Robstine Stamps Fine used stamps of Europe, Australia, Canada, NZ, USA and many other places
Robin Borwick, PO Box 129, Bordon, Hants GU35 8YD
Tel: 01428 717848
Web site: www.robstine-stamps.com
NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2018
I really enjoyed the hotter weather. My office is on the cool side of the house with the sun only coming round at about 5pm, so working conditions have been pleasant. On the other hand, many customers have taken the summer off and sales have been down accordingly. As you will see below, I have been able to add to my stock lists during the month and have plans to continue.
www.robstineextra.com is now coming into its own and I am increasing the range of items to be seen on it. We are now up to 2750 or so.
I did take a short break birding in Norfolk and meeting birding friends there. That was excellent as was the Bird Fair the previous day.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. More new issues this month: Frogs and Reef Safari which are very attractive.
Canada. Previously I had updated my stock of Newfoundland and New Brunswick. This month I worked on the remaining Provinces: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia.
Channel Islands. I have finally got around to listing these areas. So far, I have listed all the Alderney and about half of the Guernsey. My stocks are fairly comprehensive from the start to about 2013-4.
Commonwealth. I have made some progress on the excellent collection of QV-KG5. Some of the areas are: Bahamas, Bahrain, Bechuanaland and Bermuda, British Guiana, Brunei, British Virgin Islands, Maldive Islands and Morocco Agencies. This lot contained many of the high values and the condition is very good.
---Having beefed up my early range of Bermuda, I have also priced up a good lot of the QE2 period.
---Morocco Agencies. I bought another comprehensive collection of these stamps with most of the high values in excellent condition.
---Papua New Guinea. Although I had most items already in stock, I added another lot of stamps from the beginning to 1976.
---A friend has helped sort some more “difficult” sets and singles from Antigua, Bahamas and Bermuda. So I am even more confident with the chalky papers and perf varieties.
Finland. Two more sets of new issues: Defence Forces and culinary delights!
France. I received a small lot of gap-fillers from my contact in Paris. At the same time, there were some sets and mini sheets from the most recent years.
French Colonies. Finding fine used lots of French Colonies is not easy. Most collections or lots are principally mint. Finding stocks of post Independence French Colonies is even less frequent. So when I was presented with a lot of 50-60 stockbooks, I jumped at the chance. I can scarcely say the ranges are comprehensive but the condition is very good too. It will take some time to finish sorting this lot but this month I worked on Togo, Cameroun, Niger, Mali, Upper Volta and Chad.
Germany DDR. I have merged two lots into stock which gave me greater depth and filled most of the few gaps that had developed in my stock. That included all of the mini sheets.
Great Britain. I have bought two more lots of early GB. These are strong in QV-KG5 period with many high values. The coverage in QV is wide with some better copies than the usual. More customers are becoming aware that I now stock GB after saying for many years that I did not. Having made several different purchases my stock is quite comprehensive.
Isle of Man. I did not offer this stock before, although I had priced up material from four or more lots. Now I have created a price list which is quite comprehensive from the start to about 2013-4. That is stamps and mini sheets.
New Zealand. There were two new sets: Round Kiwi stamps and “Predator Free”, the second set is particularly attractive. Of course there was also a mini sheet for each issue.
Yugoslavia. I have made some good purchases of Yugoslavia this month and much of that remains to be sorted. However I did work on a previously purchased lot. I was pleasantly surprised at the coverage of this lot right up to 1991-2. Some of these sets and singles are hard to find so it is pleasing to have them in stock.
August was a noticeable step up from July, although still quietish. The weather was still hot and many people seem to think stamps were not the thing to do in the heat. Obviously I disagree! The number of orders was almost back to that of an average month.
The mix of countries was unusual this month. Commonwealth orders were almost up to previous levels but Australia and Canada were at record-breaking levels. Other strong countries were Austria, French Colonies, France and DDR. It is interesting to see from my figures how little some of my “main” countries contribute. This naturally makes a difference to how much effort I put in to these countries and how much new stock I buy.
I only attended two events in August as in years gone by. What a contrast. My Solo Fair in Oxford was the poorest ever with just one customer present. So inevitably, the next one in December will be my last Fair in Oxford. I do regret this but there comes a time…
On the other hand, just the following day I had the best Fair at Wokingham ever. This is after 33 years of trading there. The best sellers were “out of the way” German areas followed by recent USA, Greenland, Australia and Denmark. The Fair itself is not doing well but I have ben lucky to have a number of excellent loyal customers.
So a very mixed bag in August. Both postal and fairs sales have been up and down. Now the autumn is here (by the Meteorological Office definition) I expect sales to increase. My range on www.robstineextra.com continues to grow and the sales from that are taking off. I have lots more stock to add to my lists and this will create more interest as we progress.
Thank you for all your purchases (past and future)!
NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2018
July has been a notable month, one way or another. We have been enjoying (or enduring) the extended hot spell and there was the second half of the World Cup. These two events have brought business to some sectors of the economy but not stamp dealing! The number of orders by post has been down and attendances at Fairs has also been low. It is what one would expect.
However my figures have not been too bad with a number of dedicated collectors carrying on as before. Processing less orders, I have had more time to price up new material. Some exceptional lots have come my way during the month. Of course it takes some time to then have all the stock neatly in place, all price up and added to my web lists. I would love it all to be done more quickly but I also want to do it properly which takes time.
My “other” web site www.robstineextra.com has begun to bear fruit. It is a long hard slog adding new material to the site but it now seems worth it! Some orders are coming in and beginning to give me more idea what people would like to see portrayed.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Albania. Two more lots merged into stock. I have added more scarce values in the early period and more sets and singles in the 1960s and 1970s. My stock is now quite strong and there are lots of mint items, some visible on robstineextra.
Australia. I have a big stock of Australia but sorted out three more lots from the Kings period with new Roos and Heads values. More importantly there were many new Postage Due and Official stamps. As always, more new issues came my way including a very attractive set of Natural Art and set two of Finches.
Canada. At long last I received the package from my Canadian supplier. It was too late for the York Fair but has added much useful stock, particularly the new issues. We have agreed that I will receive new issues regularly every 2-3 months and other items too from lists I supply him. Separately an English dealer provided me with an accumulation of stamps from the early 1950s to about the mid 1980s. I have yet to complete work on these but the main point is that they all bear CDS cancellations and not the dreaded block cancels or worse! Canada had about the worst cancellations on their stamps but gradually I am replacing these “average used” with stamps bearing CDS postmarks. Between these two lots I have re-filled most of the phosphor gaps in stock.
Separately I put into stock three lots of New Brunswick and especially Newfoundland. There were lots of new items for my list and the condition was greatly improved.
Commonwealth. My biggest purchase this month (and for the last several months) was a stunning Ideal album with QV-KG5 issues. Many of the colonies were complete or very nearly so. It will take a long time to completely sort this lot but I made a start and more is being done each week. This month I priced up Aitutaki, Antigua and Ascension (with some Australia as above). While I sort these out, I am also clearing up other stocks that had been lying around for some time.
France. My Parisian supplier sent me a small selection of stamps to fill the few gaps I had in stock. Also present were some more recent singles and mini sheets from 2014-6.
French Colonies. Three huge boxes of stockbooks of French Colonies was put in front of me at the end of July. Naturally I was pleased to get them. It seems like most areas are represented and as you can imagine it will take some time to price up. This month I only had time to work on New Caledonia. Much of the bulk is actually post Independence material. I think I know which French dealer used to own these books!
German “Areas”. Part of a dealer’s stock, this lot included Allenstein, Marienwerder, Danzig, Memel, Saar, Gen Govt etc. The main area for new items was Memel with the Lithuanian part well represented.
North Korea. When did you last see a stock of North Korea? I was offered one during the month and gladly accepted. The coverage was very patchy and they are all cheap items but the condition is good and it makes a good start. Lots of mini sheets were present.
Latvia. It is rare to see a good lot of early Latvia but one came my way! Many of the scarce sets from the 1930s were present.
Luxembourg. My stock was already strong but this new collection was very comprehensive from early issues up to the modern era. There were no Official stamps but I had re-stocked these only a short while ago anyway! This time all the Charity sets were present from the first onwards plus just about all the definitive stamps after a selection of the early Arms types.
Monaco. I came across a two volume collection of fine used Monaco and hurriedly added the stamps to stock. The condition was excellent and give me a solid range of these attractive issues.
Norway. I worked on a collection that covered most periods up to 1991, just missing the early Posthorn issues. Then there were some more new issues including stamps showing World War 2 and Tourist sites.
USA. Recently I have bought three early collections/lots of USA. Between them there is extensive coverage of issues from about the 1870s up to 1940. Many rare values of the Washington + Franklin issues were to be found as well as quantities of some of the early commemoratives. I still have work to do on these: work that will take some time due to their complexity. In addition I received some more recent issues (2016-8) from one of my usual suppliers. These too are scarce as we all know how few stamps are used on mail these days.
It was a quiet month for orders, probably due to hot weather and the World Cup. This trend started in mid June when both of these conditions applied. All the same many of my regular customers did their bit and there were some sizeable orders too. A reasonable number of new clients appeared as well.
Sales of Commonwealth material were well down but Australia was particularly popular. Other countries showing well included GB, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, NZ, Monaco + Albania.
The big event was of course the summer York Fair. Sales were well down on summer 2017 but that had been a record. I was still quite pleased with this year although it was like my old school reports “could have done better”. The Chichester Fair was similar: down on 2017 but still not bad. Wokingham was excellent but against a backdrop of a declining event.
There was no specific trend with sales this month. I need to bring a variety of countries to Fairs because everyone seems to want something different!
NEWSLETTER JULY 2018
After returning from Finland on 2 June, I stayed here without any trips! I got my nose down and sorted lots of material for stock as you will see below. I have ordered stamps from my top-selling countries for the York Fair (20-21 July) and most has arrived. There are stamps from Canada, Sweden and France to come.
June was busy with four Fairs and a high number of postal sales. I am a little disappointed there has not been a more sales from www.robstineextra.com but we will press ahead as I am convinced it will be a winner. I feel few people know about it currently which naturally limits its effectiveness. So far we have about 2500 items in the gallery with excellent links across the site and back to this site. I am adding items weekly but will put more items up from the countries you want.
In the lead up to the York Fair I am working on my main countries to ensure the stock is at its best. I am even replacing several old folders to improve the presentation.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. My Aussie supplier sent me an excellent lot of stamps from my wants list. Every so often I run out of certain stamps and need to replenish. This guy is good at this! The gaps had been in the last ten years and most of them are now re-filled. Of course there were more new issues such as QE2 Birthday and Cloud Patterns.
Commonwealth. Much of my effort this month was on KG6 Commonwealth. I had two very good collections to merge into stock. My coverage is strong with good back-up. Some new items were added, especially Indian States. Other work on Commonwealth included:
---British Virgin Islands: a good range of QE2 issues.
---South African Homelands: the first time I have had these in stock.
---Papua New Guinea.
---Tokelau. Also the first time I have had these.
Denmark: new issues, Europa Bridges and fish.
