What was the most used number of 2020?

The Stamp Man

The Stamp Man

2021-02-11 15:24:35

Discounts of up to 38% on listed catalogue values

Last year, there was one number used more than any other.

That number was 19. You guessed it, “Covid-19”.

That number may forever more be associated with something bad.

It is, however, only a number.

Today, I want to turn this number into something positive.

Sitting alone in my home office over the past month, I have been very busy…

Busy describing some of our new acquisitions ready for sale.

It is the favourite part of my job.

It is the part where I get to study, admire and research my recent rare stamp finds.

I would like to share with you 19 amazing stamps.

These are the kind of stamps, which make my job so fulfilling.

I hope you have the time today to feast your eyes on all 19 of these stamps. It will really be worth your effort.

Let me explain three important reasons why… 

  1. They are, obviously, fantastic quality. I only buy the best for you.
  2. They are exceedingly rare, yet not exceedingly expensive and therefore exceptional value.
  3. Being rare, fantastic quality and of exceptional value makes them an attractive rare tangible asset investment.

This is the first time I have ever handled many of these stamps, they are that rare.

Some of them are the best quality examples I have ever seen and absolute perfection.

Remarkably, relative to many other rarities, they are all still trading at affordable prices.

Not only that, some astute buying during lockdown means many are available to you at significant discount to listed catalogue values.

So, sit back and travel the world through stamps, all from the safety of your armchair…

  1. A rare stamp for under £50 

Batum British Occupation 1920 (21 Feb) 25r on 5k brown-lilac, surcharge as type 6 in blue, SG29a.

A fine mint example with large part original gum. There are a couple of shortish perforations which barely detract from the overall quality.

'Dr. P. Jem' and Romeko hand stamp on reverse.

A rare stamp from the city of Batum (in modern day Georgia), with only 1,900 issued.

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £55.

PRICE: £45 ($65)  


  1. The UK’s highest value ever stamp 

Great Britain 1993 £10 Britannia Plate 2A, SG1658var.

Superb, Post Office fresh, unmounted mint, with full original gum, example from plate 2A with additional fluorescent "TEN POUNDS" at lower right, only found on this printing plate.

The £10 Britannia is one of the finest modern stamp issues from Great Britain and the UK's highest value ever stamp. It was introduced on 2nd March 1993, replacing the £5 stamp as the UK’s highest-value stamp. 

The higher value was required because of a need for a stamp to cover the cost of postage for heavy packages going by air.

It was phased out after just a few years and has become increasingly hard to acquire because they are so popular and held in private collections.

It is also known as Britain’s most secure stamp ever released as it employs an array of state of the art printing techniques to protect it against forgery: 

  • The stamp is the only definitive stamp ever to incorporate Braille embossed dots – not so much help to the blind or partially sighted to identify the stamp but as a further deterrent to the would-be counterfeiter. 
  • Furthermore, the £10 Britannia consisted of the two pairs of elliptical holes at the top and bottom. Previously this curious feature had been confined to savings, television, national insurance and telephone stamps. After the £10 stamp it became the normal for the Machin definitives as well.

PRICE: £65 ($90


  1. A masterpiece for the connoisseur

Gibraltar 1912-24 2d greyish slate, watermark MCA, upper right corner block of 4 with plate number '1', SG78.

Post Office fresh, brilliant quality unmounted mint with full original gum.

An exceptional quality positional piece and one for the philatelic connoisseur. 

PRICE: £95 ($135)  


 4. A wonder from down under

Australia 1937-49 1s grey-green 'Lyrebird', SG174, perforations 13½x14, lower marginal block of 4 showing long (42.5mm) 'JOHN ASH' imprint.

A fine quality mint block of four with large part original gum, (lower pair unmounted).

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £200+.

PRICE: £125 ($175)  


  1. Ridiculously undervalued

Malta 1965-70 3s 'Independence' error gold (with the year '1964' being omitted), SG345b

Pristine unmounted mint example with full original gum.

A very rare and startling error, presenting great value at the current price.

Quite remarkable when considering there was only ever one sheet of 60 reported.

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £225.

PRICE: £200 ($280)  


  1. Super quality, amazing bargain at this price


Canada 1937-38 $1 violet 'Chateau de Ramezay', lower right corner plate and imprint block of 4, SG367.

Very fine and attractive block of four, unmounted mint with full original gum.

Scarce, particularly so in this form and in such fine quality.

Such a beautiful stamp from the reign of King George VI.

The Canada Unitrade catalogue value is $900.

PRICE: £325 ($450)  


  1. A really difficult King George V set to complete

Fiji 1912-13 set of 13 to £1, watermark MCA, overprinted 'SPECIMEN', SG125s/37s.

A fine mint set with original gum. A few short perforations and the £1 stamp with slight rubbing as often seen, but overall a nice fresh mint quality set.

This is a particularly scarce King George V set to complete, distributed in several parts between 1912 and 1916.

"SPECIMEN" examples were used solely by postal administrations for reference purposes to help spot any attempted forgeries.

