Information I don’t want our competition to know about (but… what the heck, you need to hear this!)

The Stamp Man

The Stamp Man

2019-08-14 09:09:54


I have just been looking back over our sales for the past 12 months…

One report I always find of interest is “sales by country”.

I need to know what stamp issuing countries our clients are buying the most…

So that I can focus on sourcing stamps from those countries, thus servicing our clients’ needs better.

I decided to share this information with you (even though it is commercially sensitive) because: 

  1. I hope you will find it interesting and informative 
  2. If investment is among your primary motives for buying stamps, knowing what countries are showing the highest levels of demand is an important part of the investment equation 

In stamps, where there is high demand, scarcity becomes an inevitable certainty. Together, these dynamics over a prolonged period force prices to rise. 

For each of our top selling countries, I have selected for you my top recommendation based on what we have available right now.

So, here it is: the Official Top 10 Selling Stamp Countries…

In at Number 10 – Hong Kong 

Considering the troubles there at the moment, I was surprised to see Hong Kong in the top 10 sellers. 

It just shows how the world of stamps cares little for economic and political turmoil. Stamps are a means of escapism from such difficulties.

Hong Kong benefits from a long and interesting postal history, making it popular with collectors on a global scale.

The first Hong Kong general post office was established in November 1841. On 8 December 1862, Hong Kong issued its own postage stamps for the first time.

In recent history new interest in Hong Kong stamps has come from Chinese collectors. This was to be expected following its return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

My favourite item from Hong Kong in stock just now is:

Hong Kong King George VI 1938-52 Watermark Multiple Script CA, 1c to $10 pale bright lilac and blue set of 23, SG140/163. 

Price: £750 ($932)


Reasons for recommending: 

  • It is a fine quality lightly mounted mint set and difficult to assemble all 23 stamps in this set in such quality
  • The set has historical interest, bringing together a complex printing history from the difficulties in maintaining print supplies during World War II
  • This popular King George VI set is a bargain at £750 at a 22% discount to the Stanley Gibbons catalogue price of £1,100

A surprise at Number 9 – The Falkland Islands 

Despite its remote location in the South Atlantic, and with a population of only 3,398 people at the last count, the stamps from the Falkland Islands are adored by a large number of collectors.

In 1878, the Falkland Islands issued their first postage stamp…

From that very first issue right through to the present day, the Falkland Islands have developed recognition for their dedication to issuing beautiful and high quality stamps. Their stamps are internationally recognised for their exceptional design and production qualities.

Despite being 8,078 miles away from Great Britain and only 300 miles from the South American coastline, today the Falkland Islands remain a British overseas territory.

Argentina invaded the islands on 2 April 1982. The British responded with an expeditionary force that forced the Argentines to surrender. 

Subsequently, the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983 was passed, making residents of the Falkland Islands British citizens.

As a result of interest influenced partly by modern history, there are a large number of British collectors dedicated to building collections of stamps and postal history from the Falkland Islands.

My recommendation comes from the beginning of what would provide those stamp collectors with so much pleasure for 141 years and counting.

Falkland Islands 1878-79 4d grey-black, from foot of sheet with imperforate margin, showing "FF" of papermaker's watermark, part original gum.

Price: £2,250 ($2,796)


Reasons for recommending: 

  • A rare watermark variety of the very first stamp issue from the Falkland Islands in 1878
  • Despite not being in perfect condition, (to be expected virtue of its age), it benefits from being in mint condition with centring and perforations far above average
  • It is also from the foot of the sheet and shows the papermaker’s “FF” watermark, making it extremely rare. It is the first such example I have handled for many years.
  • Attractively priced at a 40% discount to the Stanley Gibbons catalogue price of £3,750

A new entry at Number 8 – South Africa

South Africa is a high riser, making its way into the top 10 selling countries. This is an emerging economy play in stamps… 

Just last week, Goldman Sachs reported their intention to tap into the fast economic growth in Africa by expanding their business in South Africa. 

Goldman say they are betting on the economic growth potential based on the increase in Africa’s working age population. It is expected this will rise from 705 million to nearly 1 billion by 2030. 

South Africa, rich in history and renowned for its beauty, is particularly interesting to stamp collectors. This is partly down to the fact that the complex and troubled history of the region can be told through stamps, making it an absorbing area of study.

My recommendation is imbued with history:

South Africa Cape of Good Hope - Mafeking Siege Stamps, 23 March 1900 to 17 May 1900.

