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 DECEMBER 2019
Much of my time in November was just processing orders. Usually I finish the orders by about 2.30 then have a chance to price up new material. On several days I was still putting together the orders after 6.00. So the list of new stock is shorter than normal. I am not complaining as I am of course glad to receive so many orders.
Earlier in the autumn I arranged to have inserts in SG Monthly and Stamp magazine. These inserts gave a coupon response so people could ask me to send them either or both of the Commonwealth or the Europe and Worldwide booklets I have produced. The response has been quite good and already a few new customers have placed their first orders.
After a few weeks where I did not add much to this web site, I have really got the bit between the teeth. Currently I am putting up several KG6 Commonwealth sets and singles across the range. Many of the attractive definitive sets will be featured as well as most Silver Wedding sets and the UPU issues among others. I have added some foreign items lately and hope to input lots more.
Do you like the Christmasification of the site? Charlotte has worked wonders to make the site seasonal and I think it is very good.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Commonwealth. Having bought an excellent KG6 collection, I have put a lot of effort into getting these ready. So far I am up to Montserrat (alphabetically). I had large numbers of these already but some elusive values have appeared in this lot too. It has enabled me to expand what I am offering on Robstine extra as above.
French Colonies. After a lull, I resumed work on these. I am merging three lots into one at the same time as pricing them up and uploading them to my listing. I started on the Ivory Coast, then worked on Latakia/Alaouites plus the various parts of Madagascar. The early stamps are there is varying quantities but the post independence selections are big.
Greece. I have a number of books of Greece to sort but you will find several new values among my Hermes Heads selection. I find these incredibly difficult issues to sort and have been grateful for expert help with these. This is now the biggest selection of these I have ever offered.
New issues: lots this month:
Australia. They issued a final part of the Alphabet set, this time also with a mini sheet. The Christmas issue again was split between religious and presents/Christmas trees. A mini sheet for the Perth Stamp and Coin Show was produced. I have all of these in stock.
---Canada. Their 2019 Christmas offering shows four stamps plus a mini sheet. Also now in stock are two stamps, one each for Hannukah and the Red River Resistance.
---Finland with stamps on fashion and a flower among others.
---Ireland. It is no surprise that I obtained the Christmas issues from Ireland and at the same time more “Objects” and the Thin Lizzy issue.
---New Zealand. A bumper lot this month. There is an attractive set about the Te Araroa Trail plus paintings by Michel Tuffery. As you would expect, there were mini sheets to accompany each set plus another for the All Blacks. I will let you guess which colour the stamps appear in.
---Norway. Cycles and Pets feature on their stamps this time plus a new Posthorn value.
Norway. I have gone a long way to merging into stock three collections of Norway. The best bit is probably the early Posthorn issues where I have many items new to stock plus extra copies and better postmarks.
Philippines. I have been surprised by how many people are keen to develop a collection of this country. So when a collection/accumulation came my way I did not hesitate to get my cheque book out! I ensured it was one of the first things I sorted as soon as I got it home. This new lot housed stamps from1946 to quite recent years.
November saw the biggest number of orders since June but I think it will prove to be the best month of the year due to the size of the orders. Most of my hardy regulars ordered as much as usual but there was a healthy contingent of new customers, many emanating from the inserts and mailings described above.
The Commonwealth and Australia continued to be best sellers with France lagging behind this month as I waited longer than usual for supplies from France (not his fault I may add). As is often the case, Belgium, Canada and Czechoslovakia were top performers. “Mentioned in dispatches” were German Reich, DDR, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland and Monaco. I must also say that Latin America is getting popular and would do better if I could just price up the material I have waiting here. I bought lots more during the month so it is getting urgent that I work on some of it!
I attended two Fairs in November. The Wokingham Fair was again exceptional while the Potters Bar Fair turned out to be reasonable for me but I have to admit it was quiet as a Fair. I cannot think why that was. It is like Manchester City sweeping all before them then losing to Norwich. These things happen and it is how you respond that is crucial.
The only Fair I will be attending in December is the monthly Wokingham Fair.
NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2019
This month was truncated by my holiday in Trinidad and Tobago, another birding holiday. I had never been anywhere tropical before so that alone was an experience. The birds were fantastic and we saw large parts of the islands and how the other half lives.
I managed to price up less stock than usual due to my absence so now I have my work cut out to make up lost ground! I have ordered more France and USA and need to find more in advance of the Winter York fair. Purchases of collections and lots has been less recently but I have good material to work on when I can find the time!
I experimented with an insert in Stanley Gibbons Monthly magazine and next month a similar exercise with Stamp Magazine. The idea was that people would return the coupon for my new booklets. First off the production line was my Commonwealth booklet. It featured 86 stamps across the board and sales were brisk. Then near the end of the month I had the Europe and Worldwide booklet to send out. 132 stamps were depicted here and again sales have been meaningful already. So in future I will be producing more booklets but with more content. Now we have established a way of working.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Ascension. Part of an ex-dealer’s stock, this range covered the first issues in some quantity through to the 1980s.
Australia. My supplier has found many of the more difficult items in my last wants list. In addition there have been more new issues including the first aerial post from England to Australia and Seed Banking.
Bolivia. A small number of stamps from the 1940s onwards.
Canada. New issues for Leonard Cohen and the Community Foundation (that sounds like the name of a rock band!).
Colombia. Ever so slowly I am adding material to my small Latin America range. This Colombia selection runs from about 1940 to the 1960s. More to come.
Commonwealth. I finished adding KG6 stock to my books from colonies P-T in the alphabet. I already have most items in stock but additions included some stamps from Malaya, Somaliland, Sudan, Trinidad + Tobago and Patiala and Travancore from the Indian States.
Costa Rica. As with other Latin American countries, I have extended my coverage a little from the 1940s onwards.
Czechoslovakia (including Czech Republic and Bohemia + Moravia). Usually twice a year I send a big wants list to my supplier in Prague for new stock. This time it was the biggest list I have ever sent as these stamps have been very popular lately. With such a big list, it is not surprising things take some time but at the start of the month I received the desired stamps. What a difference they made. Lots of gaps in my range have been filled from 1918 to this year.
Guatemala. Some mid period stamps added.
Malta. I have never had GB used in Malta before but now I have a fine little range of these stamps.
New Zealand. The 1898 Pictorials have been popular recently so I have added items from this interesting part of NZ history.
Nigeria. A smallish one-off lot of Nigeria including Niger Coast. I find the Niger Coast designs appealing and now I have quantities of these stamps to admire each time I open those pages. A colleague has worked hard on the separate perforations among them.
Norway. I am part way through work on this country. I received new issues including a Cycling set and Pets showing a cute puppy and kitten. More significantly, I have finally (with some help) sorted out the nineteenth century Posthorns and that makes a big difference to the stock of that period. In between a few other gaps have been plugged.
Palestine. I have added some items from this era.
Being absent for part of the month naturally affected the number of orders completed. However the total was not very far behind recent months and there were good sizeable orders among them plus a healthy number of new customers.
The top selling areas again were Commonwealth, Australia, Canada and France. Latin America showed well and this is the culmination of a trend in recent months. Otherwise a couple of orders per country was the norm.
I attended three Fairs during October and all three were fantastic, well above expectations. I was one of two dealers at Chichester on 5 October and perhaps picked up some sales that would not have come my way if others were there. All the same that was the best I have ever done there. My Solo Fair in Amersham exceeded expectations, followed by an exceptional Wokingham. This is while some parts of the economy are complaining that uncertainty is hampering business.
NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2019
Another good month for sales especially at Fairs. I attend less Fairs than previously but the ones I do go to have been exceptional lately. Commonwealth stamps have been performing best but there is interest across the board: Europe, Colonies, Latin America etc. Also there are collectors for the nineteenth century and right through to new issues. It justifies holding a diverse stock although concentrating on one area would be more efficient.
