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Paul Fraser’s Top 10 Hottest Tips

Paul Fraser’s Top 10 Hottest Tips

Exclusively for you: the best stamp rarities from our recent acquisitions

Hi fellow collector

It’s about time our illustrious Chairman did some work!

 So, I’m taking a back seat this week.

 I asked our Chairman, Paul Fraser, to select his top 10 favourites from our recent acquisitions.

 Those rarities he would most recommend to enhance your collection.

 It’s been a busy few weeks for me buying, researching and describing fine quality rare stamps for you.

 One of my first ever mentors told be something I’ve never forgotten because it is so true:

 “If you buy well, the selling takes care of itself.”

 That’s why I spend five times more time searching for the best quality rarities out there than I do trying to sell them.

 At the end of the day, I see all my acquisitions as a strong investment on our balance sheet.

 This takes all the pressure off selling.

 I’m sure you know Paul already, but just in case…

 Paul started trading collectibles in 1978.

 He first became attracted to the oldest and most famous stamp dealer, Stanley Gibbons, in 1989.

 He liked it so much he bought the whole company and spent the next 18 years of his life there.

 So, it is safe to say, Paul knows a thing or two about spotting what represents a shrewd stamp purchase.

 The stamps Paul has selected for you today all come from recent acquisitions.

 I recommend you pay attention to what Paul has recommended and why.

 This is the first time these rarities have been offered and you are getting first chance to grab them before anyone else.

 Over to you Paul…

 10 It’s OFFCIAL!

 I love the ridiculous overprint errors you can find amongst some of the British Commonwealth stamp issues.

 Some of those errors, like this one, also are ridiculously cheap…

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Tanzania 1970-73 5c on glazed paper Official, type O4 local overprint, block of 4, the top left stamp showing error 'OFFCIAL' (R7/6), SGO32a.

A fine used block, lightly cancelled by Mwanza circular date stamp dated '18 JU 74'.

 A very scarce block with the startling error.

 The United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, formed 26 April 1964, was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania on 29 October 1964.

 The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £120+.

 PRICE: £95 (21% discount)


9 The Lucky Colour

 Red is the Chinese national colour and represents happiness, beauty, success and good fortune.

 The Chinese stamp market is highly liquid. This liquidity is fuelled by the explosion of interest in the past 20 years or so from collectors in the home market.

 There are now estimated to be more than 20 million avid stamp collectors in China.

 The Red Revenue stamp issue has been called “China’s rarest regularly issued stamp”. In a 2013 auction in Hong Kong, one of the rarest examples sold for HK$6.9 million.

 We have a lovely used example for you and a low-cost opportunity to own one of China’s most famous stamps…

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China 1897 (Jan) 2c on 3c deep red, surcharge type 19, "Red Revenue", SG89.

A fine used example cancelled by part Shanghai 'Dollar Chop' in brown.

 In 1897, the new Qing Dynasty government took charge of the Post Office. There was an immediate need for a large quantity of stamps, especially those of high value. While waiting for the delivery of new stamps from Japan a Provisional Issue was made using existing stock from the Imperial Customs.

 A quantity of 600,000 of the 3c Revenue stamps received from England were surcharged with different values.

 The Red Revenue stamps are amongst the most popularly collected areas of Chinese philately.

 PRICE: £200


8 The Hottest Area of Stamp Investment

 I often get asked:

 “Paul… what would you recommend as the best investment in stamps right now.”

Right now, the answer is simple…

 Buy fine quality rare stamps from India and Indian States. Every market indicator is positive. It is a no-brainer!

 This lovely rarity is a chance for you to get into this market at a low entry level…

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Indian Feudatory States Cochin 1942-4 6p on 1a brown-orange "Maharaja Rama Varma III" watermark Umbrella, surcharged ANCHAL/ SIX PIES Type 23, perforations 13 x 13½, SG81.

A very neatly used example with perforations just a trifle uneven but a very fine used example.

 A scare stamp in this quality.

 Stanley Gibbons catalogue value: £325.

