Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stanley Gibbons buys BidStart for $1 million

Elsewhere today, specialist stamp firm Stanley Gibbons (LON:SGI) revealed it had beefed up its US collectables business with the acquisition of online group for US$1 mln.

The US group, which trades under the bidStart brand, operates a collectables platform focused on stamps and postcards and using its own customised search engine.

There are more than 6.4 million lots available for sale on bidStart, 3 million of which are stamp lots, Gibbons said.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

China Postage Stamp Auction - Sun Yat Sen inverted pair brings record $707,000 to HK auction

A Hong Kong auction of Chinese postal history has seen an extremely rare pairing of the $2 Dr Sun Yat Sen invert set a new world record, becoming the most valuable Republic of China (1912-1949) stamp lot ever sold at auction.

1941 $2 Dr Sun Yat Sen centre invert

The current record for any Chinese stamp stands at $1.15m

The October 13-15 sale topped the previous £311,000 ($500,000) record for a single example of the Dr Sun Yat Sen invert, with the pair selling for $707,700. The price represents a 9.2% increase on the $645,000 high estimate.

The Dr Sun Yat Sen invert is one of the rarest stamps in all of Chinese philately, with just one sheet of 50 stamps ever issued featuring the inverted centre error. The pair in the present auction is one of only two vertical pairs known to exist, originating from the collection of the renowned philatelist Huang Ming Fang.

The remarkable pair, both of which were in pristine condition with full original gum, was also lightly initialled by stamp expert Peter Holcombe on the reverse, further boosting its appeal to collectors.

Originating from 1941, the stamps bear the head of Dr Sun Yat Sen, a Chinese revolutionary and the first president of the Republic of China. Sun was instrumental in the overthrow of the Qing dynasty and is often referred to as the "Father of the Nation".

Paul Fraser Collectibles is currently offering a unique block of four 96c olive-bistre stamps, which are considered some of the rarest stamps in Hong Kong's postal history. Sign up to our free weekly newsletter for more of the latest news from across the philatelic community.

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stamp and postal memorabilia collectors converge at Kalamazoo Expo Center



Steve Sherman representing the Kalamazoo Stamp Club at the Expo Center.
KALAMAZOO, MI – For anyone who collects stamps and other postal memorabilia, the Kalamazoo Expo Center was the place to be on Saturday.

The Southwest Michigan Postcard Club Show and the Fall Stamp and Cover Show sponsored by the Kalamazoo Stamp Club were held at the Expo Center.

Steve Sherman, a member of the stamp club, said the show is the biggest of its kind in West Michigan. He said the show has been around for at least 30 years and is more important than ever since there are no longer stamp shops.

"It's the one place where you can come to see a large amount of dealers and inventory," Sherman said.

Peter Foote, 79, traveled from Chicago with a couple other members of the Beverly Hills Philatelic Society for the show. He said he has been to the show three or four times and keeps coming back because of the quality of the exhibits.

"Some of these exhibits are fascinating," he said. "They have so many different facets to them."
Foote served in the Korean War and was most interested in the displays and memorabilia related to World War II. He especially liked the display of letters home from a man who was on the USS St.
Lo, formerly USS Midway, that was sunk by a kamikaze plane near the Philippines in the Battle off Samar.

Foote collects postage censor stamps from Ireland from the World War II era and added to his collection on Saturday.

Mike Dennany, 12, was at the show with his grandpa and was helping out at the youth table. His reason for collecting stamps was simple.

"They got fish on them," he said.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Boscastle Stamp and Coin Supplies are getting ready for the holiday season by stocking up with best selling stamp and coin supplies

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stamp collecting: A solitary hobby that teaches history and art


Thursday 27 September 2012
The Saudi Society for Philatelic & Numismatic (SSPN), one of the oldest societies in the Kingdom, is looking for a few good boys and girls.

The goal in the age of smart phones, laptops and iPads is to find young people who may be interested in the centuries-old hobby of stamp collecting.

Collecting postage stamps, much like coin-collecting, is a solitary pursuit that educates the collector on a country’s culture, tradition, art and government. Like any product produced by humans, postage stamps contain errors, misprints and other oddities that making stamps valuable, not to mention educational.

The society hopes to increase its membership by attracting new members who have an interest in history, art and the mechanics of producing printed matter.