I have just published the Commonwealth booklet showing a small selection of items for sale. The idea was to give new customers an idea of my range but also for anyone to find a few items to fill those big gaps. Another booklet, this time for Europe and Worldwide stamps is nearly ready to go to the printers. I am happy with the first booklet which ties in nicely with the Wants list booklet published recently.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. The new issue this month was about Bush Citrus. My Australian supplier has sent me a huge lot of stamps and mini sheets from my wants list. This was to plug the various gaps that appeared over the last few weeks and months.
Australian Antarctic Territory. The new issue depicts mapping.
---QV-KG5 New stock from Samoa and British Levant.
---St Vincent. A nicely duplicated collection from KG6 to 1980 came my way.
---Grenadines of St Vincent. 1973-80.
---KG6. I started breaking down a collection housing countries from the letter N onwards. More to come next month. The main additions this month were in Nabha, Newfoundland and North Borneo.
Denmark. Two sets of new issues: Dogs and Hands in Art (plus mini sheet).
Europa. After a brief interlude, I have been in touch with my German contact for Europa issues. This time I have received Europa stamps from the three Baltic States. He did not have everything I wanted but these are not easy to obtain.
France. France has become so popular this year that I need to keep ordering more stamps from my contact in Paris. He comes up with the majority of what I need and he is super quick too. I need very little right up to the 2010s so much of what I am buying comes from the last few years. I have five customers actively buying this period and there is room for more!
French Colonies. I have continued to price up and re-organise my stock. This month I worked on French Equatorial Africa, French Guiana, French Guinea, French Indian Settlements, French Polynesia, French Post Offices, French Somali Coast, French Sudan, French West Africa, Gabon, Guadeloupe, Indo-China and Indo-Chinese Post Offices in China. Of course some ranges are better than others and in some cases the amount of material in the post-independence era is good too.
Guernsey. My stock is already strong but I merged in a collection from the beginning to 2010. This did add a number of items, especially in the later years.
Ireland. A few new items from the KG5 overprints where I have a very strong selection. There were also some new issues: Moon Landing, Iris Murdoch, Rugby World Cup and the Carnegie Libraries.
Sweden. Just one set of new issues, about fashion.
The number of sales remains constant, at a level much higher than a year ago. This is good news except that I have less time for sorting new material! Particularly striking has been the quantity of new customers. The last four months have shown the biggest numbers since I started keeping records. Many re-order soon after the first order. I have a good spread across the country from the Highlands of Scotland to Wales, the South West and nearer to home. My main overseas market is Australia.
For a second month, sales of Commonwealth stamps were exceptionally high. All periods have been popular: QV right through to QE2. France and Australia continue to be the strongest countries followed by Ireland, French Colonies and Romania, all three of which are doing better than ever.
I attended three Fairs during September and all three were well ahead of budget. I now run the Potters Bar Fair and it was pleasing to see the numbers of visitors was high and the other dealers were happy too. The venue, apart from being small, is excellent with good catering and a conducive atmosphere. I had good days at Wokingham and Sevenoaks.
The Commonwealth and France sold well plus meaningful sales of Australian States, Saar, Italian Areas and Romania.
NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2019
I have been exceedingly busy during August in stamps and other matters. On a personal note, the annual Bird Fair takes place in mid-August each year and it is unmissable for anyone interested in birding. This year was even better than usual and I followed it up with three days in Norfolk, almost my second home.
With Charlotte’s help, I am producing a Commonwealth booklet giving a sample of some of the material in stock. This will be ready in a few days. Following that, I will start work on a similar booklet for European and Foreign stamps.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. New issues with a mini sheet for the Singpex exhibition and items for “In the Garden”
Canada. One new issue this month featuring Bears.
---Indian States. I bought a lot with a number of stamps from the KG6 period, including better values. The relevant states were Chamba, Cochin, Bundi and Bhopal.
---KG6 Colonies from A-D in the alphabet. These consisted of the definitive sets with the high values plus better stamps like Silver Weddings.
---Nigeria. I priced up stamps from a collection from KG5 to the 1990s.It included good numbers of commemoratives for the QE2 period.
---Palestine. New stock up to the 1930s.
---Papua. New stock arrived for the period before the PNG era.
---Rhodesia. Detailed stocks of the Double Head and Admiral issues have been added.
---St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla. A very fine collection came my way. The range started with late KG5 and continued up to the separate issues for all three islands. There was also useful duplication.
---St Helena, St Lucia and St Vincent. A nice lot of QE2 stamps up to 1976.
---St Vincent. QV-KE7 stamps which included a number of new items.
Czech Republic. I received the new issues for the first half of 2019.
Ecuador. Just a small lot from the 1930s to the 1960s.
France. This country has been selling particularly well lately so I am obtaining new stock almost monthly. The main point of interest is that I have started again buying new issues as of 1 January 2019. This time around I received issues from January-April.
French Colonies. It takes time but I am making a determined effort to put together a decent stock of these Colonies plus post-Independence issues.
---Congo Brazzaville. I already had a decent lot of these but the new lot almost doubled my coverage.
---Dahomey. A nice amount of material both before and after independence.
Greece. Modern Greece is not easy to find so I was pleased to get this lot (1980-2009). I have made a small start on another lot that also included the 1970s.
Luxembourg. Someone had spent hours and hours putting together a hoard of Luxembourg from the 1940s to the 1970s. I filled some gaps in stock and deepened my back-up stock. Many of these items ere definitives but a good number of commemoratives were represented.
Romania. I had been meaning for a long time to sort out my Romania. I merged together my existing stock with stamps from a dozen more books. A friend of mine helped sort out the nineteenth century issues. I still have four books of more modern material to sort one of these days.
Switzerland. I have done little with Switzerland lately, but I merged into stock a good run-through of stamps from about 1900 to the 1970s, including Pro Juventute and Pro Patria with mini sheets.
A busy month but not featuring as much variety as in many previous months. It was by far the busiest month for sales of Commonwealth stamps and all periods were selected from QV to QE2. I am really glad I added the Commonwealth to my range about six years ago and just wish I had done so earlier.
Australia continues to be a top-seller but France is now my top single country and this necessitates rapid buying on my part. I am delighted my Parisian contact can cope with my demand and he is always super quick in replying. Canada and Czechoslovakia have also had a good month.
August is always a quiet month for Fairs for me. This year I only went to the monthly Wokingham Fair but it was very worthwhile, being considerably above budget.
I have produced my Fairs Programme for 2020 and it will be visible on his site by the time you read this. Additionally, I have fixed 4 dates for the Potters Bar Fair that I now run. The second Fair just took place on 1 September and I am pleased to report that both events have seen good numbers of visitors and dealers with bulging money boxes!
NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2019
July kept me busy even without taking the York Fair into account. I am pleased to see so many people wanting to add to their collections and I do not mind which countries they go for. In the next few weeks, plans are afoot to work on the French Colonies, Romania, Bulgaria and Latin America but keeping things going with my ”core” countries. There is a lot to do but we will see how the time goes.
Last week I had a new computer installed. After a couple of days, I think we had all the major problems ironed out. My new keyboard does not like the way I type, so it misses out letters here and there. So forgive me if there are spelling mistakes. I will check this newsletter but…!
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. New issues this month included Sports Stadiums, Equal Pay, Crayfish and the Moon Landing. There were two mini sheets.
Canada. New issues featuring bridges and the Apollo Moon Landing.
Commonwealth. Lots of new stock as follows:
---Bahamas. New material from KG6 up to 2002
---Barbados + Bermuda. KG6 to 1975, both lots almost complete.
---QV to KG5. I finished work on this period for now. The countries involved included: Nigeria, Ceylon, St Kitts, Rhodesia, New Guinea, Papua, Togo, Tonga, St Vincent, Samoa, Sierra Leone + Sarawak
---Caymans. From KG6 to about 1975, almost complete
---Seychelles. Two separate lots, making an almost complete run from SG 1 to the mid 1970s.
