Thursday, June 9, 2016

Collecting Triangular Stamps And Other Odd Shapes

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Today's post will look at a very unique and interesting type of stamp, which surprisingly, has existed for most of the history of postage stamps and can form an excellent topic around which to form a worldwide collection: the triangular stamp.

The first triangular stamps to be issued in the world were from Cape of Good hope in 1853. Cape of Good Hope was a crown colony and is now part of what we know today as South Africa. Four denominations of stamp were issued by them including a 1d red, 4d blue, or which a nice mint pair is shown above, a 6d lilac and 1/- green. Newfoundland was the next colony to follow in 1857 with a 3d green stamp. Nice copies of these stamps are moderately to very expensive, but attractive appearing examples, with small defects can still be had for relatively modest sums.

I do not know how many triangular stamps there are in the world today, but I would have to guess that there must be several thousand different stamps - a large quantity, but by no means unmanageable. Not every country has issued them though. So your scope will necessarily be limited to the countries that have issued them, which are mostly in Asia and Africa, though some European countries and South American countries did issue them as well.

Below are some more images of some of the more interesting ones that I found through a Google search of images for triangular stamps:

Spain from the 1930's or 40's. 

Very modern Swedish block. Note the interesting pattern formed by the stamps. 

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Newfoundland from 1857.

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New Zealand 1d health stamp from the 1940's. 

Most of the triangular stamps come from the 1930's or later and most are not expensive at all, making this an ideal area for those of you on a budget that want to collect a cross section of different countries around the world. There is a book written by Chris Green titled "Triangular Philatelics", which catalogues all the triangular stamps issued in the world. The book is available at Amazon:

Also starting in the 1930's, but not really becoming common until the 1970's are stamps issued in odd, irregular, or non-triangular shapes. Some examples are shown below:

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A rhombic stamp fom Costa Rica from the 1930's. 

Odd-shaped die cut stamps from the U.S and Canada.

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1974 UPU souvenir sheet from Norfolk Island.

You could have a lot of fun hunting down the various shapes and stamps from around the world using this as your topic. You could collect this area affordably no matter whether you are interested in mint or used, since most of the stamps will be relatively modern. However, I suspect that used will be more challenging to find than mint. 

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