On Tuesday 3rd November Banbury Stamp Society members displayed items from their collections and talked about how they had obtained them – some a bargain but also the occasional lemon!
Fourteen members attended and provided a lively mix of material. There were a number of themes around how to realise a bargain, but we started with a missed opportunity back in the days when people saved up for things: a fine Australian collection at the local stamp dealer was gone by the time the money was saved. But this collector had found a source of bargain material – buying Great Britain postal history from dealers in the USA and a fine Victorian cover was shown.
Misidentified stamps were common, even from Stanley Gibbons who are not known for selling bargains – but at least two collectors acquired valuable variations there. Of course, misidentification can be on the part of the collector: a potentially valuable German stamp from the closing months of the Second World War was picked up for a bargain – except that it turned out to be a forgery.
Many collectors buy their material from the Post Office when it is released. One collector showed booklets with a catalogued variation bought directly from a vending machine for £2 which sold on for £10. Being in the right place at the right time led to a Turkish Cypriot cover with local stamps being purchased as a memento of the time which has since increased in value. If you can’t buy material when new, an alternative way to realise a bargain is to buy when the market is low – the stamp market is as cyclical as any other. A display of 288 GB 1d reds and ‘plated’ (i.e. laid out in the order of the corner letters) was bought in the ‘60’s for 1d (yes, old money) apiece.
Most new collectors are afraid to haggle, but after they try it once it becomes standard whenever buying material face to face. One member showed some of his prized material purchased at his first offer price – leading him to regret not having made an even lower initial offer!
The final theme was to look through bulky untidy material – one collector had come up with a copy of The Times reporting on the Crimean war and posted to the Crimea at the time; other members talked of buying bulky auction lots as much material at auction is bought by dealers who don’t have the time to sort out untidy lots.
The next meeting is on Tuesday November 17th at 7:30pm at Hanwell Fields Community Centre. Mr. John Gledhill will be talking about ‘Overprinted GB & Officials’. The Banbury Stamp Society can now be found on-line at ‘www.banburystampsociety.co.uk’.