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What is the Term "Ephemera"?

 
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Valued Member
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Posted 01/07/2019   5:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Ephemera is in the same category as the term hoosier. I don't know for sure what it is but I kind of like it
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Posted 01/07/2019   9:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Let me chime in here and add my two-cents worth.

The primary basis for any philatelic collection is stamps, whether they are mint, used or on cover (or document for revenues).

So what is ephemera and how does it relate to stamp collecting?

Anything which helps tell the story of the stamp, but is not a stamp itself.

One of the items I try to get for modern stamps are the deck cards, those card covers which are placed on top of a specific number of panes and then sealed in plastic. Here's a couple of examples:







These would be ephemera as they were never intended as collectibles, but are a part of the production story of the stamps.

How about the old post office bulletins from the 1960's and 1970's? Here's a couple of examples of those:





Once upon a time and not so long ago, the USPOD and USPS would send pictures of upcoming stamps to newspapers and the philatelic press so they could tell the public about it. These are ephemera and here's some examples:




The above image DID NOT make it out as a stamp. It was decided the little girl was a wee too evil looking, so she was changed. Here's what the final image for the stamp looks like (and no, that first publicity photo is not considered an essay):




As technology improved, other options became available. There are color transparencies and color publicity photos too. Here are all three types for Scott 2968, the 1995 Texas Statehood Sesquicentennial stamp.





Hopefully, this gives you some visual ideas about what ephemera can mean to a collection.
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Posted 01/08/2019   11:21 am  Show Profile Check wkusau's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add wkusau to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
What a great question. I thought I knew what it was but the answers have broadened my definition a bit. I really enjoy this forum for all of the shared knowledge.
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Posted 01/08/2019   11:25 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add txstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The primary basis for any philatelic collection is stamps


I'll temporarily put on my pedantic nit-picking hat and point out that I'm sure some pre-stamp postal historians would disagree with you here.
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Posted 01/08/2019   12:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Rob Roy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In any case, I think that a partial definition in our glossary is better than none at all.
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Posted 01/08/2019   5:44 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
txstamp, I understand that I excluded the pre-stamp era, but how many people do you know who just jumped into philately and went straight to stampless covers? Personally, I don't know a single one.

I think that most people - including the pre-stamp postal historians - would recognize the basis of what we collect as having originated with the stamps themselves.

I will concede the point that I did indeed leave out the pre-stamp postal historians. However, it was not as a slight toward their collecting proclivity, but with the belief that they too started with these little pieces of art, history and geography we call stamps first.
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Posted 01/08/2019   6:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Stampman2002 almost nailed the definition by saying, "Anything which helps tell the story of the stamp, but is not a stamp itself"; however, I would replace the word stamp with, "postal service". Stamps are objects within this broader universe. They do not deliver themselves.
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Posted 01/08/2019   7:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Dry Tech to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Suggested new dictionary entry under ephemera:


In philately: Any material related to the subject of a stamp.
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Posted 01/09/2019   12:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Dianne Earl to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply


This is a very interesting topic. Great answers everyone

Dianne
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Posted 01/10/2019   8:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

A changing opinion in line with the increase of knowledge.
In my opinion, my "Ephemera" would now be "Indicia"
Could they exist under both hats, I wonder?

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Posted 01/10/2019   9:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Rod222,

That would be something I'd include under my definition of ephemera for a stamp collection.

I have similar items in my collection, although I do not have the Special Handling one.

Thanks for sharing them!
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Posted 01/11/2019   2:31 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ClassicPhilatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My biggest "ephemera" item is a complete ticket to the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, famous for the Colombian Expedition Issues "Chicago Day October 9, 1893".
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Posted 01/11/2019   3:51 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
For me, "ephemera" or "indicia" is anything that enhances my stamp collections. I'm not a big collector of postal history, but I will include that, especially if I obtained it myself, on my own or it was sent to me.

One item that comes quickly to mind is my form for entry into Macau in Dec., 2014. That is included with my Macau collection. Then there are all sorts of labels and seals, as identified by Rod. Surprised no one has mentioned Christmas seals.

As for the origin of the word "hoosier," as mentioned by a poster, one explanation I recall from growing up in Indiana went like this. Someone knocks on your door and you might yell out: "whosh here?"
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Edited by Climber Steve - 01/11/2019 3:54 pm
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Posted 01/11/2019   4:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Umm .... "Indicia" is a completely different term/meaning. Let's not confuse or link the two words.
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Posted 01/11/2019   7:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
So my labels are "Ephemera" ?

Indicia : Terms used in Philately.
Source : "AskPhil"

Indicia: stamped impression of the denomination indicating prepayment of postage.

Decoder: a clear acrylic lens sold by the USPS, that can be used to find hidden messages
as part of the design on recent U. S. stamps; see: Encoded designs, Scrambled indicia.

IBIP: Information Based Indicia Program, printed designs indicating prepayment of
postage, tested in the U.S. starting in1999; with the franking indicia containing
information that is encrypted to make each imprint a unique postage frank that cannot be
duplicated.

Indicia: stamped impression of the denomination indicating prepayment of postage.

Indicium: plural is indicia:1: imprinted postage stamp on postal stationery. 2: description
of meter stamp impression.

Information-based Indicia: a postage imprint that features a two-dimensional bar code
containing data necessary for revenue protection.

Luminescent indicia detector (LID): a device on the facer-canceler that detects
luminescent material in the ink on postage stamps and meter stamps, permits automated
facing and canceling of mail.

Patch insert: design insert placed in the space prepared for it in the indicia corner of U.S.
stamped envelopes; first issued in 1989 for the shuttle hologram. Originally used because
holograms could not be printed easily on the envelope; last used in 1996 for the Save Our
Environment issue.

Postage meter: a mechanical or digital device that creates a valid denominated postage
imprint of an authorized postage indicia.Postage meter, first: invented in Paris, 1884, but
was never used.

Riposte mark: computer-generated postage system with colorful indicia.

Scrambled indicia: name given to hidden encoded imagery used on U. S. stamps; see
Decoder, Encoded Designs; Stamp decoder.
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Edited by rod222 - 01/11/2019 7:56 pm
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