Monthly Archives: January 2015

  1. Why are so Many Stamps Sold at Auction

    Newer people entering our hobby are always surprised at

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  2. The Scarcity of Modern Mint Stamps

    Collectors know that modern mint foreign

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  3. The Scarcity of Modern Stamps

    Collectors know that modern mint foreign

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  4. Women and Stamp Collecting

      As children, girls collect somewhat less often than boys. But as adults, women collect stamps far less frequently than do men. And when they do collect, they tend to do so less avidly and more idiosyncratically. In the lists of competitive stamp exhibitors, women make up a very small percentage of Gold Medal winners, a far smaller percentage than they make up of stamp collectors in general. (the under representation of women at the top of competitive philately may have more to do with women not being as
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  5. Try The Stamps Of Mexico

    It is always interesting to speculate on future winners and losers in the stamp market.
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  6. Adding Autographs Can Spice Up Your Collection

    Most philatelists soon exhaust the specialty that they have chosen. Virtually any country can be 95% completed for between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars. Most collectors never spend more than a hundred dollars for a single stamp and so the problem with our hobby is that collectors soon paint themselves into a corner and either move on to another country to specialize in or add covers or other specialty items to their collections. Another way to jazz up a collection for not a lot of money is to add nonphilatelic collateral items. Some collectors add maps or personal pictures relating to visits or to the stamps themselves. Some add autographs of famous people.
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  7. Certification and Grading

    Coin collecting has been dominated over the last fifty years by third party grading issues to the point where few serious numismatists buy non-graded coins. Eager grading services have tried to push into philately hoping to enlarge their fee base. So far it hasn't worked. Some collectors have become enamored of graded stamps but most think that it is inconvenient and costly. There are several reasons why third party grading is popular for coins and why it has largely failed in philately, despite two separate, (one in the late 70's and the other a few years ago) highly promoted, and well funded grading service attempts to make it stick. Third party grading has creat
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  8. The Stamps of Antigua

    Antigua was one of the first islands discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493. For over 150 years after that native Caribs resisted colonization from the Spanish and as the island was small and had little to offer in the way of gold and silver, the Spanish left it alone. By the mid seventeenth century, the British were colonizing most of the West Indian islands, turning them into slave plantations for the production of tobacco and sugar. The purpose of these islands and what went on in Antigua was well known in Great Britain and it was the treatment of the African slaves in these island that created the British abolitionist movement. But the acceptance of the West In
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  9. Africa is The New Growth Area

    220px-1864_stamp_of_Liberia Geopolitics has always occupied governments. Today it's the Middle East and Central Asia. In the late nineteenth century, European perception was that Africa needed to be partitioned and each country scrambled to increase their area of influence. Like much geopolitics today, this drive was ostensibly motivated by the desire to control natural resources (just as today oil is the basis of our Middle East policy and everyone seemed relieved when huge quantities of rare earth metals were discovered in Afghanistan). In hindsight, most of the scramble for geopolitical influence (in this case colonization) was the economic tail wagging the competitive dog. France did it because Britain did it and Britain did it becaus
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  10. Collecting German States

    Among the most interesting stamps that exist in our hobby are the stamps of the German States. What we call Germany today is a very recent political invention. The area of Germany was never part of the Roman Empire, and so the various Germanic tribes that occupied and conquered that area were never unified. As the Middle Ages progressed the area was unified under Charlemagne and then under the political hodge-podge that was the Holy Roman Empire. But by the early Nineteenth Century the political climate of Germany was very diffuse with many principalities calming jurisdiction over the area.   The early postage stamps of the German area reflect this. There were many different entities that had separate political power, and stamps were issued from at least ten separate countries. Two, Bavaria and
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  11. Revenue Stamps Of The United States

    The first issue revenues of the United States are some of the world's most attractive stamps and would be far more popular among US collectors if it wasn't for the perf, imperf, part perf problem. These stamps were issued to pay taxes on everything from bills of sale to stock and property transfers and the initial plan was to issue revenue stamps for each type of transaction. But from the first this proved impractical and
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  12. Big Scarcer Stamps First

    Broadly speaking, there are two types of philatelic items-those that are offered frequently and are readily available, even though their price may be substantial. And the second type of philatelic item is one that is rarely offered and of great rarity, even though the price may be quite modest. An example of the first would be a US #1. This is a supremely popular stamp-the first issue of one of the world's major philatelic countries. It's a bit pricey because of its popularity but a collector would have no trouble finding one. Right now, our company has fifteen for sale ranging in price, depending on quality, from $130 to$250 and on EBay right now there are over thirty. This stamp, and even Airmail Inverts at $150,000 fits in this category,

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  13. Why Albums Matter

    One of the things that many collectors pay too little attention to is the albums that they put their stamps in. Nice attractive well made stamp albums cost money and many collectors are loathe to part with hard earned coin of the realm for anything but actual stamps. That's fine if that's what you want or if that is all you can afford but nice albums really cost very little in the end and can add considerably to your enjoyment in collecting. Putting your stamp collection in nice albums is kind of like putting new bathrooms in your home. If all of our homes were destroyed when we were done with them then it might make little economic sense to invest in things that are just for our own enjoyment. But it the end we(or our heirs) all sell our homes and nice bathrooms make homes more salable and at higher prices. The estimates of the American Realtors Association are that people who put in new bathrooms and kitchens get back about 70% of the cost of their improvements, so they enjoy the imp

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  14. Who Collects Stamps

    Most stamp collectors are married men. In fact, if you had to pick the person who was at the exact center of the philatelic demographic in this country you would
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  15. Visiting Europe?

    For philatelic Americans traveling in Europe, one of the great pleasures of their trip was a visit to the great Sunday stamp bourses in the major European cities. Collectors would spend their days visiting the retail stamp shops and then on weekends visit the outdoor stamp bourses. These bourses have been written about since Pat Hearst's famous book Nassau Street described his travels around Europe visiting various bourses, wallet packed with dollars. Hearst described country after country where he bought great things, and since the book could easily have been renamed Great Buys I Have Made, you have a good idea already of

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