Estonia. A small collection came my way, covering the years 1992-99.
Finland. I priced up the stamps I bought during my trip to Finland at the end of last month. The stamps covered the period 1999-2007 which is difficult to obtain.
France. I had a collection covering the years 2000-2007 with complete coverage. In addition there were several “private” mini sheets etc which I will feature on www.robstineextra.com soon.
Germany: I sorted stamps from many German areas as follows:
---Colonies: Hard-to-find values of Mariana and Marshall Islands.
---“Areas”: Bohemia + Moravia, General Government plus smaller numbers of Zara and Laibach etc.
---Zones: new values across the different Zones (Allied, French, Soviet etc) plus locals.
---DDR: most gaps in stock have been filled.
---“Reich” (1872-1945): high values from the 1872 Eagles and various oddments across the years.
Iceland: new issues including Europa Bridges, young animals and art.
Ireland: new issues including Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, Europa Bridges and St Kevin.
Italian States: the first time I have had these in stock. The quality was quite good which is unusual for nineteenth century issues and the previous collector obviously knew his stuff as you can tell from the ID of the various items.
Latvia and Lithuania. A range of stamps from the period 1992-2000.
New Zealand. My excellent supplier has sent me gap-fillers for my stock. I did not have many gaps in stock, but even less now! Then there were also more new issues including Reconnecting and scenic views.
Sweden: new issues dating back to last autumn. These new issues included Lighthouses, flowers, Christmas 2017, fish etc. My supplier is lining up for me a batch of earlier stamps from my wants list.
USA. My USA supplier has forwarded to me stamps from the last three years.
In terms of the number of orders, June was the busiest month since January. The average spend was down but it is good to keep a greater number of collectors happy! I have noticed a tailing-off of orders since the World Cup and the hot weather started.
The range of material bought was different this month. Commonwealth sold quite well but much less than the previous eleven months. The top sellers in June were Australia, Belgium and Finland with France, Berlin, West Germany and Luxembourg not far behind. Most of these countries usually do well but Finland sales followed interest from my trip to that country.
I attended four Fairs during June. Those at Sevenoaks and Potters Bar were excellent with lots of keen collectors. Most of the regulars came along with one or two new people. The Amersham Solo Fair was OK but it was the poorest Wokingham Fair for two years. Overall my performance at Fairs continues to be buoyant.
It is hard to pick out the strongest countries as almost all areas have been in demand one way or another. Perhaps we could look at France, Australia, Commonwealth and Saar as being notable. It can be difficult deciding what material to bring to fairs as my car will only take so many boxes!
Once the World Cup, hot weather and York Fair have all gone, I will still have lots of material to sort out. Among these are Latin America, Bulgaria, Romania and more Commonwealth. Who knows what else may present itself!
NEWSLETTER JUNE 2018
I was on my travels this month. I had two shortish birding trips (Devon + Cornwall and Norfolk) for migration in this country. Then I went to Finland at the end of the month on another birding trip, mainly to see Owls. However I extended the trip forwards to see if I could find a supplier for Finnish stamps.
I did make contact with someone in Finland and came back with lots of items from 1999-2007, a tricky period. It was also educational. Across Europe, collectors like to obtain stamps with full cancellations (date, town etc) whereas many British collectors want to see the stamp’s design and so like corner cancels. In Finland a stamp that normally sells for one Euro will sell for 5-6 Euros if it has a full cancellation as above. On earlier stamps the price difference is greater. So my new Finnish contact was reluctant to sell me several stamps where he had the potential for a much higher price. All the same I bought good numbers and hope for more to come. It is just that it will not be so plain sailing as it is with many other countries.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Commonwealth QE2 period. This was perhaps the main area I worked on during the month. I was breaking down a collection of all Colonies from 1953-76 with variable coverage from almost nothing to almost completeness. Since I started stocking this area, I have been surprised by how popular it is. Perhaps what has struck me most is the interest in the 1960s Omnibus issues: Red Cross, ITU, World Cup etc.
Denmark. I received my first consignment from new Danish suppliers this month. It was only a small lot but you have to start somewhere and hopefully they can locate more items now they know what I seek. This lot consisted of odd values filling gaps that had appeared in stock over the previous months.
Finland. More new issues this month including a set for the World Wildlife Fund.
Italy. Just some gap-fillers from the last few years. I need to get back in touch with my man in Torino to fill all the other gaps that customers have created!
Lithuania. It has not been easy locating stocks of the Baltic States from independence in the 1990s. This month I have added a reasonable amount of items from the 1990s which makes a good start. At the time of independence I had a few contacts in Lithuania and supplies were plentiful. Interest over here waned quickly though especially as there was so much bogus material from parts of the old Soviet Union that wanted independence. It was hard to see sometimes which issues were official and which were not. In the end customers lost interest because there were about 15 new issuing countries (Ukraine, Kazakstan, the Baltic States etc) and it was all too much.
Luxembourg. I now have a good range of their stamps from the 2010s. Previously all that I had seen consisted of stamps with heavy FDC cancels which we all try to avoid. Why these cancellations are popular on the continent baffles me. Collectors want to see the design not a pile of ink! Anyway while putting these stamps into stock I managed to solve a problem I had with my Luxembourg list. I had been unable to add new material to the list but now it is all up to date as you will see.
Macedonia. Similarly to the ex Soviet countries, the break-up of Yugoslavia created many new stamp issuing countries. Macedonia is one of the most neglected, so I was pleased to locate a small amount of their stamps. Mostly these are part sets but that is better than nothing!
Netherlands. This was a smallish lot of mainly recent issues, including commemoratives and definitives. These came from a relatively new Dutch supplier and had much nicer cancellations than some I had seen recently.
Norway. Some new issues arrived: Fish, Europa etc.
San Marino. These are very hard to find. Luckily I came across an attractive range from the first issue up to 1936. Considering the small population of San Marino, you can see why fine used stamps from here are like hen’s teeth. It is true stamp dealers will have created more mail but even so, the numbers of used stamps are not great.
May was the quietest month for orders since December, although there are extenuating circumstances. Being away so much naturally curtailed the number of days I could handle orders so June will look busier due to my absence in Finland during the last week of May. All the same May is often a quiet month for postal orders. Does gardening take over or are people on holiday more?
Orders were spread across the board in May. The Commonwealth remained popular but with a smaller total. Australia and New Zealand performed quite well with Canada taking second spot. Other countries showing interest were Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg and Sweden.
I attended two events during May: the monthly Wokingham Fair and my Solo Fair in Bromsgrove. Both were above budget which is brilliant. I have loyal, regular customers in both venues and it is always nice to see them and catch up on the news.
Again, a wide variety of countries were sold. Notable were Albania and Yugoslavia with Saar and Greenland contributing. When I am trying to decide which books to bring to fairs it is not always easy bearing in mind the variety of interests but luckily many customers give me a hint as to what I should bring!
I will probably not go away again until the York fair so I intend to price up lots more new material. In a month’s time we will see how I get on!
NEWSLETTER MAY 2018
Similar to the weather, this month has been very variable. One week was jolly busy with several good sales, then the next week was like falling off a cliff (although I do not intend to find out how it feels). It felt like the poorer the weather, the less orders I received and I have never noticed that so starkly before. As I write this, the sun is beating down and there is not a cloud in the sky, so I am hopeful!
Progress is being made on my second web site www.robstineextra.com and by the time you read this, there may be nearly 2000 items visible on the site. I started with a smattering of items from most of my main countries but now I am trying to produce bigger lots each time I work on a country. Japan is a good example of this. There is a mixture of fine used and mint items plus a few selections. I can be led by you on the selection of items as there is no shortage of material.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. The Aussies have been “active” with their new issues lately. Among the subjects have been a set of Finches, a stamp commemorating the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and another set after World War One, this time homing in on Memorials. Finally the annual issue for the Queen’s Birthday using tasteful pinks and sky blues with lots of flowers.
Australian Antarctic Territory. A set of stamps showing Seals has been issued, including one or two cute images.
Belgium. It was good to meet one of my Belgian suppliers at the Antwerp Fair. He had a lot of material for me although I still need more. I have received a few substantial orders for Belgium lately so there is always a need to replenish stocks. The new stock included values from most periods.
---Indian States. I was offered a very valuable lot of KG6 Convention States including many high values. These stamps are very hard to obtain so this purchase was very pleasing. I still have a number of QV-KG5 items to sort and price. When is the next rainy day?
---Jamaica. I priced up a collection of Jamaica with material from the first issue up to the 1970s. At the same time, I added some items to the section in www.robstineextra.com
---Seychelles. Another single “country” lot which covered the early period right through to QE2. I do travel sometimes to obtain stocks, but perhaps I should go to the Seychelles in search of stamps. It will be a hard job, but someone has to do it!
Estonia. Finding fine used modern Baltic States stamps is not easy. However I did pick up a reasonable amount at the Antwerp Fair. It was a shame I had no time to look for stamps in Tallinn during my recent trip but perhaps another time. I have been told there is a paucity of stamps in Tallinn but I am willing to try!
Germany-Saar. My German supplier found me a few more of the 1930s Charity issues following on from those last time.
Germany (West + Unified). A smallish batch of recent issues again following a decent lot last month.
Greece. It was high time I did something about my Greek stock, especially as I had bought three more collections which needed to be merged into the existing range. I was pleased with the results. Firstly the “easy” part of Greece was covered in each collection so I now have some depth. Then there was a decent range of earlyish issues. Sorry but I have not attempted to sort the Large Hermes Heads. That will have to wait for another day, but I do have quite a lot of them. Then I found several Postage Dues and Islands (Samos, Crete etc) particularly in one collection. So my Greek selection is now better than it has been for a long time.
Greenland. I finally made contact with the couple I had met last summer in Finland. They are based in Denmark and seem to stock all of Scandinavia. After trouble with missing e-mails, we are now firmly in touch and the first stamps I have received from them has been an excellent little lot of Greenland, filling various gaps in my range. It has been many moons since I added to my Greenland stock, partly due to a lack of demand. Hopefully now there will be a resurgence.
Hawaii. It was only a small selection but I was more than content to come across these as they do not see the light of day very often. Some of the better items are visible on www.robstineextra.com
Iceland. Various odd values bought to fill gaps during my trip to Antwerp at the end of March. More importantly, I broke down a significant collection with many better values covering most periods.
Ireland. New issues this month include a set of four stamps for Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (plus mini sheet), the INTO Teachers’ organisation, a love heart and of course St Patrick. More values have appeared to form part of the “historical object” definitive series. I am sorry but I find these boring, especially after the lovely bird and flower stamps.
Italian Colonies-Eritrea. A lovely little collection came into my hands. I already had a decent range of these stamps but several gaps were filled and the quality was good too. Above, I said it would be nice to visit the Seychelles in search of stock, but I think I will give a trip to Eritrea a miss!
Japan. This was the biggest single job I undertook during the month. I had a smallish stock already but had purchased four more lots since then. I spent nearly two weeks getting it all in order and still I have 4-5 books to sort out. I did not study the early issues due to lack of time (and the fact they are so complicated) but all the middle period has been done. There are more stamps in the 2000s to price up when I next get on with Japan. One of the major additions to stock was quite a good range of the Prefectures, although again I know there is more to include sometime soon.