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £500.

PRICE: £395 ($550)  

Buy Now

  1. The Virgin Stamp

Virgin Islands 1868 1s with (retouched) single frame, imperforate proof in black and rose-carmine on vertically LAID paper, SG21.

A rare printing proof of the first and most famous stamp issue from the British Virgin Islands.

The stamp features a depiction of Saint Ursula who, according to legend, had 11,000 virginal handmaidens, after whom the islands had been named.

The 1 shilling stamp is most famous for the error where the Virgin is missing.

There are only four or five examples known and when it last appeared at auction in December 2015 it realised £120,000.

PRICE: £495 ($685)  


  1. A rare variety of a truly divine stamp

St Helena 1922-37 Script watermark 5s grey and green/yellow, SG110a, variety 'Broken mainmast' (R2/1).

A fine and fresh mint example with large part original gum.

Only 259 possible and it is likely that many were destroyed in 1938. The first time we have handled this great rarity.

This definitive issue first released in 1922 was designed by the St Helena-born Postmaster Thomas R. Bruce.

It was similar to the 1912-16 pictorials, but instead of the Government House or the Wharf, these stamps showed the badge of St. Helena - a three-masted sailing ship near two large rocks.

The Broken mainmast variety is one of the most sought after for this delightful stamp issue.

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £750.

PRICE: £650 ($895)  


  1. Ancient Greek Mythology

Canada 1935 Airmail 6c red-brown "Daedalus", imperforate vertical pair, SG355.

Very fine quality unmounted mint with full original gum.

Only 150 pairs existed and now very scarce in this choice quality.

This design features Daedalus of Ancient Greek Mythology.

The background, behind Daedalus shows Mt. Baker (10,781 ft.), which is in the Cascade Range of Northern Washington State (Southern border of British Columbia).

Daedalus was a skilled craftsman and artist, and he was the father of Icarus. 

To escape from a tower, where he was imprisoned, he fabricated wings made of sewn feathers that were waxed for himself and his son, Icarus. 

He warned Icarus not to fly too high, because the heat from the sun would melt the wax, and not to fly too low, because the mist from the ocean would soak the feathers. 

Daedalus succeeded in his flight, but Icarus flew too high and fell to his death.

PRICE: £850 ($1,175)  


  1. Unique stamp for under a Grand! 

Barbados 1920-21 'Victory from Victoria Memorial, London' 3s black and dull orange, variety 'C' OF 'CA' MISSING FROM WATERMARK, SG211a.

Lightly cancelled by 'BARBADOS/28 SP 21/PARCEL POST' type H2 circular date stamp, which leaves 'Victory' clear.

Fine appearance although with a minute tear at upper right, and a few faintly toned perforations on reverse, not detracting from overall quality.

This is an extremely rare watermark variety and the only recorded used example in existence.

The Victory stamps, issued to celebrate peace and victory following the end of World War I, remain to this day one of the most popular issues from Barbados.

This new watermark variety was first discovered by an Australian stamp dealer in 2015 and certified by the Royal Philatelic Society London.

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £1,500.

 PRICE: £950 ($1,350)  


  1. So rare it shouldn’t even exist

Brunei 1908-22 $25 black/red, centrally cancelled by type D5 'BRUNEI' circular date stamp, dated '3 JUL 28', SG48.

Some short perforations at foot, yet a fine and attractive example rarely seen in such nice quality, with a clear central cancellation.

A rare stamp with genuine 'in period' cancel, with cancels pre-1945 incredibly rare as there was no actual postal rate for which this value could be used.

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £1,300.

PRICE: £1,100 ($1,550)


  1. The Majestic Swan

Western Australia 1854-55 1s deep red-brown, imperforate with large margins, unused, SG4a.

A fine quality mint example of the magnificent and iconic first stamp issue from Western Australia. 

The Swan was used as it was the emblem of the Colony and a reminder of when it was known as the Swan River Settlement.

The first 1d Swan stamps were engraved and printed by Perkins Bacon.

Later in the year, the 4d values were produced by a local lithographer, Horace Samson by taking an impression of the 1d's swan vignette and adding different frames.

Trace of toning on reverse typical of this issue. A fine and attractive example of this very scarce and popular stamp.

Accompanied with a clear British Philatelic Association (BPA) certificate of authenticity (2014).

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £2,000.

PRICE: £1,600 ($2,250)  


  1. The best stamp ever produced by De La Rue

Sudan Army Official. 1906-11 5m scarlet and black, type A3 overprint, error OVERPRINT DOUBLE, ONE INVERTED, SGA9e, with part interpane margin above showing additional 'Service'.

Beautiful quality with original gum. Some trace of toning in margin which does not detract from what is a very fine example.

A spectacular and rare Army Official stamp.

Only one pane of 60 existed, and most were used. Signed 'ela'.

The “Camel Postman” stamps of Sudan are considered by the famous printers De La Rue as the “most satisfactory” in their long history of stamp production.

