About Me


Hello

My name Michael Adkins and I have been a collector of stamps from “dead countries” for many years. Over the last couple of years I have also been interested in including banknotes as well. My interest in stamps started at a young age, as my grandparents were postmasters in a very small town in California. In fact the post office was an extension of their house. They got me interested in stamps by buying me new issues when they were issued, and since my grandfather also ran a small export business on the side, he would receive mail from many different countries, always giving me the envelope and stamp to add to my collection. I believe that this gave me a keen interest in geography, maps and finding out about far and distant lands. Over the years, as I developed a love for travel, and an interest in history and culture, my collecting interests gradually narrowed to countries which no longer existed — “dead” countries.

Currently, we live in Florida. As you can see from the picture of me and my wife of 29 years at Machu Picchu, one of my true passions is travel. Over the years, we have visited more than 80 “non-dead” countries, including living in Japan for 3-1/2 years. But when at home, stamp/banknote collecting allows me to explore the unique history of an area, and to “travel when I am not travelling”.

Thank you for visiting DCStamps

Michael

27 Responses to About Me

  1. Paul Adams says:

    Michael,

    Like your site quite a bit, I am a collector that started with my grandfather’s interest in stamps and am now on my lifelong quest to have a stamp from every issuing entity – ever. Just compiling a list of such entities has been a fairly sizable project and sites like yours are invaluable to my lists and goals. In my own collection of stamps I include a small card with the historical and stamp issuing information in the books adjacent to the stamps so much of this is done through searching books, online sources (such as Linn’s – http://www.linns.com/insights/stamp-issuing-entities-of-the-world.html, private sites, catalogs, etc), and well as other sources. This has given me a fairly significant catalog of stamp issuing entities (probably well over 1000 distinct entries) I like your idea of a “dead-country” organization as well. I’d love to help/contribute/join.

    • Michael says:

      Hi Paul
      Welcome to DCStamps, and thank you for the kind words. I am definitely familiar with Linn’s list of Stamp issuing entities. Although there are a few entities I disagree with, it is a excellent resource. Good luck with your goal of collecting a stamp from every Stamp Issuing entity. There are a few entities which might prove difficult, as the only known stamps are in museums, but I would never say never. I will definately add you to the growing list of people interested in the Dead Country group. Stay Tuned —
      Michael

  2. Victor Coenen says:

    Hi Michael,
    Interesting site you have. Without realizing I am a collector of dead countries too. Classic Montenegro, Republic of Central Lithuania, Allenstein, Marienwerder, Upper Silesia, Danzig and Memel of which I all have exhibition collections. I have just started to build a new collection on classic Hyderabad and by looking for info on this subject I came across your website. Good luck with your collections.
    Best regards,
    Victor

    • Michael says:

      Victor
      Welcome to DCStamps, It is always nice to find a fellow dead country collector. Let me know where you display your collections. Will keep an eye out.
      Also, Keep us in mind as we begin exploring putting together a specialty group in the area. I will be somewhat different from other philatelic group.
      Michael

  3. Helga Schneider says:

    Thank you for a wonderfully informative website. I have inherited a stamp collection and am now the third generation of my family that loves and adds to this collection, which started in the Union of South Africa before WW2, has developed through South Africa’s apartheid years and now through democratic South Africa and all the changes in Africa. The bantustans, or homelands of South Africa are dead countries – even though they were not recognised anywhere outside of South Africa, they issued stamps and had their own laws and governments. Keep up the great work!

    • Michael says:

      Hi Helga, Thank you for visiting DCStamps. I think it is great that you are continuing on with your inherited collection, some many relatives end of selling off collections as they have no interest in the hobby. Of course I have heard of the bantustans, such as Transkei or Venda. I have also seen some of their stamps. For my collection, I only include countries which ceased to exist before 1955 (although thinking of moving it up to 1960).

      Thank you again, and your comments are always welcome.
      Michael

  4. Roger says:

    Michael, a wonderful site and I congratulate you on the content. In a similar way to you I like to know the history of the period of a DC and how/why they became ‘comme ca’. This also adds to ones historical and general knowledge, something singularly absent from the youth of this poor benighted country named the United Kingdom, where historical memory ends circa 1980! Of course Philadelphia has a great interest for me, a rather significant event took place there during the eighteenth century.

