Let's start with an item for those who want to collect everything. In 2004 France honoured the allied landing forces with the issue of June 5th. This stamp has off course also been issued in a special presentation pack, with on the outside an image of a long row of army vehicles, that just rolled off the landing-craft. Amongst them is a motorcycle driving.

Presentation Pack France 100 year D-Day

Detail of the motorcycle from Presentation Pack France

Are you already becoming poor because of all novelties and personalised Europen stamps? No? Then you can think of starting collecting Personalised stamps from the other side of the world, as also there the earning of money by making personalised stamps is booming business.
Since a number of years Japanese stamps are only issued in sheets of 10. Sometimes 10 identical stamps, sometimes sets and sometimes series of 10 different images. There are also sheets with an extra image. Here such a sheet with a specimen imprint (quarter circle):

Personalised stamp sheet Japan with Specimen imprint (quarter of a circle)

Or this one with a tab connected to the stamp:

Personalised stamp sheet Japan with special tab

Also the personalised stamps are printed in sheets of 10, and just like here it is on request possible to let make special sheets in larger amounts. The mascot of Japan Post is called Kitty and the personalised sheets can be ordered at a service with the same name.
The Kitty stamps can be ordered through internet, just as with us, and are printed on special stamp sheets. If you want to have more special sheets, you can order larger amounts with special lay-out. And these sheets are appearing more and more on auction sites over the last few years.
Earlier we saw these sheets with issues regarding Yamaha, Suzuki and Police, but now there is a very nice one with different sizes of stamps in it. On the occasion of 50 years of Honda Supercub someone has made a sheet with 8 different small stamps, and 2 larger ones. Next to the stamps another nice image of this model. Truely a nice sheet:

Personalised stamp sheet Japan with Honda Supercup

On the auction sites these Japanese sheets are sold for around 30 euro, and this while their postal value is 10 x 80 yen = 7.70 euro.... Well, looking at this the ladies in our club are selling us a bargain with their motorcycle stamps....

As long as I am collecting I now and then hear that there should be stamps of Triëst Zone B from Yugoslavia (June 2nd 1953) with erroneous imprints. These should not have the usual imprinted text VUJNA, but the imprint that was used earlier with the text VUJA. But I never saw this variation of imprint on our motorcycle stamps.
STT-VUJNA is the abbreviation of "Slobodni teritorij Trsta - Vojna uprava jugoslavenske narodne armije" or "Free area of Triest - Military administration of the people's army of Yugoslavia". But recently I saw at a large auction house in the USA the misprint below:


Stamp with imprint Triëst

Stamps with erroneous imprint Triëst

I don't know whether the V has fallen off by the teething in combination with the shift position, or whether it is a true error..... I really don't know. This pair has changed owner for the large amount of money of 280 US Dollar.

Still not poor??? Than you can bid on one of the first motorcycles. Well, motorcycle? In fact more a steam bike. In February the Roper Steam Motorcycle from 1894 is sold by auction, and the expectation is that the price will be a record making this the most expensive motorcycle in the world.
27 years before Sylvester Roper already made a steam powered bicycle, but this second one caused his dead. During a demonstration of the machine he reached an overwhelming speed of 60 km/hour. During this demonstration of his "Devilish machine" the then 72 year old Roper fell down, after which he appeared to have died. Later is was discovered that he had had a heart attack. Whether his fall was caused by heart problems or his fall initiated his heart problem has never been cleared.

Roper steam(motor)cycle

Now this bike will be sold by auction in Las Vegas, and the expected revenue is around 4 million US Dollar! I read it with my own eyes, otherwise I would not believe it! The old record is 550.000 Dollar, payed for a 2-cilinder Cyclone Boardtrack racer from 1915.

Are you looking for an active country to collect its stamps (and other items)? Do you have a few empty stock books that you want to fill with stamps from 1 country? Then start collecting Guinee Bissau, but start saving first. As this country is the number 1 in issues.
In 2009 it was still reasonable, as they issued only 533 stamps and next to that 56 blocks. First stock book filled? In 2010 it were 676 stamps and 156 blocks. Amongst them a few with motorcycles. Guinee Bissau started issuing stamps in 1974, and at the end of 2010 the total counter stopped at 5221 stamps and 895 blocks.

Do you want to have a high interest on your money in the old year, then you can buy a large lot of Dutch "1" stamps before the end of 2011. In January PostNL increases the postal rate inside the country with 4 cents to 50 cents. Now you only have to pay 46 cents. A stamp of 46 cents, carrying a "1", is still valid during the coming years. If you use all the stamps that you buy during the next year, you will have an interest of not less than 8%. No bank that will give you so much! And if the prices increase further while you still have old stamps, your interest will even grow further.

Franking stamp Netherlands

Franking stamp Netherlands

Finally a moment of peptalk that to my opinion was erroneously chosen by my former employer. In a recent speech about how things were running in the housing association for which I did a lot of work, the manager said the follwing sentence:

"In the past year we were standing on the edge of the abyss, but since then we made a big step forwards!"

I don't know whether he also fell in the abyss, but for now I have lost my job.

Well, this for now in Heard, Read, Seen.

Hans de Kloet


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