Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

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aerogi
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Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by aerogi »

In 1946 Belgian stamps were overprinted with "-10%".

Shortly after the end of WWII, the Belgian government had devalued the Belgian Franc. Thus this meant that stamps also needed to be devalued.

Of course if you have a big stock of stamp, in these difficult times it would be better to re-use this stock, and it was opted to overprint these stamps. These stamps are called the 'Van Acker issue". He was a socialist minister.

Achiel Van Acker
Achiel Van Acker
Each post office got the task to overprint the current stock. Therefore there are an enourmous amount of different versions.

The following needed to be overprinted:

[*]stamps of 1,50, 2 and 5 frank
[*]postcards of 0,75 and 2 frank
[*]double postcards of 1,50 and 4 frank

Initially only those stamps should be overprinted. If you had already bought such stamps, you could go to the post office to get them overprinted and you got 10% of your money back, you needed at least have 20 stamps.

The types Poortman and the Lyons are more difficult to find, as most stocks were used at that time.

Belgian catalogue shows basically 4 types:

1) local overprints (16 values)
2) typographic overprints (3 values)
3) overprint "Gellingen" or "Ghislenghien" in French, whereas they overprinted the new value instead of -10% (12 values)
4) overprints on other values, mostly additional values for postcard use

Van Acker issue type Poortman
Van Acker issue type Poortman
Van Acker issue type Poortman
Van Acker issue type Poortman
Van Acker issue type Heraldic Lion with V
Van Acker issue type Heraldic Lion with V
Van Acker issue type Heraldic Lion with V
Van Acker issue type Heraldic Lion with V
Van Acker issue type Heraldic Lion with V
Van Acker issue type Heraldic Lion with V
Van Acker issue type Heraldic Lion with V
Van Acker issue type Heraldic Lion with V
Van Acker issue type Heraldic Lion with V
Van Acker issue type Heraldic Lion with V

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946 with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by aerogi »

Let's continue with pictures from my collection:
Van Acker issue King Leopold III
Van Acker issue King Leopold III
Van Acker issue King Leopold III
Van Acker issue King Leopold III
Van Acker issue King Leopold III
Van Acker issue King Leopold III
stamps with Leopold III (without the V) are quite scarce compared to the issue with V

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946 with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by aerogi »

The following pictures are probably the most common type of the local overprinted issues. To have a bit of 'track' in my collection I have split the 1,50 F up in 4 different types.
Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
These have the '1' without the foot


Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
These have the '1' with foot


Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
-10% in box


Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
To be sure people would understand they added 'minus' -10%

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946 with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by aerogi »

Let's continue with Leopold with V
DSC_0981.JPG
I especially like the triangle box, that is the only such one I have
DSC_0982.JPG
Last edited by aerogi on 06 Jun 2020 18:58, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946 with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by aerogi »

Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
these were the 3 values with typographic overprint

Van Acker issue Type Gellingen
Van Acker issue Type Gellingen
and the famous and hard to find type of Gellingen. I think this was not a bad idea, but it was not according to the rules. For this set I only managed to find 2 used versions.
Van Acker issue others
Van Acker issue others
These are a few 'other' values and stamps overprinted. Very hard to find. Belgian catalogue shows 30 possible versions of these type of overprints. I have a long way to go... :mrgreen: but I must admit I never really put much effort in these. But I will now and have a new goal for 2020!

What is especially a bit strange, -10% on a 5c stamp seems like why?
Last edited by aerogi on 06 Jun 2020 19:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by aerogi »

Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
Van Acker issue King Leopold III with V
Complete set with red overprint


Van Acker issue on paper
Van Acker issue on paper
Van Acker issue letter
Van Acker issue letter
Van Acker issue Gellingen on letter
Van Acker issue Gellingen on letter
Van Acker issue Gellingen on letter back
Van Acker issue Gellingen on letter back
This is really something scarce to have the Gellingen issue on a letter.

well, that's it, hope it was a bit informative

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by chaddy »

thank you for an excellent thread, very interesting and informative
STAMPS ARE NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by deltic1575 »

Thanks for posting, interesting collection. Also helped me understand my new Dutch catalogue!