 PRICE: £295 (9% discount)


7 Large Margin of Safety

 It’s all about the margins…

 This fine quality used penny black from the first printing plate benefits from much larger margins than usually found.

 If you don’t already have one (most serious collectors do), I would recommend you grab this choice example available at a 13% discount to catalogue value…

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Great Britain 1840 1d black, plate 1a lettered 'JI', SG2.

A very fine used example with four good to large margins, cancelled by red Maltese Cross.

 Plate 1 of the penny black was put to press on 11 April 1840 and registered on 15 April 1840. As the plate had not been hardened (in a rush to meet the target issue date) it soon showed signs of wear.

 Stanley Gibbons catalogue value: £375. 

 PRICE: £325 (13% discount)


6 Stunning quality bargain

 My next recommendation is one of real beauty and exquisite quality.

 Mike did well on the purchase price for this one as it is a real bargain at 42% discount to catalogue value…

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Australia 1937 2d scarlet "150th Anniversary of Foundation of New South Wales", lower marginal horizontal pair, the right-hand stamp with printing variety "PANTALOON FLAW AT LEFT RETOUCHED" (State II: R10/2), SG193var.

A fine unmounted mint positional pair with full original gum and fresh colour.

 A rare printing variety and most attractive as a pair in this positional form and in such fine unmounted mint condition.

 An attractive commemorative stamp featuring the first governor of the Colony of New South Wales, Admiral Arthur Phillip.

 Australian Specialist Catalogue Brusden-White (BW) No: BW175fb, listed with a catalogue value of $1,500.

 PRICE: £495 (42% discount)


5 Simply beautiful design

 Some stamps, I believe, should be treasured simply because they represent wonderful pieces of miniature art.

 When they come in this quality and as a rare positional block of four, you have not just beauty but real rarity, making it most desirable…

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Grenada 1938-50 10s slate-blue and bright carmine (narrow frame) "Seal of the Colony", line perforations 14, top marginal positional block of four from the 1943 printing with printer's guidelines (Positions 3-4, 9-10), SG163b.

A very fine mint positional block of four with lovely fresh colour. The top two stamps are unmounted mint, otherwise large part original gum.

 A scarce and handsome multiple of this classic King George VI stamp issue. 

 Stanley Gibbons catalogue value: £1,200.

 PRICE: £895 (25% discount)


4 Miniature propaganda

 I love it when stamps coalesce with history.

 These propaganda labels issued by Nazi Germany during World War II are extremely rare and hardly ever seen on the market…

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Germany 1944 (October) Danish Legion Feltpost +25 Ore to +1 Krone, left marginal set of three propaganda labels.

A very fine and fresh unmounted mint positional set of three with full original gum.

 Very rare, only known issued in a booklet and seldom offered.

 The stamps feature famous landmark views as follows:

 Green +25 øre Roskilde Domkirke (cathedral)

Blue +50 øre Koldingshus (Kolding Castle)

Red +1 mk Kronborg castle (which also served as a lighthouse)

 On 12 July 1942 Germany formed the ‘Frikorps Danmark’, a legion of Danish volunteers. Their purpose was to aid the fight against Russia on the Eastern Front. They saw combat there until 20th May 1943 when they were disbanded.

 These propaganda labels were issued in Denmark by Nazi German authorities and were intended to act like semi-postal stamps.

 Their purpose was to benefit Danish Legion soldiers fighting on behalf of the Germans on the Eastern Front on free military mail; thus, there was no base denomination, only supplementary value.

 Michel I-III Catalogue Value: €1,200.

 PRICE: £895 (13% discount)


3 Unique Postal History

 My next recommendation, admittedly, is not for everyone.

 It is one for the specialist postal historian. Someone who truly appreciates the layers of complexity and fascination our hobby holds.

 Most importantly, it is unique

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Zanzibar 1930 (May) incoming unpaid Postage Due cover from Morondava, Madagascar, with "MAJUNGA" despatch backstamp of "23 (?) MAI 30" and type D9 "ZANZIBAR" arrival backstamp (MY 30), and triangular "T" tax mark on face (as well as a similar larger marking in pencil), SGD3,7,13.