Cuba. Quite a nice collection with many complete sets, not missing the top values as often happens. Most of the material was colourful, modern stuff but still popular.
France. This country has suddenly become my top European country, so I have been obtaining more stamps to keep up with demand. The main period of interest has been the 2010s and that I not easy, especially as most stamps nowadays receive wavy line cancels. My supplier has been excellent in finding all stamps with part CDS postmarks. I am slowly filling in the gaps in this period, helped by wants lists from two customers.
French Colonies. I have loads of material ready for sorting, including plentiful post-independence issues. I have decided how to house them and have made a small start. So far, I have organised the General Colonies, followed by Cameroun, Central Africa, Chad, Cilicia and the Comoros.
Netherlands Colonies. I finally put proper order into this stock. I had another lot of Indies to merge into the existing stock, with quantities of many values. Also strong is my selection of Curacao. This time I had a good collection to put in with my existing range.
Spain. I have seen nothing of Spain that I wanted to buy for ages. This little lot was a complete run from1993 to about 2005 with all the single stamps and all the mini sheets.
Sweden. New issues including handicraft, invitations, the Moon Landing and the Europa birds issue.
The number of orders received in July was good but behind that for June. Very pleasing though. Again there were significant quantities of new customers. I know the advert in SG Monthly is helping in this respect.
There has been somewhat of a shift in what is popular. The Commonwealth is still tops but with France and Czechoslovakia forging ahead of Australia. I am going to obtain more stocks of these three countries in the next few weeks to keep pace with demand. Other countries contributing were Canada, Ireland, Sweden and Latin America.
The main event in July was the Summer York Fair but I also participated in the Fairs in Chichester and Wokingham. The York Fair was exceptional with good numbers of customers, including some new faces among the regulars. In the past, the top selling countries have been USA, Australia + Canada. Things have changed with USA not doing well in common with other venues and postally. Why that should be, I do not know. Perhaps the fact that all their stamps now are self-adhesive and you cannot separate the stamps from the backing paper. One of my American suppliers can do it but I do not know of anyone else.
This time, Commonwealth stamps sold best including a lesser amount of Australia + Canada. France was the top selling European country by a long way.
The other two Fairs were also good. I continue to sell a wide variety of countries including Albania, Greenland, German States as well as the Commonwealth.
August is a quiet month for Fairs. Just the monthly Wokingham Fair on 11 August.
NEWSLETTER JULY 2019
June was another good month and continues the improvement on last year’s figures. I have a nice band of regular postal customers which has been added to by several new people.
I only went away once this month and that was to the Alicante region of Spain. A friend and I had a five day trip in search of three target birds to see and we were successful. The trip was very enjoyable and I came away with a good feeling for the region, if you stand back from the tourist sprawl.
UPDATES ON STOCK
This looks like a shorter list than usual but I have combined the Commonwealth and worldwide lists as they have so much in common. Earlier issues take a longer time to sort out!
Commonwealth. I have been getting near the end of the big QV-KG5 collection previously mentioned. The quality has largely been good with many high values and complete runs. Here are the countries completed this month: Nyasaland, Niue, Nauru, Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States. In particular, the Straits lot was good with much new to my stock and very sought-after values.
Germany (West). In addition to the new issues received, I filled various gaps with the help of my regular German supplier. He tells me the stamp market in Germany is weak at present.
New issues. This month I received new material from Australia (bees), Canada (turtles), Germany, Ireland and New Zealand.
Worldwide. Similar to the Commonwealth situation, I have been finishing work on a collection from the beginning up to 1936. All the countries have now been priced up. This month’s selection included: Mongolia, Tuva, Latvia, Lithuania, Central Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Manchukuo, El Salvador, USA, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, Italian States, Puerto Rico, Shanghai, Thrace, Tunisia, Yemen, Turkey and Portugal.
This month was the busiest on record in terms of the number of orders. This follows a very good month in May. I received more new customers during the month than anytime since November. I have increased my advertising and tinkered with the looks of the ads which may have helped.
The Commonwealth and Australia continue to lead the way but Canada and France were equal to them with strong showings from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Finland, GB and Spain. Also notable were the number of sales of “rest of the world” as my coverage increases.
I attended three Fairs in June. The Sevenoaks Fair was the best, being above budget. Amersham and Wokingham were good but a little below par, compared to recent showings. Customers’ holidays and the weather make a difference at this time of year.
There was no country that stood out as a best seller this month. Sales were across the board which is good in one respect but it does not make it easier to know what to bring to the Fairs!
In July, I will be at the Chichester and Wokingham Fairs plus of course the summer York Fair. Perhaps I will see you at one of these?
NEWSLETTER JUNE 2019
I was pleased with trade during May. Two very good Fairs and better than average postal sales. There were more new customers this month than usual and some returning as well, partly due to the Wants List Book that I produced a few weeks ago. More than ever, the variety of countries being collected is notable.
I have decided to press on with more items for the www.robstineextra.com site and to widen the coverage to include many cheaper items. It is good to show the better stamps and sets so you can see what you are buying but such items can be above the budget of many collectors.
I was away twice during May. Firstly I had a birding holiday in Belarus followed by four days birding around Devon and Cornwall. Both trips were very successful and I did not think about stamps at all apart from answering a few e-mails. It is amazing to think that I can be in a forest in Belarus and see when an order is coming through on an e-mail!
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia new issues: QE2 Birthday, Anzac Day and the mini sheet for the Perth Stamp Show plus a set for the Research Station from AAT.
Canada new issues: two items, desserts and baseball.
Commonwealth. This month I have devoted some time to the pre 1936 lot as such stamps are in high demand. The colonies sorted were: Sudan, Swaziland, Tanganyika, Trinidad + Tobago, Turks + Caicos, Zululand, Zanzibar, Uganda, Transjordan and North + South Rhodesia. Lots of high values as well as near complete run-throughs of this period. More to come next month!
I priced up a lot of Norfolk Island which took my stock from 1990 to 2000 plus filling many of the few existing gaps.
Denmark, Finland + Norway. More new issues for these three countries. This year, the theme for Europa stamps is birds and the Danish stamps featuring Mute Swans are excellent. As usual, the face value of the stamps is high, making them expensive but they are nice pictures!
France. Another dose of recent France in my effort to catch up. Many of these stamps were issued in 2014 and 2016 although I also filled a small number of gaps in my earlier range.
German States. My German contact sent me some good Prussia and Lubeck as I continue to expand my range of these issues. Condition is always a concern with such ancient stamps but his material is always crisp and clean.
Germany 1872-1936. I already had most stamps during this period but in splitting a collection I did find a few new items.
Germany “Areas”. A small lot of some of the occupations during the first World War such as Poland, Romania, Belgium and “Ob Ost”
Germany: Saar. This was the best lot of Saar I have ever seen, being almost complete in fine used condition. Just missing about three stamps with excellent condition throughout. These have already proved popular at this month’s Fairs.
Greece. As Greece has been quite popular lately, I was pleased to get this lot which expanded my range up to 1936.
Haiti. Previously I had created a small stock of these but not listed them. So while adding new material, I was able to create the required list and you can see it in Latin America E-N. They did like their overprints!
Hawaii + Guam. Just a small lot of quite pricey stamps. Very hard to find.
Hejaz-Nejd. These stamps were the forerunners of Saudi Arabia and I have never had them in stock before.
Honduras. A nice little lot of pre 1936 stamps which managed to find many of my gaps in my existing stock.
Hungary. I have been neglecting Hungary but this is the start of the “fight back”! I have four other collections and lots to work on. Time is the barrier but I will get around it.
Iran. A range up to 1936 provided me with several new stamps.
Lebanon. I did not realise how few of the French period I had in stock. This little lot helped to rectify that although there is a long way to go.
Netherlands. There were just a few new items for stock in this early range but the condition was good and the coverage strong.
Philippines. The first time I have had any stamps of this country. In truth, I had two lots sitting on my shelf for some time but I have just got around to pricing them up. You could never call this lot comprehensive but you have to start somewhere and where do you see a comprehensive lot of the Philippines?