“The society is 50 years old and has always paid great attention and built long relationships with the collectors of stamps, coins and also bank notes,” said Board Director Osama Al-Kurdy.

Although the SSPN’s achievements were not recognized in the past few years as much as collectors would have liked, Al-Kurdy noted it had organized and participated in many events in the Kingdom and abroad. Therefore, the Ministry of Culture and Media decided to reorganize the board of directors, with instructions to activate the society and pay more attention to collectors and increase the participation of women collectors.

“Collectors, who are also members, are now 150 strong,” said Al-Kurdy, adding that in all branches of the society there was a ladies committee. About 10 percent of them are women, and our new target is 1,500 members. We know that there are many collectors who are interested in this hobby.

The idea, he said, was that such committees would follow up with women collectors and ensure that they were participating in all local or international activities the society was involved.

Al-Kurdy indicated that the SSPN’s target of 1,500 members did not include the society’s current collectors, but was aimed at future collectors. Part of the program for generating and attracting more members was for the society to address students in elementary, intermediate and high schools, educate them about the hobby and bring them to visit the recently increasing number of branches.
“Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah branches already exist, but we have opened or are in the process of opening branches in Madinah, Jazan, Hassa and Hail,” said Al-Kurdy, pointing out that they were looking for collectors in Dammam, Khobar and Dahran areas to open branches there as well.

Encouraging collectors to communicate with the society, Al-Kurdy said that they were determined to reach out to everyone through e-mails until the website, which was under construction, kicks off.

The hobby of the kings was named so, because one of the most famous collections was owned by the last King of Egypt, King Farouq. King Farouq’s collection includes so-called errors, which were not printing errors on the stamps, but actually were produced especially for him.

“Although this characterizes the collection as unique, the real uniqueness is in the collections that contain authentic and actual errors. But because there were not many of them, they ended up high on the desirable list of collectors,” said Al Kurdy.

Queen Victoria of Britain also owned a large well-known collection, said Al-Kurdy, admitting that it was also an expensive hobby. “One must manage it correctly and turn it into an investment, or at least make it a non-costly hobby by acquiring more stamps than one needs to keep, then resell it,” said Al-Kurdy.

One of the most important programs of SSPN, in its pursuit of new members, is to approach beginners in schools. Although Al-Kurdy agrees that it was a challenging age in regards to competing with technology and the youths’ high interest in it, there was a uniquely small percentage of youths who were interested in collecting stamps.

Stamps have been around for centuries, and despite the existence of the franking machines — where the value of the postage is printed on the envelope instead of using a stamp — there was no threat to the existence of stamps and collecting them.

“Stamps, as opposed to the franking machines, actually convey a message. While the franking machine conveys that the postage has been paid, stamps conveys an important message which we in the society are taking as a major initiative, and that is history, culture, development and the progress of each country, especially in commemorative stamps,” said Al-Kurdy, adding that there were two types of stamps: the ordinary, which are common, and commemorative stamps, which are issued only occasionally and for special occasions.

Even ordinary stamps convey a message, Al-Kurdy said. University stamps with their emblem, carry a message of the existing universities in Saudi Arabia.

“The tourism series of ordinary stamps also showed pictures of the Holy Mosques, Madai’en Saleh, the equestrian sport, the date palms and other pictures that showed what Saudi Arabia is all about,” said Al-Kurdy.

The Society participates in many international exhibitions and events abroad. One of the society’s collectors created an exhibition for an international participation called “The Five Year Development Plan of Saudi Arabia,” Al-Kurdy said.

“There are three upcoming events: a big collector’s show at King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh which was held over National Day for four days; an exhibition in Sharjah-Asia with international federations, unions and regional clubs in November; and the Australian Exhibition in 2013,” said Al-Kurdy, stressing that in such an exhibition the society not only showcased stamps, but presented a study which addressed certain issues or themes.

“We have to meet and satisfy the judging committee through presenting more than just stamps. It is a matter of showing the history and culture of the country. Stamps are used for postage, in addition to commemorate, educate and document,” said Al-Kurdy.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stamp Collecting and Philately Links

Philately on Wikipedia

Stamp images

Other handy links

All of the British Library philatelic collection articles

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Excellent Stamp Collecting Forum you should get to know

Getting back into stamp collecting after 30 years Stamp Community ...

Our stamp collecting forum is a great source of information. Talk with stamp collectors just like yourself to expand your knowledge in this great hobby.



