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Updates On Upcoming Releases

As the pandemic continues, it’s wearing on me emotionally. My younger son turned 18 and is lamenting that his senior prom will not happen, and he basically lost half his junior year and most of his senior year to a virus.

And my parents, 92 and 78, FINALLY, got their first shot of the Moderna vaccine last week. Trying to get them set up for vaccination appointments took up way more time than expected, because they live in a rural area that doesn’t have a ready supply of vaccines.

My wife is still not 100% over her COVID-19 recovery, from when the whole family got COVID-19 back in December, and had it ruin Christmas for us. She’s still tired a lot and is experiencing some brain fog.

So, I have been a little pandemic pre-occupied, which is eating into my free time.

Having said that, here are some updates:

Mystic Hacking

I don’t see myself doing any more of these. I have hacked everything through the year 2003, I believe. Anything after that is just too much work. I may do a page or two on request. But getting 2003-2020 done would be a major undertaking. If I catch up on other stuff I may revisit it.

Community US Stamp Album

I got halfway through the 2005 supplement. I’m pulling descriptions from the US Postal Bulletin. And for 2005, I am really NOT happy with the descriptions. So, I replaced the Postal Bulletin ones by using Wikipedia, and I am not thrilled with those either. So, this is going to take some manual editing on my part. I would LOVE to crowdsource the description writing, so we could all collaborate on the descriptions. But I am picky and don’t want to offend anyone by correcting their submission. I bought a lifetime subscription to ProWritingAid.com and use that for all my grammar checking.

It’s also a challenge to figure out all the definite varieties issued each year. That eats up the biggest chunk of time.

Tryzub Ukrainian Stamp Album

Back in the first week of January, I put together an order on ukrposhta.ua of all the 2020 stamps. I left it in my cart and did not order it because I was waiting for payday. Of course the first week in January I was still on the mend from COVID-19, and was only functional for a few hours before I needed to take a break. So, like many things that week, it slipped my mind, and they never got ordered. I’m going to place an order this week. The pandemic is adding 1-2 weeks of shipping time to stamps from Ukraine. So, instead of the usual 2 weeks, it now takes a month to get stamps in from Ukraine. Luckily, I can start on descriptions and layout waiting for stamps to arrive. I just can’t test-fit stuff till stamps get here.

Something That Makes My Stamp Collecting Life Easier

Just 5 minutes from my house, there is a great “collectibles” store. The gentleman sells, stamps, coins, paper money, sports cards, and collectible card games such as Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, etc.

He has a very good selection of stamp mounts. So, if I get a stamp that needs a mount size I don’t have, I can usually get what I need after a 5 minute drive. But, even better, my son works there! So, I can text him my order, and he comes home with the mounts I need. This has significantly sped up the publications for me.

Stuff I Want To Do In The Future

I want to get the website off of WordPress. WordPress is a great publishing platform, but I don’t want to have to deal with the WordPress update cycle for a site as simple as my own. I want to switch to using Hugo for creating my web pages. That would require a teardown of the site and recreation. Which really wouldn’t be that bad. There’s a lot of OLD cruft here that really isn’t needed anymore.

I also want to get back into Ireland. I made one page of Irish stamps (my wife is Irish, and I thought she would like it), and then I went on to the most dreaded of topics, the Bird Definitives. I was so frustrated with figuring out all the varieties that I joined the Eire Philatelic Association to recruit help. They told me that the Bird Definitives are a huge PITA, and the different catalogs don’t even agree on them. So, I shelved the idea.

I really want to get to where I am cranking out just 3 supplements a year: Ukraine, US and Ireland. That’s going to take a while to get there.

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Community US Stamp Album Pages

Community US Stamp Album 2004 Supplement Released!

Well, it took some time to straighten out all the definitive varieties, but it’s finally done! The 2004 supplement is up on my Google Drive.

Here’s a screen shot:

As usual, files are on my Google Drive:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sz9OHKT-TfNWOnOr2bu4YZpUI38k_973

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Community US Stamp Album Pages

Community 2003 US Stamp Album “Errata”

Learned there is one small problem with the pages I just released. The copy I released has the Scott numbers hidden. Well, when you do that, then that leaves people REALLY confused when they look at 4 definitives that look exactly the same with no explanation of what each stamp is. So I did this:

I replaced the original file with this one. Same link downloads the new version.

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Community US Stamp Album Pages

The Community US Stamp Album 2003 Supplement

Well, it’s been a VERY long time since I posted any new supplements in the Community Stamp Album. There have been some minor style changes. I will re-doing 2001 and 2002 to match the style of 2003. But I want to get 2004 out the door before I do that.

Most of them are minor:

  1. The spacing of the Name, Date of Issue, Stamp Box, Catalog Number and Description are tighter now.
  2. The top of every page now says the year and the stamp type: commemorative, definitive, semi-postal, airmail, etc.

Other than that, the page border, fonts, stamp border and everything else is the same.

Here is a screenshot of what the pages look like:

I know. I know. You’re looking at the page and saying, “But you said catalog numbers? Where are the catalog numbers?”

