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Should I buy that valuable stamp?

For my 13th birthday I was bought a Stanley Gibbons “Windsor” album with spaces for every stamp issued from Great Britain between 1840 and 1977. Back then the pages filled just one binder!

As we all know one of the reasons stamp collecting became a worldwide phenomenon is because so many stamps come along cheaply or even free to young and beginner collectors. Unlike coins or banknotes which are designed to serve the same purpose repeatedly, stamps once used cannot be reused and no one minds giving a youngster a bag of stamps torn from their office correspondence.

This has allowed generations of collectors to spend as much time as they like building the ‘guts’ of many collections without it effecting their finances. Indeed many collectors can spend a lifetime lost in the wonder of stamps and their stories without ‘breaking the bank’. Perhaps that has been philately’s greatest strength.

However many of us strive to fully complete the area or country which we collect. We accept that some stamps will always be beyond our reach and collectors of British Guiana and Mauritius can enthusiastically collect those places without losing a minute of sleep over those stamps which are the playground of the world’s wealthiest.

But… that “Windsor” album had spaces I simply wanted to fill… those large Victorians crowned by the mighty £5 orange, the elegant KEVII series topped by £1 greens from two different printers (darn. I need two of them), the unparalleled KGV £1 Seahorse or the eye-catching £1 black ‘George Slaying the Dragon’ for the London 1929 Postal Union Congress. There were so many stamps beyond my teenage reach!

Now you know I rarely write these short articles with a view to directly selling something. I simply cannot bear reading stuff like that and I guess like me you have an antenna which detects a sales blurb from a mile away but what prompted me to write this is a discussion I overheard yesterday.

I had been valuing a Scandinavian collection of a highly specialised nature, lots of minor plate flaws, shades, watermark varieties, postmarks and the value of the collection was in the love which the collector had applied to it by hunting down the interesting contents and NOT that there was anything individually valuable within it.

However a colleague was valuing another collection which was very different. Housed in 5 specially- printed albums it was a collection of French stamps and he was looking through the first volume rather quickly.

I couldn’t help myself “How is it?”

“OK. Nice condition but it doesn’t have the high values”

And there it was. It was a well- filled collection in good condition but my colleague was disappointed that his favourite stamps were missing and consequently I detected in him a lack of, for the want of a better word, desire. I believe that these better stamps and sets can act as ‘hooks’ which will make a potential buyer decide that they really want to own them and so forces them to try very hard to offer as much as they can for the ENTIRE collection!

In this respect it may be that these ‘better’ items actually add value beyond their individual worth by increasing the desirability of a much wider collection.

That’s it. Below are a few lots I consider in that class but our sales have many great items so you’ll have to dig around to see what might appeal to you… and remember that if it appeals to you, it will appeal to others too!

Vincent

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