Wednesday, May 22, 2019
University of Memphis Questions & Answers With David Saks
10:34 pm cdt
A Q&A with David Saks
For Release: March 6, 2019 Originally posted at the University
of Memphis https://www.memphis.edu/wumr/features/feature_qandawithsaks.php
For more information, visit: David Saks's Profile
What years did you attend the U of M?
I began as a volunteer at The University of Memphis' (former known
as Memphis State University) campus radio station, WTGR (TGR for Tiger Radio) in 1969 just prior to
the beginning of my senior year in high school.
My first classes at Memphis State University
were in the summer of 1970. I was a music major.
My elected minor was psychology and I
worked as an assistant in the psychology labs along with Dr. Middleton, Lupfer, Kenny, and others.
I've had the privilege to do some research with Dr. Joseph Krisak. I was enrolled from 1970 until
I left for the Middle East in 1974 to serve in Israel with students from throughout the world.
I lived in the Middle East in Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the Jordanian
/ Israeli border as an American volunteer in 1974. I spent a couple of months in Scotland and
How did you get your start in radio?
Radio and the associative technological aspect of it has always fascinated me.
I began as a shortwave
listener at the age of six and had one of the first callsigns for my hobby radio station issued by
Popular Electronics to their readers in the early 1960's. WPE4IVK (the "PE" in the prefix
stood for Popular Electronics).
I started experimenting as a seven year old child by placing two
tube receivers together, given to me by my great grandmother, and I listened for heterodynes, a method
of combining a radio frequency wave with a locally generated wave of a different frequency to produce
a new frequency equal to the sum or the difference between the two from spurious local
emissions generated by each receiver. After combining radio frequency waves with locally
generated waves of a different frequency produced by the faint emissions of the adjacent receiver,
I could produce new frequencies equal to the sum or difference between the combined frequencies. The
adjacent differing tuning capacitors and the emissions from them served as a window to an emission
form known as single side band with the harmonics generated from the chassis of each receiver. When
I discovered heterodyning from the local oscillations of the two receivers it opened the world of
Morse code and amateur radio to me. I had created what would be known as a crude beat frequency oscillator
with the two receivers.
I was an Explorer Scout with emphasis on amateur
radio as a young teenager. I began receiving Morse code training from the Navy at the age of thirteen
in a special class for Scouts in 1965 located at the Naval Reserve Facility on Avery Road in Memphis.
I was awarded a merit badge by the Chickasaw Council of The Boy Scouts of America
for being the fastest code receiver in my class. They clocked me at over thirty words a minute
before my fourteenth birthday. It helped being a musician because timing is everything with Morse
code. My amateur radio license, WK2B, is still active and I'm licensed as "Extra Class"
with the Federal Communications Commission,
I've had the privilege and honor of serving as a civilian
trustee for the Millington Naval Air Stations' Amateur Radio Station, W4ODR, and flown with general
aviation pilots from the Naval Air Station flight club.
I've completed three
years of ROTC and served as a lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol. I attended their Leadership Training
Academy in the late 1970's.
Can you talk a little
about the early days of WUMR/WTGR and how different things are now?
WTGR was the beginning of college radio for me.
We were a ten watt radio station when I arrived in 1969 to work with Richard Hiller,
our engineer, faculty members Dr. David Yellin, Dr. Marvin Bensman, and others long before Dr. Richard
Ranta arrived to supervise what would become a jazz station. I was still a senior in high school when
You had to park your car under the window of the radio station to hear the show back
then. If you lived on the campus, then we used a transmission principle known as "carrier current,"
a method of low power AM radio transmission that uses AC electrical wiring to propagate an AM signal
to a small area such as a college dormitory. You could plug your table top radio into any wall receptacle
on the campus and hear the station clearly.
It all changed when our station license was approved by the Federal Communications
Commission which included an effective radiating power increase.