San Marino. This was like gold dust: a collection with many of the older sets and singles, all in superb condition. No mint stamps in sight! These stamps are very hard to find.
Quite a good month with an above average number of orders. Sales of Australia and Commonwealth were again strong rivalled by France, Canada, Poland and Italy. Apart from that there were strong sales of “the rest of the world”.
Just two Fairs during May but both were exceptional. The monthly Wokingham Fair was even better than good recent events. The Potters Bar Fair was similarly busy with many good sales. This was particularly reassuring as it was the first Fair I have organised on my own. Of course, Christine and I ran fairs in many venues for 15 years up to 2006, but the stamp world is very different now! There are less customers and less dealers. Fairs are now very quiet in the afternoon when previously we had things to do up to 4 p.m. The venue itself, the Wyllyotts Theatre, was good apart from the fact we needed two rooms and some customers do not realise there are two rooms despite signage! There are two more Fairs in Potters Bar later this year (1 September and 17 November).
I hear retail sales in the country are flat, but for me at least stamp sales are solid. Long may it continue!
NEWSLETTER MAY 2019
At the beginning of April, I went to Antwerp to attend the annual Spring Stamp Fair. This is the third year running I have been there, always in a buying capacity. It was excellent again with new material from Belgium, Serbia, Japan etc as detailed below. I have four main contacts there now who are all very helpful.
Apart from that, I have been working hard to get my backlog of unsorted stamps down to a manageable size. Time is always against me but I think you will agree my work this month offers a wide variety of new material.
Just before April began, I received delivery of the Wants List book which is already proving popular. It has lead already to some sales.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Andorra. A few values from both sides came my way. All from 1929-36.
Argentina. As part of my task of sorting all my Latin America up to 1936, I finally got around to the Argentina. The complicated watermarks have put me off but once I started this time, it was not so difficult. As with other Latin America, I have more stock to work on when time permits.
Armenia + Azerbaijan. Just a few items issued before 1936, the Azerbaijan are not listed by SG.
Ascension. Lots of material from KG6 and QE2 to add to my strong range of this island.
Australia. New issues this month: Welcome Stranger, Sustainable Fish and a set of Fauna. Just one mini sheet for the Fish.
Australian States. With considerable help from a friend, I have sorted and priced a very decent lot of Aussie States. There are some high values among them and quite good condition which is not always the case for these stamps. I am finding increased interest in these issues.
Belgium, During my Antwerp trip, I bought a lot of material for Belgium. My regular supplier has made a good job of filling his books, which I rapidly emptied! Most of the material was odd single stamps, some sets and mini sheets plus lots of the Back of Book issues (Railways, Postage Dues, Eupen + Malmedy etc). Obtaining stamps after 2010 is still not easy as I saw hardly any at the show.
Canada. A set of five and a mini sheet for the new issue “In Flight”. Separately I worked on a range of stamps from the earlies to 1936. It included a complete set of the 1897 Jubilee issue plus other goodies.
China: Japanese + Russian + US Post Offices in China. Rarely seen issues these.
Colombian States. A little bit of Antioquia, Bolivar etc are now visible in my Latin America C-D listing.
Cuba. Some early issues up to 1936.
Denmark. It was time to work on a collection from about 1960 to 2007. Some gaps had started to appear in my stock, so these have come in handy.
Egypt. I had two collections to merge into my existing stock. Several better values among the earlier issues and a number of commemoratives up to the 1980s and perhaps a little beyond. These are in my Africa North listing.
Estonia. A decent lot of stamps from 1993-2017 came up. Still some way to go before I can claim a comprehensive stock all the same.
Finland. Among a range of earlies up to 1936, there were some new items for stock.
France. Trying to catch up with recent issues is not easy but this month I obtained issues from 2012-3 and 2016, all with part circular cancels.
German States. Quite a few values from Wurttemberg in their latter days plus a few better Mecklenburg, although these have already gone!
Greenland. After receiving stamps to fill most gaps in stock up to 2011, this month I received stamps and mini sheets to complete 2012-8.
Iceland. New issues, including Europa Birds, Tourist stamps, Vestmanneyear and Young Animals.
Ireland. New issues for another dose of history in objects plus Organ Transplants.
Japan. It might not sound much but in getting a good coverage of 2011-3, I filled about 500 gaps in stock! Some really nice designs among them as well as the tacky Hello Kitty etc.
Korea and Japanese POs in Korea. A small selection to whet the appetite!
New Zealand. New issues: Lighthouses and the Anzac Dawn Service, two sets of singles and mini sheets.
Norway. A man at the Antwerp show had a few Norwegian stamps from the 2010s for me.
Poland. I broke down a collection from 1981-2011 which increased my coverage of this period. Almost all stamps had part circular cancels.
Russia: a few Civil War and Far Eastern Republic stamps.
St Helena. A nice collection from 1953-82 added a few values to my stock, which was already quite comprehensive.
Serbia. Almost like gold dust: a range of fine postally used modern Serbia from independence to 2017. When do you see such material. And they are nice stamps.
South African Provinces. As with the Aussie States, I have had some help with these. I now have a good range of the main provinces plus other areas like New Republic and Griqualand West. In addition, there were some very early South Africa and SWA.
Trieste with Venezia Giulia (the Italian half). A seemingly complete collection of stamps and air stamps from this popular region. The condition was excellent too.
Tristan da Cunha. A lovely range of early QE2 stamps, although I already had most in stock.
Yugoslavia. I merged another lot from 1918-36 into stock with a few new items to add to the list.
In terms of the number of orders, this has been the busiest month for ages with some bigger orders too. Quite a few collectors have come back after a short lull and these have been some totally new customers as well. All are welcome. Traditional wisdom will tell you this is the time of year things slacken down a bit as the garden is more accessible and there may be reminders from another member of the family that certain jobs outside need doing. Luckily for me, this year may be different.
Commonwealth sales were back to the higher level and Australia continues to forge ahead. Other countries selling well were headed by Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France + Italy. Meaningful contributions came from Canada and Japan with German “Areas”, Netherlands, Poland and Yugoslavia not far behind.
I attended two Fairs in April: Wokingham and Chichester. Both were over budget. I have a lovely group of regular customers at Wokingham and it is always a pleasure to see them. Their interests are very diverse but that is fine by me! The Chichester Fair continues to be very worthwhile even though it is only a small event.
In May I will be present at the usual Wokingham Fair, then there is the launch of the New Potters Bar fair on 26 May. If you are remotely local to this Fair, do come along and support a new venture. There will be ten dealers present with excellent stocks covering a wide range of philately. There is free parking and good refreshments in their café.
NEWSLETTER APRIL 2019
An average month in many ways, March has come and gone. New material has been coming in much as before, with some especially good items now in stock. Postal sales were reasonable and the only Fair was superb.
I have now received the Wants List books which we were having printed. I am very happy with the appearance and hope they are useful for my customers. Many years ago we produced something like this but this time around the result is much better.
On www.robstineextra.com I am just beginning to input album pages, a new area for that site. These sell quite well at fairs so why not online!?!
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. The only new issue this month was the pile of greetings stamps, both with normal gum and self-adhesive. Why produce one stamp when eight will do!
Austria. I had not realised how long it had been since I re-stocked here. This time I filled in holes in stock from 1890 to 2013 with the help of my German supplier. I intend to stock 2014 onwards shortly.
Canada. The only new issue this period was the annual flower set with stamps and mini sheet.
Commonwealth. Just a few sorted this month from the Imperial album I have been emptying. There were good British Somaliland plus some better early Barbuda and Cameroun. So far I am about half-way through this lot and am looking forward to having everything in place, all priced up. These things take time.
Faroes. More new issues including a mini sheet.
Finland. Early 2019 issues which as usual are colourful and jolly!
France UNESCO issues. A small selection but very attractive.