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by ikanek »

These are very interesting overprints and thanks for sharing them here.

How many different local overprints are known?

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by norvic »

aerogi wrote:
06 Jun 2020 18:10
In 1946 Belgian stamps were overprinted with "-10%".

Shortly after the end of WWII, the Belgian government had devalued the Belgian Franc. Thus this meant that stamps also needed to be devalued.
I'm familiar with the -10% revaluation, and have a very few including locals. I've also seen postal stationery similarly revalued.

What I don't understand is, if the BFranc had been devalued in relation to other currencies, why the stamps had to be devalued. Postage rates should have stayed the same.

Normally when a country devalues in relation to others, imports become more expensive and exports cheaper but as Harold Wilson said, "The pound in your pocket will remain the same."

If the postage rate was 1f75, why did it have to be reduced by 10% and how did they cope with the fact that the value of the stamp then became 1f 57.5c?
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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by aerogi »

norvic wrote:
07 Jun 2020 08:07
aerogi wrote:
06 Jun 2020 18:10
In 1946 Belgian stamps were overprinted with "-10%".

Shortly after the end of WWII, the Belgian government had devalued the Belgian Franc. Thus this meant that stamps also needed to be devalued.
I'm familiar with the -10% revaluation, and have a very few including locals. I've also seen postal stationery similarly revalued.

What I don't understand is, if the BFranc had been devalued in relation to other currencies, why the stamps had to be devalued. Postage rates should have stayed the same.

Normally when a country devalues in relation to others, imports become more expensive and exports cheaper but as Harold Wilson said, "The pound in your pocket will remain the same."

If the postage rate was 1f75, why did it have to be reduced by 10% and how did they cope with the fact that the value of the stamp then became 1f 57.5c?
You might be right. The article that I used as source explained it as a 'general devaluation' in Belgium. Also all Belgian railway services had to reduce prices by 10%. So maybe it is more that all goods and services that are related to Belgian government (or maybe everything) were reduced, to help out the economy?

this is a link to the article, it is in Dutch though: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postzegels_min_10_procent

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by aerogi »

ikanek wrote:
07 Jun 2020 05:10
These are very interesting overprints and thanks for sharing them here.

How many different local overprints are known?
There are approximately +/- 600 different types of overprint known. Some are very scarce as some smaller villages only had very limited stock of the old stamps. So if you multiply this with the number of stamps that got this overprint, you have big number of potential stamps. Also postal stationary had to be reduced, 2200 of this kind of documents are known to exist.

Image

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by norvic »

aerogi wrote:
07 Jun 2020 16:58
norvic wrote:
07 Jun 2020 08:07
aerogi wrote:
06 Jun 2020 18:10
In 1946 Belgian stamps were overprinted with "-10%".

Shortly after the end of WWII, the Belgian government had devalued the Belgian Franc. Thus this meant that stamps also needed to be devalued.
I'm familiar with the -10% revaluation, and have a very few including locals. I've also seen postal stationery similarly revalued.

What I don't understand is, if the BFranc had been devalued in relation to other currencies, why the stamps had to be devalued. Postage rates should have stayed the same.
You might be right. The article that I used as source explained it as a 'general devaluation' in Belgium. Also all Belgian railway services had to reduce prices by 10%. So maybe it is more that all goods and services that are related to Belgian government (or maybe everything) were reduced, to help out the economy?

this is a link to the article, it is in Dutch though: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postzegels_min_10_procent
Thank you. I let google translate it and this is what it shows (edited slightly)
Due to the general devaluation carried out by the Belgian government in 1946 it was also necessary to reduce the value of the stamps in circulation, in addition to the rates of the Belgian Railways . However, the replacement of the already printed stamps with new ones was out of the question due to post-war circumstances. The existing stamps were to be used but with an indication of the depreciation. The driving force behind this devaluation was the then prime minister , Achiel Van Acker . [source?]

