on them than any other country. These figures should be considered tentative and approximate but here are the top cat stamp countries as of 2008 as I currently have them. None of these figures include revenue stamps.

Belgium - 649 cat stamps
Finland - 294
Bulgaria - 250
Czechoslovakia (icnluding the Czech Republic) - 230
Denmark - 194
Netherlands - 180
Luxembourg - 177
Afghanistan - 155
Tanzania - 152
Sierra Leone - 138

Being interested in Cats on Stamps led to my eventually being exposed to Czechoslovakian Revenue Stamps because so many of them feature an image of the Lion of Bohemia. In fact, I soon learned that many countries have issued revenue stamps depicting cats and it was no surprise to find some very nice ones from Belgium and Bulgaria.

While postage stamps are used as proof that the fee to deliver a letter or package has been paid, revenue stamps have been used to document fees (taxes) paid on a wide variety of items including all sorts of documents, as well as products such as meat, sugar, playing cards, alcoholic beverages, flour, and many more. The use of revenue stamps actually pre-dates the use of adhesive postage stamps by about 200 years!

At one time revenue stamps and postage stamps were collected with equal ardour but somehow after the end of World War I, revenue stamps began to fall out of favor, possibly because of the rapid proliferation of postage stamps. Stamp albums stopped including spaces for revenue stamps. Catalogs stopped listing them, or listed only the revenue stamps for their home country. The last "whole world" revenue stamp catalog was the third edition of the Catalogue de Timbres-Fiscaux by A. Forbin printed in 1915. With no information about them and no album spaces in which to place such stamps, most collectors ignored them for about the next fifty years, or collected revenue stamps only from their home country.

Interest in Czechoslovakian revenue stamps began to revive in 1971 with the publication in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA of an 11-page pamphlet by Josef Burianek & William Ittel based on a manuscript listing by Father Severin Gottsmich of Austria. Rev. Gottsmich's work resurfaced again in 1976 in a 210-page book, CSR Revenue and Railway Stamps "reworked, augemented and edited by M. Erler". The book is written in both German and English and was printed in Germany. In 1997 Jiří Kořínek published a two volume catalog Fiskální Ceniny written in Czech. The first volume was on revenue stamps and the second was on fiscal stationary. Most recently in 2001, the J. Barefoot Ltd. company published a 56 page book, Czechoslovakia Revenues, and it is written in English. This last book is still in print and is readily available.

Revenue stamps are still largely unknown to the average collector but their popularity is growing and it is an exciting branch of philately where new discoveries can be made by anyone and it is not difficult to find yourself in possession of a previously unknown stamp.

Here are a few links to get you going.

Cats on Czechoslovakian Revenue Stamps - by Valerie Jean Kramer, as published in Cat Mews

American Philatelic Society (APS) - The premier organization for US stamp collectors

American Topical Association (ATA) - National association for topical stamp collectors

Cats on Stamps Study Unit (COSSU) - One of the many specific topical interest groups

American Revenue Association - National organization for US collectors of revenue stamps (US and foreign)

The International Society for Collectors of Revenue Stamps and Documents - Revenue Stamp organization in Great Britain

Society for Czechoslovak Philately (SCP) - US-based group

The Czechoslovak Specialist - Interactive Index and 70+ years of issues of the journal of the SCP.

Czechoslovak Philatelic Society of Great Britain (CSPGB) - UK-based group

World Stamp Album - Dr. Cheng Chang's collection. Images of a whole lot of stamps, well organized.

Oregon Coast Stamp Clubs - Basic information about the Coos Bay and Reedsport, Oregon stamp clubs.

There are lots of other great web sites relating to stamps but these are some of the most important ones for my particular interests. I hope you will find them of use as well.

Problems with this web site? Suggestions?
Send email to: valerie@mydfz.com

Want to send snail mail?
Valerie Kramer
P.O. Box 49
Port Orford, OR 97465-0049