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Hungary for Those Good Things, Baby

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Hello, és üdvözlik. Köszönöm, hogy eljöttek a blog, ma. Remélem, hogy élvezni fogja a látogatást.

Ah, the wonders of modern computing technology, that any semi-literate web logger can present the facade of a multi-lingual savant. I can only hope that Google didn’t make goulash with the above English-to-Hungarian translation, lest I suffer a similar ignominious indignity as this old chap with a somewhat less-than-reliable Hungarian-to-English phrasebook. The best way to avoid this, of course, is to abstain from any attempts at linguistic legerdemain, instead sticking to that universal language, the appreciation for which a foreign dictionary is not necessarily a prerequisite. More specifically, I refer you to the music which is the inspiration for the punditry in today’s title.

While, perhaps, Hungary’s best-known contributions to the world at large,besides the culinary delight mentioned above, may be paprika and a couple of b-movie actress sisters named Eva (New York is where she’d rather stay) and Zsa Zsa (Miss Hungary, 1936; Queen of Outer Space, 1958), stamp collectors may remember the country more as the source for untold quantities of filler for stamp packets. You know the ones I mean, huge stamps, reproducing, it seemed, every piece of artwork held in Hungarian museums; stamps with perfect quarter-circle cancellations that made neophyte philatelists wonder if these are used stamps, why do they still have all their gum?

The stamps of Magyar Posta, along with their Eastern European compatriots (as well as any number of Middle Eastern here-today-gone-tomorrow stamp-issuing entities) came to define the term philatelic junk. So ubiquitous (and unwanted) were these issues, that dealers of quality Hungary stamps paid for the extra words in their Linn’s Stamp News classified ads to proclaim that there mixtures contained “No sand dunes, no communist.”

With such disparaging words tossed at our subject country, one might wonder, then, for what, exactly, should one be hungry, from Hungary. Considering that the whole of the country’s stamp-issuing history spans no less than 140 years, and that the period of flagitious philatelic excess spans less than 1/3 of this time, that leaves quite a few years from which to glean material suitable for the Phrugal Filatelist. And, for this post, I have set my sights on that (roughly) 25-year period between “The War to End All Wars” and the 2nd Great War that followed anyway, otherwise known as “The Regency Period.“

The stamp sets of this period are, for the most part, quite cheap. However, prices over the past several years have started inching modestly, but inexorably, upward. The 1925 set honoring Hungarian novelist Maurus Jókai (Sc# 400-402, MiNr 398-400) is an exception, making a dramatic jump, between 2008 and 2011, from a mere $5.00 unused, to $14.00. Another exception is represented by a pair of semi-postal souvenir sheets issued during the 6 days of Hungary’s 1st National Protestant Exhibition. In 2011, they are unchanged from their 2008 valuation. Scott catalogues these as B108 and B109 with a value of $15 per each,, while Herr Michel calls these sheets Block 5 and Block 6, and sets a hefty MNH valuation of €50 each – that’s $60, for those who count in American dollars.

Updated 11-17-2017 at 16:33 by karinka



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