Postal rates were reduced by 10% by Ministerial Decree from 16 May 1946 to 14 December 1948.
I think this is one of those Wikipedia articles which raises questions! The sentence in red contains two statements which may or may not be related. On the surface, a general devaluation doesn't mean you have to reduce the value of the stamps already in circulation.

On the other hand, a reduction in postal rates by ministerial decree (blue sentence) is a different thing. And using old stamps with a devaluing surcharge, rather than printing new ones then was very sensible.

But, thank you it's a great series of posts, even if we cannot be exactly sure of the precise facts!
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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by carmel »

Hi,

I have a cover with some of these devalued Belgian stamps.

img1315.jpg

The cover was sent by registered air mail from Brussels to Vienna and was censored in Vienna. The stamps are tied to the cover by several 28-4-47 BRUXELLES 19 D BRUSSEL CDSs.

A close up of the devalued Belgian stamps:

img1316.jpg

The 10% devaluation overprint on the 5 FR stamp is upside down:

img1317.jpg

The back of the cover shows a partial VIENNA 40 CDS

img1318.jpg

Is there any value attached to the upside down overprint or is this just a curiosity?

Cheers,

Carmel

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by kenlondon »

It was mentioned that anyone who had at least 20 stamps could take them in for cancellation and obtain a refund of the 10%, so presumably the cancels were done on an ad hoc basis at the post office, which makes me think that the positioning of the overprint could be done any way the person doing it felt like.

Edit: Thank you to Norvic for explaining my erroneous use of the words "cancellation" and "cancels".
Last edited by kenlondon on 08 Jun 2020 03:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by aerogi »

carmel wrote:
08 Jun 2020 02:33


Is there any value attached to the upside down overprint or is this just a curiosity?

Cheers,

Carmel
Nice cover!

I don't think there will be any special value for the minus 10% inverted, as this was done manually, and had to be done for some postal offices probably in the thousands and thousands. These seems to be put anywhere on the stamp, and often in many directions :mrgreen:

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by norvic »

kenlondon wrote:
08 Jun 2020 03:11
It was mentioned that anyone who had at least 20 stamps could take them in for cancellation and obtain a refund of the 10%, so presumably the cancels were done on an ad hoc basis at the post office, which makes me think that the positioning of the overprint could be done any way the person doing it felt like.
That's not cancellation it's overprinting or surcharging (if one accepts that a surcharge is not necessarily an increase but can mean a value superimposed and taking precedence over another one).
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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by deltic1575 »

The use of the term devaluation is misleading. Van Acker was trying to introduce wide ranging social reform in Belgium at the time including wage and price controls. A general price reduction of 10% on all controlled prices of which stamps were just one item was part of the deal to bring the trade unions on side and accept limits on wage increases. He is known as the father of Belgium's social security system in a not dissimilar way that Beveridge is in the UK.

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by carmel »

Hi,

Here is another example of the devaluation.

This time it is a postal card with an imprint of a 1 Fr. red heraldic lion.

1947 Devalued Belgium 1 Fr. Postal Card
1947 Devalued Belgium 1 Fr. Postal Card

The card was overprinted with "-10%" in black to the left of the imprint.

It was sent from Antwerp to Germany or Austria (?). The handwriting is difficult to decipher.

The imprint was canceled with a 1 III 1947 ANTWERPEN CDS. Also, in addition to the devalued 1 Fr. -10% imprint there is a meter mark with a stylized 1 Fr. for an additional charge (?). Perhaps someone will know the reason for this.

1 III 1947 ANTWERPEN CDS and Stylized Meter
1 III 1947 ANTWERPEN CDS and Stylized Meter

There is also a crisp circular black censor hand stamp reading "MILITARY CENSORSHIP 3388 CIVIL MAILS".

MILITARY CENSORSHIP 3388 CIVIL MAILS
MILITARY CENSORSHIP 3388 CIVIL MAILS


Finally, the back of the card, with it's message.


img1335.jpg



Cheers,

Carmel

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by flip138 »

Carmel

Your card was sent to Bad Gastein in Austria (Autriche).