Luxembourg. Until recently the only Luxembourg of the last few years that I have been offered has been complete with intrusive FDC cancels. Why the continentals like these kind of postmarks is beyond me. Anyway I will soon be listing a number of new items once I get over a computer glitch at the end of my Luxembourg list. I have just had a bright idea that might solve the problem.
New Zealand. Just new issues this time. One set commemorates the sinking of the Wahine in Wellington Harbour and the other is another World War One set.
As I said above, it has been a strange month with many good sales then almost nothing to follow! The actual number of orders was only slightly down on the average.
The Commonwealth was again the main area, rivalling January for the number of orders. Those two hardy regulars, Australia and Belgium, were again next in line with big orders being the norm for Belgium. Other countries making an impression were France, Luxembourg and Sweden.
I was very pleased with the Fairs during April. My Solo Fair in Oxford and the monthly Wokingham Fair were both well above budget. I am even more worried about the Wokingham Fair, however, as the number of dealers was low as was the number of customers. Thank you to all my regulars who keep me going!
The Potters Bar Fair was also very good, but as I had a bumper year in 2017, it was hard to keep up with the stringent budget for this event. The only fly in the ointment was Chichester Fair where many of my regulars were nowhere to be seen.
Just two events during May: Wokingham (13th) and my Solo Fair in Bromsgrove (20th).
Thank you again to all my customers and I hope to see you or hear from you again jolly soon!
NEWSLETTER APRIL 2018
March has been a very busy month. As you can see below I have priced up a huge range of new stock from a number of different countries. Lots more to do. Perhaps I had a little more time on my hands as the number of postal orders was slightly down, but still with a high yield. The cold weather must have had an effect too, especially as snow prevented me from attending the Sevenoaks Fair.
The other big news is the launch of my second web site: www.robstineextra.com Here you will find a growing range of items across the board, all shown in high quality scans. Of course to start with the selection is just that: a selection. As time goes by I intend to keep posting more and more items: high value fine used stamps, mint stamps and sets plus selections of various countries. Many of these would not have been catered for in this, my original web site. On the new site, you have the facility to put items into a “cart” and pay by paypal; both new departures for me.
Lastly, I visited Antwerp over the last weekend in March to attend the Antwerpfila Stamp Fair. I had two contacts to renew: one for Belgian stamps and the other for recent European stamps. Both of these people had stamps for me and I made a new contact where I bought lots of Belgian Congo and Ruanda. These stamps will be sorted in the next few days and will be detailed in next month’s Newsletter.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Albania. It was high time for me to sort out three good lots of this underrated country so when I bought a fourth lot, I could wait no longer! I have expanded my range of early issues and the 1960s-1980s too. I already had a comprehensive stock of the middle period. One lot had several good mint sets which will be found on www.robstineextra.com
Australia. Just new issues this month involving a set of Banksia flowers plus antique jam labels.
---Bahawalpur (found in my list just after Pakistan): A full range of fine used stamps from this attractive period. Hard to find in fine used condition.
---British Antarctic. A complete range of the first 20 years or so.
---British Levant. Someone had put together a wide range of these issues and it found its way into my hands. I mixed these in with some from a general Commonwealth lot that I am slowly working through.
---Brunei. Again I found a lovely lot which was comprehensive from SG1 up to the 1970s with many high values.
---Falklands and Dependencies. I bought an excellent collection that covered most sets from the start through to the 1970s and the condition was well above average.
---Pitcairn. I already had a solid range of these stamps but this new collection expanded what I had.
---South Georgia. Attached to the Falklands collection, this selection offered items up to the 1970s.
Czechoslovakia. After waiting four months I finally received the stamps from a big wants list I sent my Prague supplier. Probably my original letter got lost in the post. My stock had been getting thin in places but now most gaps have been filled, from 1919 up to 2017. This included Czech Republic and Bohemia + Moravia.
Faroes. A small batch of new issues included a mini sheet with flies, a set for Mr Muller and two lovely landscape stamps.
Finland. Some new issues including a mini sheet for Mr Topelius and attractive greetings stamps.
France. My Paris supplier responded to my wants list with an excellent lot from the 1930s to 2011. I have a comprehensive range already so these were gap fillers. In addition I bought a number of mini sheets from 2012-4.
Germany-Saar. Two fabulous lots came my way this month. One was just about complete from 1945 onwards while the other was a strong lot from beginning to end. In addition I bought some difficult items from my regular supplier in Germany. I have never had such a good selection of this area.
Germany (West). My German supplier filled most gaps for me from a list I sent him. Also my range of new issues has been greatly improved, bringing us just into 2018.
Israel. A collection came my way, almost all with tabs which are important. The range was almost complete, although of course some have already been sold!
Luxembourg. I bought two lots during the month. The first was a thorough collection from SG1 to the 1970s with many of the good sets and singles. The second lot was an important collection of the Official issues with several of the high value early issues. My stock was already good but has been taken to another level.
Malta. An English supplier found me a top level collection of this country. There were almost all the stamps from the start through to the 1970s. Another collection was nearly as good so I am now in a better position than ever before with Malta.
Mexico. For the first time, I have set up a small selection of this country. There is a long, long way to go to have a comprehensive stock, but you have to start somewhere! The stamps I have are sorted by the simplified Stamps of the World catalogue, not the specialised book. The range goes from the start up to the 1970s.
Monaco. I merged four lots of Monaco into my small existing stock. Between them, they gave me quite good coverage of this attractive stamp producing country. I am always amused by the fact they have produced over 150 air mail stamps, but they do not have an airport!
Morocco. I came across a three volume lot which had a solid range of issues from the French period and a comprehensive range of the early independent years. I show all these in my Africa North listing. The collection had a big number of mint stamps too, so some are to be seen at www.robstineextra.com and I still have an entire volume of modern mint issues to price up!
Norway. New issues this month featured wildlife: a penguin, a seal and three owls. Lovely stamps!
Switzerland. I bought a thin volume of League of Nations issues with some United Nations too. These were lightly duplicated so my depth of stock has improved as has my range. Among these were some particularly good grilled gum issues.
A slightly quieter month than the last two but still the number of orders kept me busy. It was especially quiet during periods of snow across the country and I fully understand this.
Often I have sales concentrated on three or four countries, usually the Commonwealth, Australia and perhaps Belgium. This month sales were from all corners. However, the Commonwealth and Australia continued to perform well, followed by GB and Canada, then France, Switzerland and Albania. This has been the best month for sales of GB. I had quietly built up a good stock but not broadcast the fact because so many British dealers have a stock. Customers are now noticing that I have a good lot too!
During March I attended two Fairs: my solo Fair in Amersham and the monthly Wokingham Fair. Sales were good at both, especially Wokingham where I continue to find good things for regular customers despite the Fair itself being quiet.
Regrettably I had to miss the Sevenoaks Fair due to snow. It fell overnight so when I got up there was a covering of a few inches with more falling until late morning. Any other day would have been OK but not that Sunday!
LAST MINUTE UPDATES
Today, the link has been established from www.robstine-stamps.com to www.robstineextra.com enabling everyone to travel from one site to another. Then a separate section has been set up for Australian States and Channel Islands. Currently very little is visible on the Channel Islands section but hopefully there will be soon! The Isle of Man list will be produced soon as well.
NEWSLETTER MARCH 2018
February was of course a short month especially as I had a short break to Estonia on a birding holiday. The main reason for going was to see Steller’s Eider, an arctic duck which you can see on the Aland Islands stamp. The temperature was minus 2-6 all the time so I was prepared for the weather here at the end of the month!
Much of my sorting activity was concentrated on the QE2 Commonwealth lot with time spent also on the Egypt. Lots to do still so I will not be bored!
UPDATES ON STOCK
Canada. My supplier in Ontario sent me a bumper lot of new and recent issues. These had been held up in the Parcelforce sorting office but finally they arrived. Recent Canada is very popular and I keep needing to re-order some sets. 90% of the Canada I sell is from the last five years!
Commonwealth. This was the major task of the month. I found a twelve volume collection of QE2 stamps housed in Palo albums from America. Beautiful books, solid, attractive and with coloured pictures of many of the stamps. There were lots of new stamps for stock from several countries. Big additions were Ghana, Tonga, Sierra Leone, Trin + Tob etc. The condition of the stamps matched the albums: excellent!
Egypt. A lot of work has gone on here. I already had a small stock but this month I included four more lots: two of the “British” period and two lots from independence onwards. These stamps are listed in my Africa North section.
German Zones. A small collection with several better values came my way. Each part of the Zones was represented including some good mini sheets.
Gibraltar. A range of modern items has been merged into my existing stock. My QE2 range is strong and I have two more lots to merge in.
Greece. I made a start on pricing up two collections to include in my stock. More to come soon.
Isle of Man. A colleague has been working on various books of Isle of Man and putting it in order. There is more to come and when it has been finished, I will create a price list. Similarly, work on the Channel Islands will follow.
Mauritius. I added two lots to stock. One was an early collection, up to 1936 from which I found several new values. Then there was a QE2 collection as well with many complete sets.
Montenegro. Just a small collection to make a start with this country.
New Zealand. Two new issues: New Year and Cycle Trails with mini sheets of course!
Serbia. A new area for me with quite a good range already. When I bought it, it was marked up as Romania!
South African Provinces. Three lots have been priced up and listed. I now have a significant number of Cape Triangulars and decent displays of some other issues. I have bought another good lot and just need more time to add it to the range!
A reasonable month with a decent amount of orders, without being world-shattering! A little less demand for Commonwealth, but still 20% of the total. Other countries performing well were Canada, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Ireland and Egypt. Thailand and West Germany did well too.
Just two fairs in February; Potters Bar and Wokingham. Both were good for me although the events were not well supported by customers. Luckily I had no Fairs later in the month so I avoided the snow on Fair days.
A wide variety of countries were bought. Perhaps notable were Australia with USA, Germany and Commonwealth doing well too.
As I write this there is snow on the ground as there is across the country. Hopefully it will all go in the next day or two and things will warm up in time for next weekend as I have two Fairs!
NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2018
2018 has begun in a very promising way. Lots of orders through the post, including several new customers
And a busy York Fair, again with new customers among the hardy regulars. I managed a short birding break to Norfolk early in the month. My stay there coincided with three days of storm force winds from Siberia which made walks “interesting”. One of the mornings at Holme was fabulous as the winds had forced the seabirds to move along the coast. I found a sheltered spot in the dunes which made observation more easy.
I have been offered more tempting stock during January which will be described in future newsletters. Much of it has been Commonwealth but mixed in with European countries and some further flung places too.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australian States. With the help of a collector friend of mine, my Aussie States has now been sorted and priced. You could never call this range comprehensive but there are some useful items there. Currently the list is to be found at the end of my Commonwealth A- list, but that may change.