We were an all-album station in 1969 which meant that you could play an album in
its entirety rather than just a selected cut here and there from the vinyl.
equipment was quite primitive by today's standards and consisted of early analog equipment, circuits
and devices having an output proportional to its input as opposed to the digital technology we have
today which, simply put, is a circuit or device representing magnitudes in digits. The fundamental
difference between the analog and today's digital signal is that an analog signal is represented by
sine waves, a wave whose waveform resembles a sine curve, or the ratio of the opposite
side to the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle, whereas, the digital signal is represented by a
square wave which we all know to be a plane rectangle with four equal sides and four right angles.
In digital technology, the analog wave is sampled at some interval, and then turned into numbers that
are stored in the digital device. On a CD, the sampling rate is 44,000 samples per second. On a CD,
there are 44,000 numbers stored per second of music. This is what we hear today, and even better than
Students received academic credit for participating. Not so today. I hope that will
change for our scholars.
What type of jazz do you play on
your WUMR show? Whats your favorite music genre?
I play music from the period between bebop and the 1960s'
and focus on music that blends jazz elements with other musical styles, such as funk, soul, electronic
dance music, and free improvisation. Bebop is a favorite with it's fast tempo, instrumental
virtuosity, improvisation and interesting harmonic structure that focuses on the melody.
is popular and combines elements of jazz and rock with it's electronic instruments and long, creative
solos. Latin jazz is always in the mix and draws heavily on salsa and merengue influences with its
heavy use of percussion, congas, timbales, bongos, and more. The big bands of the 40's and swing are
There's so much in the jazz spectrum that I love, but when it comes to my favorite
musical style its stride piano.
Stride is nearly a lost art form and very difficult to master. The greatest of the
stride pianists played in a wide range of highly rhythmic tempos with great emphasis on improvisation.
Stride is fantastic!
What other stations have you worked
I assisted with the construction of WLYX, Southwestern at Memphis, now Rhodes College,
in 1971 along with station manager George McClintock and Mrs. Betty Ruffin from CBC. WLYX was destroyed
by a construction accident in 1991. I was the last person on the air the day it occurred. An earth
mover plowing the field near the transmitter shack ran over the transmission line and destroyed the
CBC and WREC radio, 600AM, donated much of the equipment to Southwestern. As Christian
Brothers is focused on engineering, there were plenty of enthusiastic electrical engineering students
and amateur radio operators ready to lend a hand and equipment.
Christian Brothers College, now Christian Brothers University, operated WCBC at that
time on the AM bands. I filled in during the weekends in addition to my other air shift responsibilities.
WCBC's antenna was a satellite tower for the Military Affiliate Radio Station known as MARS, passing
"good and welfare" traffic to combat soldiers in Viet Nam and elsewhere. I had my amateur
radio license at that time, as I still do, and I'm licensed to pass traffic with MARS.
was employed by WKNO-FM from January 1972 until January 1974 at which time I volunteered to work in
Israel and the middle east for a year with other students. WKNO's now retired chief engineer, Pat
Lane, is one of my oldest pals.
I assisted with the construction of WEVL with engineers Jim Maxwell and Doug Hirsch
in 1976, its first year of operation. WEVL was located in an old house on Court Avenue at the time.
WEVL's present location is in an old building in the 500 block of South Main Street that once belonged
to my relatives.
I served Rock 103 from 2002 until 2004. I was part of the Wake Up Crew with Tim Spencer,
Bev Hart and the late, great John "Bad Dog" McCormack. I had been a frequent guest on their
program for several years prior to being invited to become a regular part of the show. In addition
to the great fun of working there, we had a serious mission. The Wake Up Crew raised millions of dollars
for local charities. The most important aspect of radio is its power to do that which is good for
our city, our neighbors and the well-being of all. That was our mission.
What musical instrument do you play?
I'm a pianist.
and composer, two of my songs, "In Memphis" and "One Last Bridge", were adopted
by the Memphis City Council as "Official Songs of Memphis" in 1990 and 1991.
My music manuscripts
and works for piano "Impressions of Memphis" are in the Library of Congress.
Are you still working in real estate and addressing fair housing and predatory
I retired my broker's license in 2015.
