Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I Hope My Wife Forgives My Philately

I engaged my little bit of philately recently. I did it with my wife's full knowledge and consent. It's great that we have such an open marriage that she is willing to let me engage in such a pastime -- I know not all men are so lucky.

I'm talking, of course, about buying some stamps on Amazon, of all places. I have a credit card that gives me cash back in the form of credit on Amazon. I was looking for a 1971 Dell Today's Team Sticker Album for the Brewers on there -- I'd seen one before at a reasonable price -- but couldn't find one. But, then I found out that the "TeamSets4u" website -- which can be a valuable resource for team collectors -- had some stamps available. 

Back in the 1980s, two different nations in the Caribbean tried to capitalize on the fad that baseball collecting became. Those were halcyon days for the oddball collector, and Grenada and St. Vincent & the Grenadines took advantage. I'm not sure what kind of licensing agreement was struck, if any -- and, after all, both of these countries are sovereign nations so the licensing issue may have been ignored -- but both issued stamps with active major league baseball players.

In 1988, the first to jump on board was Grenada. It issued in sheets containing a total of 80 players on 9 sheets. Here's a photo of a complete set that is for sale on eBay currently for $20 (or make an offer):

There were three Brewers in that set: Robin Yount, Ted Higuera, and Paul Molitor. So, I bought two Brewers team sets of this one so I'd have one for the player collections and a separate set for the team collection:

The color scheme isn't very attractive. Let's be honest -- the Molitor stamp is terrible, what with the terrible shaded photo, and Higuera's flat head is pretty weird to see too.

In 1989 and for several years after, St. Vincent and the Grenadines issued baseball stamps as well. For instance, St. Vincent issued a stamp and first day cover to commemorate Ken Griffey Jr.'s rookie year that can be yours for just under $18:

I didn't get the big 60c stamps, though. My two team sets were the 30c variety:

So, this one is just strange. First, let's start with the only normal one -- current Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio.  Next, there is the guy most call B.J., but apparently in St. Vincent we have to call him William. Oh, those overly formal St. Vincentians. 

Finally, there's Cecil Cooper. Now, there should be nothing odd about including Brewers great Cecil Cooper in a commemorative set...well, except for the fact that I thought this set was from 1989 and included only active players.  Maybe I was wrong about that "active" part though, since Cooper clearly retired after the 1987 season.

These stamps were just one way that these tiny island nations -- not all of which are easily accessible for tourism -- try to get money. As profiled in NPR's Planet Money podcast, St. Kitts & Nevis actually started selling passports. As with all ideas that sound good at the time, the resident citizens of St. Kitts & Nevis are finding out that everything has consequences and some of them -- such as people who are terrorists buying citizenship -- are both foreseeable and entirely unintended when the idea is hatched.

Personally, I'd prefer that these nations find a way to issue some baseball card oddballs.

1 comment:

  1. That Higuera is atrocious - that said, they make for some pretty interesting oddballs.