The Tuvalu Chess Stamp of 1986
Topical collecting can lead in strange directions. In this instance, topical becomes tropical. In 1986, the 26 square kilometer Polynesian nation of Tuvalu issued a stamp to commemorate two world championship chess champions, Bobby Fischer who won the title in 1972, and Anatoly Karpov, who received the title after Fischer would not agree to the terms of the 1975 match. It's well known that many small nations make significant revenue through the sale of stamps. I have no doubt that Tuvalu so qualifies. Two other questions rise to to surface. Where exactly is Tuvalu and do any of the 8,000 inhabitants actually play chess?
No harm, no foul, you say. What's a single issue going to do to the old chess stamp budget? Ah, but of course, the island nation also issued an imperforate sheet.
And, of course, there's always a specimen overprint to find.
And there's always a first day cover to be sought after.
Think we're done? No... we're just getting started! Tuvalu also issued the sheet with a field of mushrooms as an overprint. What do mushrooms have to do with chess, you may ask? Nothing, of course, but there are mushroom on stamp collectors, so the value of these is higher.
And the sheet with the mushroom overprint also exists without perforations
And more still. Here is the same sheet without the serial number.
And the same sheet imperforate
And the mushroom sheet without the serial numbers exists with a specimen overprint.
Here's the rarest of all the items here. The same mushroom sheet with an overprint in honor of the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America. Hmm. Did Columbus play chess?
Perhaps the strangest item: An overprint used to produce a local mail service issue for Hampshire!
Ah, but more. Here's the overprint issued in honor of the Canadian Philatelic Exposition in June, 1987.
And the same issue imperforate.
And, of course, even this overprint comes with a specimen overprint.
And here, the same overprint but in blue!
More! Here, an overprint in honor of the Australia World Jamboree.
The same sheet but imperforate.
Naturally, there's a specimen!
And an inverted overprint!
So what am I missing? Naturally, a cover on which one of these sheets was actually used! Anyone have one?