Here it is… the countdown from Number 5 to Number 1

The Stamp Man

The Stamp Man

2019-08-19 10:20:16

Today, I reveal the hottest 5 countries in stamps right now.

These are the stamps Just Collecting have found most in demand over the past year.

And, if you want a piece of this action…

You might want to grab my top recommendations for each of these hot spots.

At Number 5, a huge market – USA

The USA is the largest economy in the world with a population renowned for being passionate collectors.

Before the postage stamp, the US used stampless letters, which were originally paid by the recipient but then replaced by prepaid letters.

This was phased out after July 1, 1847, when the US government Post Office issued its first adhesive postage stamps. All of these early stamps featured an American president or historically important statesman.

The USA would probably have featured higher in our top sellers list, but was held back by a lack of US stamps coming our way.

Because of the extent of our “wants list” for US stamps, we rarely get the chance to offer any of our US stamp acquisitions to our client base as a whole.

According to Linn’s Stamp News, there are around 5 million stamp collectors in the US.

Bill Gross, the highest profile stamp collector of recent times, comes from the US. He built the most comprehensive collection ever assembled of US stamps worth an estimated $42 million.

The US stamp market is one of the most mature markets in stamps. As such, it is naturally much more condition sensitive.

In particular, well centred rarities sell for quite significant premiums to average examples (as much as 100% more).

So, when it comes to buying US stamps, I pay particular attention to the centring of the stamp. Take a look at this…

USA 1909 3c "George Washington" Deep violet (Experimental printing on bluish "rag" paper), SG366.

Price: £2,500 ($3,099)


Reasons for recommending:

  • It is a rare George Washington stamp from an experimental printing with only approximately 4,000 printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Far fewer copies remain in existence making it a difficult gap to fill in a US stamp album.
  • It is in exceptional condition and, most importantly, it benefits from excellent centring. It would certainly stand out in any beauty parade.
  • Its provenance is clear accompanied with an independent certificate of authenticity from the Philatelic Foundation
  • This fine quality rare US stamp is available at a competitive price, a17% discount to the Stanley Gibbons catalogue price of £3,000

It’s heating up down under at Number 4 – Australia

Australia is a nation proud of its identity and protective of its heritage. Stamp collecting in Australia is big business.

I have visited two international stamp exhibitions in Australia in the past – one in Sydney, the other in Melbourne. Both were fantastic events with a visibly vibrant market.

It took twelve years from federation for Australia to issue its first stamp. The delay was partly caused by political debate regarding design.

Finally, on January 2nd 1913 Australia issued its first postage stamps - the famous “Kangaroo and Map” stamps. They were criticised at the time by the press. They claimed the stamp showed Australia as an empty desert, and the kangaroo looked more like a rabbit!

I’m not sure I agree, and thousands of avid collectors don’t agree either as it is now Australia’s most collected and coveted stamp. It is not only collected by Australian nationals but by collectors worldwide such is its appeal.

You can decide for yourself what you think of the design:

Australia 1929-30 £2 black and rose, watermark 7, mint SG114

Price: £4,250 ($5,268)


Reasons for recommending:

  • It is an iconic stamp design and defined a nation’s identity becoming one of the most famous and popularly collected stamp issues in the world
  • The £2 black and rose is the highest value denomination of this issue and extremely hard to find in such fine condition
  • It is a lovely quality mint example, very fresh and well centred with most of its original gum. You would struggle to find a better quality example of this difficult to find stamp.
  • It has proven a sound investment over the past decade, doubling in value in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue
  • I am able to offer you this iconic stamp at a 6% discount to the Stanley Gibbons current catalogue price of £4,500

Highest riser in recent years at Number 3 – India

The Indian stamp market is still in its nascent stages and it is only in the past 10 years or so that prices have started to move from a comparatively low base.

Prices remain low in many cases for very rare stamps compared to more mature markets such as the US and United Kingdom.

The Indian stamp market remains predominantly a collector market with only limited interest from those looking at stamps as an alternative investment.

