The Top 10 Sellers of 2018

The Stamp Man

The Stamp Man

2018-12-28 15:26:11

Including… my top tips to grow rich collecting in 2019

As this year draws to a close, I find myself in that dead zone between Christmas and New Year celebrations.

I always use this downtime to reflect on the year and, more importantly, to focus my thoughts for the year ahead.

I have used this opportunity to review our sales for the past year and thought you might be interested to hear the results.

I also thought that, like me, you may be thinking about where best to allocate your cash for the year ahead. In that vein, I also share with you 10 investment tips for 2019.

Despite Brexit and the consequent economic uncertainties ahead for Britain, it has been an interesting and successful year for us here at Paul Fraser Collectibles and our sister company, Just Collecting.

Collectibles continued to prove a useful diversification away from all that economic uncertainty.

Collectibles give you the opportunity to enjoy what you invest in. I guess that is why I do what I do for a living!

Looking at the most popular areas of sales in the past year gives a good indicator of what areas are showing liquidity and strong support right now. These indicators are often a dynamic causing price pressure leading to market growth.

So, let’s take a look at the chart of our top 10 selling collectibles categories by value of sales this year…

Our top 10 sales categories of 2018

1. Classic stamps from Great Britain

2. English gold coins

3. Historical documents

4. Chinese stamps

5. Indian stamps

6. Ancient coins

7. Space & aviation memorabilia

8. Canadian stamps

9. Stamps from the Middle East

10. Celebrity hair

Classic British rare stamps topped the chart in 2018.

Most of our highest value sales of British rare stamps went abroad in 2018. This likely benefited from the weakness in the British Pound, making buying stamps denominated in Pound Sterling much cheaper than normal for our clients based overseas.

In 2nd place was English gold coins. Demand for English gold coins has been consistently rising for quite some time now. We see constant new entrants to the market from emerging economies and new high net worth investors looking for somewhere other than gold (due to its recent volatility) to provide a hedge against inflationary risk.

Sales of historical documents took the bronze medal. This was principally because of a small number of “big ticket” sales in the year of unique and historically important documents. The most popular historical figures, based on sales in the year, were Henry VIII, Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein.

In stamps, demand has been particularly strong for countries in the British Commonwealth & Empire in the past year, especially India and ex British territories in the Middle East.

The Chinese phenomenon in stamps may have paused for breath in terms of price appreciation but, from our experience, continued to be one of the areas in strongest demand.

I believe our sales of Chinese stamps would have been much higher if we had been able to source more high quality rarities in the year. It is a difficult market for us to find the discerning quality we demand for our clients, but our search continues…

We had an interesting new entry to the top 10 sellers this year in “celebrity hair”.

Strands of hair are among the most unusual things we sell. We have an extensive and diverse selection on offer.

It's such a quirky and innovative gift idea, we're not surprised to have seen our sales of hair up in our top 10 sellers this year. 


10 Tips for 2019 

I would now like to share with you 10 recommendations from each of our top selling categories of 2018.

The attributes of my selections make them appropriate as a long term investment.

Each of my picks is something I cherish. Unfortunately, my business is in selling what I love, so it is always a bitter-sweet sales process.

Nevertheless, they are here for you to buy from me today. Enjoy...

1. Stamp Classic from Great Britain

Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 9, SG2. Exceptionally fine and fresh unused original gum four margin example lettered IG. 

A very difficult plate to find mint and an absolutely stunning example. Accompanied by a 2002 Brandon Certificate of Authenticity.

Price: £25,000

Special Offer Price: £21,000 (16% OFF)


  • A perfect mint condition example of the most famous stamp in the world with original gum and from a rare printing plate
  • Proved a long term sound investment due to consistent worldwide demand, growing in value by 367% (22% pa) since the turn of the century
  • Worth grabbing this opportunity to secure the stamp that started it all at a 16% discount

 2. English Gold Coin

STUART. Charles I. 1625-1649. AV Unite Group C, class II. Tower (London) mint; im: crown. Crowned bust left; XX (mark of value) to right / Crowned coat-of-arms; crowned C R flanking. Good Very Fine, Well Struck

EX Clarendon collection.