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thomas Moor Musgrave, Postmaster of Bath: Secret Agent

Sam Horton

Posted on 11 Sep 2012

The biography of Thomas Moore Musgrave
The biography of Thomas Moore Musgrave
Thomas Moor Musgrave, Postmaster of Bath: Secret Agent

by Audrey Swindells, MBE
(Bath Postal Museum) rrp: £3.95 (+ £2 postage)

On 6 May, 1840, the Penny Black was officially issued. But four days earlier somebody unknown, possibly Elizabeth Weatherley (nee Musgrave), used one on a letter to Peckham.

The Postmaster could not have been ignorant of the official date of issue but made sure that the Bath date-stamp placed immediately next to the stamp at its right-hand base, did not actually cancel the stamp.

The first stamp on the sheet, lettered ‘A-A’ was used, and when the letter reached Peckham the receiving clerk added two strikes of the red tombstone ‘PAID’ dated 4 May – still two days early. Even though this is not a complete cover, it has naturally attracted much attention, selling for £55,000 in 1990. Not bad for a penny stamp.

But what of the Postmaster, Thomas Musgrave? Before coming to Bath in 1833, he had a chequered career, first as a lawyer in Middle Temple, later in the Aliens’ Department, as Private Secretary to both the Secretary of State for the Home Department and then to the Chief Secretary in Ireland.

In 1817 he became the Mail Agent in Lisbon, but three years later he returned as Mail Agent in Falmouth. In 1824 was appointed Comptroller of the Two-Penny Post in London. He was offered the post of Postmaster General in Jamaica when the Two-Penny Post was placed under the control of the Post Office, but turned it down on the grounds it would be injurious to his health.

 However, he was made Postmaster in Bath and held that post for twenty years until his death in 1854.

This fine, interesting and entertaining forty-page booklet tells of his life in more detail, his contacts, his family and affairs, his literacy as a pamphleteer and translator.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

New forever stamp to honor O. Henry


In case you didn’t notice, Tuesday (Sept. 11) is the 150th birthday of William Sydney Porter, the short-story master better known as O. Henry.

Porter — who mostly wrote about New York City, but he was born in Greensboro on Sept. 11, 1862, and he was buried in Asheville’s Riverside Cemetery after his death on June 5, 1910.

To mark the event, the U.S. Postal Service is releasing a commemorative forever stamp honoring O. Henry on Sept. 11 at the Greensboro Historical Museum.

O. Henry wrote more than 300 stories, most of them in the last nine years of his life, among them “The Gift of the Magi,” a Christmas standard, “The Ransom of Red Chief” and “A Retrieved Reformation.” Critic Guy Davenport compared his prose to ragtime music (they were almost contemporary), and he was a master of the “twist” ending — making possible about half the episodes on Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone” and almost all the films of M. Night Shyamalan.

He began writing in Texas, launching a short-lived periodical called “Rolling Stone” and according to a later account, in an interview with The New York Times, he adopted his surname from a name in a society column. (Why O. Henry? Because as Porter told the Times, O was about the easiest letter to remember there was.)

As is well known, he went into the banking business in Texas, was charged with embezzlement (debate still rages about how much of it was actually his fault), fled to Honduras (where he wrote a series of stories and coined the phrase “banana republic”), but came back when he heard his wife was dying and faced the music.

He served three years in a federal penitentiary in Ohio; a licensed pharmacist, he worked in the prison infirmary and slept in a room nearby, so he apparently spent almost no time in a cell.

Legend holds that his last words, to his beloved daughter, were “Turn up the lights — I don’t want to go home in the dark.”

Almost all of Henry’s stories were set in the Big Apple, where he lived from 1901 until his death, but he did put a few in North Carolina — notably “The Fool Killer,” a comic take on a Tar Heel legend.
He was christened William SIDNEY Porter, but adopted Sydney-with-a-Y in 1898.

The followint are the Postal Service’s instructions for ordering a first-day of issue postmark:

“Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase the new stamp at a local Post Office, at The Postal Store website at or by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724). They should affix the stamp to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others) and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:

“O. Henry Stamp
Greensboro Main Office
201 N. Murrow Blvd.
Greensboro, NC 27420-9998

“After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes by mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by Nov. 12, 2012.”