I served the Fair Housing Committee for
the Memphis Area Association of Realtors.
I dedicated two decades of my life to researching real estate fraud, predatory
lending and fair housing.
I researched and reported on real estate fraud
for several years for the real estate community.
a little about your stamp collecting and how you came to be honored with the first officially
cancelled Elvis Presley first-day cover.
I began collecting stamps when I was five years old. My grandfather
had lived in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa. When he arrived in Memphis, in the very
early twentieth century, he still had relatives in South Africa that corresponded with him.
I was fascinated by the flora and fauna, the ships and landscape on the stamps on
the envelopes. He removed the stamps from the envelopes and gave them to me to study. It was a way
for me to learn about the world as a child.
I'm chapter ambassador to the American Philatelic Society
for the Memphis Stamp Collectors Society. I've been a member of the American Philatelic Society for
three decades. I'm the philatelic crossword puzzle author for Linn's Stamp Weekly magazine and create
the philatelic-themed crosswords monthly.
As for the Elvis Presley first day of
issue cover, I was the first in line to have my envelope cancelled by Graceland. It was a magical
evening and the greatest event in the history of stamp collecting!
I have two letters
from Graceland recognizing the January 8, 1993 Elvis Presley stamp-adorned envelope as the "First
to be cancelled by Graceland."
The envelope is signed by dignitaries who attended the event
including Priscilla Presley.
The temperature on Graceland Plaza was around 30 to 35 degrees with light drizzle
from sundown on that day. No one cared about the bad weather. Something seemed to say that
Memphis was awaiting a grand arrival. Elvis couldn't have gotten a finer reception from his hometown.
While the bands were playing and the dignitaries were making their speeches and presentations, the
crowds grew. Nobody appeared to be impatient. This was a real family show that special evening and
the cast of characters was one of which everyone in attendance could have been proud of.
At every corner of Graceland Plaza, cables twisted and turned, microwave dishes towered
over the heads of the crowds, and nervous production crews checked their lists to make sure
that everything had consistency and coherence with clockwork precision. This would be the grandest
event of the year for Memphis and the grandest event for stamp collecting ever seen. To say that something
like the Elvis stamp event will never occur in my lifetime again would be safe.
is my home and native soil. The music is the language of many in my Tennessee town. The river flows
through this town like a stream of notes from a guitar on Beale Street. Two bridges span the muddy
water like strings across the bridge of a piano. That's my Memphis. And on that day, January 7, 1993,
it was as though we were all waiting for Elvis to come home. The rich, the poor, black and white,
men, women and children, young and old alike, all came to Memphis that day for Elvis.
the many busy hours we prepared for this homecoming not fully realizing the impact it would have on
the rest of the world, but at the same curiously wondering if we would ever do this again.
The countdown to the release of the stamp began on June 4, 1992 with the unveiling
of the Elvis stamp design chosen by his fans. The choice for the illustration had been made under
the leadership of United States Postmaster General Anthony Frank, who also signed the cover. Postmaster
General Frank's tireless efforts to honor Elvis should never be forgotten as Memphis remains grateful
Plans were also being made for Elvis' fifty eighth birthday celebration to coincide
with the release of the stamp. A gigantic cake with 58 candles on it had been created.
A cake big enough to feed hundreds of fans and stamp collectors! In the Graceland party room on the
south side of the plaza local bakeries were delivering truckloads of beautifully decorated birthday
cakes with confection designs of the Elvis stamp ready to be perforated by the chefs with their bakers'
Balloons were everywhere with streamers and other colorful decorations adorning the
ceilings and walls. The months of preparation and the hundreds of media hours were about
to pay off in a big way.
In the tent across the street from Graceland Mansion national media representatives
from every corner of North America readied the moment to pay homage to the King of
Rock and Roll.
In addition to our local friends, the English, the Irish, Scottish, the
Germans, Austrians, Norwegians, Russians, Australians, Canadians, Mexicans, Japanese, Israelis, Finns
and South Africans made the pilgrimage to Memphis with their stamp collectors to honor
the greatest rock and roller in history.