Australia. I finally sorted 7 “club books” from a German source. They housed nice copies of several Roo and George V values plus commems and Navigators. Mostly these were backup to existing stock but a few gaps in stock were filled.
Austrian Post Offices in Crete Following on from the POs in the Turkish Empire stock described last month, there was a significant little lot of this area too.
Belgium. I was offered a small dealer’s stock with stamps from 1952-78. I had most of these in stock already but I am always running out of some values and sets. Getting these spurred me on to sorting the phosphors of some issues. What a wonderful hour that was! c`
Canada. I merged into stock a useful collection with odd values previously missing from my range.
Caymans. I put into stock a lovely lot of Caymans this month. Much of it was from a single “country” collection plus others from Imperial album pages. There were good early definitives plus the complete set of the Centenary of Assembly issue. A hard set to complete.
Denmark. More new issues and this year Denmark was the first country to send me the stamps of 2018. There are roses, dreams and smiles!
Faroes. A bundle of new issues came my way. The subjects included the 7 swans, national costumes and the Reformation.
France. Previously I had stopped stocking France at 2011 due to a lack of demand and the fact that circular cancels are almost impossible to find on stamps after that year. One of my postal customers asked me to obtain some singles and mini sheets, so while I was doing that I also ordered a selection of stamps from 2012 as long as they had circular cancels. It will not be long before I need to order more France and I will continue to catch up a little.
Guatemala. I thought it was high time I worked on some Latin America and I chose Guatemala. I remembered from some years ago that this was a very popular country among the Latins and I had three lots on which to work. So you will find the result listed in my Latin America E-N list, which still has some countries to be sorted entirely.
Italy. Two postwar collections came along together and most of one of them has been merged into stock. Not many of the stamps filled gaps but they give more depth to my “inventory” as the Americans call it.
Thailand. This was one of the best lots I was offered during January. It was a dealer’s stock seemingly from Germany, judging by the notes in the books. It was a well duplicated lot, not complete but not far off. There were some better early issues then lots of colourful modern commemoratives.
Trieste. The second good lot of this area in a short period of time. Both Zones A + B were well represented including many of the key values. It beats me why the Gymnastics set of Trieste is so cheap when there are many less copies than of the Italian set. Presumably there is much more demand for Italy than Trieste despite greater supply as well.
Tristan da Cunha. I had a useful collection to merge into stock. It covered the period from KG6 to1989, not as far as some of my existing stock. Tristan is selling well so more stock was welcome.
USA. One of my suppliers sent me some important values from the 1920s-30s. Included were the Franklin 2 + 5 dollar bicoloured stamps and the single Zeppelin stamp, which went almost as soon as it arrived! My other supplier worked hard to find me recent issues and achieved quite a lot. These days it is not easy getting USA new issues so I was pleased with what he found.
January was a busy month for orders, in fact the highest number of orders since February 2016! December had been a good month too so that is good news. I was pleased to receive orders from a good group of new customers too.
The Commonwealth countries continue to dominate the orders and even more so this month. Australia then France were next in line with good performances from Austria, Canada, GB and Romania.
This month was dominated by the winter York Fair and it did not disappoint. The first day was quiet, perhaps due to snow on the Pennines preventing some customers from west of the hills from attending. But day 2 was a major success. Many of the new customers were Commonwealth collectors which is fine by me.
The other Fairs (Wokingham, Chichester and Bromsgrove) were quite good without being up to recent sales. A complete range of stock sold at the Fairs this month without any country dominating.
NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2018
December was a strange month, not just because of Christmas, but partly due to the poorer weather. I had to duck out of the Wokingham Fair due to frightful weather and not many people came to see me at Oxford. I enjoyed a trip to Cyprus over Christmas itself, joining a group of natural history enthusiasts. Much of the weather was balmy with temperatures over 20 and this always lifts the spirits. The sight of a pair of Bonelli’s Eagles overhead was the highlight.
Back to stamps. I made a major purchase this month. Much of it is Commonwealth areas from a single collection. I have sorted the Malaya and Singapore (see below) and hopefully much of the rest will be handled in he following weeks. Other areas to be sorted include Italy, Belgium, Trieste and the Austrian Post Offices in Crete.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. My regular supplier sent me almost all of those items I requested in a wants list. These were mainly gaps that needed filling, leaving my stock largely complete. Much of what I am selling is new issues or stamps from the last five years.
Austrian Post Offices in the Turkish Empire. I have been neglecting this area of collecting for a long time. Now, I have been able to add a fabulous lot with great completeness. It was highly duplicated, so I have good back up stock. There is some interests in the postmarks, although I price these for the stamps, not the postmarks.
Bermuda. I had obtained three lots, covering all periods from QV to QE2, greatly increasing my range.
Commonwealth-KG6. Towards the end of November, I bought two big collections of this popular area. Of course many of the stamps were already in stock but I added lots of new items to my range. Especially of note were the various overprints on GB stamps, Bahawalpur, Sudan and the West Indies. For many of these colonies, I am complete with good back up. As you can imagine, my Indian States stock is partial, but most other areas look good!
Commonwealth-QE2. More areas sorted from the big lot I bought in the summer, as follows:
---Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania (separately) and KUT together. This is the first time I have offered much of this material.
---Lesotho. I already had a good range of these but there were some new values from this selection.
---Nigeria. This lot was partial but I have another lot to merge in when I get a chance.
Czechoslovakia. Two lots were added: 1918-36 and the 1970s. Some gaps were filled, although I am waiting for a delivery of a big lot from Prague.
Denmark. There is more to come but a number of early stamps were added to my range. I have a very strong selection of the first issues.
Germany (West). These stamps continue to be popular and some gaps were appearing. Most of these have now been filled again plus a number of new issues. It is noticeable that 80% of what I sell was issued in the last four years!
Germany (Berlin). I broke down a collection that covered the period from the start up to about 1980. It was largely complete including most of the first two sets of overprints.
Iceland. An early collection came my way with a few new values in stock. Notable were some of the 1921-30 surcharges.
Italian Colonies. It is probably 12-15 years since I received such a good lot of these Colonies. Very notable are the overprints for the Post Offices in Corfu, China and the Turkish Empire. Also I found several new items among Eritrea, Somalia, Cyrenaica + Tripolitania. There are lots of high values but some more “affordable” stamps too.
Japan. A supplier in the Netherlands sent me a nice range of recent Japanese stamps. Some of them were so recent, I cannot list them as I have no catalogue for them! There are lots of pretty pictorials with some complete sets.
Malaya. I have been building up these stamps over the last few months. Even so, I found several new stamps to add to the range. This lot covered Federated, BMA, Postal Union, Johore, Kedah, Kelantan + Malacca. There are now very few gaps in my stock from KG5 to about 1970.
New Zealand. A batch of new issues which included the Christmas stamps plus commemoratives for the royal Platinum Wedding. There were three mini sheets: one for each of these previous sets plus one to celebrate (!) the Royalpex stamp show.
Singapore. Another collection from the beginning up to the early 1980s. What was encouraging was the number of circular cancellations as the stamps of Singapore often bear wavy line postmarks.
USA. I placed orders with both of my USA suppliers and one of them replied immediately. These were stamps that were issued from 1920-the 2000s. Hopefully I will receive the other lot before the York Fair. It should consist of recent issues.
With Christmas, December was a quiet month. It was to be expected! Sales usually slow down after the first week of the month and tail off as Christmas approaches. All the same there were some tremendous orders from regulars, keeping me busy!
About 40% of the orders this month were for Commonwealth stamps and many of these were bigger orders. The only other countries that performed well were Australia, Canada, France + Sweden.
In the end I only attended two Fairs during the month as I had to cancel the Wokingham Fair due to the awful weather. I have been at this Fair every month since 1985, only missing three events before this last one (one due to illness and tow due to snow).
The Potters Bar Fair was good but the Oxford Solo Fair was poorly attended. Top selling countries were Australia, Canada, France and Spain.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY CUSTOMERS (current + future)
NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2017
I said October was busy, but it was just a curtain raiser for November! As you can see from the list of new stock, I spent a lot of time pricing up new material including some new areas. Some dealers complain that they cannot obtain new stocks, but I think some effort is required then you will find it. It is important to get the right stuff in the right quality bit it is around.
I just had one short break this month: a birding trip to Norfolk a few days ago. That recharged the batteries which was just as well as there was a heap of new orders waiting for me on my return. During November. the number of orders was good, in fact the best since November 2016 and the quality of these orders was high too.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. This month’s new issues included another set of Fair Dinkum Alphabet, Art of the North and lots of Christmas stamps. Last time, I said I had placed an order with my Aussie supplier and he did his job well. So this week I have received the stamps in question and next week, I will merge them into my stock.
Austria. I did not need much early Austria but some more came my way and it did extend the stock somewhat. Perhaps more importantly, there were decent ranges of Lombardy + Venetia and the Post Offices in the Turkish Empire and those described by some as Post Offices in Crete. These were not complete as you can imagine but housed several important values.
Belgium. More stock from SG 1 to the 1930s came my way. That included the Orval sets and the Anti TB issues with the high values. Belgium continues to be popular.
Canada. Just one purchase this month: R9. It is a stamp I have not had in stock for a while.
Commonwealth KG6 period. Having bought two more good lots, I made a small start at sorting them and got as far as Aden, Antigua + Ascension!
Commonwealth QE2 period. I am still wading through this big lot and the following areas were sorted and priced up during the month:
---British Antarctic Territory
---British Indian Ocean Territory
---Seychelles + Zil
Denmark. A mini sheet was issued to commemorate the Stamp Show at Vejle, but all they did was overprint the recent automobile mini sheet. Incidentally this was a very expensive item in the first place so to use it again smacks of taking collectors for a ride.
France. Early in November I priced up a stock of early material with some nineteenth century stamps I had been missing. Then I ordered lots of stamps and mini sheets from my regular Parisian supplier. He is always very quick and this time he did not disappoint. I did not quite finish the work on this new stock during November, but by the time you read this I expect all the stamps to be listed fully. The quality of my supplier’s material is always top class.
German States. I have been building up a stock of these over the last few months and this month I added possibly the best lot I have received. Almost all the States are now represented with lots of good values. The quality was above average as well which I regard as just as important as having the stamps at all!
Germany (1872-1945). Not one but two good lots found their way to my office! I was pleased with the condition of the stamps because you can find these stamps around but not always in collectable condition.
German Areas-Saar. I already had a good stock of Saar, but a new lot broadened the scope. Gradually I am finding values from the charity sets issued between the two World Wars.
Iceland. A wodge of new issues landed on my doormat recently. At the same time as we are viewing Blue Planet 2, the Icelanders have produced stamps for the Seabed Ecosystem as well as two stamps depicting Lichen. Modern Art is shown on 4 stamps and a mini sheet for Stamp Day harks back to the early mini sheets this country produced.
Ireland. Quite a selection of new issues this month. Of course there were Christmas stamps but a varied lot including Che Guevara (!), the Apparitions of Fatima etc accompanied them. A customer pointed out that I had missed some stamps from the start of the year so I have now rectified that.