French Colonies. The main activity this month was work on the former French Congo (Brazaville) with a nice little lot of pictorials. In addition, I had an almost complete collection of Reunion which is very scarce in fine used condition.
German Areas. New stock from many of these temporary stamp issuing areas. With Danzig I found some better items and now have a comprehensive range, while additional issues from Memel have completed many sets with a few more for the Lithuanian period. Hard to find, but now in stock are more of the Saar charity stamps from the 1920s, 1030s and 1950s.
German States. I filled up various issues of Wurttemberg in the twentieth century.
Greenland. Contacts of mine in Denmark have supplied a lovely lot of stamps and mini sheets almost finding all items on my wants list (usually three copies of each). I had been neglecting Greenland but there has been renewed interest lately. The same contacts are now going to find me the stamps from 2012 to date.
Iceland. My Iceland range is solid but this small collection from 1876-1952 did add some items all the same. The condition was excellent.
Liechtenstein. I have decided to stock more recent issues. I made a start with the stamps of 2002-3. My existing stock is strong so it makes sense to have a strong recent section.
Malay States. With the Malaysia below, was a reasonable range of States stamps from which I was able to fill a number of gaps in my stock. These were strongest in the post war period but some good early items too.
Malaysia. I have a good stock of Malaya but had never done much with the modern stamps of Malaysia. Now I have put order into the two collections I had sitting here for some time and now have a reasonable stock to offer. It could still do with expanding so we will see what presents itself over the next few months.
New Zealand. The first issues for 2019 arrived. As usual there was a set of 4 plus mini sheet for the Chinese New Year (Year of the Pig). Then a set of 6 plus mini sheet for Native Alpine Flora.
Norway. A batch of recent issues brought me up to the end of 2018, including Christmas.
Peru. Slowly, slowly I am pricing up issues of Latin America from the beginning up to 1936 (all from a set of Ideal albums). This is before working on another collection which has been propping up a desk!
Singapore. A range of stamps and mini sheets from 1975-90, mostly complete.
Swiss International Bureaux. After this lot, I now have a largely complete stock of these hard to find issues. The Refugees set is especially difficult to obtain and the Education stamps are never around in quantity. You can always rely on the condition of these stamps.
Tuvalu. Some months ago I bought a dealer’s stock of Tuvalu and just now I finally got around to pricing it up. They have produced a welter of stamps over the years so this lot barely scratches the surface but it is there for those that want them.
A little bit quieter in March, largely due to less sales of Australia, Commonwealth and my “peripheral” countries. Sales of European material were steady with Italy and Finland/Aland being especially strong.
The Sevenoaks Fair was cancelled at short notice because the venue double-booked its facilities. Sheer incompetence! So I only attended one Fair: the monthly Wokingham event. Again it was stunningly good . The top selling countries this time were German States, Denmark, Austria, Ireland but above all, Europa issues.
I re-visited the venue for the Potters Bar events (first date 26 May). All the dates are full now and I hope all of you that can come along will do so. The café is supposed to be good!
NEWSLETTER MARCH 2019
February was a solid month without frills. Stamps are maintaining their popularity despite all the events that might discourage customers. When I am working on stamps, I can forget all that is going on. It is very therapeutic.
I have some new items on www.robstineextra.com as we have put up some stamp videos. I will be very interested in feedback on these so we can provide more of what you like!
UPDATES ON STOCK
Belgian Congo + Ruanda. No new purchases this month, but I have finally got around to re-listing my stock. In the last few months there was a gremlin on this list. A good friend has relieved the problem and I have now re-listed the stock.
Canada. This time my Canadian supplier decided to send me the latest new issues without being told to! That takes me into the first issues of 2019 and nice stamps they are too.
Commonwealth QV-KG5. I am part way through the task of breaking down and Imperial album which was highly complete in many areas. I am probably about half way through the job. This month I priced up Kuwait, Montserrat, St Helena, St Lucia, New Guinea, Penrhyn Island, New Hebrides and Seychelles. At the same time I was merging into stock material from a former dealer which was highly duplicated. So lots of stuff!
Commonwealth QE2. In the last two months, I talked about the work on the first two volumes of this collection. This month I finished work on the remaining three volumes. The condition was excellent and many were postally used, covering the years 1953-71. Some of the countries represented were: Jamaica, KUT, Kuwait, Malawi, Montserrat, Pakistan, the Saints, Samoa, Malayan States, Sierra Leone, Trin + Tob, Uganda and Zambia. My stock of this period is now strong. Of course it is not complete but you are likely to find what you want in my lists!
Danish West Indies. A small selection of items which had been sitting in the Danish stock (as below) and there are a few items new to stock.
Danzig. A small collection housed on Ideal album pages came my way. I was pleased to fill a few gaps in my stock as well as add to my back-up stock.
Denmark. Not much activity here for a while. I had three collections that were partly worked on and at last, I got around to putting them away. There were quite a few gaps filled in my stock and the rest have gone in my back-up book.
Europa. Due to two keen collectors, I am putting in more effort on this area. Luckily I have an excellent supplier in Germany so it is a case of building up the stock bit by bit. First time around, I have bought fine used Europa stamps up to 2017 from these countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia and Moldova.
I have also received a second lot with Albania, Croatia, Russia and Ukraine.
French Colonies. I made a determined effort to price up all the stamps that were sitting in the Ideal album. The range was not comprehensive but there were several better values and generally good quality. Here are some of the better areas: Diego Suarez, Djibouti, French Guiana, Indian Settlements, Indo-China Posts in China, French Sudan, POs in the Turkish Empire, Port said, Syria, Congo and Morocco.
Hungary. This is a country I have neglected for too long. This time I have merged stamps and mini sheets from 1945-61, including some very scarce mini sheets. In addition there were quite a few mint mini sheets which I have put on my selection on www.robstineextra.com
Japan. I dealt with two lots of fine used Japan during the 2000s. There are many complete sets and extra copies of most. Lovely stamps but so many! I still have more to sort but time was against me finishing this job.
Latin America. This month I priced up four countries from an Ideal album, so from the earliest issues up to 1936. The four countries are: Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. The selection has been “bitty” but with some better values here and there. I have lots more Latin America to work on, but time is the issue.
Former Yugoslav countries: Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia. In each case I bought stockbooks of highly duplicated stocks of these countries. The Croatia was of course during the Second World War but the other two were from the nineteenth century up to 1920. A skilled friend of mine helped by sorting the difficult early issues.
A steady month, perhaps slightly busier than January. The number of orders was marginally up and the range was big. Something sold from almost all of my main countries. Yet again, Commonwealth and Australia were top sellers with mentions in despatches for Canada, France, Luxembourg, New Zealand, French Colonies and Japan.
I only attended one stamp fair in February. This was the monthly Wokingham Fair and yet again, it went well. It was different this time as I only had five customers but they were good regular customers. The event itself was not too busy. It was also a strange mix of material that sold: Barbados, Europa, Greenland and Oldenburg. I never mind what people buy as long as they do!
The Amersham Solo Fair was scuppered by heavy snow overnight the day before the event. Shame.
More news on the Potters Bar Fair which will take place on 26 May, 1 September and 17 November. The venue is the Wyllyotts Theatre, Darkes Lane, Potters Bar. I am currently taking bookings from the dealers for the event. Let’s hope the Fair works well and people come in their droves!
NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2019
January was an excellent month all told. The winter York Fair was superb as were the other Fairs in the month. Postal sales were quite good too. In between this, I managed to price up lots of new stock too (as below).
Last month, I said that the organiser of the Potters Bar Fair had cancelled all future dates. Just this week I have found a new venue so shortly, the publicity for the new Fair will appear, It was a Fair we did not like to lose and hopefully this will work.
UPDATES ON STOCK
SG numbers updated. I try to keep up to date with the catalogue numbers of new issues through the pages in SG Monthly. Regrettably I often fall behind and this time I had four months to catch up.
