I say, Comores!

The latest lot of novelties also included the sheet and block "Motorcycles" from the Comores Union. The first judgement in NB 87 was that this is a commercial issue, but in meantime we know that a lot of these fake issues are included in the official stamp catalogs. Many of these "stickers" of Guinea (Bissau), Sao Tomé, Somalia and so on suddenly get an official status. The same holds for this issue from the Comores. A check in the Michel indicates that they are normally listed in the catalog with date of issue 1st of October 2008. This means I had to put them in my "big book".

Sheet Comoren with antique motorcycles

Stamp Comoren withDaimlers ReitradOn the first stamp a picture of Benz has been placed adjacent to Daimler’s Einspur. But the co-operation with Benz, to develop a 4-wheeled vehicle together, started much later.
Small mistake??? The Einspur depicted here is the 2nd model with indirect steering and already provided with a brake, a wooden block that can be pulled onto the wheel by means of a rope.





Stamp Comoren with NSU 1901This attracted my attention, and therefore I looked more accurately to the next stamp. The picture shows Christian Schmidt, one of the founders of the Neckarsulmer Strickmachinen Union. A manufacturer of sowing and knitting machinery from Germany. The depicted motorcycle is a NSU from 1901, but…. Schmidt already passed away in 1884 and had thus never experienced the motorcycle manufacturing.




Stamp Comoren with Henderson 20R 1920On the next stamp we see an Excelsior from 1920, with next to it a portrait of William (Bill) G. Henderson, looking happily to the model. Bill would turn around in his grave if he would see this. His brainchild, the Henderson Motorcycle Company, had already in 1917 been annexed to Excelsior in a way that we nowadays call a ‘hostile takeover’. After a quarrel Bill left the company and started a new brand in 1919 under the name Ace. In 1922 Bill died in an accident while testing a new motorcycle. For some while, until 1929, the factory continued under its old name and was then taken over by the Indian company.



Stamp Comoren with Indian V-twin 1914Indian, started as Hendee Manufacturing Company, grew up as a co-operation between Hedstrom en Hendee. Due to a difference of opinion Hedstrom left the Indian company on March 13th 1913. The Indian model shown here is from 1914, so Henderson had nothing to do with it. Thus, a wrong combination





Stamp Comoren with Böhmerland 1927The Böhmerland, one of the mightiest machines ever built. A real family motorcycle, as there are models with space for up to 7 people. Liebisch himself designed the 598 cc engine. Nothing more to remark…. But this motorcycle type had its exhaust on the left side, so we must conclude that the image on the stamp is mirrored. This in contradiction to all other stamps, where only the background image is mirrored.




Stamp Comoren with BMW R32 1923The last stamp from the sheet shows us BMW founder Max Friz and… I can only say that the background image is mirrored, so the drive shaft is shown on the wrong side.






On the sheet of this series we see a number of famous motorcycle models:

Bloc Comorenwith antique motorcycles

Upper left the first Einspur of Daimler, still with the direct steering and the vaporizer under the seat.
Upper right the first real motorcycle of William S. Harley, the Silent Grey Fellow, already made in the 2nd H-D factory on Chestnut Street, later renamed into Juneau Avenue. Also this image has carelessly be mirrored, which makes that the name on the tank is in the wrong way: Yelrah-Nosdivad.
In the middle a small image of Glenn Hammond Curtiss on his motorcycle powered by a heavy 4300 cc airplane V-engine.
Angel Merkel (the portrait in the lower left corner) constructed a motorcyle provided with front and back suspension which gave it, for that time, perfect road-holding qualities. That gave Merkel the winged name Flying Merkel. Also here a remark, as Merkel did build motorcycles up to 1914, but from 1910 on under the name Marvel.

Stamp Comoren with Scott 1905On the block stamp we see a Scott watercooled 2-stroke with 1905 mentioned as the year of construction????
Until 1908 all motorcycles were test models that were built in another factory of Jowett. The test models could be recognised by the triangular gastank, placed in the V of the ‘ladies bike’ frame. The model shown here is in 2 of my books, a.o. by Hugo Wilson, indicated as the 1912 2-speed model. In 1912 another 532 cc engine was used, and not the 333 cc engine shown here.



By coincidence I came to the website where the ‘designer’ of the Comores stamp series has stolen the images. If you want to see them 'live' on the internet:
To be short: an officially registered motorcycle issue from the Comores, but one that is full of mistakes.

Hans de Kloet


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