Italy: Trieste. It is not often you see a decent lot of this area, but I have been able to add various items to my range during the last few days. Both zones A + B were represented.
New Zealand. I have to prepare for the York Fair well ahead of time, so last month I placed an order for material from NZ, mainly to fill gaps that had appeared in my stock. As usual, my NZ suppliers came up with the goods so my stock is looking strong.
Norway. New issues this month included Christmas of course plus some cars and help for the deaf.
Romania. About 15 books of this country have been sitting on my shelves for months. So, finally I got to working on a large part of them. Most of the pictorials and commemoratives are now sorted and priced up in a new list. The range is comprehensive from the early 1950s to after 1975 with decent ranges at other times. However, at this stage, sorting all the early definitives, postage dues etc etc is not possible. Hopefully before too long, I will get a chance to do these.
Spain. Although nothing has been forthcoming from my Spanish supplier, I discovered a nice lot of early material a few weeks ago. This consisted of nineteenth century issues and several items up to the 1930s. I have a decent representation of the pictorials from the 1920s and 1930s although more would be handy.
Spanish Colonies. Another area where stamps are hard to find. Many of these went quickly but I now have a small stock listed at the back of my Spain list.
As I mentioned above, the number of orders was very high in November. Interestingly, the number of new clients was the highest in 2017. Although I love my regulars, I do need new blood too. That is the ideal mixture: good solid regular customers and newcomers.
Commonwealth stamps were top sellers again in November with Australia doing especially well too. Next in line were Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, Spain and Portuguese Colonies.
I attended two Fairs in November: Wokingham + Sevenoaks. Wokingham was average but the Sevenoaks Fair was excellent, following a few good Fairs at this venue.
It is no surprise that Commonwealth + Australia were the top sellers at these two Fairs. Other countries doing well were Canada, Berlin, GB + Italy.
October was a busy month all in all. I visited Holland on a buying trip and bought stamps from three contacts I had made on previous trips. It was nice to see them again and I got ideas on what else they could sell me. During my visit to a Stamp Fair in Apeldoorn, I bumped into my Dutch customers who come to see me at York. I was even lucky with my hotel. It was the same one I stayed in 18 months ago and on arrival, one of the reception staff said “hello, I remember you from last time” and promptly upgraded my room!
Sales have been good both by post and at Fairs. I do worry about the state of Stamp Fairs currently and for the future, but my takings give me nothing to complain about. I see a healthy mixture of old friends and some new customers which is reassuring.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. More new issues including flowers, a concession stamp and Women at War. I have just placed an order with my Australian supplier to fill in various odd gaps that have appeared in my stock recently. They should be here by early December.
Austria. New stock came in two areas for Austria: some recent commemoratives and the Fieldpost period especially Bosnia.
Belgian Colonies. I added a small range of Congo and some Ruanda this month.
Canada. A lovely lot of new and recent issues came from my Canadian supplier. Recent Canada continues to sell well so I need constant replenishing. At the same time a few earlier gaps were filled.
China. I always said I would not stock Chinese stamps, but a lovely lot of early items came with something else, so you will now find a selection in my Asia list.
Commonwealth QE2 selection. I have been sidetracked by other things this month, so only a little of this area has been processed. The areas in question are:
---Kiribati: I have never had any stocks of Kiribati or Tuvalu before!
Denmark. It has been quiet for Danish new issues lately, but I now have a set of flowers in stock. The problem is that Denmark only issues self-adhesive stamps now and all the recent issues do not soak off paper. This is an unfortunate retrograde step by a country that should know better.
Finland. More new issues although not a flood like some countries. During my visit to Holland, I picked up a number of earlier items that filled gaps in stock.
French Colonies. I am part way through sorting a selection of this area. To start with, all the stamps are pre 1936 and feature these colonies: all the Comoro Islands, Benin, Dahomey, Cameroun, Canton, French POs in China, Cilicia, Kavalla + French POs in Crete. Much more to come!
German Colonies. This area of collecting also received a boost this month with new stamps in all areas.
Ireland. Various new issues including railway station, Royal Sites of Ireland and ploughing!
Luxembourg. I bought quite a few recent issues during my trip to Holland.
Malaya. I had various lots of Malaya waiting to be sorted and luckily for me a good friend who is an expert in this area, did the sorting job for me. A number of stamps were new to stock across all the States and the Straits, FMS etc.
Netherlands + Colonies. During my trip to Amsterdam, I managed to obtain a lot of new material. Some of my older Colonies are now very strong, helped by another purchase of early material which came in before my trip. It was also useful to actually see the stocks of my contacts so I know what to order next!
New Zealand. More new issues which included Grow Your Own vegetables (not my scene!) and a big sheetlet about the Maori language. I thought it was high time I filled some gaps in stock, so an order has gone across to my NZ supplier and hopefully the stamps will be with me by the end of November.
Portuguese Colonies. One of my major acquisitions during October was a range of these stamps. All the Colonies were represented with some really very elusive stamps. In the main the quality was good too as you often see poor ranges of these Colonies.
The number of orders was the highest since March and among them were several good solid lots. The only small drawback is that the number of new customers has been very low in the last three months, so my regulars and occasionals are keeping me going.
As usual the Commonwealth followed by Australia were my main selling areas this month. There were some surprises though in that countries like Czechoslovakia + Liechtenstein along with French + Netherlands Colonies made significant showings.
I attended four Fairs in October: two Solo Fairs in Bromsgrove and Amersham plus a regular Fair in Chichester and the monthly event at Wokingham. Three of those Fairs were above budget with only Bromsgrove letting the side down! The Chichester Fair is particularly noteworthy as the number of customers I see has greatly increased which is wonderful.
Again, Australia + general Commonwealth were the top sellers. A number of other areas performed well: Austria, Canada, France, GB, Ireland and particularly New Zealand.
NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2017
I have made some changes to the first page of my web site. You will see I have re-arranged my list of lists so it separates the Commonwealth, Europe and Rest of World countries. I hope this makes it easier for you to find things. I have made some sections stand on their own feet too, such as India and Hong Kong where previously they were hidden in a very long general Commonwealth listing. This means less scrolling down for you all!
Top level lots of new stock continue to come my way. I am still wading through various Commonwealth selections and now I have a fabulous all world lot covering the early years up to the mid 1930s. Sorting these stamps takes time, but I will keep you updated in this newsletter as the months go by as to which areas are available.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. New issues this month consisted of stamps showing ship wrecks and Heard Island. This shows how good stamps are for one’s knowledge of geography. I had not heard of Heard Island before, so I googled it and read a little about where it is and what there is there. Hopefully it will now come up in a general knowledge quiz!
Commonwealth. I am still working on the major purchase of QE2 stamps. Most Colonies/Countries present in this lot are comprehensive with most sets present from early QE2 up to 2010-2015. During September, I priced up the following:
---(British) Solomon Islands
---Falklands with Dependencies
In addition, I added some Bechuanaland and Gibraltar to my range.
German States. Often one finds poor quality and forgeries in collections/lots of German States, so I was pleased to purchase a good quality lot recently. There were lots of Bavaria and Wurttemberg as usual, but also good numbers of North German Confederation, Prussia and Saxony for example.
Germany (West). Many of the 2017 issues are now in stock and more to come shortly.
Japan. I already had a range of Japan from 1960 to 2005, but I had no list prepared. So as I was adding more stamps to my range, I spent some time to create my price list and you will now find it under the “Rest of the World” section on page one. There are now some earlier issues and a few gaps were filled through the following decades.
Liechtenstein. I made another major purchase of this country. The lot was almost complete from the first issue to 2002 with most of the high values including the two Zeppelin sets.
Malta. I merged another lot into my stock and it filled lots of gaps at the modern end of the range.
Sweden The latest new issues are now here. They include stamps in honour of the mighty apple (the fruit not the IT company!), the art of Lars Lerin and a mini sheet showing medicinal plants.
Foreign Stamps. During the month, I bought a lovely three volume set of Ideal albums. These comprehensive selections cover most countries in the world (except Commonwealth) from the start up to the mid 1930s. The quality is excellent and as I say the coverage is good. I have just started sorting the first few pages and have added stamps from these places to stock:
---Afghanistan. A small range but the first time I have been able to offer stamps from this country.
---Alaouites. Look in my French Colonies listing which is now visible for the first time.
---Albania. There are some elusive early values which I have added to my existing range.
---Alexandria. To be found in my French Colonies section under French Post Offices in Egypt.
---Algeria. Just one or two stamps added to my comprehensive stock.
---Dodecanese (Aegean) Islands (found in my Italian Colonies selection). There is spectacular Zeppelin set and the two Balbo triptyches.
---Ethiopia (found in my Africa North list)
Rather an average performance this month with a lower number of orders, but a higher average spend. It is very noticeable that Commonwealth has taken over as my top selling area by far. This has of course been helped by the excellent new stocks I have been buying, covering all periods (QV, KE7, KG5, KG6 and QE2). Gradually people have become aware that I have such material.
The next two countries in the popularity stakes were France and Italy followed by Australia and Spain. Lately I have not been ordering much from my overseas suppliers due to the fluctuations in the value of the pound. I am now going to start again slowly filling in gaps in my European countries ranges, even though in many cases there are not too many gaps to be filled!
I was pleased with my Fairs in September. The Sevenoaks Fair ended up at twice my budget and Potters Bar was also above my target, despite several customers being unable to attend. That leaves Wokingham which was another quiet event where I was lucky to have four good customers who collectively, saved the day!
Again, sales covered a wide range of countries. The top seller was Commonwealth closely followed by Australia. Canada and France contributed well.
NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2017
The autumn is upon us and hopefully it means more people will be looking at their collections and deciding what to add to what they already have! The only fly in the ointment is the value of the pound which makes it hard to buy from abroad. I will monitor the situation closely as there are always stamps I need from other countries but I may put off some buying in the short term.
I am not short of material to price up for the market. So I will not be twiddling my thumbs over the next few weeks. I have plenty of material from the Commonwealth, Eastern Europe and some of my staple countries in West Europe, all of which could do with some time spent on them.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. The only new issues this month were an attractive set of dragonflies with 5 values plus a mini sheet.
Baltic States. I am still to find ideal ranges of these three countries but a small lot has helped. Among the pages were stamps from all three countries in the interwar period and the start of more recent independence. The largest number of stamps came from Latvia while the greatest number of items new to my stock are from Lithuania.
Canada. My excellent Canadian supplier sent me a number of recent and new issues. The only trouble was that the envelope had been held up in the post for about 5 weeks! Anyway most recent gaps in my stock were filled and they have already proved popular.
Commonwealth: I made a major purchase of QE2 fine used stamps from many Commonwealth areas. It will take me some time to price it all up, but I have made a start with the areas listed below. Some of these lots come as far as 2015 and consist of mostly complete sets which I have priced singly as usual. Here are the areas covered during August:
---Hong Kong to add to those I listed in July.
---Lesotho and Basutoland
---Tristan da Cunha
Egypt. I had already sorted two small lots of this country a long time ago, but a new purchase of Egyptian material was very welcome. I have now organised all this range and it goes from the early issues up to the 1990s. You will find my list in the Africa North section on this site. The strongest period remains from about 1900-the 1950s.