Well, I’m not legally allowed to use Scott catalog numbers, and they won’t license them to me. So I have them hidden. If you feel like hacking the Scribus file to turn the catalog numbers back on and then exporting your own PDF, I won’t stop you.

This supplement was a huge PITA to create. I had to use multiple sources to make sure I got every variety of definitive stamps that Scott assigned a major catalog number to. And once I had it done, I found out I missed a bunch. And then I found the USPS released a semi-postal stamp in 2003, so back for another revision.

Then, I had to wait for all the stamp mounts I needed to come in. The mounts for the Eagle definitives slowed me down a week, as I waited for those mounts to arrive.

But now it’s finally done. Feel free to print away.

I made a new Google Drive folder for the Community US Stamp album. It can be found here:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1sz9OHKT-TfNWOnOr2bu4YZpUI38k_973?usp=sharing

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How things look going forward

I looked at 2005 and 2006. In order to hack 2005, I would need to modify 7 pages. And 2006 will require 8 pages. I stopped looking after that. So I think hacking the 21 century is just unsustainable. Hacking a page here or there is not that big a deal. But hacking more than half a supplement is treading dangerously close to some kind of copyright violation.

So, what are my options for Mystic?

I could make my own pages with my own descriptions, in the style of Mystic. I don’t like that option, because I find myself being put in a position where one day I will get a cease and desist letter.

I could leave everyone hanging and just only do Ukraine.

Or I could resurrect an old project.

This is what I will do short term and long term. Short term, I will mount all my 21st century stamps in a Scott Minuteman album. The Minuteman is 90% of what I want, layout-wise. The only issue I have with it is how thin the paper is.

I plan to resume work on the Community US stamp album. I really like what I did there. That is going to be my ultimate solution for 21st century stamps. I don’t know how fast I can turn stuff around. The most annoying thing with designing these pages is the descriptions, and getting all the major Scott catalog numbers of all these definitives with assorted microprint varieties listed. Sadly, the Scott catalog is of little help here.

I had 2003 partially done a while ago. Hopefully, I can get it done in a few weeks.

The other challenge I face is a lack of stamps. 21st century stamps are expensive. You can usually get MOST stamps ok, because they’re a standard size. But there’s always some sheet or se-tenant that’s a goofball size that I need to buy. That slows down work. But, we’ll see how it goes. Conveniently my son works at a stamp collecting store, so I can send an email to the owner and my son comes home with and stamps or mounts that I need.

Well, that’s it for now. Happy 2021 everyone. Hope this year is better than 2020. Stay safe!

Categories
Mystic Heirloom Stamp Album

Mystic Heirloom 2004 Retrofit Kit

In 2004, I hacked pages 1048 and 1060. On Page 1048, I made the Disney stamps a block of 4, instead of a strip of 4:

On page 1060, I made all the ornament stamps blocks of 4:

As usual, everything is on my Google Drive. Filename is 2004 Retrofit Kit.7z

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5nZhycYzltRa21JWXYwOFBlSGM

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Mystic Heirloom Stamp Album

Mystic Heirloom 2003 Retrofit Kit

This is my first hack since recovering from COVID-19. It’s Sunday, and I’m too tired to do much more than sit in front of a computer. So, you get the benefits of my boredom.

I changed 3 pages in the 2003 stamp pages: 1016, 1028, 1032

On page 1016, I kept all the Old Glory stamps connected:

On page 1028, I kept the Mary Cassatt Paintings as a block of four:

On page 1032, I converted the sheet of Holiday Music Makers stamps as a block of four, and I connected the booklet stamps as a block of four:

Everything is on my Google Drive.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B5nZhycYzltRa21JWXYwOFBlSGM?usp=sharing

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Mystic Heirloom Stamp Album

Mystic Heirloom Year 2000 Retrofit Kit

I needed to change two pages in the Mystic Heirloom 2000 pages: Page 897 and Page 923.

On page 897, I took the strip of 4 Youth Team Sports stamps and made them a block of 4:

On page 923, I kept the Flowers Booklet stamp connected:

Both pages are available in one zip file on my Google Drive, called the 2000 Retrofit Kit.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B5nZhycYzltRa21JWXYwOFBlSGM?usp=sharing

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Mystic Heirloom Stamp Album

Mystic Heirloom 2019 Supplement Retrofit Kit Revisit

My cactus flowers stamps came in the mail and I decided I didn’t want to mount the whole booklet, just the block of 10. This required a new page.

I added another version of the Page 1544 hack that allows you to mount just the ten block instead of the whole booklet.

New 7-zip file has been uploaded and the old file has been replaced.

Here is what the new page looks like:

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Mystic Heirloom Stamp Album

Mystic Heirloom 2018 Supplement Retrofit Kit

Hacking the Mystic Heirloom 2018 supplement, only required I change 2 pages:

  1. Page 512 – Frozen Treats. Made sure all the stamps stayed connected.
  2. Page 1530 – Hot Wheels. It was easiest to just moung the whole sheet, rather than try to break it up.

Here are some pictures of what I did:

The pages are available on my Google Drive as one 7zip file called the 2018 Retrofit Kit.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5nZhycYzltRa21JWXYwOFBlSGM