Phil

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by Greg Ioannou »

Interesting. I've been accumulating these -10% overprints for years without every really organizing them. I was going to eventually sort them by overprint type (the 600ish mostly similar types is a tad daunting) but your way of mounting them is attractive -- and a lot less work.

So thank you!

(You have soooo many types I haven't seen!)

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by HalfpennyYellow »

I have a couple of these in my worldwide collection which came in mixed lots etc, but I had no clue that there are so many of them.

With 600 overprint types known x who knows how many different stamps the overprints exist upon, surely this must be one of the most extensive locally-produced series of provisional stamps ever issued around the world? Other possibly comparable examples which I can think of are the c1948 Pakistan on India, c1971 Bangladesh on Pakistan and India Refugee Relief provisionals.
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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by aerogi »

Greg Ioannou wrote:
12 Jun 2020 13:46
Interesting. I've been accumulating these -10% overprints for years without every really organizing them. I was going to eventually sort them by overprint type (the 600ish mostly similar types is a tad daunting) but your way of mounting them is attractive -- and a lot less work.

So thank you!

(You have soooo many types I haven't seen!)
The problem is if you would like to organise them by type, then it can happen a certain overprint you could allocate to different types. On the percentage mark you could give it a try (flat, upright or sloping).

Therefore I have decided to put the stamps itself together, and for the one stamp of which I have quite a few to do some deviation.

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by carmel »

Hi,

Thanks Phil.

Now I know where the card was headed.

Cheers,

Carmel

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by Mitgar62 »

deltic1575 wrote:
09 Jun 2020 17:56
The use of the term devaluation is misleading. Van Acker was trying to introduce wide ranging social reform in Belgium at the time including wage and price controls. A general price reduction of 10% on all controlled prices of which stamps were just one item was part of the deal to bring the trade unions on side and accept limits on wage increases. He is known as the father of Belgium's social security system in a not dissimilar way that Beveridge is in the UK.
So this means that the postal rates themselves were lowered 10%, and the stamps were overprinted to serve for the new lower rates?

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by aerogi »

Mitgar62 wrote:
13 Jun 2020 06:16
deltic1575 wrote:
09 Jun 2020 17:56
The use of the term devaluation is misleading. Van Acker was trying to introduce wide ranging social reform in Belgium at the time including wage and price controls. A general price reduction of 10% on all controlled prices of which stamps were just one item was part of the deal to bring the trade unions on side and accept limits on wage increases. He is known as the father of Belgium's social security system in a not dissimilar way that Beveridge is in the UK.
So this means that the postal rates themselves were lowered 10%, and the stamps were overprinted to serve for the new lower rates?
Yes, because after one year after the war, it was better to use up all the old stock instead of printing new (definitive) stamps.

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by kenlondon »

aerogi wrote:
13 Jun 2020 07:51
Mitgar62 wrote:
13 Jun 2020 06:16
deltic1575 wrote:
09 Jun 2020 17:56
The use of the term devaluation is misleading. Van Acker was trying to introduce wide ranging social reform in Belgium at the time including wage and price controls. A general price reduction of 10% on all controlled prices of which stamps were just one item was part of the deal to bring the trade unions on side and accept limits on wage increases. He is known as the father of Belgium's social security system in a not dissimilar way that Beveridge is in the UK.
So this means that the postal rates themselves were lowered 10%, and the stamps were overprinted to serve for the new lower rates?
Yes, because after one year after the war, it was better to use up all the old stock instead of printing new (definitive) stamps.
The risk to loss of revenue would be reduced as the overprint represented a reduction in value of each item. Unless people could erase the overprint.

One question though is how did they ensure that the people doing the overprinting weren't fiddling the books?

They could say they overprinted 100 stamps and pocket the money when, in reality, they overprinted none. There must have been a signed form involved in the process to say how many stamps had been submitted and the amount of money received. Any fraud uncovered would be easier to prosecute. If so, some of those forms must be around somewhere.

