Manila, Philippines
October 30, 2006

Like clock work (except for a month or two) I am again making my major site update. Coming up with a collection introduction is always the hardest part. The question I always ask is how can I best describe this collection that will excite your senses, make you forget about time and give you the ultimate pleasure of being able to see what Philippine philately is all about. 

Early last year Dr. Tommy Sim asked my opinion on his idea of forming a collection of the 1926 - 1941 Bureau Printed Official Issues. My reply was predictable: "This guy must be crazy." Knowing it to be very difficult, to the best of my knowledge no one has ever entered one in a competitive exhibit. 

I believe that every Philippine collector has something of this topic in his holdings but many never gave it some serious thoughts as materials do not come out that often. Others see it as too modern and not that exciting if compared to the early U.S.P.I. period. I for one did not bother to give it some serious thoughts. 

When I visited him last June in Houston he informed me that he was ready to bring out for exhibition, having expanded the base collection he acquired much earlier. My private reaction was "to see is to believe." In a way I was thinking of a collection made up of singles here and there, couple of multiples perhaps plus the usual minute varieties and a few 2c - 4c franked covers. In short - it is going to be boring.

Lo and behold! I received a FedEx box last week and ate all my thoughts and words. Now, here is my biggest problem: how to impart to you that this collection is serious really stuff. In many aspects more difficult that putting up an early USPI collection.

The first point that I will expound is on the issued quantities (from Napp's listing). The quantities per issued value shipped to Manila are quite large, including the locally printed Palace Officials. The stamps are actually the first challenge to over come. Listed in the Napp catalog are the known plate numbers of which this collection has a good representation but still does not come close to the Napp listing. Now, where are the rest? Okay, let's forget the plate blocks. Where are the large multiples? 

The Scott values of the O.B. issues is a big joke. They should seriously consider putting values on plate blocks and on cover. Some of the 1925 an 1931 imperf values in multiples are easier to find than the 1931 O.B. issues. We seen them regularly at eBay but have you seen large blocks of the O.B. issues being offered? Once perhaps and that's it. 

As to the Palace Officials more than 300,000 pieces of the four values was issued so where are the covers (used properly)? Atty. Rick Miggins collect the Palace issue passionately and I trust he will attest to its difficulty and to a certain extent its rarity on cover. Even the 2c and 4c values not that easy to come by. Nine out of 10 covers with Palace Officials are Bruggmann covers. They are philatelic and have no place in this collection although one improper use (non Bruggmann) is illustrated as a matter of record. To the best of my knowledge the Bureau of Posts never allowed the general public to use the Palace Officials on their mails. Although the stamps was sold over the counter, they were done so for collection purposes only. The use by Bruggmann plus a few others majority of which were collectors was just tolerated by the Bureau of Posts.

Close to 50,000 pieces of the Special Delivery O.B. (#EO1) was shipped to Manila and I have long considered this issue a modern rarity on cover. In spite of Dr. Sim's herculean effort, he only has one entire cover and one on piece. I have seen more #E1 Special Delivery on cover than the #EO1.

The other challenge is on the covers from the intermediate to the 30c top value, specially on the 1935 Pictorials and more so on the 1938 Small COMMONWEALTH O.B. issues. The problem is compounded when one aspires for multiple and mixed issue usage. Yes, on can still pick up covers here and there of the low values but they're not that easy when it comes to remote provincial postmarks.

I believe I've said enough about the O.B. issues. I will conclude by saying that this is just the beginning of this  collection. Like with his other collections Dr. Sim will bring this to the best that it can be. As of now, there is no doubt that you're seeing the best that the Philippine Philatelist can offer.

Thank you very much and as always ENJOY!!!!!!