GET WITH IT! GET UP-TO-DATE!
How many times have I said/heard this over the years? Average – once every five years, or less? I have survived a good number of these five-year periods and still you have to remain on the treadmill. The technology-minded will argue that the ideal time-scale is six months and reducing.
How does this translate to stamp collecting today? Depends on what level you are at and what level you want to attain.
I want to talk about expanding your collection at auctions; that’s where the material is at a middle to high level. Whatever, you are going to have to spend money, with overheads (commission, VAT) on top of your winning bid. My up-to-date insight is that you are wasting your time making postal bids. Unless you want to make an out-of-this-world offer, your postal bid will be gazumped by bidders on the phone or live on the internet. Get with it!
Can philately be an investment? Ever less so. Only a specialist, studious expert with a stock built up over decades can make any sort of living, let alone earn a return on capital. Watch out for those so-called investment portfolios built up on the back of catalogue prices published and adjusted annually (mainly).
More often than ever I am being approached to give an opinion on “my grandfather’s collection which has very old stamps and is worth a fortune”. Yes, we all have one! But that is the problem “all of us” have one, but there is no-one to buy them. More than once I have caught up with a family whose collection consists of stamps bought (through Stanley Gibbons?) in the l960s via a standing order for all the Commonwealth stamps issued plus all the add-ons. A huge investment and a never-ending, suitcase-filling agglomeration, as yet mainly-unpacked, and a nightmare for anyone to sell. I have a colleague who faced with a GB collection of this nature advises that the £ s and material is worthless and that the decimal stamps can be negotiated at 60% of face value to be used on today’s mail.
Mentioning Stanley Gibbons, keep your eyes on the financial press this first quarter 2018.
But don’t let itbe pessimistic. Stamp collecting is fun; it’s relaxing in today’s hectic world; and it can even be exciting!
The good news is that there are auction houses/websites where there are good bargains, a fair market, and goodies to be had at reasonable prices. Just be careful with the quality.
Published on 21 Jan 2018