Post #1000: One Thousand (!)

Free City of Danzig – Scott #127 (1923)

As a number, one thousand seems rather insignificant. Most schools I have worked at in Thailand have had many times that number of students. A collection of just a thousand of anything seems fairly tiny. Even in terms of currency, it seems rather poor but that depends on which currency you are dealing with. The highest denomination banknote here in Thailand is one thousand baht. One note will buy you two paperback novels if you are lucky but you will need a couple of them for a hardcover book. On the first of each month, my salary is paid with a stack of them — often in different series depicting the late King Bhumibhol Adulyadej and a few portraying his successor King Maha Vajiralongkhorn, half of which will not be recognized by the automatic deposit machine at my bank.

Thailand – 1,000 Thai baht banknote (15th Series, 2005)

Yet, in some terms, one thousand is fairly large. In terms of years, the number constitutes a millennium — the period after which we forget that the correct way to say the year is in two groups of two (it’s twenty nineteen people, not two thousand and nineteen but it might take until the next millennium before everybody is on board with that). When the first 1,000-mark stamps and banknotes appeared in 1923, people decried the rampant inflation. It was to become much, much worse before the year was finished. In Roman numerals, thousand is represented by the capital letter M and the Middle English thousend derived from Old English þūsend which was pronounced just like the modern word. The word needs a determiner or another numeral in order to function as a numeral. Thus, one cannot say there were thousand men present, but must say:

  • there were a thousand men / one thousand men / forty-three thousand men present
  • one can also speak of the thousand men, several thousand men, or some thousand men who were present

When preceded by a determiner or numeral and followed by ofthousand can be singular or plural:

  • two thousand of the inhabitants died, several thousand of the inhabitants fled
  • many thousands of women marched

When followed by of and not preceded by a determiner or numeral, it must be pluralized with -s: thousands of women protested, countless thousands of women voted, not thousand of women.

United States – U.S. $1,000 Federal Reserve Note (Series of 1934)

In analogy to the term century for ‘100 years’ the time lapse of 1,000 years is sometimes termed, after the Greek root, chiliad. A chiliad of other objects means 1,000 of them. In mathematics or science, we can write the number with the notation 1 × 103 while the metric prefix for 1,000 is kilo- and uses the abbreviation k-. As such, people occasionally represent the number in a non-standard notation by replacing the last three zeros of the general numeral with “K”: for instance, 30K for 30,000. Slang for thousand includes grand for one thousand units of a given currency, usually dollars or pounds. Several grand can be shortened to Gs. Especially in the United States, the gambling community often refers to denominations of $1000 as dimes. We also have the idiom “a picture is worth a thousand words”. According to an ancient Japanese legend, anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane.

I can tell you from hard-fought experience that putting together a blog entry every day for one thousand days in a row is exhausting no matter the love I have for philately and education.

Brazil – Scott #126 (1898)

When I began writing the first entry for A Stamp A Day on the morning of July 1, 2016, I was not thinking about where it would take me. The initial goal was to put together a (brief!) entry on each of the different stamp-issuing entities represented in my collection in a more or less alphabetical order. The early entries were simply summaries of introductions I was creating at the time for my worldwide “A Stamp From Everywhere” collection; I also extended these for articles on my main stamp blog at the time, Philatelic Pursuits. Over time, the ASAD articles became exponentially longer, I discontinued the Philatelic Pursuits series, and my worldwide collection was retitled “Stamp(s) From Almost Everywhere” because, well, there are a lot of U.S. and Confederate Postmaster’s Provisionals as well as other entities I doubt I will ever be able to afford.

Early articles were also minimal in the image department. Usually, the only illustration was the featured stamp itself. Over time, I made sure I added appropriate flags and coats of arms; maps came later and I often spent hours seeking the “best” map to include. Eventually, I began adding more and more images which became very time-consuming as I attempted to track down source information as well (photographer, date taken, public domain or Creative Commons licenses, etc.), avoiding copyrighted material whenever possible.

It is difficult to believe that the very first “regular” article on ASAD, featuring Scott #1 released by Abu Dhabi, was only 102 words long. The stamp issuer article about the United States of America, published on November 10, 2017, is (by far) the longest article on the blog weighing-in at an astounding 26,108 words. I pieced that one together over a significant period of time, perhaps a month of working on it in addition to whatever entry I was writing on any particular day. The second longest is, I believe, one about U.S. President Harry S. Truman from May 2018, at 14,280 words. I didn’t start tracking word counts until just under one year ago or I would be able to give myself heart failure with a total word-count over the full 1,000 posts. Thus far this year, the entries contain nearly 290,000 words but only two articles have surpassed the 10,000-word mark (John Glenn and Hernán Cortés). Personally, I think 2,500 words in length is a good number but even a shorter article can take many hours to put together particularly when I have a large number of photos and other images I would like to include.