Australia. After the Christmas issue, Australia normally goes quiet with their new issues. The only thing I have seen since is the set of 6 mini sheets for the Thailand World Stamp Exhibition. They feature the finch stamps and are another fabulous production. I normally do not include mini sheets in this newsletter but this is an exception!
Austria. I bought a stockbook filled with stamps from the 2000s. It filled a few gaps in stock but also gave me backup for many values for when I experience a rush in demand.
Canada. It took longer than expected to arrive, but my regular supplier sent me a big lot of recent issues. This included various items from the last ten years that had sold out plus new issues up to the end of 2018 with the Christmas stamps and mini sheet. Canada often produces some of the worst cancellations but all these stamps have CDS postmarks.
Commonwealth QV-KG5. Bit by bit I am working through an Imperial album and merging items into stock. The condition is excellent and there are many high values. This month I have worked on the Falklands, Barbados, Mauritius and Malta.
Commonwealth QE2. Previously I had bought a well-filled collection of QE2 Commonwealth covering the period 1953-70. Last month I had worked on book one of five. This month I price up stamps from book two, featuring these countries: Bermuda, Botswana, British Guiana, British Honduras, British Solomons, Brunei, Caymans, Ceylon, Cook Islands, Dominica, Kenya + KUT, Gambia, Gilberts, Grenada, Hong Kong and India. In many cases, I already had all the stamps but in other cases some gaps were filled.
Czech Republic. The latest new issues came in, taking us up to the end of 2018.
Denmark. New issues of Christmas and Flags.
Egypt. My Egypt stock is strong, at least up to about 1960, but another lot helped to expand my range of the earliest issues.
Finland. New issues mainly of a Christmassy theme.
French Colonies. Every so often I pick up another colony to work on and this month I have sorted French Oceania/Polynesia, Ivory Coast and Dahomey. In each case, I had some better values from the colonial period and stamps from another lot featuring post-independence issues.
FSAT (French Southern and Antarctic Territories). After these had been sitting on a shelf for some months, I finally got around to sorting these. I have added lots of stamps to my listing and there are several covers that I will take to some Fairs.
Germany. Some time was spent putting away stamps from 1933-45. It was a very strong lot including the Officials and mini sheets.
German “Areas”. Useful lots of Danzig, Memel and Saar came from my German supplier. These were stamps I ordered especially to fill gaps.
Germany West. I received a good lot of new issues plus some back numbers.
Germany East/DDR. I only needed to fill a few places and my German supplier did his job!
Iceland. New issues this month included the Seabed, mechanised agriculture, views, modern art and of course Christmas.
Iraq. A small selection came my way. I already had a stock from the period when Brits were involved but these odd values are from the later period. This small selection can be found in my Middle East listing.
Italy. I put away stamps from a collection covering 1945-93. Most stamps were already in stock but there were some lighter cancels among the 1950s where they were often using heavy ink!
I had another lot, this time with stamps from the beginning up to 1936. Some gaps in stock were filled and I have more backup across the board. Overall Italy is one of my strongest suits.
Liechtenstein. I worked on two lots this month. Firstly a nice little lot covering the years up to 1936. Secondly a fabulous collection with almost all the high values from the start through to 1999. All of a sudden my range is one of my most comprehensive, although it only goes up to about 2002 at present.
New Zealand. New issues this month featured the latest Christmas stamps and mini sheet plus mini sheets from the Armistica Stamp Show and the Thailand World Stamp Exhibition.
Panama and Canal Zone. I had representative lot covering the period up to 1936. These were merged with an even smaller lot I already had. I am making an effort to list my Latin America and these are now included.
USA. Before Christmas, I bought a heavy two volume collection of USA which went from early issues up to the 1990s. It included some hard to find top values and a run-through all the way with extra copies of many definitives.
Yemen. I never thought I would see a collection/lot of Yemen but one day it appeared. There are stamps from the various periods of this war-torn country and although not comprehensive, it forms a useful lot. They are listed in my Middle East section.
It takes a little time for sales to get back to normal after Christmas. So this month was quite creditable with almost an average number of orders. The last ten days of the month made up for the slow start.
Commonwealth stamps performed well with Australia also very strong. The other three important countries were Belgium, Canada and Italy. Apart from that sales were across my range with most countries finding at least one supporter!
York was the main news this month and it was the best ever with my best ever single day’s trading on day one. I cannot ask for more than that. Many of my regulars attended, although not all. There were lots of new customers this time and many of them were after Commonwealth stamps. Unusually the sales of USA and Australia were low compared to previous shows but the high sales of Commonwealth more than made up for it.
I attended two other Stamp Fairs during the month: Wokingham and Chichester. Both were well above target, continuing the strong performances of Fairs in the last six months.
Now let’s se how we get on in February!
NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2019
A short month due to Christmas. Usually the second half of the month is quiet as collectors have other things on their minds. So I did the only logical thing and pushed off to the Algarve on a birding holiday. It was a thoroughly enjoyable week with better weather, good food and drink, good birds and good company.
During the rest of the month, things were good. The three Fairs were fabulous and postal sales were pretty strong. I made more wise stock purchases and managed to price up a lot of new material.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Baltic States. I found an excellent collection of all three Baltic States covering the early period. The Estonia was nearly complete, the Latvia included many good sets and singles but the Lithuania contained more stamps I did not previously have in stock. The condition was superb.
Belgium. A second lot from one of my Belgian suppliers with a range from 1949-2000. My stock from the first issues up to 2000 (including back of book) is strong again. Shortly I plan to order issues from this century, although they are more difficult to find.
A fabulous collection came my way with most of the sets and high values right the way through to 1990.
Bulgaria. I have started organising my stock of Bulgaria. My list shows issues up to the 1930s and included items from an accumulation of early twentieth century issues with hand-picked cancellations, for nice copies not postmark collectors! Before long I intend to price up more material, before organising my Romania.
---Aden. QE2 issues including Seiyun and Hadhramut. This lot also housed a duplicated selection of Yemen which will be discussed in the next issue of this Newsletter.
---Anguilla. A few sets and singles.
---Antigua. Two lots of QE2 issues, going up to 1976.
---Ascension. Again, two lots from 1953-76, almost complete.
---Bahamas. Early QE2 issues.
---Barbados. Another early QE2 lot. In addition, I priced up a strong lot of QV stamps with high values.
---British Somaliland. A few Officials.
---Ceylon. A colleague has sorted the early issues for me, again including many high values.
---Grenada Postage Dues.
---Hong Kong from beginning to 1936, including many high values and China overprints.
---India. A boost to my stock from early issues to 1936. It is hard to obtain nice cancels of early India but here there were some nice copies.
---Leewards. Two lots featuring issues of QV-KG5.
---(South Africa) New Republic + Griqualand. A reasonable selection of these difficult areas.
Czechoslovakia. A big lot from my Prague supplier. This is the first lot I have had from him for several months. Soon I plan to order more Czech Republic and perhaps Slovakia. If you want Slovakia, let me know! This current lot featured stamps from the early Hradcany Castle issues up to 1992.
In addition I merged into stock items from a stockbook collection, strong in the 1950s and 1960s with good mini sheets.
Germany (West). A number of new issues, although a further selection from my German supplier seems to have got lost in the post, along with an important order for a good customer. How annoying.
Iraq. A nice lot covering the period of British influence. I have bought a small selection of issues from the independent period and I hope to work on it soon.
Yugoslavia. A nice stockbook collection with stamps up to the 1960s has been assimilated into stock. This country sells remarkably well so many gaps were re-filled.
Due to Christmas, this is always a short month, but postal sales were remarkably buoyant. After a phenomenal number of new customers in November, more appeared during December. Thanks to you all for joining me!
Commonwealth stamps were again popular, followed by Spain, Belgium and France. Brazil and the Channel Islands made good performances, the latter gaining ground each month. Sales of Australia were low, largely due to the lack of new issues during December.