Price: £4,950


  • A good very fine, well struck example of a popular Charles I coin
  • Consistent growth in value over past 10 years at around 10% pa
  • Great provenance once belonging to the famous Clarendon Collection

3. Historical Document

An astonishingly bold Napoleon “NP” signature. Signed on a 7.25 x 9 inch half-page letter to the Duke of Feltre, General Henri Clarke, on the morning of the Battle of Medellin (1809).

Napoleon Bonaparte signs here on March 28, 1809 – the day of the Battle of Medellín. The clash took place as part of the broader Peninsula War (1807-1814) between France and Spain for control of Iberia. Napoleon’s forces secured a decisive victory in the battle, losing just 1,000 men. The Spanish, by contrast, lost more than 10,000.

This note is addressed to the Duke of Feltre, General Henri Clarke (one of Napoleon’s top aides) and orders a change of staff on the French army’s Italian front.

The text (likely transcribed by a secretary) reads: "....Le général Daumas qui est en Toscane se rendra à l’armée d’Italie pour y servir activement. Il sera remplacé dans le département de l’Ombrone par un officier général qui aurait été blessé dans la demiére guerre et qui serait fatigué..."

That translates to: "...General Daumas who is in Tuscany will go to the Army of Italy to serve actively. He will be replaced in the department of Ombrone by a general officer who was wounded in the last war and who would be tired..."

The text next to Napoleon's signature reads "the 28 March by night", the date General Clarke received this letter. The signature itself is among the best we have ever seen. Napoleon signs with a flourish in black ink, with an unusually heavy underline.

Napoleon’s autograph varies in size from day to day, depending on his mood. Given the breadth of this specimen, we can assume he was feeling supremely confident. If he feels any nerves about the upcoming battle, his autograph shows no trace of it.

This is a spectacular memento from one of the greatest military leaders in history - and a man who shaped the modern world.

Price: £3,950


  • A chance to hold and own something touched and written by one of the most famous leaders in history
  • Currently listed in the PFC Autograph Index at a value of £5,950, up from £995 in the year 2000
  • Superb example of the “NP” signature and a letter containing relevant and important historical context

4. Chinese stamp

Hong Kong 1903 $10 slate and orange/blue, SG76, watermark CA.

Brilliant example with large part original gum. A lovely fresh example.

Price: £1,400


  • I am currently completely sold out of Chinese stamps; however, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997
  • I believe there is potential for strong future growth in value if record prices being realised for Chinese stamps in recent years cross over into Hong Kong
  • A superb quality mint example of this high value stamp from 1903

 5. Indian stamp

Indian Convention State Jind OFFICIAL 1886-1902 1a brown-purple, error 'JEIND', SGO13b. Mint example with original gum. Additionally shows 'JEIND STATE' double, one albino (a phenomenon noted on at least four of the ten examples recorded), and blunted 'J' (which parallels examples of SG 13a and 16a in the Royal collection).

A most interesting and desirable example of this rarity. Ex CRL 13/12/95, 553. Royal Philatelic Society certificate 35888 (not present).

Price: £750


  • An exceptionally rare “double error” stamp from India, remarkably still available to buy for a modest sum
  • Increased from £500 to £750 in value since 2010 as the market boom in India started to take off
  • Excellent provenance with Royal Philatelic Society Certificate of Authenticity and parallel examples in the Royal Collection

 6. Ancient coin

Julius Caesar, as Dictator (49-44 BC). AR denarius Military mint moving with Caesar in North Africa, 48-46 BC. 

Diademed head of Venus right / CAESAR, Aeneas advancing left, holding palladium and Anchises on his shoulder.

About Extremely Fine

Price: £1,075


  • Remarkable opportunity to hold in your hands a Julius Caesar coin from 48-46 BC, not long before his assassination in 44 BC
  • There are limited supplies of high-quality ancient coins, yet they are surprisingly affordable in comparison to US and English coins. It would not take a lot of buying pressure to push prices higher for ancient coins.
  • Exceptional quality example of this beautiful historic relic from the Roman Empire

7. Space memorabilia

A menu Neil Armstrong signed at a restaurant in Tralee, Ireland in 1997. 

A large dinner menu measuring approximately 8" x 12" for 'Larkins Restaurant' Tralee, Ireland neatly signed by Neil Armstrong in black pen.