But this is starting to change, with more investors taking notice of the opportunities from this burgeoning market.

Increasingly we have witnessed the impact of the growing Indian middle classes seeking to secure rare collectibles and repatriate items held overseas belonging to their heritage.

With a population of 1.3 billion, 101 billionaires and c.242,000 millionaires, the upward momentum certainly has the platform to continue.

The Indian Post Office was first established in 1837. In 1852 it introduced Asia’s first postage stamp, the Scinde Dawk. India has a rich and complex philatelic history making it a fascinating and absorbing area to collect.

It is possible India could have featured higher than 3rd place in our top selling countries. However, we find it extremely challenging to find high quality rare Indian stamps for two key reasons:

  1. The humid climate of India means finding stamps of fine quality is more difficult
  2. The market is so competitive making it hard to acquire high quality rarities at a price we consider ensures our clients are getting good value

When we do manage to acquire Indian stamp rarities they are usually snapped up quickly. Right now, I only have one available:

Indian Convention State Jind 1885 1r slate, SG6, type 1 curved overprint.

Price: £650 ($805)


Reasons for recommending:

  • Only 480 printed of this issue with few in such fine condition as most examples have suffered climate related damage
  • It is a really fine mint example of this rare stamp of fresh appearance and with large part original gum
  • Stamps from the Indian States have been catching up with Indian general issues recently including some record breaking auction realizations
  • In a recent collection appearing at auction, 100% of the lots were sold illustrative of the prevailing high demand
  • Despite being extremely rare in such fine condition and with current high demand, you are still able to purchase this for £650 (discount of 7% to the Stanley Gibbons catalogue price)

A top choice investment at Number 2 – China

Forbes Business Magazine recommend Chinese stamps as a “Top Choice Investment”. This recommendation is based on the mirroring of the Chinese stamp market with the explosive growth of the Chinese economy.

In 2016, they tracked back the prices of around 3,000 Chinese stamps over the past 5 and 10 years. The results were astounding…

They quote:

“The five year appreciation has averaged 164% and for ten years, 719%”.

Over the past decade, the Chinese market has attracted a large amount of investor interest coupled with a rising number of high net worth collectors from China. With a scarce supply, particularly for quality examples, rising prices were inevitable.

Shanghai first organised its own local post in 1865. However, it was not until 1878 when the first Chinese Empire stamps were issued, the “Large Dragons”. Initially all foreign mail went through Shanghai but by 1882 twelve post offices opened.

China’s “Large Dragons” first postage stamps are iconic and a particular design favourite of mine. They are China’s equivalent to the penny black and, as such, coveted by a huge number of collectors.

My recommendation is from the 3rd printing of China’s first issue, the “Large Dragons”:

China 1883 "Candarins" thicker paper, 2½ mm spacing 1ca pale green, 3ca vermilion and 5ca chrome-yellow, SG7/9

Price: £1,400 ($1,735)


Reasons for recommending:

  • China’s first stamp issue, the “Large Dragons” is one of the most instantly recognisable and coveted stamp issues in the world
  • The 3rd printing of March 1883 I have available for you were printed on much thicker and better quality paper
  • These are lovely used examples benefiting, in particular, from good perforations. The perforations were rough on this issue and are seldom seen clean cut 
  • I believe these stamps present a strong investment case. You could have bought these three stamps 10 years ago for a few hundred pounds illustrating recent historic growth. Yet, at the current values, they still look reasonably priced to me
  • I am able to offer you this fine set of classic Chinese rarities for just £1,400. They are currently listed at a catalogue valuation of £2,500, meaning our offer price is at a 44% discount to this value

The Number 1 spot goes to… Great Britain

Over the past 12 months, the value of our sales of GB stamps far exceeded every other country.

However, this is not because British stamps are the strongest market right now. In fact, quite the contrary. Here’s the twist…

We have sold more GB stamps than any other country because of such a large supply being made available to us over the past year. This means we have far more British stamps on offer than for any other country.

It is for this reason British stamps are our top selling country.