Finland. You may remember I went to Finland in May to find contacts for modern Finnish stamps. I made some contacts and purchased some material. I followed up one of the contacts who has sent me a few items but it is clear he will not be able to help me long term. A shame as he was a nice guy and seemed well placed to obtain the stamps I needed.
Germany (1872-1945). I bought a wonderful collection of these stamps in the month. It contained many of the key stamps including almost all the Zeppelin issues.
German Zones. I have not put in much work on this area in recent years. So I invested a tidy sum in bringing this stock up to scratch. Many of the items come from the Soviet Zones, but odd gaps in the Anglo-American and French Zones were not neglected.
Great Britain. I have listed much of my earlier GB stock including QV and the Kings stamps. I have often said I did not offer much GB as most other dealers had stocks, but the demand is there and as I have been able to obtain good material, why not!?!
Lebanon. A three volume lot came my way some weeks ago and eventually I put in some work on it during late August. There are issues from the French period and lots from the independent era. I was amazed at how often they produced new definitive sets and they were obviously well used.
New Zealand. A batch of new issues came my way. There is a lovely set of “recovering native birds” and a sheetlet for the Great Kiwi Road Trip, copying the Australian sets of a few years ago.
As it was August, I expected things to be quiet due to holidays etc. The month was actually a little busier than June or July without being back to the number of orders I received in the early part of the year.
Without doubt, this was a Commonwealth month with nearly a third of all orders being for these stamps. Some popular countries were down on recent months (Australia, Austria + Switzerland for instance). Other countries making a good showing included Belgium and USA.
I only attended two Fairs during August: my Solo Fair in Oxford and the monthly event in Wokingham. In both cases the performance was OK without being startling!
It is hard to say which countries stood out but Australia, Austria and the Commonwealth were prominent.
I am writing this after the first Fair of the autumn (Sevenoaks) which was excellent. I am hoping for a good few months for the rest of 2017.
NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2017
The main event in July was the summer York Fair. This year was the best ever with an excellent first day followed by an even better second day. In the ideal world I would have more space as many customers experienced difficulty getting a seat at my stand but the show is squeezed as it is! It was especially encouraging to see customers who came to me for the first time in the last year but returned this time. They must have liked what they saw on the previous occasion. Also some visitors have been coming to see me for almost all of the 30years I have been attending the York Fair.
I have been buying lots of new stock too. I have not really made mention of it in the stock updates below, preferring to talk about new stock when it is ready to be viewed. Suffice to say I have lots more Commonwealth material especially QE2 this time. I have good lots of French Colonies, some Baltics, various bits of Germany and many others to work on in the days/weeks to come.
As you will see, this month I took in lots of new issues. I keep going with new issues for fourteen countries even though demand has certainly declined over the years. Going back fifteen years I bought twenty copies of all new issues of the Netherlands, for instance. However demand fell off a cliff, so I stopped about 2008. Supply is very difficult for the latest stamps from all countries but with my network of suppliers I can access most things. I am slowly catching up with some countries like Austria and Belgium, but if there are other things you want, let me know and I will see if they are practical.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Algeria. It has taken me several months, but I completed sorting a fabulous lot of independent Algeria recently. It was very comprehensive, although a number of items have already sold out! This listing is to be found in my Africa North list along with older issues and my ranges of French Morocco and Tunisia.
Australia. This month’s new issues feature Henry Lawson, Succulents and the Trans-Australian Railway. A few other gaps were filled among the older issues.
Denmark. Just new issues this month. The Danes are continuing this idea of issuing stamps in booklets with five different stamps, two of each. Also their face values are high, for instance the cars set of three with each stamp at 25.oo, well above the postal rate.
Europa. This month, I obtained Europa issues for Albania and Bosnia (Sarajevo and Croatian issues, but not Serbian). I already had some years in stock but this lot added to my range.
Finland. More new issues including Moomins and a white mini sheet with embossed design: no colour apart from gold lettering!
France. I started work on a comprehensive lot of France from the 1980s to about 2007. So far I have done about half of this although I will only list some additions in a couple of days, when all the stamps are in their new homes.
French Southern + Antarctic Territories. Another lovely lot came my way this month, bolstering my range. Currently this stock is listed at the end of my France listing, but shortly it will feature in a listing for French Colonies. I have three books of French Colonies waiting to be sorted!
Great Britain. I made a determined effort to finalise work on my commemorative range this month. Lots of gaps have been filled and the range comes up to 2015-6. I still have to input several stamps in my lists but hopefully this will be done in the next couple of days.
Honduras. I purchased a lovely collection of this country a few weeks ago. I already had a small range of their stamps so I created a reasonable stock. It is true that many items have already sold but my range can be seen in my Latin America E-N listing (the other countries in E-N will follow sometime!) The collection also yielded various covers and blocks which I take to fairs in a miscellaneous box.
Hong Kong. Three different lots had been sitting on my shelf for some weeks until I got to grips with them this month. It has transformed my stock of HK with many better items and a solid run-through of modern issues. This week, I purchased some big lots of QE2 Commonwealth with more HK material, so I have to add to the range again!
Iceland. An injection of new issues including Europa, horses and other domestic animals with a cute kitten! One stamp shows a sweater and it is printed in material not paper.
Ireland. This range of new issues includes Royal Sites of Ireland, castles and more “objects”
Liberia. This is the first time I have ever had a stock of this country. It is admittedly only a small selection, but it is a start. How often do you see ranges of this country anyway? It is the kind of material I will bring to fairs on a request basis.
Norway. More new issues with very high face values. Their stamps are attractive but not designed for normal letter rate. No wonder I have lots of collectors who cannot find them elsewhere!
Spain. My man in Barcelona has sent me a good range from a list I supplied to him. It fills a number of gaps in my stock, including the three difficult horses issues. There are more items on the way as part two this order.
Sweden. After various hassles with this order (not the fault of my supplier), finally I received two lots: new issues and older issues. The new issues complete the period from last November to those issued in May of this year. I filled a large number of my gaps in booklets, pairs and singles across the board. Sweden is showing some signs of a revival after being in the doldrums for ages and offering new stock should keep this impetus going.
A month of fits and starts with many of the orders coming from relatively new customers. I am still finding one or two new customers each month, but the new ones from early in 2017 have become regulars which is pleasing. The overall total of orders was about average.
There was no stand-out country this month, although Commonwealth and Australia continue to go well. The other top sellers were Spain, (West) Germany and France followed by Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Denmark + Switzerland.
In addition to the York Fair, I attended two other events in July: Chichester and the monthly Wokingham Fairs. As stated above, the York Fair was exceptional and so was Chichester. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of visitors particularly at the start of the day. It is a good thing I am young and energetic to look after the diverse interests of the customers of West Sussex (!) Wokingham was OK, but overall I am worried about the way that event is going. It needs a new impetus, but will it get it?
During the month sales were dominated by Commonwealth and USA with Canada a close third. USA and Canada are always top sellers at York and this time was no exception. The other countries that are popular at York were again: Belgium, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand. Above that, the sheer variety of requests was striking too. Almost every country was in demand by someone. I can only take so many books to the Fair and it is true I could have done with some I left at home. I will have to try and find a way to squeeze more material in on future shows!
Thank you again to all those who have bought stamps from me this month and I hope you will do so again soon!
NEWSLETTER JULY 2017
Apologies for the late appearance of this newsletter. Too busy!
I paid a visit to my German supplier late in June and it was a very useful visit. I found lots of new stock and we had the chance to discuss future collaborations. I was well looked after during the visit and greatly enjoyed an evening trip to Ulm which has a picturesque old town. I recommend a visit there to anyone in that corner of the world. Just as we left to go home, there was a fantastic thunder and lightning storm with the heaviest drops of rain I have felt for some time!
June was a quiet month for orders through the post. I think people are unsure since the election but the hot weather does not generally help stamp collecting! I had some nice big orders, but overall it was quiet. On the positive side, I had more time to price up new material! On the other hand Fairs were strong.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. More new issues have arrived. The subjects are: Street Art, the Referendum and Legends.
More importantly, my Australian supplier has sent me back issues from a wants list I sent him. My stock of Australia is strong but every so often, gaps appear and this lot has filled many of these.
Brazil. I bought a number of stamps from the 1970s and 1980s. The only problem is I do not have a list yet, so this is on my list of “to dos”!
Canada. I had been waiting for more new and recent issues for a little time. My Canadian contact did not disappoint with the scale of what he sent. The only point is that customers have cleared out other issues in the meantime. So I am now expecting another delivery in the next few days, in time for the York Fair where I have several collectors for Canada!
It was time to work on a Canada collection as well, which was very strong in the nineteenth century with Large Queens and Jubilee issues among others. There were extra copies of many of the blocks from the 1970s, 1980s etc.
Commonwealth. I have been working on the QV-KG5 stock for some time now. Finally this month I managed to finish the job, adding stamps from St Helena right through to Zanzibar. I now have in stock many items that I have never had before and most of the colony ranges are strong.
I have lots more Commonwealth to sort sometime in the near future.
Denmark. Some new issues added to stock: summer estates and veteran cars.
Finland. More new issues have arrived. There is a big “mini” sheet with faces covering a map of Finland. Also issued is a nice mini sheet with birds.
German Areas. I needed more stamps from the Second World War Occupations and many of these became available. So the Luxembourg, Ostland and Ukraine issues are now complete.
German Zones. A neglected area but I now have 2-3 people wanting lots of items. So I filled several gaps in the Soviet Zones. More has to be done, especially as I have sold quite a few of these stamps since I got back home!
(West) Germany. Much progress was made with issues from the 2010s which is the popular period of these stamps. My visit to my German contact has led to a more secure supply of these stamps for the future.
Italy. This is the first time I have bought an Italian collection for some time. It covered the period from the late nineteenth century to the 1970s. Many of the better interwar period stamps were present, including some stamps I have not had for ages.
Japan. It is over two years since I had any new Japan so a few sets is useful. These stamps are in my Asia list, although my existing stock is not currently visible in a list.
Liberia. I have never had a stock of this country before. This was a small lot featuring earlier issues. For now, these are listed in my Africa North listing.
Luxembourg. I had come across a lovely collection which included material from SG1 to the 1970s. There were several early stamps that were new to stock plus a good number of Officials. The condition was exceptional especially among the earlies. There were lots of mint stamps too which I have priced up in a “special offers” box which I will be taking to Fairs.
Netherlands. I priced up a small but valuable collection of early Dutch stamps. Strong in nineteenth century stamps, it also had a complete range of the interrupted perf issues.
New Zealand. Three lots of new issues: notable historical dates, scenic definitive and surf breaks.
Norway. I received a nice lot of recent stamps from a contact I made at the Antwerp Fair in March. Recent Norwegian stamps are not easy to find but these have made a good difference. Also from another supplier, more new issues have come in.
Switzerland. My German supplier has a big stock of this country. This is not surprising as he lives quite close to the country! So when I was in his office, I went through his stock and filled many of the gaps in my stock. This included a number of the International Bureaux stamps.