It was first issued in 1898 and was so successful that it continued until 1931 and effectively became the country’s symbolic emblem.

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue values is £1,800.

PRICE: £1,650 ($2,325)  


  1. A Chinese treasure hidden in our vault

China United States Postal Agency in Shanghai 1919 surcharges set of 16 to $2 on $1 purple-black.

Also includes 1922 2c on 1c blue-green and 4c on 2c carmine, SG1/18.

These stamps represent all issues of the United States Postal Agency in Shanghai which was open from 1 July 1919 to 31 December 1922.

They were valid for use on mail despatched from the US Postal Agency in Shanghai to addresses in the United States.

A nice well centred mint and fresh quality complete set of these rare stamps, with original gum.

The combined SG catalogue price for all stamps in the set is £2,550 (stated as cheapest price).

Well centred examples are referred to as worth double this amount making this an attractively priced set.

PRICE: £2,500 ($3,500)  


  1. The most famous stamp of the Falkland Islands

Falkland Islands 1933 Centenary 5s black and yellow-orange "Penguin", SG136a.

The distinctive shade from the small second printing of only 1,320 stamps, which was mostly destroyed in 1934.

The stamp features the Gentoo Penguin, the most famous bird of the Falkland Islands.

Gentoo Penguins nest in colonies adjacent to sandy or shingle beaches at over 80 locations around the Falkland Islands.

Its adorability has led it to become an emblem of the Islands.

A brilliant and exceptional quality example with original gum of this sought-after stamp, beautifully fresh.

PRICE: £3,250 ($4,500)  


  1. This market is hot, hot, hot 

Saudi Arabia 1970-72 Official stamps 1p. to 100p. set of 17, SGO1040/O1054.

The 6p yellow-orange is the scarcer watermark 70 (SGO1054a). 

All unmounted mint with full original gum and a very fine and scarce set.

Also included in the set is an extra example of the 100p myrtle green in used condition.

The SG catalogue value is £4,800.

PRICE: £3,500 ($4,850)  


  1. Queen Victoria Monkey Head

Mauritius 1859 'Lapirot' 2d blue, intermediate impression, SG38, position 2 on the sheet with generally large margins, fresh unused.

Pressed crease at top, still a lovely example of this delicate stamp with fine colour and impression.

A major rarity in unused condition, the first we have been able to offer in over 20 years.

This stamp issue is infamous for its design.

It was the third stamp design issued by Mauritius, very crudely engraved by Jules Lapirot.

The stamp was described as “the greatest libel upon Her late Majesty Queen Victoria that has ever been perpetrated”.

It was also nicknamed in France as the “tête de singe” (monkey head) issue.

Provenance: Ex Kanai (David Feldman 3 Nov 1993, lot 167) and Dale-Lichtenstein (Harmers 21 Oct 1968, lot 74).

Accompanied with a British Philatelic Association (BPA) certificate of authenticity (2020).

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £9,500.

PRICE: £7,950 ($10,950)  


  1. There are only 3, and the Queen owns one of them

New Guinea 1915-15 1d on 5pf green, 5mm space from setting II, showing variety 'G.R.I.' WITHOUT STOPS BUT WITH NORMAL SPACES, SG17ga.

Tied to small piece by two part strikes of RABAUL oval date stamps in violet (Gibbs type 8).

Tiny mark in right margin mentioned for accuracy, but one of just two used examples known to Gibbs (with a single unused example in the Royal Philatelic Collection).

A fascinating and exceedingly rare stamp.

Accompanied with a British Philatelic Association certificate of authenticity (1991) and Royal Philatelic Society certificate of authenticity (1965), the latter as former SG 17b.

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £11,000.

PRICE: £8,950 ($12,500)  


The Bargain Rarities Collection

 To summarise:

  • A collection of fascinating rare stamps of premium quality where I consider the prices to be below their fair value relative to their rarity
  • The total collection is priced at a 17% discount to listed catalogue values
  • A very difficult collection to assemble in this quality

You can purchase the entire collection of 19 key rarities from around the world for a price of £34,695 ($48,275).

You will need to be super quick to secure the collection intact.

It is not unusual for items to sell within minutes of being made available.

To secure this collection at this price, please e-mail me at mike@paulfrasercollectibles.com.

Alternatively, call us today on +44(0)1534 639998.

Buying stamps that are very difficult to find but not expensive is the equivalent to value investing in stamps.

What’s more, what’s rare today will be even rarer in the future.

Kind regards

Mike Hall

PS. Just to remind you of the additional benefits you enjoy when buying from us. We provide you with:

  1. 28-days no quibble return policy
  2. Certificate of Authenticity for each stamp
  3. A lifetime money back guarantee of authenticity
  4. FREE delivery to anywhere in the world
  5. Secure storage and insurance in the Channel Islands, if required
  6. Annual professional valuations of your collection
  7. Our dedicated assistance should you wish to sell your collection in the future to achieve the highest possible prices in the market
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