I'm thinking here not about bulk overprinting, I'm thinking about ad hoc overprinting in these circumstnces:-
If you had already bought such stamps, you could go to the post office to get them overprinted and you got 10% of your money back, you needed at least have 20 stamps.
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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by Greg Ioannou »

I like collecting these because there are still new things to be found -- and I'm one of the few people here in Toronto who looks for them.

Like this piece:the Vervier 12 local overprint. Only the first stamp, the 1f50 red, is reported with this handstamp.
Belgium Verviers.jpg

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by carmel »

Hi,

What catalog lists the overprint varieties?

Cheers,

Carmel

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by Greg Ioannou »

I usually use Blumental:
Blumental.jpg
But sometimes if something isn't listed there, it will be in Haubordin:
Haubourdin.jpg

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by deltic1575 »

carmel wrote:
14 Jun 2020 06:08
Hi,

What catalog lists the overprint varieties?

Cheers,

Carmel
IMG_3183.JPG
This is a more recent catalogue published in Dutch by Karel Vander Mijnsbrugge. It includes 6 transparencies that can be used to identify the -10% print. Can be obtained on Delcampe see https://www.delcampe.net/en_GB/collectables/stamps/belgium/1 ... 58627.html

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by aerogi »

deltic1575 wrote:
14 Jun 2020 19:18
carmel wrote:
14 Jun 2020 06:08
Hi,

What catalog lists the overprint varieties?

Cheers,

Carmel
Image

This is a more recent catalogue published in Dutch by Karel Vander Mijnsbrugge. It includes 6 transparencies that can be used to identify the -10% print. Can be obtained on Delcampe see https://www.delcampe.net/en_GB/collectables/stamps/belgium/1 ... 58627.html
Thanks for that. Since I focussed on my collection of these overprints, I have been doing quite a number of google searches , but couldn't get any decent results on a catalogue. I forgot there is also Delcampe. So I bought one of these as I think it will help me to find out what I exactly have or have not.

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carmel
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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by carmel »

Hi aerogi,

I understand that you've purchased the Karel Vander Mijnsbrugge catalog.

Can you describe how it's set up? Are there color pictures, etc.

Cheers,

Carmel

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by aerogi »

carmel wrote:
18 Jun 2020 03:58
Hi aerogi,

I understand that you've purchased the Karel Vander Mijnsbrugge catalog.

Can you describe how it's set up? Are there color pictures, etc.

Cheers,

Carmel
Once I receive it, I will let you know. Especially the transparancies seems like a very good idea.

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by deltic1575 »

carmel wrote:
18 Jun 2020 03:58
Hi aerogi,

I understand that you've purchased the Karel Vander Mijnsbrugge catalog.

Can you describe how it's set up? Are there color pictures, etc.

Cheers,

Carmel
Carmel

Couple of pictures - first is one of the 6 transparencies which are very useful and straightforward to use. The second is a typical page of the book showing the overprint, the stamps it appeared on (a valuation in brackets) and where it was used (there is an index of all the locations which is helpful when you have a postmark on the stamp and want a quick way to hone in on your search). The number matches up with the numbers on the transparency. The book is broken down into chapters based on the type of overprint eg whether in a box, whether the % is vertical or horizontal etc. There are no pictures in the book which is all in Dutch but even for a monoglot like me reasonably straightforward to use.

So far identified around 150 different overprints, starting with the easiest and those where the psotmark is visible.
I would certainly recommend the book. The transparencies make all the difference compared to other publications I have seen which deal with the Van Acker overprint.
IMG_3258.jpg
IMG_3256.jpg

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Re: Devaluation of Belgian stamps in 1946, with -10% called "Van Acker Issue"

Post by carmel »

Hi,

Thanks deltic1575 for describing the catalog.

It looks good, especially the transparencies. However it is in Dutch (Flemish?) and there are no pictures.

Not an easy call.

Cheers,

Carmel

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