There was certainly enough cake to go around
and even some peanut butter and banana sandwiches, Elvis' favorite snack.
went on well through the night and into the wee hours of January 8, 1993 even after all the dignitaries
had spoken and all the cake had been eaten.
The lines around the postal station had grown very long,
winding around Graceland Plaza all night. Faithful Elvis fans patiently waited for their stamps which
went on sale at exactly 12:15 A.M. on the early morning of January 8, 1993 at the command
of Graceland's executives.
I stood first in line and watched my first day cover
fly through the cancellation machine on command, when Governor Ned McWherter finished his address,
making my Elvis stamp the very first one to be canceled by the Graceland contract postal station.
One Elvis stamp had been removed from a full sheet of forty stamps about five minutes
prior to midnight. I was dazzled by the surrounding excitement and I recall the postal
clerk asking me if I was going to pay her. I fidgeted nervously for the twenty-nine-cent cost of
the stamp and pulled a quarter and a nickel out of my pocket and handed the change to the clerk. The
clerk took a penny from her cash drawer and gave it to me.
Adrenaline was flowing while we waited
for the order from Graceland executives Laura Ferguson and Shelly Evans standing next to the cancellation
machine. I handed Laura my envelope with stamp on it. She placed it on the machine's tray and at that
moment I realized my stamp would be the first one to be postmarked by Graceland. The fireworks
display stopped, and Shelly gave the order for Laura to postmark my stamp.
me with two letters attesting the authenticity of the stamp.
On August 12, 2015, I obtained the first Elvis Forever stamp
at Graceland, as well.
Stamp collecting is the greatest hobby in the world.
Rhodes In The Fall
10:10 pm cdt
Rhodes College inspires me every waking moment of my life.
Rhodes is a vital component in my dreams, my existence and a reason for being.
Rhodes is where my heart is.
Rhodes In The Fall
Open your eyes.
You'll see the truth
God's blue skies.
And together we'll find love,
And learn as we grow.
When the seasons change
when you'll know,
My friend, till I see you again
Within these hallowed halls,
My heart will be in Memphis
At Rhodes in the fall.
The past is behind us,
Listen to the future call.
We'll be together in Memphis
At Rhodes in the fall.
If one wish can come true,
If your dreams are mine,
My science, my ethics,
Your music, your rhyme,
The trees on North Parkway
Stand tall as we adjourn.
This promise I'll keep
While I wait for your return.
My friend, till I see you again,
Within these hallowed halls,
heart will be in Memphis
At Rhodes in the fall.
The past is behind us,
Listen to the future call,
We'll be together in Memphis
At Rhodes in the fall.
Friday, April 26, 2019
Sunshine & Shadow
12:44 am cdt
The year was 1907.
The M.T.Sheahan postcard company was located in Boston, Massachusettes.
"Sheahan's Good Mottos make the world brighter", as it says on the card.
I believe that Miss Nora Thomas had a brighter
day because of the 1906 picture of "Sunshine and Shadow" on the other side of the postcard.
This beautiful card was sent from Sheman, Texas
to Shreveport, Louisiana.
The Jamestown Exposition
commemorative stamp honoring Captain John Smith, Scott Catalog #328, was issued the same year on April 26th. It is perforated
12 with the 191 watermark. The duplex circular date stamp, postmarked July 3 3:30 PM, and 1907 shoeprint cancel, cancels the
Unbelievably, the card arrived in Shreveport,
Louisiana at 6:30 AM the next day on the Fourth of July, 1907.
I wish that I could have been there to see Nora smile..
I know that she had a beautiful, bright day because of Sunshine and Shadow.
Somehow, I can see and feel her smile when I hold the card in my hands
Friday, February 15, 2019
What Is Your Favorite Stamp, David ?
6:33 pm cst
Any questions ?
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
George Klein - October 8, 1935 - February 5, 2019
3:04 pm cst
George Klein passed away February 5, 2019. Arrangements have been
entrusted to Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetary, 5668 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38119 phone (901) 767-8930.