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Friday, September 7, 2012

King George VI Imprimaturs at $158,500 in Chartwell stamp auction

A magnificent set of King George VI imprimaturs will highlight the latest instalment of the Chartwell Collection stamp auctions, which will be held on September 12 in London.

George VI imprimaturs
The set originates from the National Postal Museum archives

The Chartwell Collection is a legendary collection of stamps assembled by Sir Cyril Humphrey Cripps, which boasts the finest, investment-grade material from Great Britain and the British Empire ever put up for auction. The huge collection has been offered over several sales, and has already seen some impressive results.

The latest auction will feature George VI, Edward VII and Elizabeth II essays, proofs and stamps as we reach the latter part of the collection. The stunning King George imprimaturs will lead, with an estimate of £80,000-100,000.

The set of 15 values spans ½d to one shilling in imperforate blocks of four. Each block is printed on watermarked paper with full original gum and originates from the archives of the National Postal Museum. A truly exhibition quality set - as are most of the lots in the sale - each block boasts evenly balanced margins with fresh, rich colours.

Only one minor fault impairs the set, with the ½d showing a small ink mark on the selvedge, although this in no way affects its extraordinary quality.

The Elizabeth II section will see a particularly interesting selection of 10 photographic essays, which comprises some of the earliest proposed designs under the current monarch's reign. The most intriguing among the set is a 6d design by MC Farrer-Bell, which is mounted on card and was never adopted for issue.

The remaining nine were all adopted for the final issues and feature a number of alterations that will fascinate modern collectors. The collection will sell with a £6,000-8,000 estimate.

Also featuring in this sale is an extremely rare set of Jersey stamps, which bear the Nazi swastika.

Paul Fraser Collectibles also has a fantastic collection of British and Commonwealth stamps, which features the legendary Tyrian Plum, one of just 12 known to exist.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Paralympic Star Ellie Simmonds And Natasha Baker Honoured By Royal Mail Stamp

Dressage rider Natasha Baker will be honoured with a special stamp to mark her second win in the Paralympic Games.

Paralympic swimming sensation Ellie Simmonds, from Aldridge, Walsall, will also get an Olympic stamp in celebration of her gold medal triumphs in the 200m Individual Medley and 400m Freestyle.

Miss Baker, from Uxbridge in Middlesex, came first in the Grade II freestyle class on her horse Cabral at Greenwich Park today, breaking a Paralympic record.

simmonds stamp

The triumph came 48 hours after the 22-year-old, who suffers from an inflammation of the spine, was crowned Grade II individual champion, breaking another Paralympic record.

Royal Mail said it was "delighted" to be issuing stamps to recognise Great Britain's Paralympic champions.

It is the first time that a set of stamps has been issued to celebrate Paralympic gold medallists from the host country.

The stamps will go on sale at more than 500 post offices around the UK tomorrow. Uxbridge residents will be able to buy them at the post office in nearby Hayes.

Miss Baker is the third member of ParalympicsGB to appear on two gold medal stamps.

The others are cyclist Sarah Storey, who won gold in the women's C4/5 500m time-trial and 3km individual pursuit, and horse rider Sophie Christiansen, who triumphed in the single Grade 1A and team dressage events.

Before the Olympics Royal Mail said it would not be producing individual stamps for Paralympic gold medallists.

Instead, the firm said it would create a series of six first-class stamps featuring every medallist to be produced after the Paralympic Games finished on 9 September.

But, after issuing 29 gold medal stamps for the Olympics and in the face of criticism on Twitter of its stance on ParalympicGB champions, it did a U-turn saying first-class stamps for individual ParalympicGB gold medal winners would be issued. Team gold medal winners will also be recognised, but featured on stamps as a team.

The stamps will go on sale tomorrow.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Royal Mail's Olympic race to produce medallist stamps

Heptathlete Jess Ennis
The 60p stamps feature images of the winning athletes during their competition or victory ceremony

Related Stories

The GB gold rush has created a marathon task for Royal Mail, which is rushing out stamps in honour of each winner.

Royal Mail has promised to issue a stamp bearing the medallist's picture within 24 hours of the victory being secured.

A team of more than 100 people works against the clock to rush out the stamps, which are printed at six locations around the UK.

That means they can reach 500 post offices by lunchtime the day after a gold medal win - even on Sundays.

At least one of those branches is in the home town of each gold medal winner.

Some 4,700 branches will receive the gold medal stamps within a week from a 90-strong fleet of Royal Mail vehicles.