I attended three Fairs during December and all three were excellent, well above budget. Wokingham continues in its sub-optimal state but my customers keep coming and this month I had three pleasant surprises. It was my last Oxford Solo Fair which is always a sad moment, but every so often we have to move on.
Then we come to the Potters Bar Fair. This occasion was another very strong performance but it was the last event at the Mount Grace School. The organiser would be losing money in 2019 due to the low number of dealers and the increase in the room rate. However, some of us are looking at an alternative and we hope to have good news soon. There are some problems with dates to be resolved but that should be OK in the end.
I feel positive about 2019 as it starts. There are a lot of changes going on in the stamp world as it affects me, but as French footballers would say, I am “in a good moment!”
NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2018
For me, November was a work month and I only took a couple of days off, birding in Norfolk. I was pleased with my turnover at fairs and by post and I got on with more sorting and pricing up of new stock. Perhaps the main work was done on Brazil and Italian Colonies with more Commonwealth too.
It looks like I will be attending less Fairs in 2019 (see the Fairs section below). Thinking positively, that should give me more time for sorting new material!
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. They have been producing lots of new issues this autumn. This month the topics treated have included: Repatriation, Lighthouses and of course Christmas. The Lighthouse stamps are particularly attractive.
I also received the last section of stamps from my recent order. This lot covered the 2010s.
Belgium. I gave my Belgian supplier a list of “back of the book” items to find plus normal stamps up to the 1940s. He did pretty well including some of the usual top sellers. Already I have ordered more stamps from the 1940s to 2000 with the intention of trying for the 2000s after that.
Brazil. A lot of time was spent this month on setting up this new stock. I have been neglecting my Latin American range with much of it unsorted and only small parts have been listed. Anyway I put this right with Brazil and it has had an immediate effect as you will see from a large number of N/As in the listing. When I get a good modern collection, I know in advance I will struggle to get another. This has happened with India and Egypt and now Brazil. Still, I would rather have one good lot than none at all!
Commonwealth. More work has ben put in on the two QV-KG5 collections. This month I added:
---Ceylon. I have asked a colleague to sort the first issues for me as he has more knowledge on the very early issues. I did the KE7-KG5 items.
---Cyprus. QV-KG5 but also two lots of modern stamps, taking us into the 2000s.
---Cook Islands. There were some especially good items in this lot.
---Fiji. I have priced up the KE7-KG5 stamps but my friend is doing the QV period.
---Grenada. I have added all the QV-KG5 stamps except the Chalon designs which are being done by the same friendly expert!
I worked on a decent lot of Cocos/Keeling Islands with many new values for stock. While sorting these, I googled Cocos/Keeling and the info is fascinating with lovely pictures of the clear blue seas and idyllic island views. I just hope they survive any sea level rise we are told to expect.
Crete. I bought a stockbook with a variety of eastern Mediterranean stamps. There was a good lot of Crete along with some Epirus, Samos etc to boot.
France. My stock was already strong but I had a big book of commemoratives including the 1960s-90s with lots of duplication. It took longer than I wanted but this has now been merged into my range.
Then I received another lot from my Parisian supplier. A few gaps in earlier stock were filled but the main cost was in the period 2013-6. As you may remember I had stopped taking new issues at the end of 2011 but “due to popular demand” I have decided to develop the recent period slowly. Many of their stamps continue to be jolly nice but I do not like some of the self-adhesive booklet stamps.
Ireland. New issues this month included RMS Leinster, Vote and a variety of Christmas designs. The Christmas stamps themselves are OK but the authorities have made it so complicated, especially with “Elves on a shelf”. Why postal bureaux make things so complicated is beyond me. Gimmicks!
Italian Colonies. Three months ago I bought a big box of this area and have just got around to working on them. Eritrea was very strongly represented with heavy duplication in many areas. There were also more Libya, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Somalia with other bits too. (I had a good lot of Dodecanese a couple of months ago). Included were some post independence Somalia which I added to a range I already had in stock. These are listed in my Africa North section. (I know technically it is not in North Africa but it had to go somewhere!)
Italy. My stock was already strong but I had two more lots to add. They have added odd values all the way up to the 1990s.
Sweden. My regular Swedish supplier has sent me a fabulous lot after receiving my current wants list. Many of the gaps in stock have now been filled, all across the board from the 1920s to date. Sweden is complicated with coil singles, booklet stamps, pairs and complete booklets and I try to keep a stock of all of these.
There were also some new issues: Garden Birds and Christmas.
Trieste. I have “beefed” up this area with new stocks of Zones A + B. Always a good selling area, once again I have the stock to match.
Vatican. A good selection of early Vatican came with one of the Italian lots and I dusted down an old stockbook that had been on my shelf to add more.
Another strong performance this month showing we are definitely back in the collecting season. Interestingly, I had orders from more new customers this month than the previous three months. News of www.robstineextra.com is now spreading.
Sales of Commonwealth were back to totals last seen in May. Very strong sales also came from Australia, France and Spain with honourable mentions for Canada, Greece, Egypt and Brazil.
I attended two Fairs in November: Wokingham and Sevenoaks. Both were over budget. It is always a pleasure to see my regular customers at Fairs and I appreciate their loyalty.
However, the future for fairs is uncertain. I had decided not to continue with my Oxford and Bromsgrove Solo Fairs for 2019 for a variety of reasons. Now I have been told that the Potters Bar Fair will be stopping. It is possible that a small phoenix may arise from these ashes and I will let everyone know when I know. This is not the first time I have worried about the Wokingham Fair too. The world is changing but some of the changes are not for the best. Essentially not enough customers are attending Fairs with a big drop since 10-15 years ago. This leads inevitably to less dealers making some Fairs uneconomic to run. Once more, I thank my regular customers for sticking with it and hope the other Fairs will keep going.
NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2018
I was kept busy during October. Four Fairs were excellent and postal sales made a strong recovery. Lots of stock to arrange and price up and items to add to the selection on www.robstineextra.com
I went on a trip to Amsterdam in mid-month in order to take in two Fairs in the eastern town of Apeldoorn. One Fair is annual and the other is a more homely monthly event which I have visited twice before. I now have a few good contacts at these events and they did not let me down with the stocks I wanted. This year there were one or two adventures on the trains from Apeldoorn and back to the airport but all went surprisingly smoothly in the end.
With Charlotte’s help, I am adding new features to www.robstineextra.com including gift vouchers for Christmas (or any other time). We now have nearly 3300 items visible on this site and we are adding material almost daily, just as I am adding stock to www.robstine-stamps.com almost daily too. I have noticed there is a problem with the Germany 1872-1945 (Reich) list and we are working to solve it. It currently shows the February 2015 list and has not permitted updates in all the time since. Bear with us on this and please remember to press the F5 refresh button regularly to see the up to date listings.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Albania. Another great lot which has strengthened my range of this neglected country. I have had meaningful demand for these stamps lately and this new selection added a number of items to stock, in particular in the 1920s-1940s, carrying on to the 1960s.
Australia. My Australian supplier has sent me loads of material after receiving my latest wants list. He has filled 95% of what I requested, mainly items from the 2000s which is where the demand is. I have not yet priced up the most recent stamps as that invoice has not yet arrived and so I do not know what he has charged for each item. As usual, I have very few gaps in my Aussie stock.
As for new issues, this month’s lot includes more Fair Dinkum Alphabet, Beautiful Cities, the Royal Wedding and the end of World War 1, with mini sheets in some cases.
Austria. Just a few recent singles and mini sheets came my way. Soon I will ask my German supplier to find me lots more recent stamps as I have neglected these for too long.
Baltic States. I found some recent items from all three countries in Apeldoorn, although the biggest range was from Lithuania.
Belgium. During my trip to Apeldoorn, I found a big range of mini sheets for Belgium. I just had to have them. They have been going in for big sheetlets lately which will take up a lot of room in my books. The majority can be found on www.robstineextra.com and listed on the main site.