George was one of Elvis Presley's friends and a friend of my family for many years.
I attended an event at Graceland, Elvis' home, with George in the early 1990's.
George worked with me to promote the Elvis Presley Stamp in 1992.
Here's a link to the radio show that we did together :
Here's a photo from the Graceland event.
David Saks & George Klein at Graceland
Thursday, January 17, 2019
One Day In Memphis ?
1:26 am cst
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
My Son Dennis & My Granddaughters
10:06 pm cst
My son, Dennis with his children, my granddaughters, Millie, Mollie and Tessie
and their best friend.
I love all of my children.
Saturday, November 3, 2018
Chinese Martyrs 1940-1941 - Why is Chu Chih-hsin Inverted ?
3:11 am cdt
Teng Keng, Ch'en Ying Shih, Chu Chih-hsin, Sung Chiao-jen,
Huang Hsing and Liao Chung-kai are the Martyrs Stamps of China.
They honor six men who died in the 1911 revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.
The use of these stamps in various forms spans approximately a 17-year period
from 1932 to 1949.
One of the stamps on this
approval sheet is inverted in relation to the other 18. These stamps were printed between 1940 and 1941. Another set was issued
Do you know why these are different
from the issues of 1932-1934 ?
know why Chu Chih-hsin is inverted in relation to the other 18 stamps ?
Here's a hint !
If you know the answer send me an email.
If you're the first to answer correctly you'll
win 100 dollars and dinner with me.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Slim Rhodes & The Mountaineers
11:51 pm cdt
One of my favorite bands on Memphis television in the
late 50's and early 60's was Slim Rhodes.
found this old picture of Slim tonight a box I had almost forgotten.
I'm glad I found this great picture of Slim with his guitar, and from left to right, Slim's brother
Dusty on the fiddle, Tiny Dixon on rhythm guitar, Slim, brother (and great comedian) Speck Rhodes on the stand up bass, and
seated at the pedal steel guitar, the unforgettable Rocky Rhodes.
Slim and the band were at Stanley's By-Ryt
Grocery Store on Macon Road playing the parking lot that day for lots of Stanley's customers.
Slim and the band autographed the back of the photo.
Slim Rhodes and his Mountaineers were a popular
act in Memphis going back to the 1930s. So much so, that Sam Phillips and Sun Record company signed them to a recording contract
in the 1950s.
group got its start back in 1932, when Slim and two of his brothers formed a group while they were in high school and played
In a 1946 letter to the editor
of the Commercial Appeal attributed to Slim Rhodes, he mentions they were on WMC in Memphis, Tennessee at 11:30am each day
as well as the Central Quality Network, sponsored by Mother's Best Flour. Slim said they had been with their sponsor for seven
years at that time.
Rhodes played the bass fiddle then and did comedy. Later in his career, he was part of Porter Wagoner's band. Slim, Dusty
and Speck were brothers.
Slim Rhodes and his
Mountaineers had a weekly Saturday show over WMCT in Memphis, from 12:00 to 12:30. They also had a 30-minute show over KATV
in ine Bluff, Arkansas every Tuesday. I watched them everday that I could when I was a little boy.
I'm very proud to have this picture of Slim and the band
I cherish it.
Sunday, September 30, 2018
11:21 pm cdt
I spent the day at the annual stamp show, Memphex 2018.
I bought several
examples of scarce Graf Zeppelin flight covers and some great examples of early airmail postal history from
stamp dealer Jared Cassidy, of Huntsville, Alabama. Jared is a very friendly, knowledgable philatelist. Make sure you visit
with him when he comes to your stamp show.
Jared gets my big "thumbs up" !
I won a vermeil ribbon for my airmail exhibit commemorating
the 100th anniversary, the Centennial, of airmail delivery by the United States Postal Service which began in May of 1918
with the "Jenny". Many kind friends in attendance commented that it should have won a gold. I appreciate their
The president of the stamp club, Andy Burkman, said
that my exhibit "significantly elevated the quality of the show" ! Thank you, Andy.
