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I have just returned from The Levaya or Jewish Burial service for my old Boss, friend, and mentor, Max Stern. Max would have been 95 in just 2 weeks time and we were preparing a party to celebrate on behalf of the Australasian Philatelic Traders Association. Max was truly a legend in the stamp world, and a trader for nearly 80 years. He knew no political boundaries and was a major trader with communist Russia and Eastern Europe when they were off limits to most people in the West. Likewise he traded with China well before President Nixon or Gough Whitlam opened them up to Western trade, and he even dealt with North Korea. He also traded with most Arab countries and others in the Middle East such as Lebanon and Egypt, despite being Jewish himself. He had major government contacts in many of these countries and could pull strings that no other businessman in Australia could match. He spoke German, Czech, Hungarian, Russian, English and Yiddish fluently. As one of the world's major new issue dealers, Max helped a lot of poor countries earn desperately needed foreign exchange, and gave their Post Offices many incredibly successful marketing ideas. He was able to organize most of the joint issues that Australia has had with other countries through his personal contacts in both countries at the time. He was a generous benefactor to many Jewish charities, and his business provided income for all his greater family in modern times, and even back to pre war days when the Nazis closed down his family’s haberdashery business because they were Jewish.

VALE Max Stern. Philatelic legend, family hero, Melbourne icon and SURVIVOR.

by Tony Shields

For full article see upcoming IFSDA Magazine, tête-bêche April 2016.

SWEDEN - The Steinberg Covers - Alert for IFSDA Colleagues


Helena Obermüller-Wilén is the leading expert in classic Swedish philately until 1920 and a member of AIEP since 1996. Between 2004 and 2012, she was secretary of the FIP Commission for the “Fight against Forgeries". Her work to document forgeries has been extensive and especially interesting is her registration of the so-called "Steinberg Covers".

The "Steinberg Covers" came to Sweden in the early 1970s with whom we think was the international forger Robert Steinberg. The man in Sweden who called himself Mr. Steinberg sold a lot of Swedish covers, many in very fine or exceptional quality. Many of these covers received certificates as the forgeries were expertly made.

Helena Obermüller-Wilén, together with the Expert Committee of the Swedish Philatelic Federation, have until today documented 207 of these forged covers and the work continues. In the book "The Steinberg Covers", published by Postiljonen with Jonas Hällström as editor, these 207 covers are described and in most cases illustrated. The aim is to broaden the knowledge of these covers both in Sweden and internationally.

The price for "The Steinberg Covers" book is SEK 300 + postage

The book can be ordered here.

Steinberg Covers
Steinberg Covers

Austria Post: certainly not caught with its pants down

In 2004, Austria Post presented something real different: postage stamps that were embellished with real Swarovski crystals, a world premiere. And now there is a sequel to the cooperation between the internationally renowned company Swarovski (producer of high quality crystals in the Tyrolean town of Wattens) and Austria Post. On 24 September of this year the latter issued a special ‘Lederhosen’ stamp (nominal value: 6.30 Euros) made of Alcantara leather (an artificial suede) and adorned with Swarovski crystals. The stamp was issued 24 September of this year, has a circulation of 150,000 copies and was designed and printed by D. Swarovski KG in Wattens (Tyrol). The printing is described by Austria Post as ‘Laser-cut Alcantara, adorned with XILION Flatbacks in Golden Shadow’.

Source: AIJP News

Rare Chinese invert yields 149.500 US$

Last month, Cherrystone held one of its auctions of Rare Stamps and Postal History of the World. Some exceptional Chinese rarities came under the gavel, the most impressive perhaps a 1923 stamp surcharged in red on the first Peking printing: 2 Cts on 3c blue-green, with the surcharge inverted.
The error is a fine example of a very rare variety; it has a deep bright colour with centring to the bottom (which is characteristic for this issue) and came from position 19 of the complete sheet. The invert still has its full original gum, be it that it is partially dried and streaky. The variety has been examined by Holcombe in 1996, who delivered a certificate stating that the stamp is ‘a very rare variety of which under 20 copies are recorded to date’.
The scarcity of the stamp was reflected during the auction, where it fetched no less than 149.500 US$.

Source: AIJP News

NVPH (NL) presents its 75th Specialised Catalogue

On 28 September 2015 the seventy-fifth edition of the specialized catalogue of the postage stamps of the Netherlands and its overseas territories, published by the national stamp dealers’ organisation NVPH, was presented. This happened at the Museum for Communication in The Hague. The catalogue will be on sale from 14 October, together with a free, separately bound copy of the Dutch Plate Flaws Catalogue (2nd edition). As always, the new catalogue contains some one-off chapters, this time dedicated to the so-called kleinrondstempels (a certain type of hand stamps) and the ‘kinderbedankkaarten’ (‘thank-you’ cards for volunteers selling surcharged children’s stamps). The hardback catalogue contains nearly a thousand pages and costs 33.90 euros (Netherlands).

Picture: Rob Smit, chairman of the catalogue committee of the NVPH, presents the new catalogue (photo: René Hillesum).

Source: AIJP News