Armstrong and his wife Carol were guests of honour at the dinner during their visit to Ireland on 19th April 1997, during which they opened an exhibition on Space Exploration at the Kerry Museum in Tralee.

The dinner was hosted by Dick Spring, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister of Ireland at the time.

The menu is accompanied by a letter of provenance from Ann Golden, the wife of Seamus Chamberlain the Irish representative to the European Space Agency at the time. It's in fine condition and signed during a time when Armstrong was famed for his refusal to sign autographs.

Price: £6,950


  • A rare opportunity to acquire a signed item from the First Man on the Moon due to his refusal to sign autographs from 1993, when he realised people were selling his autographs online
  • One of the best investments you could have made in signatures since the turn of the century. The PFC Autograph index lists the value of his signature at £500 in 2000 and £8,950 today.
  • Strong provenance and a high quality piece signed at the time when he was famed for not signing autographs

8. Canadian stamp

Canada 1868-90 12½c pale dull blue 'Large Queen', SG60c, medium wove paper. 

Well-centred example with lovely colour, brilliant large part original gum. Choice quality and rarely found in such fine condition.

Price: £1,000


  • A delightful stamp of a beautifully classic design depicting Queen Victoria and in exquisite condition
  • Proved a steady investment over a long period, up in value from £475 in 2004 to £1,000 today (average 8% pa over past 14 years)
  • The “Large Queen” stamp issue is a favourite of Canadian stamp collectors around the world

9. Stamp from the Middle East

Iraq - Baghdad 1917 1a on 20pa rose, SG14, type 30 with black star and crescent, superbly cancelled by large part '5 SEP 17 circular date stamp. 

Only 270 issued, and choice quality. Signed 'Houtzamer'.

Price: £1,400


  • Superb cancellation on this used example of a very rare stamp from Iraq with only 270 being issued
  • A red-hot area of the market just now. This stamp shows growth in the past 10 years from a price of £500 to £1,400, 180% growth in value.
  • Very rarely seen on the market for sale, let alone of this quality

10. Celebrity hair

A guaranteed authentic strand of Elvis Presley's hair, clipped during his 1958 US Army haircut

The most famous hair cut of all... 

At the height of his fame, Elvis Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army, triggering an anguished outcry from his young female fans. 

Elvis spent 3 days at Fort Chaffee. It was there that he received his famous haircut on March 25 1958. 

Not to miss a trick, Elvis' manager Col. Tom Parker had arranged for the press to attend the hair cut. The hair from this historic cut was passed to Elvis' close friend Gary Pepper to share amongst Elvis fan club members around the globe. 

Gary Pepper was the President of one of the Elvis' first fan clubs, allowing him to amass a significant collection of personal effects gifted to him from Elvis himself. 

This half inch strand of Elvis Presley hair is from the famed Gary Pepper collection of Elvis memorabilia. It's a piece of the famous 'Army haircut' presented on a display card perfect for framing.

Price: £399


  • Your chance to own a piece of “The King”. Only a few select people – and now you are one of them – know this opportunity exists.
  • “Hair collecting” is beginning to take off and this strand is one of the most desirable of them all
  • Your piece of Elvis hair comes beautifully presented and makes an interesting display piece

The end of 2018, bring on 2019… 

So folks, that’s it from me for 2018.

I have truly enjoyed writing these e-mails to you over the past twelve months.

Collectibles are my passion and I consider myself very lucky to do what I love for a living.

I take this opportunity to thank you for reading over the past year.

The fact that 70% of the items I offered for sale in these e-mails found a new home over the past year is proof of your support.

If you need to get in touch with me about anything, you know where to find me:

  • E-mail:
  • Phone: +44(0)1534 639998

My mission for next year remains the same…

To continue offering you high quality rare stamps and other collectibles to bring you pleasure, help you diversify your investments and to build a family heirloom to be proud of.

I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

Kind regards, 

Mike Hall

CEO, Just Collecting

PS. WE WANT YOUR STAMPS! We are seeing considerable demand amongst our client base for rare stamps from China and countries in the British Commonwealth & Empire. If you have stamps from these areas in fine condition, and are looking to sell, please get in touch with me.

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