Here's a scan of one of the "Jenny" covers that I bought. Examples of the nation's first three airmail stamps, Scott
#'s C1, C2 and C3, mailed in 1918 to New Britain, Connecticut, frank the letter. I believe that it may have been sent
from New York City as indicated by the faint lettering in the early wavy-line machine cancellation. The three
"Jenny's" on cover are rare.
She's a beauty !
Monday, August 20, 2018
Williams Street Swap Shop & "The Deal On Beale" !
3:53 pm cdt
Turner Broadcasting, the Adult Swim & Cartoon Network,
The William Street Swap Shop and great host Zach White along with his great technicians, Jackson, Jay and Eddie, honored me
with a week-long celebration of my birthday that included three one hour live broadcasts seen throughout the world.
On the front page, Zach, me, Jackson and Jay (Eddie is with us
on the side) !
The first, a live one hour interview from
my home on the phone on August 1st.
a live one hour visit in my home on August 8th.
played the piano and sang for viewers. Zach is talking with me about stamp collecting in the photo below.
Thank you, Jackson, for the fantastic Memphis T-Shirt (I'm wearing
it) that you designed for me. It was the best birthday surprise ever !
Finally a visit downtown that I arranged for
Zach and his great crew prior to their departure from Memphis.
I took the Swap Shop crew on a tour of Memphis
after I had dinner with them at Blues City Cafe on Beale Street.
Thank you Johnny Stinson, Lonnie Hammer, James Alexander and Boo Mitchell for accepting my invitation to participate.
I also want to thank Johnny and Cathy Stinson
and all of my beautiful friends who made it to the surprise birthday party for me at Lafayette's Music Hall in Overton Square
! It was an unforgettable evening ! Much love to all !
The Williams Street Swap Shop is seen by
millions of viewers daily at 5pm Eastern, 4pm Central
you Zach White, Matthew Hutchinson, Jackson, Jay, Eddie, Turner Broadcasting, AdultSwim, the Cartoon Network and The Williams
Street Swap Shop, Blues City Cafe and The Hard Rock Cafe Memphis for "The Deal on Beale", and for my making
my birthday a very special one.
that he'll be back very soon to do another special with me.
Stay tuned !
Saturday, July 28, 2018
Never Forget !
1:39 am cdt
Austria's campaign against
drug abuse 1973
Drugs Are Death
Monday, June 4, 2018
12:20 am cdt
I don't know who this man is, but one thing is for sure.
He has a contagious smile.
I discovered his photo in a box of stamps.
My guess is that the picture was taken sixty
of seventy years ago.
Try to think of anything
evil when you look at that smile.
you can't do it !
What do you think his occupation
Did he run an optical dispensory ? Sell
shoes ? Gynecologist ?
Let me know what you
Saturday, February 10, 2018
4:13 pm cst
This was the marquee at the Holiday Inn diner at Union
Avenue and McLean where I played the piano in the 1990's.
I had lots of fun there.
Friday, January 26, 2018
12:29 pm cst
The 8th annual Jackass Mail Run took place on April
The mail was carried on the
back of a jackass between Porterville, California and Springville, California, about 17 miles, on that historic day.
The cost to send the
mail with a jackass was "four bits" or fifty cents.
This piece of mail was picked up by
the jackass in Porterville, California and delivered to the post office in Springville, California the same day, Saturday
April 5th, 1969 on the circular date stamp.
four cent vertical coil Lincoln stamp, Scott #1058, is pencil line cancelled,
The vertical coil Roosevelt stamp, Scott #1305, is cancelled with the April 5, 1969 circular date
stamp featuring the 93265 zip code of Springville, California with the seven bar wavy line machine cancel across the local
Once the mail arrived
in Springville it was cancelled and sent to the addressee in New York via airmail.
The handstamped "Via
Jackass Mail" cachet adorns this monumental cover on the left.
This beautiful jackass cachet is also on the back of the cover.
