There were a few of these up for bid the night I won these and this is the first one I got. This is Tripoli, which for you non-geography majors is modern day Libya. This poor city has been conquered by pretty much everyone since it was founded by the Phoenicians. The Greeks, Romans, Spanish, Ottomans, Turks, Italians and British all laid claim on it at one point or another before it became independent in 1951. America even scrapped with them, the first line of the United States Marine Hymn refers to the First Barbary War against the city over piracy against American ships. I didn't really get this card because of the history involved, it basically had no bidders so I snagged while the snagging was good. It's a really nice looking card featuring a cool Barbary ship (likely helmed by bloodthirsty pirates, arrrrr!), although it's slightly miscut. I couldn't leave well enough alone and be happy with getting this one for $3.99, oh no. There were a bunch more for sale and I ended up with this one as well:
I picked up Monaco a few minutes after Tripoli for $4.53. This one is even prettier, and there are almost no flaws to it at all. There's a couple of small scuffs, a dinged corner and a small spot on the back. That's it. Considering I just bought a lot of N22s that were apparently once used as a pincushion, it's positively immaculate. It's a little too perfect actually, I'm paranoid now that it has been trimmed or has a gypsy curse on it or something. Cursed or no, it's a damned attractive card with tiny little sailboats in the harbor. So now I have two nice examples from a set where I don't really have any preference for any specific card. Here's the checklist, see for yourself:
So which one do I choose out of that? Canada would be neat, but I haven't seen an example of the Leafed Flag for sale yet. Orange Free State is cool because it has (naturally) an Orange flag and there surprisingly aren't a whole lot of those. India would be great as long as the card came with a free Chicken Tikka Masala. Ok, now it's established that there isn't a second series flag I just have to have, so now how do I decide which of the two that I do have will go in the set? Tripoli has the cool history and a cooler boat, Monaco is prettier and also has a bunch of boats. Monaco is in slightly better condition, but with my love of Tiptons, that's actually a plus for Tripoli. Then I thought of the person most associated with both cities. Libya's most famous citizen is Muammar al-Gaddafi. He's a dictator with ties to terrorism, but he at least had enough sense not to screw around with a pissed off America after 9/11, so he has that going for him. Let's see, the most famous person from Monaco is Grace Kelly.
Monaco wins. Sorry Muammar, you may have been Libya's leader since 1969, but you were never in any Alfred Hitchcock movies. You never smooched Jimmy Stewart either, for which I am quite thankful.
You can even watch all of To Catch A Thief on YouTube! How about that, Gaddafi!