Weekend gold-rush

Once a gold is secured, Royal Mail officials have just one hour to review images submitted by official Olympic photographers Getty Images and select one to give to the eight-strong stamp design team in London.

On Sunday, Ben Ainslie had an emotional victory in the Men's Sailing Finn, and Andy Murray's win in his men's singles tennis final Wimbledon rematch against Roger Federer took the tally to 16.

So far, the stamps show:

  • Helen Glover and Heather Stanning - Women's Pair Rowing
  • Bradley Wiggins - Men's Cycling Individual Time Trial
  • Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie - Men's Canoe Double (C2)
  • Peter Wilson - Men's Shooting Double Trap
  • Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny, Philip Hindes - Men's Team Sprint
  • Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins - Women's Double Sculls
  • Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh and Steven Burke - Men's Team Pursuit
  • Victoria Pendleton - Women's Cycling Keirin
  • Andrew Triggs Hodge, Pete Reed, Tom James, Alex Gregory - Men's Fours
  • Katherine Copeland, Sophie Hosking - Women's Lightweight Double Sculls
  • Laura Trott, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell - Women's Team Pursuit
  • Jessica Ennis - Women's Heptathlon
  • Greg Rutherford - Men's Long Jump
  • Mo Farah - Men's Athletics 10,000m
  • Ben Ainslie - Men's Sailing Finn
  • Andy Murray - Men's Tennis Singles

The stamps cost the normal first class price of 60p.

Meanwhile, Royal Mail has painted itself into something of a corner with another pledge - to paint a postbox gold in each of the medallists' home towns.

Laura Trott had expected hers to be in Cheshunt, Herts, but a box in Harlow, Essex, was painted because the town is listed as her birthplace on the Team GB website.

Source -

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Friday, July 20, 2012

All-Stars Forever stamps unveiled in Cooperstown - Baseball greats Williams, DiMaggio, Stargell, Doby depicted on U.S. Postal Service's latest issues

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- The U.S. Postal Service honored four members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Friday morning with commemorative stamps at a ceremony in the Museum's Grandstand Theater.
Ted Williams, Larry Doby, Willie Stargell and Joe DiMaggio all had their sweet swings memorialized on a green background. The "Forever" stamps will also be commemorated on Saturday in the cities where each of the great ones played: Williams in Boston, Doby in Cleveland, Stargell in Pittsburgh and DiMaggio in New York.

Tony Gwynn, a Hall of Famer in his own right and an eight-time National League batting champ with the Padres, was Major League Baseball's representative at the Friday ceremony.
"This was really nice," Gwynn said after the ceremony. "These are four guys I've read a lot about. I got to play against Stargell. I had long talks about hitting with Williams. It was nerve-racking, though. When you talk about these four guys, they each brought something different to the table."
Doby was the first African-American player in the American League, joining the Indians just after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Dodgers in 1947. Williams was the last player to hit .400, batting .406 in 1941, the same year DiMaggio set the record by hitting safely in 56 consecutive games. "Pops" Stargell helped the "We Are Family" Pirates win the World Series in 1971 and 1979.

"It seems like every time I got to first base when he was playing there, he was always giving me some nugget to help me be a better player," said Gwynn about Stargell, whose career ended in 1982, the year the San Diego right fielder broke into the big leagues. "Those are the little tidbits that enter your mind. I got a chance to talk to Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. So, for me it's nice being here today."

Stargell's widow, Margaret, Doby's son, Larry Jr., and DiMaggio's granddaughter, Katie Stein, were also in attendance at the event.

Patrick Donahoe, the Postmaster General, dedicated the stamps, which were unveiled to a packed house on Friday.

"Baseball has a powerful grip on the heartstrings of America," Donahoe told the crowd. "The sport reflects so much of our unique American culture."

The U.S. Post Office has been issuing stamps to commemorate Major League players and ballparks since the first Baseball Hall of Fame induction in 1939. A new 20-stamp sheet is now available for $9 each at the Post Office across Main Street from the Hall of Fame Museum and at Post Offices across the U.S.

Sheets are available for each of the four players. One also can opt for an MLB All-Stars sheet that boasts five stamps of each of the players on it.


