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On The Road Again - Eye To Eye With The Local Postal Authority

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Valued Member
12 Posts
Posted 12/08/2021   4:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Bendix to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Dear Collectors,

a holiday means recreation, but surely adventure as well.

And we collectors, who are gathering stamps, are naturally also hunters.

So, what are collectors doing when on holiday?

Exaxctly, they visit the local post office.

On one hand there is the hope for a good catch, that is to say for a prize, as it is unconceivable to show up at home without a trophee. On the other hand we need proof for one's accomplishments and that we have pushed through even abroad, and therefore this prize is absorbed into our collection as a token of triumph and eternal glory.

Naturally, one needs to show achievements on holiday greetings sent home as well. Let's not forget, our reputation is at stake there.

These days I thought of that und went through a few cards which have survived the course of time.

The oldest one - the no. 1 so to say I chose to upload.

And the result is......absolutely trivial!

Well, looks like it, as one has been starting a leap like an ambitious tiger and found oneself landing as a castrated house cat. That can happen, if you are at the will of a wicked post clerk.

Just consider what would have been possible here. Nearly everything that has been issued since 1938 could have been used for Postage. That means a full range from Franco (for the shiver) to cathedrals in impressive intaglio printing (so beautiful one could kneel down).

But alas, by the time (1990 21 years old foolish and unexperienced in philateletic regards, without any decent stock and with only a small budget) everyone was still sitting on huge bulks of hoarded mint stamps demanding high overnominal prices.

Thank the lord, that in a another post office (in a rural part of the island) I could acquire a special issue, which was a folio of six stamps printed in one sheet honoring historical smith art in fine intaglio print and they warm my heart whenever I trip over them when looking through my albums.

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Pillar Of The Community
1490 Posts
Posted 12/08/2021   4:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Nice. This one was intended to have the labels between the two columns of stamps; i.e., your example has columns 3,1,2. Columns 1,2,3 would show a background of yet another item of ironwork.
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Valued Member
76 Posts
Posted 12/08/2021   9:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add chris s to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting experiences and the special issue you got looks great.

But the problem is endemic at US post offices. Most offer simply Flag coil stamps and the current commemoratives with some old ones that have been slow to sell thrown in. If you take some time you will find post offices offering more than this - Priority Mail Express stamps, some panes of low denomination stamps no longer sold at the USPS site. I mean some of the commemoratives offered are quite good and you can get some nice intaglio definitives sometimes at some post offices in the US but it requiressome work.

As for cancels, I find clerks seem to just go ahead before you can say anything. So I never get my hopes up for a nice cancel. The United Nations and a few foreign post offices provide nice cancels when they send your online order to you -- which I appreciate much.
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Pillar Of The Community
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Posted 12/09/2021   05:37 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As OP writes, this was 1990. Nowadays, going into a post office in Spain asking for stamp causes a panic. This also happened to me last Saturday, in Italy. In Spain (and Italy), post offices tend to have stock books with sheets of stamps in a back office. Some counter staff have no clue where that stock book is. When they find it, there are different stamps in the stock book. However, they may not be for the common tariffs - Spain now has basic domestic (A), Europe (B) and Rest of World (C) rates -. The other stamps may be quite outdated as no one ever buys stamps. Hence the panic. These common rates, now, are often covered by a pack of five inflation stamps torn from self-adhesive sheets and packed in plastic you cannot open easily hanging from a display carrousel.

In my experience, staff at Spanish post offices is very forthcoming. In many very large cities, you may encounter rude or unhelpful staff. This tends to be the case in the centre of those cities, more than in the peripheral offices. I guess this has to do with rushed customers who are similarly rude.

For those of you who have never been to these Spanish mass-tourism resort towns: the average tourist visiting such places is scum. He or she considers having paid to get there gives him or her the right to crap-up the town and treat locals as servants. Locals work hard and get paid badly. Still, you might be better of then inland, where there is no employment. So, they treat tourists equally badly. It does not matter whether you belong to the scum that rolls out of a chartered flight, or the most gentlemanly person who has genuine interest in the wellbeing of the locals. To them, you are just another of those Goths invading their town, once again.

Since the average charter-flight Goth cannot be bothered to lift his behind from the poolside stretcher yes people, we fly four or five hours to a beach resort to claim a stretcher at the hotel poolside at six in the morning -, they do not annoy the locals in such smaller towns away from these resort towns. And it shows in how they treat you.

Very good of you to look beyond Maspalomas.

Naturally, there are decent charter-flight Goths and friendly locals working in resort towns and big-city centres. But odds are much better away from those places. And there you even may have an interesting chat with the staff. Explaining your intentions may help, but some are beyond saviour.

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Edited by NSK - 12/09/2021 05:42 am
Valued Member
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Posted 02/20/2022   10:17 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bendix to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have been recently on a journey (oh, is that now 30 years ago - astounding how fast time flies) to Turkey.

It is now that I found the time to document my experience.

So, should you be interested in a travel to Turkey - look in (I have put that in an extra topic so that friends of Turkish philately, who look for nothing else, have a chance to find it).

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United Kingdom
6452 Posts
Posted 02/20/2022   10:44 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Haven't been to Spain. Wouldn't go when Franco was in power, and somehow never got around to visiting thereafter. My experience with French post offices is that, when I go to the counter clutching my postcards, I receive current stamps. Even got a miniature sheet once, which was a pain to extract the individual stamps from.
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Posted 04/01/2022   4:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bendix to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Adventure in one's own country of origin (here: Germany)? Well, of course!