USA. There was a major injection of recent stamps this month. These were sent by one of my usual USA suppliers and the other good thing is that he manages to extract the stamps from the backing paper.
As noted above, it was a quiet month despite some sizeable orders. I think the summer has been a major factor, so we should bounce back soon.
The top selling country again was Australia closely followed by Commonwealth. Spain and Switzerland were notable performers with (West) Germany and Belgium not far behind.
I attended four Fairs in June and most were good. This was the third good Sevenoaks Fair in a row after eighteen months of dodgy days there. Amersham held up well, but Wokingham was poor. Above all, however, the Potters Bar Fair hit the headlines. It was my best single day Fair (therefore excluding York) for ten years. Thank you to all the visitors.
The Commonwealth was the top selling area followed by Australia, Austria, Canada and Italy.
So I am now preparing for the York Fair which is imminent. I have ordered lots of material for the Fair so hopefully my books are in good order and ready for the regular customers. I look forward to seeing you all then.
NEWSLETTER JUNE 2017
I was away a lot in May, so I apologise if I have been elusive! I had two holidays for birding: Corsica and Devon/Cornwall. April-May is an important period for migration, so if you interested, this is the time to get out and about.
The other trip was to Tampere in Finland for the Finlandia international stamp show. I was surprised by how few standholders were attending the show, but seeing the small number of visitors, I soon understood. The venue was modern and spacious and the weather was good with good catering. I made some good contacts both inside and outside the show. The main aim was to build up my recent Finland stock and a start was made. Hopefully the new contacts will help me finish the job over the next few weeks.
Tampere is a lovely little city with about a quarter of a million inhabitants. Most of the buildings are modern and the shopping areas are compact and alternating with good restaurants. It seemed everyone had a smile on their faces as they went about their business. I was reluctant to leave!
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. Two sets of new issues this month: another set of World War One plus an issue devoted to caves.
Commonwealth. I have been spending much of my “spare” time pricing up the QV-KG5 stamps from two excellent lots purchased recently. This month I got from letters N-R in the alphabet, adding more of these places to stock: Nauru, New Guinea, New Hebrides, Nigeria with Lagos etc, Niue, North Borneo, Labuan, N Rhodesia, Nyasaland, Palestine, Papua + Rhodesia. All of these fit nicely in my Commonwealth N-R list. It is fair to say my stock of these areas has been transformed.
Denmark. The new issue for Queen Margrethe’s Golden Wedding (with mini sheet too) has arrive. As it is 50 years, the face value is 50Kr which seems excessive to me.
Faroes. After a period of inactivity, new issues are coming again and I think I have caught up to the present day.
Finland. Knowing I was going to Finland, I merged a Finnish collection with my existing stock. It was an excellent lot from the Serpentine Roulettes to 1999. While I was in Tampere, I made some good contacts and bought various items in the recent years. Now I have new contacts I will make more effort to build a comprehensive stock up to the present day. I also bought one of the good Military stamps and the Parcel stamps.
France. I could not believe it was about 16 months since I last placed an order with my contact in Paris. Anyway, he was as quick as usual and he provided me with a bumper lot that filled many of the gaps. I now have a meaningful stock from the first issues through to the early 2000s. So much of what came in this time was from the 1990s and the 2000s. I still do not stock beyond 2011 however. This is for two reasons: not many customers want recent issues for France and it is almost impossible to obtain circular cancellations on French stamps since about 2011. All you see are stamps with wavy lines and I know that is anathema to most collectors, especially when the rest of their collection houses lovely CDS cancellations!
Italy. I had not had new stock for Italy for even longer than for France. It was perhaps 20 months since my last order. My Italian contact was as good as he has always been sending me stamps from 1910 to 2015. There are some similarities with France. Recent stamps with CDS cancellations are hard to find so I cannot hold a comprehensive stock of recent issues. The other factor is that many recent Italian stamps are self-adhesive and they cannot be extricated from the backing paper. That means I stopped taking new issues at the end of 2015.
Norway. Just some new issues this month, making a start with 2017.
Switzerland. The International Bureaux have been selling well lately, so I needed an injection of new stock. My German contact obliged with almost everything on my wants list. I added a few items in the period 1920-60 as well during the month.
USA. I always like to buy in more USA stamps ready for the York Fair where I have most success with this country. I have two suppliers and both have stepped up to the plate. The first contact has sent me various gap fillers from the late nineteenth century to about 1990. The second supplier has found me lots of items in the more recent part, up to about 2014 with a promise of more to come.
The quantity of orders during May was higher than in April, although May has been the quietest month in the last two years and I was prepared for a lull! Are people on holiday at this time or have they re-discovered their gardens?
Australia was the top seller during May with a record number of orders for one country. Commonwealth orders held up well. France and Switzerland continued their recent good performances while Spain and Belgium were back to previous high numbers.
I attended just two Fairs in May: the monthly Wokingham Fair and my Solo Fair in Bromsgrove. One was over budget and the other one a little below.
There was no clear winner on performance among my countries. Austria with Belgium and Italy being notable however.
NEWSLETTER MAY 2017
With Easter occurring during April, there were less days available to trade. So perhaps it has been a quieter month than usual. I had a short break, birding in Norfolk, which has restored the batteries.
It has been an eye-opener for me what a difference it has been since I started handling Commonwealth stamps in depth. Many dealers say they have trouble getting hold of stock of this area but perhaps I have been lucky in finding excellent lots. As time goes by, more customers have noticed my range. I am not losing sight of my more usual countries and have started placing orders with my usual suppliers well in time for the July York Fair and my postal customers.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. Two issues received this month: Rare Beauties and the Queen’s Birthday with stamps and mini sheets. There was also a new issue from the Antarctic Territory showing deep sea creatures, also with a mini sheet.
Commonwealth. I have put in further effort on the new stock covering the QV-KG5 period. There is a good lot of Indian States (already noticed by some customers!) and Malay States which I have only just finished working on. The other areas included Jamaica, KUT, Leewards, Montserrat and Morocco Agencies. During the month, I made further purchases so all in all my Commonwealth stock is being transformed.
Denmark. More new issues came in.
Europa. It is several months since I added much to my Europa stock. So I have resumed purchases from my contact in Germany. There is now new stock in four countries: Andorra (both), Turkey, Greece and Monaco.
Finland. Another small batch of new issues. I hope to make new contacts for this country at the end of the month.
Germany. It is only one item, but I have added the IPOSTA mini sheet to my stock.
Germany (West). Just a few more new issues to add to the range.
Malta. Lately I have been adding to my range of Malta, but this month I found even better stock. The new stock has been very impressive in the earlier period plus some at the more recent end.
Portuguese Colonies. It has been many a long moon since new stock in this area. I had two lots: one with sections from most of the Colonies plus one lot of Macao. The general lot was handy with some better items and the Macao was excellent. Immediately, my customers have reacted well to this new stock.
In terms of the number of orders, April has been the quietest for some time. However there were several big orders early in the month. When I finished my figures for March, I discovered it had been the second best on record. I think the Easter break caused a drop in orders in April and when spring appears, some people start to go out gardening etc instead of looking after their stamps (I cannot think why!)
Commonwealth was again the top selling area closely followed by Australia then Switzerland and the Portuguese Colonies! Making an impression were Austria and Belgium as often is the case.
I was present at four Stamp Fairs during April. My Solo Fair in Oxford was poor but there were some enforced absentees which I knew about in advance. The other three events (Potters Bar, Wokingham and Chichester) were all well above average. What is especially encouraging is that new customers at recent Fairs have been returning for their second or third visits and hopefully many more to come.
Australia, Canada and the Commonwealth have been the top three areas in April. USA, New Zealand and Belgium also performed well.
NEWSLETTER APRIL 2017
March has been a strange month and I am wondering where all the time went! Trade has been quite good without being exceptional and I have found some excellent new stock. I seem to have processed less new stock this month though, despite putting in the effort.
I went along to the Antwerpia show in Belgium’s second city. I came away with 2-3 good contacts for the future plus lots of material for stock.
It was interesting to compare that Fair with events over here. I was amazed and disappointed to find almost no fine used stamps of Dutch or Belgian Colonies. There was much for the lower end of the market. For instance, 5-6 dealers had simply upended boxes of stamps on tables for people to sort through. It all looked like rubbish to me! I was not sure which catalogues people would be using and I am not much wiser now. There is a divide in Europe where west of a line (the River Rhine perhaps) people use Yvert and east of that line, Michel is the catalogue of choice. Both were in use at the show. We assume Belgian people can speak French, Flemish and English plus perhaps German. Most people did speak English but I was astounded to find two men trying to converse but one could not speak French and the other could not speak Flemish!
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. Just new issues this month. There were two sets: Greetings and Jetties.
Belgium. I made a very good contact for Belgian stamps during my visit to Antwerp. I bought various fillers for my stock and I was especially pleased to obtain many of the recent railway issues which are almost impossible to find.
Commonwealth. I have continued to price up the stamps from the Imperial albums, but it has been slow progress. This month I worked on the Colonies from Fiji to Hong Kong. The condition of the stamps is excellent and the coverage is strong from QV to KG5.
Iran. I bought a small lot of earlyish stamps from a foreign source. It is the first time I have had any Iran for some years and you can see the result in my Asia list.
Netherlands. I have added a number of stamps and mini sheets from this century.
Norway. New issues: birds, royal birthdays and Samic people. I also bought many items from the period 2011-6 during my trip to Antwerp. This new contact should be able to supply me with stamps from the 2000s which is my weakest period for Norway.
Portugal. I have priced up most items from an excellent collection. There were more recent stamps than I have seen for some years and odd values were found in the middle period. Some of the mini sheets have been priced up, but more remain and the selection looks comprehensive.
Turkey. Another country that I have not had in stock for a long time. This lot contains stamps from the first issue until the early 1970s. The condition was good which is especially useful in the early period. Immediately there has been good response to this stock which can be seen in my Middle East list.
A solid month with several good sales but not spectacular. This is despite the number of orders being the highest for four months. More new customers put in an appearance this month, so I have been finding a new client each week no average during 2017 which is very pleasing.
Commonwealth was again the top selling area with Australia, Austria and Belgium not far behind as usual. However some other countries did very well which is unusual: German Reich, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey all featured regularly.
I attended just two Fairs in March and both went well. These were my Amersham Solo Fair and the monthly event at Wokingham. The attendances were not high but both Fairs were over budget.
Australia and Commonwealth did well as always, but USA had a good month too.
Well, it is time now to stop writing this and get on with pricing up some of the heaps of stock I have yet to organise. I will tell you in a month how I have got on!
NEWSLETTER MARCH 2017
February was a mixed month with fewer orders by post but much better results at Fairs. I continue to find new customers through the post, or should I say, they find me. It shows advertising pays, the only question is how much to spend on ads to get the desired result!
I have been developing my Commonwealth stock since I started doing it properly about two and a half years ago. Perhaps I should have dealt with these stamps earlier as they have made a big difference to my turnover. It is always easy to look back and see what one should have done!