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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Yanks Legend Joe DiMaggio To Be Immortalized On US Postage Forever Stamps

Joe DiMaggio has earned his place in Yankees and Major League Baseball lore, and now the US Postal Service is further stamping his place in history.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and the USPS are teaming up for the First-Day-Of-Issue Stamp Ceremony on Saturday, July 21. To further commemorate the event, Diaz is declaring it "Joe DiMaggio Day."

The event begins at 11 a.m. at the Bronx Main Post Office, with an autograph session with special guests afterwards.

The stamps will be sold at the event, all Bronx post offices and select Manhattan post offices on the 21. Starting the following Monday, the stamps will be available nationwide in limited quantities.

Dubbed 'The Yankee Clipper,' DiMaggio played his entire 13-year career in Yankees pinstripes. He earned three MVP awards and helped the Bronx Bombers take home nine World Series titles.

Most famously, DiMaggio hit in 56 straight games in the 1941 season, a streak that no hitter in MLB history has come within ten games of duplicating, according to the online Baseball Almanac.


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Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Jamaica stamp collector - As Jamaica celebrates its 50th year of Independence

As Jamaica celebrates its 50th year of Independence, Rhudal McFarlane from Garlands in south St James is revelling in his pre-Independence stamp collection from his childhood days.

"It was while I was going to primary school that I started stamp collecting as a child. It was just out of curiosity; the stamp collecting was just during my school days," said the 63-year-old stamp collection owner.

McFarlane, who was born to William and Lena McFarlane on July 13, 1948, and is one of 17 children for his father, said that he collected more than 300 stamps during his childhood. He recently found the book accidentally while doing some cleaning at home.
"I would take the stamps and paste them in my English book at the back. I could have collected ... 300 stamps, or more, but most of them got destroyed," said McFarlane.

"I was going through some of my old books from school days because from those days, I had bought myself a set of encyclopaedias in about 1970, and I have collections of several books. I have this passion for literature and reading, so I had these books, and I was taking a stock of them when I found the book with the stamps."

McFarlane - a former educator who served as principal of Cambridge High School in St James from 1983 until his retirement in April 2010 - noted that his stamp collection consisted of British-issued stamps with portraits of Queen Elizabeth II and King George VI.
"In those days, it was the 'pounds, shillings and pence' days. You had the half-penny stamp, the penny stamp, and the two-pence stamp, and some of them had pictures of King George of England because all of our stamps had the King or the Queen on them. It was after Independence that we started to have our people on the stamps. So at the time, it was Queen Elizabeth and King George, her father," he recalled.

"Even though King George died after World War II, his picture was still on the stamp. Queen Elizabeth's pictures started coming on the stamps after she was crowned because she didn't get crowned immediately after her father died," he added.

"It was Winston Churchill who was running the country, because Elizabeth was still a young girl, until 1952, when she ascended the throne and was crowned in 1953."

The stamp collector said he preserved his collection for his four sons and grandchildren.
"They are very valuable to any stamp collector. I haven't got a clue how much they would cost, but I could part with some of them and keep a copy of one or two," he stated.

"Many people who lived in the days prior to Independence don't have anything to show from that time. These are some of the things that we should cherish and preserve, but we're not the kind of people who reflect on our history."
Photos by Christopher Thomas

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Philatelic Expertisation - A new service from the Philatelic Traders’ Society

In response to sustained demand, the PTS can now offer full expertisation services for nearly all GB stamps, Queen Victoria to the present day, with the exception of some very specialised material. Following a successful 3-month trial, our services are now open to everyone, at home and abroad, trade and retail alike.

A flat fee* per item of £60.00 is payable (reduced to £50.00 for members of the PTS). No opinion = no fee.

The PTS settled on a flat fee structure, since the work involved in checking the status of a cheap stamp is fundamentally the same as for an expensive stamp. The PTS’ flat fee is slightly higher than the minimum rates charged by other committees, but should be considerably lower when opinion is sought on higher priced items, where a percentage of catalogue value – can be £100’s - is usually requested.

The aim is to provide an opinion within 30 days of receipt of the item. Opinion givers do not know the identity of opinion seekers. This way every item is judged strictly on its merits without influence from other criteria. PTS Expertising Limited has at its disposal the services of dozens of acknowledged experts in their fields, both dealers and collectors, plus free access to extensive reference collections.

