MonacoPhil 2009: Roundup

We have just returned from the bi-annual meeting of the greatest stamp collectors alive today.

There were over £100 Million of incredibly rare stamps on display.

Each of the 100 Club members had been asked to just display one rare item from their collections.

Viewing the £100m display of stamps
Viewing the £100m display of stamps

Some of the collectors have several collections, and the total amount invested in their hobby just between these people must amount to over £1 Billion, as our own Queen Elizabeth the Second was exhibiting as well.

The combined wealth of these few collectors goes into several Billions.

This made for a strange juxtaposition at the show with Billionaires, millionaires and many more keen philatelists that were waiting in line for the special issues by the Monaco Post Office.

There was a deal whereby anyone who spent 80 Euros at their stand was able to buy a limited edition euro coin, that was instantly collectible and sought after by dealers who were waiting outside the exhibition.

HSH Prince Albert arriving at MonacoPhil 2009
HSH Prince Albert arriving at MonacoPhil 2009

Prince Albert arrived to officially open the show, and to visit the secure vault which housed the display of rare stamps.

He was scheduled to visit the show, but as the opening time came the throng of people waiting to run into the show had grown unusually large for the start of a stamp show, and there was beginning to be much jostling and short tempers.

This was obviously causing something of a security nightmare, and plans were hastily changed.

Most dealers in the show and regular philatelists were unaware of the rumpus this coin offer had produced.

The crowd awaiting the official opening
The crowd awaiting the official opening

When the doors finally opened there was a rush for the Monaco Post stand, and they were overwhelmed...all well laid plans were thrown to the wind, and it took the intervention of several police and riot officers to subdue the crowd and calm tempers.

Numbers were restricted coming in and out and then suddenly before long, they sold out of the limited edition of coins, and again the police had to intervene to dampen the irate collectors.

The few that had managed to buy the special coins were selling them outside immediately for 200 Euros, and then within half an hour the price had risen to 300 Euros !!

Then peace returned to the exhibition, and you could see many of the great collectors of our time scurrying around the hall to make sure they had not missed out on any potential items for their collections.

It is amazing that in the middle of the severest recession in most people's lifetime that the demand is still outstripping the supply.

If it was possible to be holding stock of all the items that many still need to complete their collections, then I am sure that that figure would amount to over £100 Million as well.

This gives huge confidence to all that our involved in Stamp collecting but especially to these at the very top where they have invested small fortunes in their passion.

Mr Charles Shreve accepting the ASCAT Award
Mr Charles Shreve accepting the ASCAT Award

Bill Gross was awarded the most prestigious award available in the World of Philately today, and it was accepted on his behalf by Charles Shreve, and we have exclusive video footage of the award ceremony on our site.

In my estimation Bill Gross is in the top ten of the greatest stamp collectors of all time already, and he still has plans to build his collection of US stamps to an even higher level.

He ranks with Count Ferrary, Tapling, King George V, Caspary, Burrus, Lichtenstein, Weill, Crawford, Kanai, King Carol of Romania...and many more from before, and hopefully many that will be added to this list in the future.

It will be extremely difficult to build a finer collection than Count Ferrary, as since his time so many key pieces have been bequeathed to Museums and other institutions, and the cost of completing a collection made up of so many areas of the World would be prohibitive except for the likes of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett... but let me not stop you if you have the passion, determination and of course the money !

Paul Fraser



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