I am also still adding more countries to my range. This month Albania, Monaco and Turkish Cyprus make their appearance. The only drawback is that it is physically impossible to bring all these to the Fairs. So if you want anything specific at a forthcoming Fair, then let me know to save a wasted jouirney.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Albania. It is nearly ten years since I last had any stock of Albania (apart from Europa issues). Two lots came my way at the same time (London buses?) so it was an ideal opportunity to get organised. I now have a list of these available, although I will be the first to admit that a lot more work could go into this country.
Austria. I have re-stocked on the Post Offices in Serbia, the first set of which is very hard to come by.
Commonwealth. I bought a two volume set of Imperial albums. The condition is excellent and the country selections are well filled, including lots of high values. It takes a long time to check early material for condition and to be sure they are correctly sorted. I am working on it Colony by Colony and have processed up to and including the Falklands. More to come in the next few weeks.
For Fairs, I have re-organised my stock into more books to take into account all this new material.
Czechoslovakia. Following the lot I received last month from my contact in Prague, he sent me various items he could not supply then. That includes one of the very early Air sets plus the Sokol set and other goodies.
Finland. Early 2017 issues have come in. These include another Finnish flag stamp and a booklet and singles of the Blue Heart.
Germany (West-Unified). This is the part of Germany that is most in demand at the moment. My German supplier filled in most of the gaps in my stock and sent me many of the very recent issues.
Ireland. Here we have new definitive on the subject of Objects that depict history and a Marriage stamp.
Liechtenstein. I split down a superb fine used collection of this country. It contained stamps from the beginning to about 2000 and was complete in most parts, having several key values. This is not one of my most popular countries but the stamps are lovely and do appeal to a minority. So why not become part of a significant minority!
Monaco. Finally an excellent lot from this sought after country arrived. It was immediately picked through, but I have created a list and it still houses a number of good things. If you want me to bring it to Fairs, please ask as I only have limited room these days!
New Zealand. I have in stock the first two sets from 2017: the Chinese New Year (the Rooster) and the Southern Lights. This includes the two mini sheets and the Southern Lights mini sheet positively sheens!
Turkish Cyprus. I bought two lots to merge in with a small selection I already had. The first few years are complete and my offering goes into the 2000s. The list is found in my Commonwealth A-C listing after “normal” Cyprus.
USA. I have never had such an exceptional lot of early USA as this one. The Columbus and Omaha sets are complete and many of the early Presidential stamps are there, including high values. Above all, the condition was superb. Most USA lots suffer from “varied condition” but these are above the norm.
February saw one of the smallest numbers of separate orders since I started counting, although February is a short month. 28 days hath February etc! All the same I welcome some new customers and one or two “revived” customers returning after an absence.
Commonwealth was the biggest selling area with good performances from Australia, Austria, (West) Germany and Albania. USA and Spain were also notable.
I attended three Fairs during February and all three were over budget. Potters Bar was one of the best Fairs for some years, it was that good and both Wokinghan and Sevenoaks were much better than expected.
The top selling country by a long way was Australia and those struggling to catch up were Denmark, New Zealand and Commonwealth.
I look forward to hearing from you soon. I am sure there are lots more stamps you need for your collection!
NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2017
The York Fair was the main event in this month. Yet again, it was an excellent Fair, although it was Day 2 that was the best when one normally expects the first day to be when most customers are there. Other Fairs were quite good too. It was an average month for postal sales with some good sales and more new customers.
Lots of new stock has come in and you will see below some of these. The rest remain to be sorted!
UPDATES ON STOCK
SG catalogue numbers. I had got well behind in numbering up new issues, but a little bit of effort has helped me catch up.
Australia. My Australian supplier filled in a number of gaps for me from those he could not supply last month. Some recent issues are hard to get in fine used condition, because they have such a short shelf life. (It is only a few short days before another issue sees the light of day).
Austria. I found a lovely lot featuring stamps from about 1920-1960. I do not have many gaps in my Austria stock, but this nice clean lot certainly helped. Austria continues to be one of the most popular European countries.
---Swaziland. A small selection of modern came my way.
---I found a strange lot of QV-KG5 material on Imperial album pages, covering countries A-C. During this month, I worked on countries A-B, among which were several top values and these completely transformed what I can offer. The remaining areas will feature in next month’s letter.
Czechoslovakia. Gaps were starting to appear in my range of Czechoslovakia, Czech Republic and Bohemia + Moravia. My contact in Prague managed to find the majority of items on my wants list to rectify the position. As usual, his stamps were nice and crisp and clean.
Denmark. This country always performs well, so I need to maintain my stock levels. Two collections were integrated into my range, including many high value earlier items. Additionally my newish Danish supplier sent me many of those on my wants list, including a number of recent issues that had sold out.
German Colonies + Post Offices. Someone offered me a stockbook crammed with these issues, so I could not turn it down! The range was strongest in the Post Offices (China, Morocco and Turkish Empire).
Netherlands. This country has been dormant for ages until very recently. As customers are now showing some interest, I have bought two more lots and merged them into stock. The range of earlies was excellent with some perf varieties and both lots were largely complete up to the 1980s with some Postage Dues, Armenwet, Court of Justice issues plus more Interrupted Perfs.
Switzerland. Some months ago, I had bought a dealer’s stock of this country and had not got around to doing anything with it. Finally, I took out all those that filled gaps in my own range. There were stamps from about 1900 to the 1990s, including more copies of all the Air Mail stamps and the Pax set. Pro Patria and Pro Juventute were complete with duplication and there were some useful items from the International Bureaux. When I have a chance, I will put in more work here, but all the material, including the good mini sheets are visible on my web list.
USA. I rarely find good USA collections, but I was delighted to find one covering the period 1892-1930. It included lots of the Columbus issues as well as a good run-through of this popular period. Another lot has a wider coverage including issues up to the 1990s with several of the blocks and mini sheets/sheetlets. Lastly, my other American supplier answered my latest wants list with an excellent range of recent stamps including some from 2016.
There was an average number of sales this month, but there were several new customers and some good sales. I noticed some regular customers came back after missing some weeks due to Christmas.
The top selling areas this month were Monaco, Commonwealth and Australia with good numbers from Austria, Belgium, (West) Germany and Venezuela.
As mentioned above, York was an excellent event and it was good to see regular customers and some new ones. Other fairs help up well too.
Almost all countries were in demand at least once during the month. However, the top areas this month were: Commonwealth, Canada, Australia, USA, France, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Norway. Also doing well were Belgium, (West) Germany, Iceland and Sweden.
Hopefully it will not be long before the weather gets better. We all like a bit of sunshine, but keep some time for the stamps!
NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2017
December had the feel of a quieter month and there were less orders by post than in any month in 2016 except May. That is to be expected with Christmas when unfortunately, people spend money on other things than stamps. I cannot think why! Given all that, I was still quite cheered by the results which show confidence is still there.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. I now have in stock the Christmas 2016 stamps and mini sheet. My Australian supplier had been working on my latest wants list and those items are now included in my price list. He did not have everything I wanted, but most of the gaps have been filled. The majority of purchases were from the period 2007-13 which is where the demand is currently.
Austria. I get many stamps of Austria from my German supplier and he has done well again. I needed a few stamps from between the two World Wars and a few more up to about 1995. Much of what he has sent is from 1995-2008 where I have had most demand in the last few weeks.
Belgium. Recently I bought two very good collections of Belgium and they have now been merged into stock. Each was very comprehensive, so my stocks up to about 1980 are very good again. That includes the “back of book” issues and mini sheets. I will be visiting Belgium in March to secure more stock, especially the more recent issues which have been proving elusive.
Bulgaria. I only managed to sort a few of the second lot of Bulgaria. My list currently goes as far as the 1930s and is still to be found in the Latvia list (don’t ask why!)
Central Lithuania. Hiding at the back of one Polish lot, was a range of this small collectable area. They are listed at the end of my Poland listing.
Commonwealth. A dealer’s stock of modern Rhodesia and Zimbabwe came my way a few weeks ago. It has now been priced up and listed among other Commonwealth stamps. In addition, I bought a small lot of Grenada that was especially strong in early issues.
Finland. Again, I have my Danish supplier to thank here. Finnish new issues are hard to obtain but he has managed to locate a source, so I am up to date with recent issues, apart from just a couple of values. It is my intention to go to Finland later in the year to secure a new source of material as my Finland of the last thirty years is poor.
German Areas. Various items came my way along with the Polish lots described below. So I now have a better range of General Government, Port Gdansk etc.
(West) Germany. This area has been quietly selling well lately and I was surprised how many gaps had been created in my stock. My German supplier has come to my rescue and sent me exactly what I wanted, including a good number of new issues up to July 2016.
(Germany) Berlin. I bought a collection which gave me extra back-up to my existing stock. Also my German supplier sent me odd values I needed to fill in a few gaps.
Iceland. Just new issues this month, which include flowers, art and Christmas.
New Zealand. I am now up to date to the end of 2016. There was a Navy issue and the Christmas stamps with various mini sheets.
Norway. My Danish supplier has obtained for me the latest new issues, taking me up to the end of 2016, including the Christmas stamps. I have three lots of earlier Norway sitting here. Much of one of these has been integrated into my stock, filling in some odd gaps.
Poland. It has been several months since I added to my Polish stock and it was gradually being eroded by customers! Suddenly, I found not one, not two but three Polish lots to work on. The work has been put in on the early part of the range (up to about 1960) and it has made quite a difference. The later issues will be sorted when time permits.
Romania. Finally I started work on the 6 volumes of this country that have been decorating my shelf for months! Some of the stamps are already listed (temporarily at the back of the Latvia list), but I have many more stamps to price up and list. It is by no means a comprehensive stock, but you have to make a start somewhere!
Thailand. I was offered a Thailand collection at the beginning of December and although it seemed expensive, I went ahead with it. I am pleased I made the investment as the collection had many hidden highlights. As is often the case with collections, it stopped about 1980, but there is much of interest in the period before. My list is to be found in my Asia listing.
USA. With the York fair imminent, I wanted to bring my USA range up to scratch again. One of my two suppliers has sent me his stamps and I pleased with them. On the whole they cover the middle period from the early twentieth century to the early twenty-first century. The other lot of stamps should arrive in the next week or two.
December was a quiet month, but with Christmas and all it involves, it was hardly surprising. So with less time spent fulfilling orders, you can see from above I got on with a lot of sorting and pricing of new stock.
As usual, the two top selling areas were Australia and Commonwealth. There were good performances from Austria, Belgium and USA with meaningful results from Thailand and Bulgaria.
I attended three Fairs in December: Oxford, Potters Bar and Wokingham and all three were above budget. In fact, my last 8 fairs in 2016 were above budget, turning round the performance of the year from below par to above. Very pleasing. I am planning to attend all the same venues during 2017 as long as circumstances remain the same.
Perhaps the best performing countries were Canada and Sweden, which is not the usual pattern. Good showings were made by Australia, Denmark and Spain.
Let me wish you a very Happy 2017 and hopefully you will be keen on finding lots of stamps!