Work which can be best done via scans and the internet (such as plating 1d blacks) will be done that way, whilst the more commercial aspects, such as repairing and regumming, will be adjudicated by professionals, usually PTS members, each expert in their own fields. Only when all those who have inspected the item can agree on the wording to go on the certificate, will the item be signed off and the certificate issued. High resolution scans of all items adjudicated will be kept on file for future reference.

We are confident that the PTS’s long-established international reputation for honesty and integrity, together with the high quality of the work we offer, will rapidly establish PTS Expertising Ltd’s certificates as having equal status with very best.

In closing, the PTS wishes to make it clear that, in common with all other philatelic expertisation services, it is charging for and providing a written statement of its opinion (only) and that it accepts no responsibility for any error or omission in that opinion. (Would-be submitters who find this condition unacceptable should seek alternative arrangements.)

Items for expertisation may now be sent to:

PTS Expertising Ltd
PO Box 204
NE61 9AA

However before doing so, we recommend you log onto our website

for further details and full terms and conditions.

* exceptions may apply – see website

Monday, July 9, 2012

Stamp investment: The facts

The facts

In the midst of the economic downturn, investment-grade stamps continue to go from strength to strength

  • The values of the finest rare stamps - the investment-grade specimens - have historically performed superbly: Up 9.5% pa in the past 50 years.

  • The market has gathered pace in the past decade with more collectors and investors entering the market: The leading 30 Great Britain stamps are up 10.8% pa on average since 1998, according to the GB30 Rarities index.

  • China is the fastest growing market: The world's fastest growing economy is producing vast numbers of high-net worth individuals keen to invest in stamps from their homeland. The China rare stamp index is up 51% pa since 2006.

  • Stamps offer excellent portfolio diversification - vital in times of economic uncertainty: Stamps have a low correlation to stock markets, and indeed have comfortably outperformed the flat-lining FTSE and Dow Jones over the past decade.

  • Stamps offer tax-free investing: Up to £10,100 a year in the UK, or £20,200 with a compliant spouse!

  • Stamps have better risk adjusted returns than more traditional investments: They comfortably beat the Dow Jones and gold, according to a recent comparison by - 50m serious collectors worldwide ensures volatility remains low.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Traditional Philately - The Study of Postage Stamps Powerpoint Presentation about Exhibiting postage stamps

Brian Trotter, the new Chairman of the Traditional Philately Commission, held in June 2012 two very well received FIP approved seminars on Exhibiting and Judging Traditional Philately Exhibits.
The first one was in connection with the FEPA exhibition in Paris, Salon Du Timbre 2012.
32 interested philatelists attended the seminar.

The second was in Jakarta at Indonesia 2012 FIP exhibition. There no less than 68 participated in the seminar. Brian Trotter made a very thorough presentation about the present view on how to exhibit in the Traditional Philately Class. After the presentation several questions the audience were answered.

Seminar presentation download is well worth a look at (the download is safe):

English (MS PowerPoint) - TPC_Seminar_June_2012.ppt


Stamp collecting supplies, albums and accessories for exhibiting are available from

Thursday, July 5, 2012

1995 Canada invert stamp expected to bring $22,000

A rare $2 invert stamp from 1995 will highlight the Canada modern proofs and errors section of a July 18-19 sale.

Canada $2 Provincial Normal School invert
The stamp will auction with a high estimate given past auction results

The error was originally discovered in 1996 when a few panes of the £2 Truro Provincial Normal School stamp were reported to have been printed with a centre invert.

However, they have now been renamed as inverted inscriptions after it was revealed that the main design of the stamp was printed first and that instead the error lay with the surrounding text. In total, four sheets of 25 were identified - two in Moncton, NB and two in Hamilton, ON.

A sharp-eyed dealer in New Brunswick then purchased the four panes from three different individuals for an undisclosed sum, before selling the entire group to a US dealer. Since then, the sheets have been broken up and sold as individual or block lots.

The example at auction is a left sheet-margin single with the brown cutting guide gutter at the top. It represents one of just 10 extant examples from the Hamilton, ON find and is expected by the auction house to realise the Unitrade catalogue valuation of $22,000.

However, this could be a rather hopeful estimate, as a similar example sold for just $9,500 in 2005, although admittedly it did not share the same sheet-margin position as the current stamp.

Also featuring in the auction is a magnificent 50c Year of the Rooster stamp from 2005, of which only a single pane of 25 was discovered. Sold complete with a 2006 guarantee, it is estimated at $1,600.


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