In 1961, as part of the City of Porterville Centennial Celebration (100 years), the Jackass Mail
Run event was born.
Here's a photo from an early Jackass Mail Run.
The Jackass Mail Run recreates the old west when mail to Springville was delivered by horse or
mule-drawn wagon. Hundreds of riders on horseback, covered wagons, buggies and stagecoaches will gather in front of City
Hall in Porterville, and set out to deliver the mail to Springville, lead by the "Wagon Master".
mail is collected for weeks in special handmade rustic boxes, stamped with a special "Jackass Mail Run Stamp"
and transported to Springville. A posse of bandits are always waiting in Springville to steal the mail, and a gunfight
Wallace Beery, Marjorie Main and J.Carrol Naish starred in the 1942 film, "Jackass Mail".
Spam, although not carried by a
jackass, is also a form of jackass mail.
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
The Stamps of Heligoland - "Holyland"
12:45 pm cst
Helgoland (Heligoland to the English and on the stamps) is located
in the North Sea about 30 miles from Schleswig-Holstein and sixty miles from the great Elbe river port of Hamburg.
It was taken from the Danish and given to the British as a part of the settlement following the Napoleonic wars.
While the British used it for its naval facilities and tourism, it was mainly inhabited by local fisherman and
Scott Catalog numbers 1 through 21 are represented here, 1867
Stamps were issued for
"Heligoland" from 1867 through 1890 under a complex arrangement between the British and the Germans. The
postal administration was tied to Hamburg and to Germany after the unification in 1872. Stamps were printed by
the Prussian printing office, which became the Reich Druckerei after unification, for German speaking people, but the
stamps continued to feature the profile of Queen Victoria.
From 1875 its
postage stamps were denominated in both sterling and gold marks.
In 1890 the British conveyed
the island to Germany in exchange for some African territory. Heligoland came under the Reich postal administration
and began to use the stamps of Germany.
As a result of this change, Heligoland
stamps became the past issues of a "dead territory" and very collectable.
There were more than twenty reprintings of the stamps for collectors in the nineteenth century, some of them
official, some semi-offical, and a few restricted to private printings. Very few of the reprintings were actually "forgeries."
A million and a third valid stamps were printed for use, but only about half of them were used. The rest were
bought for resale to collectors. There were between five and seven million reprints depending on the source of confirmation.
The islands, with a population 1,127, are located in the Heligoland Bight which
are part of the German Bight in the southeastern corner of the North Sea. They are the only German islands not in the immediate
vicinity of the mainland. They lie approximately 69 kilometres (43 miles) by sea from Cuxhaven at the mouth of the River Elbe.
All Heligoland stamps are scarce, even the reprints if you're lucky enough to
However, please remember that forged cancellations are numerous
because of the extreme rarity of Heligoland cancels. Have them expertised by the Amarican Philatelic Society expertising service,
I'm delighted to share 22 unused examples, and one cancelled,
from my collection with you.
It's unkonwn at this time if they're reprints, forgeries
In 1906 Arthur Wülbern published a little book called ORIGINALE
UND NEUDRUCKE VON HELGOLAND.
and Reprints of Heligoland.
To quote the late Mr. Wülbern:
Reprint: "That word alone is a horror for many collectors, for
beneath the mask of originals creep the bastard stamps which appear as legitimate parts of a collection.
Perhaps in no Country do reprints play such a large, remarkable and dangerous role as in Heligoland. One might
expect Heligoland reprints to show weak embossing, junky printing, etc. and therefore be easily distinguishable.
On the contrary, however, the reprints (especially the Berlin reprint of the 6 Schilling stamp) appear
more professionally done and aesthetically attractive than the orginals.
It must be mentioned that one of the main methods of recognition, sometimes
the only method, is by examining the stamp colors. Since Heligoland stamps display two or sometimes three colors,
identification is made easier; but on the otherhand the many printings of the originals make identification
more difficult and this difficulty is made greater by the varieties of issues of reprints. In any case,
this area is one of the most difficult in Philately."
believed that the name Heligoland in origin means "Holy Land" (the modern Dutch and German heilig, "holy").
