Definition: Se-tenant Stamps

Se-tenant means two or more different stamps printed on the same pane or sheet of paper. They can be stand-alone designs or part of a larger work of art.

Japan 2013

Japan’s 2013 se-tenant pair of 80-yen stamps celebrating the 120th Anniversary of Volunteer Fire Departments • Courtesy div_style via eBay.com

In the example above from Japan, the two stamp designs are complimentary but not necessarily part of a greater work of art. Notice how the artist is careful not to carry the costumes from one subject into the stamp frame of the other. The art is truncated before it runs into the perforations, with only the background colors tying the two designs together.

New Zealand

New Zealand’s 1986 se-tenant strip of five 25-cent commemoratives marking the 100th Anniversary of Police • Courtesy delcampe.net

In the second example above, this time from New Zealand, designs in the strip of five commemoratives run together, crossing the perforations that divide one stamp from another. Each stamp forms a part of the greater work of art.

Se-tenant (pronounced see-TEN-ant) stamps are fun to collect and some philatelists make them a speciality.

U.S. Postal Service Lowers the Cost of a Stamp for First Time in 97 Years

This past Sunday, 10 April 2016, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) made history by lowering the cost of a First Class domestic postage stamp from 49 cents to 47 cents. It’s the only time in 97 years that the cost of mailing a letter to your Aunt Ethel has gone down instead of up.

USPS Price Drop

On Sunday, 10 April 2016, the cost of mailing a domestic First Class one-ounce letter in the USA fell from 49 cents to 47 cents. It’s the first such reduction in nearly 100 years. • Courtesy USPS Office of Inspector General

The surprising change came about due to a ruling by the Postal Regulatory Commission, which gave the USPS permission to raise the price of postage nearly 5% in 2014 to recoup some of its losses during the Great Recession of 2008-2010. Time ran out and the USPS was forced to make the reduction. USPS management is not happy about it, though. The U.S. Postal Service  made its first profit in many years during the first quarter of 2016 that ended 31 March.

The last time that the USPS (the old Post Office Department–then a cabinet-level government agency) dropped postage prices was in 1919 when they rolled back the cost of a First Class stamp to pre-World War I levels.

On Sunday, the cost of mailing a domestic post card dropped from 35 cents to 34 cents. The cost of sending a one-ounce letter overseas fell a nickel from $1.20 to $1.15.

And those Forever stamps that you bought last week for 49 cents each? Use one to write your auntie a letter. That’s a great way to say hello and give her your “two-cents worth.”

For more information about the price drop, read this announcement from the USPS or Google it for the latest on the controversial move.

Tonga Proud of Its First Roman Catholic Cardinal

On 14 February 2015, Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church made Tongan history by elevating Soane Patita Paini Mafi to the office of Cardinal, the first such from the South Pacific island Kingdom of Tonga.

At the same time, Cardinal Mafi became the youngest member of the College of Cardinals, the body that elects new popes, among many other duties.

So proud of their native son, Tonga Post marked the event by releasing three commemorative stamps plus a souvenir sheet sporting a fourth stamp a year ago this month on 1 April 2015.

Cardinal Mafi

Cardinal Mafi and Pope Francis featured on a trio of commemorative stamps from the South Pacific’s Kingdom of Tonga. • Courtesy Tonga Post

The three single stamps issued in panes of 25 for each value include a $2.25 commemorative which portrays a serious Cardinal Mafi waiting his turn to greet Pope Francis on the day of his investiture, a $2.70 stamp featuring a smiling cardinal and the $5.00 stamp which depicts Pope Francis at the outdoor event in Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square.

Cardinal Mafi S/S

Cardinal Mafi and Pope Francis portrayed on a high-value Tongan stamp commemorating Cardinal Mafi’s investiture on 14 February 2015 in Vatican City. • Courtesy Tonga Post

The fourth stamp in this commemorative series forms a souvenir sheet and is valued at $8.50. All denominations are in Tongan pa‘anga, which is currently worth about half a United States dollar. An aerial view of St. Peter’s Basilica and of St. Peter’s Square appears in the background of the souvenir sheet.

While flying from Auckland, New Zealand, t0 Nuku‘alofa, Tonga, recently, I noticed that Cardinal Mafi and two assistants were aboard. He really is as young as he looks on these stamps and appears to have a long and fruitful ministry ahead of him.

