Friday, 31 May 2013

Getting the best out of collecting used stamps

It’s a sad fact of life that, for many, the art of writing and sending letters is dying out. More often than not, the majority of the items coming through the letter box are merely bills, flyers and junk mail. These days, a handwritten letter is very rare. Although there is the temptation to discard envelopes and stamps without a thought, you could be losing out on a world of possibilities. Here’s why you should be more careful:

Stamp collecting pays

Regardless of whether the stamps have been marked or not, there is always a use for old stamps. For instance, did you know that they can be donated to charity? The typical price a charity can expect to receive for used stamps is roughly £4.50 for a kilogram of British stamps or up to £15 for foreign postal markers. If all of the UK’s stamps were recycled like this charities could raise thousands of pounds every year.

A Brief History of British Stamp Printing Methods

Love your philately? We do too. Which is why we’ve put together this quick chronology of stamp printing methods from British history.

May 1840 – 1855 (Line engraved stamps)

Printed using a technique also known as the gravure or recess printing method, line engraved stamps were the very first printed stamps to be used for postage in Great Britain. Over 480 printing plates, most of which included 240 unique stamp pictures with their own ‘check letters’ in the corners (to protect against forgeries), were used to produce billions of line engraved stamps.

These stamps were made using an engraving etched onto a piece of steel. This was then solidified and punched into a printing plate. Line engraved stamps were thought of as less easy to counterfeit as fine-details created using raised lines were impossible to mimic for all but the most highly skilled and experienced engravers.

How Investing in Stamps Pays Off

The current economic climate has created an uncertainty in the stock market, making it more and more difficult to make safe investments that will help build your money. For this reason there have been an increasing number of investors collecting valuable stamps.

Why stamp investment ?

Many stamps can be bought and sold for thousands, sometimes even hundreds of thousands of pounds, making stamp investment an expensive game to be in. The most valuable stamp collection was owned by former Velcro chairman Sir Humphrey Cripps, with a total value of over £20 million. The collection included two “penny blue” stamps which sold for £1 million, a princely sum but in no means the most expensive of stamps.

Where to Sell your Stamp Collection?

Stamp collections can be veritable goldmines if you know where to sell them. Unfortunately a lot of inheritors of collections don’t know where to find the best stamp collection prices or even where to start looking for a buyer. There are three main avenues that most sellers consider before choosing the one that suits them best.

1. Specialist Auction Houses  

There are specialist auction houses in most large cities so it is rarely difficult to find one close by. The experts that work at an auction house will be able to say which stamps in your collection are worth selling, which should be sold as a collection, which would make more money as an individual sale and what price your collection as a whole should bring.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Postal History – Change in Transport & Introduction of Stamps

Have you noticed how the majority of mail these days is sent via electronic devises in the form of texts and emails?  

Can you remember the last time you received a genuine, hand written letter? 

The digital age has drastically reduced the amount of personal letters being carried but that doesn’t mean that post is a thing of the past!
Over the years the postal system has developed and adapted with advancements in society, changing the systems they use to meet the demands of the public. Many academics study various areas of postal history, which can be essentially broken down into the study of letters and the post office. This short history will cover some of the biggest changes in the postal system. 

Friday, 24 May 2013

The World’s Most Valuable Stamps

There are literally billions of stamps in the world but only a very small number are worth collecting, as any good philatelist will know. The ultimate collection would obviously include nothing but the world’s most valuable stamps, the top five of which are detailed below.

So in reverse order according to worth.