Commonwealth. With two lovely collections of QV-KG5 issues and various other bits and pieces on the shelves, you would have expected me to have made more progress here than I have. Well, the Indian States took up a lot of time but I did manage to work on Barbados and British East Africa/KUT this month. There were lots of new stamps for my KUT range with many “better”.
Croatia. I have not had wartime Croatia in stock for 15-20 years. This month I found not one but two lots covering this period (what’s that about London buses coming along!) These stamps are well sought after, despite some having one of the world’s meanest looking rulers!
Faroes. New issues including costumes and Christmas.
French Colonies. I only manged to work on one area this month: French Guinea.
Indian States. This month I put a lot of effort into these stamps, having put it off for a while! I had three lots to work on. I sorted and priced up the Convention States, but a friend sorted the Feudal States for me, before I price them and arranged them. He has more knowledge on these stamps than I do so I was grateful for his help. I can definitely say my selection of these issues is the best I have had.
Ireland. New issues including a lovely set of Bees and Scientific Discoveries.
Italy. This is the first time I have received stamps from my Italian supplier for nearly two years (because I have been slow at writing to him!) Various gaps were filled from 1929 into the 2000s although the very recent stamps will be ordered next time.
Netherlands. It would have been rude to go to Apeldoorn and not buy Dutch stamps. At the big Fair, I obtained a large number of sheetlets and mini sheets covering the period of 2006-16. Many will be visible on www.robstineextra.com and are listed on my main site. Additionally I bought a number of singles and sets, principally from the 2000s but a few tricky earlier items were also found.
New Zealand. Another friend has sorted the NZ Chalons for me. I had large numbers of these stamps but little time to do them justice, so his help was gratefully received.
New issues this month consisted of Thinking outside the square(!), Suffragettes and the Armistice. Mini sheets too of course. The Armistice issue has been printed in such a way that you cannot soak them off paper if you want to retain the designs. Not good. I do not like the designs either, so am I overselling them!?!
Norway. I found a small number of items from the 2000s during my visit to Apeldoorn and there were two new issues including a mini sheet for the Norwegian King.
Russia. One of my forgotten countries. I have lots of material waiting to be sorted but Russia has not been selling well for ages. All the same I added a number of singles and sets to my stock of the 1930s and 1940s. There is plenty more to come when I can find the time!
San Marino. This is the best lot of earlier San Marino I have seen for a very long time. My range has greatly expanded as a result with several key values. There are still lots of items to be found but this helps. This lot started from the first issues and went through to the 1960s.
As soon as October came around, I felt that things had taken a turn for the better after a prolonged quiet spell in the summer. The number of sales was one of the best for 2018 so far with some sizeable sales too.
Recently the pattern has been that four areas have dominated the sales: Commonwealth Australia, Canada and France. This was even more evident in October. So I have made efforts to bolster my stocks in those areas. Other good selling countries in October have been German States, Spain and Thailand.
Early October was a busy time for me with fairs. I attended four: Chichester, Bromsgrove (Solo), Amersham (Solo) and Wokingham. The last three were over budget and Chichester was productive too. It is noticeable in the bigger Fairs that there are fewer customers but the average spend is much higher than in previous years. When I say bigger Fairs, there were three dealers at Chichester and ten at Wokingham, scarcely big Fairs! The number of customers is well down but so is the number of dealers.
A wide range of material was sold during these four Fairs: much wider than through the post. Australia and the Commonwealth were good sellers but so were Yugoslavia and Albania, Ethiopia and West Germany, DDR and Greenland. It is hard deciding what to bring to some Fairs!
Just five more Fairs to go in 2018! I hope to see you at one of them.
NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2018
September has been a strange month. It was the quietest month for postal sales for nearly two years but the Fairs have been performing well. I received some notable postal orders but there were distinct lulls. Were you on holiday!?! I had a holiday myself, visiting Bulgaria for the autumn migration. Big numbers of Eagles fly close to the west coast of the Black Sea, showing themselves overhead in all their splendour. The weather was too good for the smaller birds, which just kept going instead of stopping for us to see them!
As you will see below, I have been offered some wonderful lots of new stock lately. I am working on the French Colonies and QV-KG5 Commonwealth in between other things. There is always lots to do!
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. My Aussie supplier is currently working on a big order I have placed to fill some gaps that have appeared in stock. In the meantime there have been some more new issues: Children’s Bush Classics, Vintage Motorcycles and the horse Winx that apparently won lots of races.
Bolivia. Not much has happened with my Latin America for several months. I have now priced up a range of Bolivia from the start to the mid 1930s. My stock of Brazil is almost ready to be priced and Haiti will be worked on shortly.
Channel Islands. Having previously priced up my stock of Isle of Man and Alderney, I have now completed the listing of Guernsey and all of the Jersey. I used to think other dealers had better stocks than me, but it seems that may not be the case. Anyway my stock is now available!
Christmas Island. I now have a decent range of this lovely territory following a purchase from another dealer. Some of the sets are lauding the phosphate industry which was actually destroying part of the island! How times change.
Commonwealth. Some more work has gone on with the QV-KG5 ranges. I have two largely complete collections that I am breaking down. That is in addition to an ex-dealer’s duplicated stock. This month I worked on Heligoland, Gambia, Gibraltar, Gilbert + Ellice, Gold Coast and Dominica.
Finland. Another batch of new issues including town parks and climate change.
French Colonies. Further work on this lot. There are some early issues but much of the range is actually post independence, many gaudy pictorials. I have been intrigued by tropical African countries issuing stamps for the Winter Olympics! The countries handled this month were: Central African Republic, Senegal, St Pierre et Miquelon (there are several mint items now showing on www.robstineextra.com), Mauritania and Laos. The Laos list is to be found in my Asia listing.
Great Britain. Finally I listed my selection of Postage Dues. I cannot think why I did not do it earlier!
Italian Colonies. A tremendous lot of the Dodecanese Islands came my way recently, so I wasted no time in sorting them and pricing them. The 13 Island overprints on the Ferrucci and Garibaldi issues were 99% complete and there are many of the 1912-21 Victor Emmanuel overprints too. This is the best range I have ever had of these.
Italy. A small, highly duplicated lot from 1979-90 came my way, mainly notable for the blocks of four with tabs.
New Zealand. I had been neglecting these early issues (up to 1935) but I had five lots to merge into my existing stock. As you will know these are very complicated with paper types, perf differences, watermarks etc. So, I have added a number of items into stock but more issues have been “parked” until I can concentrate on them.
Poland. Lately there has been some interest in their stamps after a long period in the doldrums. So it was high time to work on the 8 albums and stockbooks sitting on my shelves! I have not sorted them all but a large number of gaps in stock have been filled from the start up to 1994. I was especially pleased to note the issues of the late 1940s which are always in short supply.
Sweden. The first lot for some months from my Swedish supplier. Various gaps filled from the early twentieth century up to the 2010s, singles and booklets. I am also up to date with 2018 new issues.
Switzerland. My stock of the International Bureaux has always been good, but I bought a fabulous range of the League of Nations and International Labour Office. Both were 99% complete with large numbers of some values plus a range of mint stamps which I will deal with later.
September was a very quiet month for postal sales. However Canada and France have performed particularly well, outstripping all other areas, except the good old favourites: the Commonwealth and Australia. It has been especially noteworthy how many previous customers have returned in the last few weeks. You are all welcome!
I attended three events in September. All went well. Sevenoaks and Potters Bar were close to the high budget and Wokingham was again above the target figure. It is undeniable that there are less customers visiting Stamp Fairs and that the afternoons are sometimes devoid of clients but my figures continue well.
More progress has been made on www.robstineextra.com. We have now 3000+ items in this site and counting. Sales have shown an increase too with a good variety of items being asked for. I have plans for two more innovations. We are about to launch our voucher scheme, which is ideal for gifts when your friends or family do not know what to get you! Then I will be producing a wants list booklet, making it easier to keep up to date with what you need to complete your collection.
More news on these developments next month!
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)