Several alter native theories have been considered throughout centuries, explaining that it's the name of the Danish king
Heligo or from the ancient Frisian Germanic word hallig, meaning "salt marsh island".
The 1911 Encyclopædia
Britannica suggests an etymology of "Hallaglun, or Halligland, i.e. 'land of banks, which cover and uncover'".
I believe that Heligoland translated is "Holyland".
Sunday, December 24, 2017
The Socialist Party Ticket - Memphis 1920
11:34 am cst
Eugene Victor Debs (November 5, 1855 – October 20, 1926) was an American union leader,
one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies), and a five-time candidate of the
Socialist Party of America for President of the United States.
On June 30, 1918 Debs was arrested and charged with
sedition and went to prison on April 13, 1919.
He ran for president of the United States from his prison cell and
received nearly a million votes.
The Socialist Party of Tennessee had an active chapter in Memphis.
This rare brochure, part of my collection, was a appeal to voters to support
the Socialist Party Ticket.
It was printed in Memphis on October 15th, 1920.
Friday, December 15, 2017
Return of the Wright Flyer - December 17, 1949
1:30 pm cst
On December 17, 1903, Orville Wright piloted the first powered airplane 20 feet above a
windy beach in North Carolina. The flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet.
a first day cover from my collection that commemorates the 46th anniversary of that flight and heralds the return of the The
Wright Flyer 1, the first successful heavier-than-air powered aircraft designed and built by the Wright brothers. They flew
it four times on December 17, 1903, near Kill Devil Hills four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, US. Today, the
airplane may be seen at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.
Scott #C45 airmail, The Wright Brothers Issue, is tied to the first day cover
by the first day bar cancel in addition to the Kitty Hawk, North Carolina circular date stamp of December 17, 1949, 9-AM.
And the great cachet.
This is a House of Farnum cachet. Notice the initials "HF" at the bottom
left of the lower wing.
Great example of historic aviation philately !
Monday, December 11, 2017
Letter to Loretta - " I Should Worry " ???
1:18 pm cst
M.C. sent this postcard to Loretta Cook on May 21, 1918.
postcard looks like it was given to M.C. by the American Red Cross, Richmond, Virginia Chapter's Canteen Committee from the
purple hand stamp to the left of the three cent violet Washington, Scott #501.
penned his message on Monday.
It was postmarked on Tuesday.
"Mon. am. Am O.K. except R.R. pick. Good bye. God bless you. Write soon. Hope M.C."
I like the dual seven line wavy machine cancellations. The top cancel on the
stamp and the upside down bottom cancel. Wonder why the card went through the machine twice ?
Here's a better look at Scott #501, the upper right machine cancel and Red Cross handstamp.
The seven bar machine cancel is most likely a Universal Machine Cancel which entered into use in
And the piece de resistance:
What in the hell does it mean ? " I should worry become a hunter and catch
a deer " ???
It means that he's worried that his lover will cheat on him
while he's away at war and that the only thing he can do is bag a cervid instead of a trophy wife after she shafts him.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Letter to Loretta - The Jewish Welfare Board 1919
1:23 pm cst
The first world war was over, but the agression still lingered.
Loretta Clark lived in Memphis and corresponded with soldiers.
got this postcard from a jewish soldier, a member of the First Company, Regiment 11, in 1919 after he had returned to America
on the U.S.S. South Dakota on July 19th, 1919.
The ship was anchored in Hempstead,
New York on the Atlantic Ocean.
"We landed July 19th, 1919. Will say I was mighty glad to get back to America.
Will write again."
The stamp, Scott #498, is tied to the postcard by the
Hempstead, New York, July 21, 1919, 6PM, circular date stamp and military flag wavy machine cancellation.
This scarce postcard was provided to our jewish soldiers and others by theJewish
Welfare Board, United States Army and Navy, for soldiers arriving on U.S. shores and in this case returning to Camp Mills
Long Island, New York.
I'm proud to have this fine postcard in my collection.