  5. Stephen Hogan says:

    Hi Michael
    What a fantastic website, makes it worthwhile turning the computer on.
    I mainly collect Estonia (which was a dead country when I started) and also French definitives,
    but I also use a 1947 Stanley Gibbons Europe catalogue, and try to collect whatever I come across that is listed in it. I have to say I had a great feeling of satisfaction when I managed to obtain a Temesvar collection. I am concentrating a Fiume and Memel at the moment being a great sucker for surcharged stamps. The great thing about the site is the visual checklist for what I may need.
    Brilliant Site please keep it going

    Best Wishes
    Steve

    • Michael says:

      Hi Steve
      Thank you for visiting and your kind words. Sounds like you have a good collection going, and understanding the history around your stamps makes it all the more interesting. I actually count the Republic of Estonia that existed before WW2 as a dead country. My rule of the thumb is that if it was dead for more than 50 years or so before it was “resurrected”, then the earlier country is a “dead country”. In fact I categorize them as “resurrected countries”. Just so you know, I am currently working on about 15-20 countries, and Estonia (the earlier rendition) is one of them.

      Good luck with your collection, and please don’t hesitate in leaving comments or questions at any time.
      Michael

  6. David Kerlick says:

    If you are interested in dead countries, you might be interested in the “Republic for a day” of Ruthenia, also called Carpatho-Ukraine by Czechoslovakia, which issued its only stamp on March 15th, 1939. The next day the (Nazi) Hungarians took over. There is a listing of #1 for 3 crowns with a view of Jasina.
    This region was part of Hungary, then Austria-Hungary, then Czechoslovakia, then Soviet Ukraine, now split between NE Slovakia and Transcarpathian Ukraine. There may be articles about it in philatelic publications. Since there is only one stamp, a complete collection is rather easy. I visited my relatives in the Ukraine part in 1999, and the regional capital Uzhhorod.

    • Michael says:

      Hi David, thank you for the information. I am familiar with Carpatho-Ukraine, and the very turbulent times in the overall region around both world wars. Its this kind of history that makes collecting “dead countries” so interesting. It is even more interesting when you have a family connection to the region as it makes it more personal.
      Michael

      • Victoria says:

        Tsar bin not killed.
        Gold was thrown over the China birder in 7 coffins ” with Grand Dukes Konstantinovich, V.Paley, Grand Duke Sergey Mikhailovich and sister of Empress Elisabeth”. But they all bin in life ” after dead”. Publishing is not correct, but you may know it. Semenov – family of tsar. Regards, Victoria.

      • Victoria says:

        Tsar have family connection to Ukraine. This is war. His daughter is my paternal grandmother, but thus know only relatives who did DBA of FTDNA ( Huston) and relatives on Gedmatch.com, and puppets of almost dead country know it from July 2012.
        Regards,
        Victoria

  7. Mike Fox says:

    Hello Mr Adkins,
    I was wondering if i could pick your brain for a moment?
    I recently found an old stamp album in my loft and it appears that the owner began
    collecting in 1929.
    The Free State of Danzig page has a 1923 50000 mark all green stamp mint but hinged on it, (i see in your collection that you have 2 of them 1 mint and 1 used)i found a website that says that its rare and could command quite a price. Is this true?
    I would be very gratefull for your input.

    Thanks for your time
    Kindest regards
    Mike from North Wales UK

    • Michael says:

      Hi Mike
      Thank you for visiting DCStamps, and I always enjoy questions and comments.

      I believe you are referring to Scott#132. The vast majority of these issues have a watermark with a webbing or honeycomb design. Apparently for this stamp, there is a very rare variety with a watermark of intertwining wavy lines which catalogues for $4,000 USD. Alas, none of my stamps have this watermark.

      Sorting through a “found” stamp collection can be quite an adventure in history and geography. I would recommend that you pop down to your local library and find the Stanley Gibbons stamp catalogues. They are an extremely valuable reference.
      Good Luck.
      Michael

      • Dick self says:

        Sir; I bumped into your blog letter about rare Danzig stamps and I have 2-50,000 mark stamps and they are watermarked with a wavy line grid . You state they are very rare and have a usd$ value of about $4,500.00. If possible I could take photos of them and send to you and see what you think;if that is possible to do.
        Thanks
        Dick self
        Dicknphyl@cox.net

    • Kartini Keyan says:

      Dear Mr. Michael Adkins,

      Hi and how are you?

      I am Kartini Keyan, Masters student in University Sains Malaysia. I am doing a theses research on Philatelic History in Malaya and other Asian countries.