For the past 7 years the British stamp market has been impacted by far more sellers than buyers.

Because of this, prices of many British stamps have not seen any growth in value in recent years.

Let me be clear…

This is a buyer’s market right now.

We are even seeing opportunities for canny collectors or investors to pick up GB rarities at prices realised over a decade ago.

Despite this negative backdrop, in recent months we have witnessed new overseas clients (mainly from the US and Far East) purchasing GB classic rarities from us.

I personally consider GB classic stamps a safe area of the market to invest in for the long term as interest comes from all over the world and not just the UK.

In the past, I have seen periods of scarcity of supply leading to pent-up demand from specialist collectors. Those collectors chasing a smaller number of available items resulted in higher prices being realised at auction, feeding through to overall price growth in the market.

It is worth noting the evident historic correlation between rising prices of rare GB stamps and the timing of the International Stamp Exhibition being held in London. History shows that interest and prices of the rarest GB stamps “spike” when a major stamp exhibition takes place in London.

The next Exhibition in London will be held in May 2020. Consequently, holding GB rare stamps now could be considered a hold for anticipated demand.

This demand is expected to come from specialist collectors seeking to build the best collection in the world for their area of interest to win coveted awards at the London International Stamp Exhibition.

A few other observations worth drawing attention to from the historic growth pattern of rare British stamps: 

  1. Despite recent low levels of growth, over the past 60 years, rare GB stamps have shown an average long term compound annual growth rate of c.10%
  2. Growth was not linear, with periods of low growth followed by periods of high growth being evident
  3. Growth in recent years has been quite subdued. Historically, high periods of growth have followed such periods
  4. Historically, there have been lengthy periods where no major collections have come on to the market creating pent-up demand – the key dynamic to future price rises

In conclusion, I would consider now a good time to capitalise on buying opportunities where they arise at these prices. Current prices may look cheap 10 years from now.

So, my final recommendation is the Daddy of them all. It is the recommendation I always give to the question:

“If you could buy just one stamp, which would it be?”

Great Britain 1840 Unmounted Mint “Penny Black”, 1d Black Plate 9, SG2

Price: £21,000 ($26,033)


Reasons for recommending:

  • The penny black will always be the most famous stamp in the world and will always be of interest to a wide number of potential buyers
  • Opportunities to buy unmounted mint penny blacks in such pristine condition don’t present themselves often
  • This is the best quality single penny black you could realistically ever hope to find
  • Plate 9 is a rare printing plate and more difficult to find as it accounted for only 5% of the total production of penny blacks
  • We previously sold this stamp a year ago for the price of £25,000
  • Unfortunately, due to sad circumstances, this stamp is again available but… this time at the lower price of £21,000, 16% discount.

You can read the full story on this stamp by clicking on the link below:


Round Up

Let’s take another look at the top selling stamp countries:











In total, my 10 recommendations form a very compelling collection covering rarities from the most popularly collected countries in the world.

You can purchase the entire collection for the price of £44,500 ($55,166). This represents an 18% discount to the full retail price of £54,300 ($67,315).

To have a chance of securing the entire collection, you will need to respond to me promptly.

You can purchase individual stamps from our website. Simply, follow the “CLICK HERE TO BUY IT NOW” buttons under each stamp to purchase securely from our online store.

Alternatively, please reply to this e-mail with your order and we will reserve your stamp(s) straight away and process your order for you on Monday.

Thanks for tuning in.

Kind regards,

Mike Hall CEO Just Collecting

PS. If you are interested in taking advantage of the opportunity to buy some of Britain’s rarest and finest quality stamps at significant discounts, please let us know. We are handling the sale of a number of collections where the prices are at the lowest prices I have ever sold these stamps for – AND I MEAN EVER!

Enjoyed this Blog? Try these:

May 17, 2019: The Weird and Wonderful World of Stamps

May 10, 2019: Don't overlook the most obvious investment in stamps 

April 26, 2019: 10 Secrets to Successful Stamp Investing 

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