1900 6d on 2d green and carmine, type 1 (seriffed) surcharge "Mafeking 6d Bechuanaland Protectorate Besieged", position 4 of the setting, SG8

Price: £2,750 ($3,417)


Reasons for recommending: 

  • This stamp issued during the siege of the city of Mafeking marks an important historical event, with the lifting of the siege providing a critical morale boost to the struggling British during the Second Boer War
  • It is a fine quality example with large part original gum. This stamp is particularly rare in unused condition and is an important rarity
  • There are many forgeries of the Mafeking overprints, many of which were brought home by soldiers returning from the Boer War. Our stamp is sold with a 2015 British Philatelic Association (BPA) certificate of authenticity, providing complete peace of mind in this respect
  • Despite its premium condition, it is available to purchase today at an 8% discount to the Stanley Gibbons catalogue price of £3,000 

An old favourite at Number 7 – New Zealand

New Zealand is a nation which has always benefited from a healthy base of home grown avid collectors.

It is also a country which has attracted a wide base of collectors from around the world, drawn to the quality of designs and depth of philatelic study available. It is a country whose stamps have found themselves the subject of countless books on various specialised areas. 

New Zealand issued its first stamp as a Crown Colony of Great Britain in July 1855. At the time there were just 16 post offices in the whole of New Zealand.

Prior to this date, postal communications were first established with Sydney in Australia in 1831. The first Post Office opened in 1840 and was under the control of the General Post Office (GPO) in Great Britain until 1848 when control was passed over by the colony. 

New Zealand postal authorities take great pride in their philatelic heritage. The amount of beautiful and high quality stamp issues from New Zealand is staggering…

And that is what my top recommendation is all about, beauty and quality:

New Zealand Postal Fiscal. 1931-40 "Arms" 35s orange-yellow, watermark 43, "Wiggins Teape" paper, unmounted with original gum, SGF181

Price: £7,000 ($8,698)


Reasons for recommending: 

  • This is one of those stamps which defies all the odds. You hardly ever see exceptional quality like this for such important rarities
  • It is a stamp which was used exclusively by the government to collect taxes and duties. Unmounted mint examples are of the utmost rarity.
  • It is sold with a 2002 British Philatelic Association (BPA) certificate of authenticity, giving it important provenance
  • Despite all of the above, I am offering this key rarity from one of the most popularly collected countries in the world at a 13% discount to the Stanley Gibbons catalogue price of £8,000

At Number 6 one of my personal favourites - Canada

I am not surprised to see Canada riding high at number 6 in the top selling countries chart. It is a country responsible for issuing some of my own personal favourite stamp issues of all time.

The North American stamp market is a mature and sophisticated one, with a large base of specialised collectors supporting prices. Higher prices are regularly being realised at auction when two or more collectors compete against each other to get their hands on rare philatelic items.

Canada particularly benefits from a large base of collectors, including an avid following in its own country.

Canada, however, also has a large following in the United States and is attractive to collectors of British Commonwealth and Empire stamps from Europe and Asia. 

Canada has an interesting early postal history. Before Canadian confederation, the colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland issued stamps in their own names.

On 1 July 1867, Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were united to form the Dominion of Canada.

Recent stamp auction results are showing that demand is strong for high quality Canadian stamps.

Collectors of Canadian stamps are especially condition focussed and will pay much more than Stanley Gibbons catalogue prices for the best quality. The centring of the stamps is something of an obsession with Canadian stamp collectors.

Early postal history is an area attracting much interest at the moment and that is the basis of my top pick from our stock to recommend to you:

Canada 1875-92 Registration Stamps Unused in blocks of 4, SGR1, R7a, R8/9

Price: £1,950 ($2,423)


Reasons for recommending: 

  • These Registration stamps, first issued in 1875, were printed by the British American Banknote Co. in Montreal and Ottawa. I love their ornate design and they represent a key element of early Canadian postal history
  • This is a fantastic and difficult to assemble collection of the earliest Registration stamps from Canada in fine quality blocks of four
  • The 2c and 8c blocks benefit further being of premium quality as marginal examples
  • The Stanley Gibbons catalogue price for single examples of all 12 stamps comes to a total value of £2,750. Consequently, the offer price of £1,950, 29% discount, is exceedingly attractive, particularly when factoring in the expected premium valuation associated with rarer blocks of four

That’s all for now folks

Tune in next week to find out which countries take the top 5 positions…

And… most importantly, I will reveal our top selling stamp country.

There is a little twist in the tail so, you won’t want to miss next week’s e-mail.

I don’t expect my top recommendations from the most popularly collected countries to take long to find their new home. 

The quickest way to make sure you get in first is to order 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.

Until next week…

Kind regards 

Mike Hall CEO Just Collecting

PS. Wait a minute… you missed one. I don’t get it.

What I thought was Paul’s best recommendation from last week’s post didn’t sell. Most of the other recommendations sold very quickly, but the best one is still available!

Maybe I didn’t make it quite clear enough… 

This is the BEST quality example of the RAREST shade of arguably the BEST stamp ever produced at a 9% discount!


Enjoyed this post? 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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