The cover was sent from the Mortgage Bank of Madagascar (Credit Foncier) to its Zanzibar agent. Double deficiency apparently calculated as double the foreign letter rate (20c), with 1926-30 3c black/orange, 12c black/green and 25c black/magenta postage dues applied on face, and tied by three strikes of type PP3 "ZANZIBAR/PAR" circular date stamps, dated "MY 31 30", but the cover was "Refused" (red M/S endorsement at upper left) and subsequently returned to sender, with "MORONDAVA/MADAGASCAR" arrival circular date stamp (13 SEPT 30) on reverse.

 Light cover fold, and the 3c (R4/1 from corrected setting) and 12c (R1/2, like the 25c) dues with small edge faults, but a unique and wonderful cover. The only recorded commercial cover of the 1926-30 issue with the rare 12c and 25c in combination, or indeed with a three-colour franking.

 Provenance: Ex Griffith-Jones (illustrated as Fig. 11.17 on p.299 of his book with detailed discussion; census F.26).

 PRICE: £4,500


2 An Exhibition Showpiece

 If you want to win the biggest philatelic awards you will need to own exhibition showpieces.

 The last owner of my penultimate recommendation is a multiple philatelic Gold Medal champion, no less.

 His specialisation is early GB postal history.

 In my view, this is one of the best quality early GB postal history covers in his coveted collection…

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Great Britain 1840 2d blue, SG5 and 1841 1d red-brown, SG8 combination cover.

A superb quality entire cover of this very rare combination usage for four pence rate up to 2 oz. It is very rare to find early combination covers such as this preserved so well and without any staining or creases.

 The letter was sent on November 28th 1843 to Melrose bearing 2d blue, plate 1a "PA" and 1841 1d red-brown plates 31 "GC" and 35 "IB, each cancelled by fine strikes of the Maltese Cross cancellation. Despatch datestamp for November 28th and Melrose arrival for the 29th on reverse.

 An exceptional quality rare cover from early GB philatelic history.

 Provenance: Ex. "Mayflower" Grand Prix Collection.

 Accompanied with a 1990 independent certificate of authenticity from the Royal Philatelic Society (RPS).

 PRICE: £12,500


1 An Absolute Showstopper

 My top recommendation is most certainly the finest philatelic item we have purchased recently.

 The quality of the piece is beyond any hyperbole I could come up with to do it justice.

 Just admire philatelic perfection for yourself…

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Great Britain 1841 2d deep full blue plate 3, SG15.

A superb unused, with original gum, four margin horizontal strip of three lettered AJ-AL. Wonderful crisp impression.

A quite magnificent exhibition piece, very rare in this quality.

Accompanied with a 1993 British Philatelic Association (BPA) Certificate of Authenticity.

The Stanley Gibbons GB Specialised catalogue does not list a price for a strip of three. A block of four is, however, listed at a price of £35,000.

The 2d blue plate 3 was finished on 25 February 1841, and printing commenced two days later. They were printed on Crown watermarked paper, which often shows considerable blueing. All sheets from this plate were issued imperforate. 

 PRICE: £19,500


How to order Paul’s Top Tips

 If you would like to secure any of Paul’s top tips, you can order through our online store by clicking where indicated against each item above.

 If you want me to reserve any items for you, please email me at, quoting the number in the list of each stamp you are interested in.

 It looks like Paul’s list is a countdown from 10 to 1, so please note the first stamp is number 10 and the last is 1.

 If you want to talk to us further about any of the items featured, you can contact us on +44(0)1534 639998.

 On a final note, it is encouraging to see that my top 10 would not have been far removed from Paul’s top tips.

 I remain at your philatelic service.

 Kind regards

 Mike Hall

 PS. At the beginning of this email I referred to a quote from my first mentor. Allow me to leave you with another of his quotes I think equally pertinent…

 “Mike… in the future, you will regret more what you didn’t buy than what you did buy”.

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