These stamps certainly qualify for religion, Catholic, cardinals, Pope Francis, popes, Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica and Square categories when forming topical or themed collections. Topical collections are very popular among philatelists. Apart from that, the Cardinal Mafi commemoratives are brightly colored and will make a nice addition to your collection, whether you collect by country, by topic or by whatever strikes your fancy.

The Kingdom of Tonga has a population of about 105,000 and is spread over 700,000 square kilometers of the South Pacific Ocean. It’s inhabitants speak Tongan, a Polynesian language; many Tongans are also fluent in English. Both Tongan and English are official languages in the Kingdom. Tongans live on about 40 islands out of a total of some 170 and rely on agriculture, fishing and tourism for their livlihoods.

I’m surprised that stocks of the Cardinal Mafi commemorative stamps are still available at essentially face value a year after their release. Add these to your collection at your favorite stamp dealer, find a stamp dealer or click here to order directly from the official Tongan philatelic agency in the USA.

Spain Celebrates 125 Years of Stamp Markets

Celebrating 125 years of the first Spanish stamp market held in Barcelona, Spanish Mail (Correos) issued a large, colorful commemorative stamp on 8 April 2016. This 57-cent (0.57€) stamp features a vintage photo of stamp collectors in an outdoor stamp-trading venue.

2016 Spanish commemorative stamp celebrating 125 years since the first stamp market. • Credit: Spanish Correos

2016 Spanish 57-cent commemorative stamp celebrating 125 years since the first stamp market in Barcelona. The stamp’s image features a vintage photo of stamp collectors trading in an outdoor setting. • Courtesy Spanish Mail (Correos)

This boldly designed stamp measures 40.9 x 28.8 mm (1.6 x 1.1 inches). Background colors represent the Catalonian flag–a yellow field with four red horizontal stripes. Barcelona is the capital of the country’s northeastern autonomous region of Catalonia.

The world’s first postage stamps were issued in Great Britain in 1840, followed 10 years later by Spain in 1850. Soon, people began collecting used postage stamps in Spain and in the rest of the world. The first stamp shop for collectors in Spain was opened in 1854 in Catalonia by Josep Maria Vergés.

The first stamp market began in Barcelona between 1890 and 1892. Used-book seller Josep Graells Blanch added postage stamps as a sideline to his offerings on Ronda de Sant Antoni during the Sunday-morning booksellers’ fair. Other stamp dealers joined, making it a weekly tradition. Later the Barcelona stamp market moved to Plaça Reial, where it continues to this day, every Sunday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Collectible coins are also traded at the same venue. Plan to visit the next time you’re in town.

To add this commemorative stamp to your collection, contact your favorite stamp dealer, find a stamp dealer or visit Spain’s Correos website for further details.

Finding Stamp Dealers

Thousands of stamp dealers operate across the globe, perhaps even in your neighborhood. They are a great source of both new and used stamps, new issues, albums, stock books, stamp tongs, other stamp-collecting supplies and advice.

To find a local stamp dealer or a philatelic firm that specializes in the topics, countries and types of stamps that you want to collect, use one of these stamp-dealer search engines maintained by national stamp-dealer associations.

Though headquartered in a particular country, association membership often extends to dealers of other nations. Click on their respective logos to access membership information:

American Philatelic Society

American Philatelic Society
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, USA
560+ dealers in USA, Canada and 19 other nations

 

American Stamp Dealers’ Association
Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, USA
350+ dealers in USA and elsewhere, including China, Germany, Japan, Peru, Serbia and 14 other nations

APTA Logo

Australasian Philatelic Traders’ Association
Blackburn, Victoria, Australia
80+ dealers in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and four other nations

CSDA Logo

Canadian Stamp Dealers’ Association
London, Ontario, Canada
90+ dealers in Canada, France, UK and USA

NSDA LogoNational Stamp Dealers’ Association
Tempe, Arizona, USA
190+ dealers in USA, Belgium, Canada, France, Israel and UK

New Zealand Stamp Dealers Association
Manukau City, New Zealand
45+ dealers in New Zealand, Australia and three other nations

 

PTS LogoThe Philatelic Traders’ Society
Lingfield, Surrey, United Kingdom
300+ dealers in UK, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Malta, Poland, Portugal and numerous other nations

 

For 19 other national stamp dealers’ associations, visit the International Federation of Stamp Dealers’ Associations where you can find links to professional philatelic groups in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

IFSDAInternational Federation of Stamp Dealers’ Associations
Lausanne, Switzerland