A  total of 367 stamp-issuing entities have been featured on A Stamp A Day over the past one thousand posts with 247 of those receiving just a single article to date. Stamps of the United States have been featured the most often with 198 articles while Thailand is in the number two position with 90. This is followed by Germany with 30, Great Britain at 27, and Canada’s 26 rounding out the top five. Most articles have featured stamps listed in the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. For those unlisted due to Scott’s policies or issued since my catalogue edition’s publication, I have usually used either the Stanley Gibbons catalogue for British Commonwealth stamps or the German-language Michel catalogue for just about everywhere else. Local posts (of which I have relatively few) present a problem as they are listed only in a handful of privately-published or limited-distribution catalogues. A few of my own local post “releases” have appeared (Muang Phuket Local Post which gave way to Republica Phuketia late last year) which do exist in a physical form and there have been a few digital-only “creations” as well under the “A Stamp A Day” moniker. I think the last time I made one of those was for New Year’s 2018.

Cover bearing a single copy of Germany Scott #204 (1923). Inflation was just getting started.

So, I have reached one thousand posts. What now?  I have long said that once I made it to this point, I would put the blog on hiatus. This is, indeed, a great time to take a break. The Thai school year finished earlier this month and I then spent the past two weeks conducting a “Youth & Recreation Summer Camp” in English for one of the local municipalities. Although I do have one adult student to teach two evenings per week and a small group on Saturdays, my workload will fall significantly over the coming weeks. Mid-April is a holiday as the entire country stops working to celebrate the Thai New Year (some workers take four or five days off, many will return to their hometowns for weeks on end). We will also have an extended holiday in early May for the Royal Coronation ceremonies. All of this means that I will have a lot less to do. I would like to take this time to get caught up on other, non-ASAD projects without having to worry about putting together an article each and every day.

Rather than saying that the blog is “on hiatus” (to me, that word is the first step towards “cancellation”), let us just say I am going on vacation (or, holiday if you prefer). I will return. In fact, I will return tomorrow as I found an appropriate stamp and, after all, One Thousand and One Nights (أَلْف لَيْلَة وَلَيْلَة‎ — Alf layla wa-layla) sounds more significant than a mere thousand (and, no, tomorrow’s stamp does not portray Scheherazade and Shahryār, Sinbad the Sailor, Ali-Baba and the Forty Thieves, Aladdin or his magic lamp although perhaps that would be a better idea than what I have planned). After that, expect at least a week or two before the next entry. I doubt that I will return to a regular daily publication schedule but will put together entries on an “as I feel good” basis.

Cover bearing 20 copies of Germany Scott #204 (1923). The beginnings of hyper-inflation.

In this last month of regular entries, I was successful in avoiding “over-saturated” stamp issuers such as the United States, Thailand and Germany. I did come close to using the latter, however, as I feel the numerals on the 1,000-mark Scott #204 issued in 1923 are the best representation of one thousand as a denomination. I also considered a few surcharges such as those which appeared on Brazilian newspaper stamps in 1898 and during Belarus’ inflationary period in the 1990’s. I kept coming back to a few stamps issued by the Free City of Danzig and decided Scott #127 fit the bill (I like the fact it has my “name” on the stamp as well). I have a still small but growing collection from this interesting entity which has been featured on ASAD only once previously. When searching auction listings on eBay, one should remember that some collectors refer to it by the current name of Gdańsk, Poland. However, during its existence between 1920 and 1939, the semi-autonomous city-state covered some 754 square miles (1,966 km²) with five major cities, 252 villages and 63 hamlets. The 1,000-mark brown stamp was printed using typography and portrays the coat of arms of Danzig with lions. There were 1,949,000 copies of the stamp issued, comb-perforated 14. It was issued on July 24, 1934. A month later, on August 25, stamps would be issued denominated 5,000 marks and 20,000 marks. These were surpassed a few days later with the issuance of Scott #132 on September 1 valued at 50,000 marks and on September 16, a 500,000-mark stamp was released (Scott #135). Hyper-inflation had begun.

Free City of Danzig – Scott #127 (1923) block of 4

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