Firstly, everyone of us will have made his experience with postal clerks (many good, but in few cases less favourable ones). By the time (we are in 1994) in Germany it could not be taken for granted to encounter clerks devoted to offer service. Still today, I awake drenched in sweat, when in my dreams the poison dwarf appears, who always told me, when I was thirteen (1982) "We don't have it. What do you want? It's not for you." only because I asked for a new stamp a week after it's date of issue. I may have forgotten the incidents, had they been the only ones, but the personnel in the offices of my love-hate hometown, were specialised in bullying their customers.

Secondly, the adventure begins the very moment we leave our cave. Who knows, what waits outside for us. Could be the reason why we leave our collection at home. No harm shall come to it, while we rove out. Maybe we are a bit overcautious in that regard. First our stamps travel hundreds or thousands of miles from sender to the recipient. And then, nothing - permanent downtime for them. When it comes to us we are more courageous. Or are we a bit to reckless in this regard?

Now, be that as it may, at that time I was on a cycling tour (nothing planned, nothing booked the direction was all, that was decided on). Where the day would end, who could tell. Some banknotes in your saddle bags, enjoy life.

And isn't it astounding, the moment we are on our way, we turn home from afar drop a line, send a card - and let our friends and family know: it is You, we have not forgot about.

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Posted 05/23/2022   3:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bendix to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Those who look for a good adventure will find everything their heart desire in Germany as well as in any other country. This is simply a question of perspective. Who comes to us from abroad, will sense the local hustle as an exotic one (and of course it is).

And Germany is so full of varieties. You go a 100 km and will find the sound of the language slightly altered, the architecture changed etc., etc. Put some Germans from different regions in front of you and you will be amazed.

For whom this is not enough and who wants his travel even more colourful, go on a side trip from Germany to the neighbouring countries. We have after all 3.758 km of border.

To France for example. And so, on my travel, I passed by there, and before I knew it, found myself right there in the border town of Lauterbourg where I without delay headed for the local post office. There I was gratified with the below shown stamps. Now, whether one likes a specific design is a purely subjective question of taste. However, I was enthralled.

And has it been a good bargain and the right decision?

Well, l still love these stamps, and it is amazing, when I look at them, they remind me of the travel and the postal servicewoman, who sold me these gems (by the way I found it remarkable that 1 km behind the border, in Alsace, she pretended not to understand German so I simply changed to a somewhat rusty French).
And of course, I wanted to find out which language is spoken there, German or French (as Alsace was a German speaking province until France seized it 1648 in the 19th and 20th century this province was forced to change the flag three times). What about these conflicts of the past that one can read about from time to time, what is the cultural reality? Now, if the postal servicewoman had not been sent by the French secret service to mislead German travellers, the French language dominates.

And, if you may have read my article where I preached down on my local postal clerks in my dear German hometown (ever unwilling to deliver what ever one wanted), what do I get in a tiny village of 3.000 souls in France? A super carnet / stamp book honouring Franco-Swedish-relationship (1,5 million print run, what was below average by the time). There you go! I knew it, good service is possible, if there is the will for it.

And here is my conclusion: these stamps are priceless.

And this not all. The French stamps can still be used for postage, while Germany could not resist to use the introduction of the Euro as a pretext to devaluate all Mark-nominated stamps (it is less the economic loss that annoys me, but it's a pity that we lost so many wonderful designs for usage).

So, it's hats off for "La Poste" - and that is why I say today: Vive la France!

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Valued Member
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Posted Yesterday   10:07 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bendix to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
These who are travelling, are always in danger to fall into bad ways. A lot of perils lie along the way. And that is, what seems to have come to the below shown item, which shows marks of more than usual strains of transportation. I assume a wrong feed of the sorting / cancellation machine.

That is prove, that even in Germany travelling might be dangerous.

Waldshut on Rhein (in the province Baden) - at that time I chose their post office as a depot of supply, as then it was still possible to send a parcel domestically as a poste restante item, perfect to change the laundry. On that occasion I also sent greetings home.

Completely unscathed, however, arrived the stamps which I acquired the day before in the Swiss town of Basel. They were bought at the counters of the main post office, stowed away safely in waterproofed luggage und thus transported home safely on my own accord.

Let's take a look at these Swiss spoils (which were on the occasion of my homecoming transferred into my collection naturally in a triumphal procession accompanied with a worthy banquet and drink):

- The annual anniversaries series - that is typicall of the Swiss: sober designs. Here it is interesting to see, that four different topics are combined into one set: so, the stamps show the same size, but design and the subject-matter differ.
- honouring books and the press a bit to conventional in design to my taste, on the other hand that is exactly the virtue for which Swiss stamps are esteemed by collectors all over the globe. Smashing colours - well, we are in the 90ies.
- pieces of art by women I like the one for 60 and the highest nominal (By the way, who would doubt, that women are good artists? When I look back to my school days, my female classmates were much more performing in arts than us boys - maybe yet another reason to being attracted by them even more. However, we see a politicized issue, but I have a liking for good propaganda.

So, the worthy pieces even received a laudation today.

And that is why we can here not longer speak of pure objects of utility, but need to use the expression of a cult object - that is to arrive at the highest ordination, namely to be being admitted to and absorbed into our collection.

And those were the days when CHF 100,00 cost DEM 120,00. That would mean 1 EUR = CHF 1,62 (today in 2022 it is CHF 1,01). So, never let it be said, that the acquisition of stamps inevitably produce a loss.

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