While at Scottish Congress, I managed to get a few items for my Imperiale collection, even though my favourite European dealer wasn't there. Now in an ideal world where nothing ever matters, I would love to go for whole sheets of stamps but as that would be hardly possible, I opt for the next best thing which is usually blocks of four or whatever. But I was very pleased with this item here.
It is the top part of a sheet of 100 and I like it a) because it was dirt cheap, and b) because it shows the complete text of the top margin. The stamp itself is my favourite design of the set. It depicts "Italia turrita". The lady is an allegory of Italy, with her walled crown with towers (hence the name turrita). In the 1950s the lady got her own definitive set, but this was the first time she was depicted on Italian definitives. She had already appeared on Italian stamps before, though. In 1921, a set to mark the 600th anniversary of Dante's death was issued, on which the lady was also present.
The problem with these large items is always how to mount them on an album sheet, because they just don't fit. Now some solve this problem by having extra large sheets or using landscape sheets rather than portrait sheets. I usually find these not very attractive, especially when displaying, so I opted for the other alternative (which has its downsides too, I know) which is to mount the item sideways, so it fits on a regular album sheet.
I also managed to get a few of the GNR overprints.
These were stamps for Mussolini's Italian Social Republic. This puppet state of Germany was proclaimed in September 1943. At first, regular Italian stamps were used, but from early 1944, the stamps were overprinted with various overprints. For the National Republican Guard, the overprint GNR (Guarda Nazionale Repubblicana) was applied. Now, there is a lot of idetifying to do with these as there are various typefaces which are so alike that it is really hard to distinguish them. I must admit I haven't bothered going down that road yet, as I only have a few copies. But, eventually I know I must succumb!