      I would like to request some help from your kindself. I am writing on postal history of Malaya during WW2, I am looking for Dr. Eugene Garrett book titled
      “Postal History of the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines 1942-1945”

      I really urgently need to loan his book for my dissertation. If you have his book, can I borrow it for two weeks and return it to you. I will pay the postal charges. Tq. I suppose to submit my theses end of this month but have asked for 2 months extension until April.

      I saw your name online and decided to write to you for help.
      Your assistance in this matter is highly appreciated and will help my theses writing greatly. Look forward for your kind reply. Thank you. Bye

      Your assistance in this matter is highly appreciated. Look forward for your kind reply. Thank you. Bye
      Kind regards
      Ms Kartini Keyan

      • Michael says:

        Dear Ms. Kenyan
        Your research project sounds very interesting. I regret that I do not have a copy Eugene Garrett’s book, but believe it is an important work in the area. I did search around and found there are several places which specialize in Philippine philately who referece the work, you might try one of them.
        Good Luck on your search.
        Michael

  8. Peter says:

    Hello Michael … Congratulations on your very interesting and informative webite. I have gone one step further and created a new ‘micronation’ from a previously ‘dead country’ albeit only in name at this stage.

    Regards .. Peter

    • Michael says:

      Peter
      Good Luck with your new “nation”. Hopefully it won’t ever qualify for this site, e.g. become a “dead country”. 🙂
      Michael

  9. Katie says:

    I recently acquired some stamps from dead countries and have to admit I find them fascinating. I found your sight and was thrilled to see all the information! So, I just wanted to say ..excellent job! I look forward to learning more about dead countries from your site!
    Katie
    Portland, OR

    • Michael says:

      Thank you Katie, I am glad that are finding the site interesting. I am glad that you are enjoying your stamps, as dead countries tell stories of places that are often long forgotten. What dead countries do you have? If don’t have an entry yet, I will let you know if it is coming soon.

      I haven’t added anything new to the site for a couple of months as my work schedule has been extremely heavy, however hopefully you will see a few new entries within the next few weeks.

      Michael

  10. Avinash Kumar says:

    Dear Michael,
    Greetings.
    Your work is worth praise as it has a collective information on my interest topic.
    I followed the site and am sure will use it several times ahead in connection to my hobby of collection dead nation bank notes and coins. I am not into stamps and postcards though i have some pieces from Dead Nation.

    I understand, that you are also into paper money collection.
    Would you please post the pictures of those for our knowledge?

    Would love to hear you.

    Regards,
    Avinash
    India
    +91 9741955886

    • Michael says:

      Dear Avinash

      I appreciate your comments and interest in the topic. I understand you not finding many actual images of banknotes, as at the moment, my collection of banknotes is limited (only about 50 notes). Also, When I own a banknote in a particular country, it is included in the album, but at the back, so I admit, they are harder to find.

      The country albums that currently have any banknotes displayed are: Allenstein, Bavaria, Danzig Free State, German Empire, Memel, Azerbaijan, Russian Army of the Northwest, Provisional Government of Siberia, and the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines.

      Your note gets me to thinking of how better organize this site, so I will consider having a separate page to cover some of the banknotes I have in my collection, to make them easier to find.

      Thank you again for your comments, and wish you the best.
      Michael

  11. Al Bump says:

    Great resource. Thanks very much for the work.

  12. Frank "Cal" Calcaterra says:

    I blundered on your philatelic and travel sites from StampBoards. Both your sites are simply excellent … a great method of documenting your hobbies and life experiences. I really enjoyed scanning through them. What tool are you using to build your sites?

    … Cal
    Frank Calcaterra (Maryland, USA)
    Collecting US, Canada, Topical: Navies, Police-Fire-EMS

    • Michael says:

      Cal, thank you for the kind words. One of my ulterior motives for doing these sites, is to teach myself web design. For this site, (DCStamps), I use WordPress, a great online blogging tool. It’s free, and a link is available at the bottom of my homepage. I am also using a publically available template which allows me to not display the date, as I am not trying to offer a log of entries, rather a depositary of information which I update as I learn more.

      For FarPlaces.org, that is a little more complex as I use Microsoft Expressions Web, and am writing the code in html and css. This is really a learning experience for me, as it probably takes me 10 times longer to get it right compared to a “real” web designer.

      Michael

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