Roll out the barrel, roll out the barrel of fun… But many stamp collectors who are keen on collecting only the highest grades don't enjoy collecting beer stamps.
The reason for this is simple: Used beer stamps are fixed to the barrels. To be brought into a collection it's difficult to avoid removing them from the barrel and that almost inevitably causes some damage to the stamp.
Part seven of the Scarsdale collection, which is going under the hammer later this month, is devoted to beer stamps, which is something of a departure for a hoard of which has consistently steered within a fraction of perfection otherwise.
Yet in 2003 the beer stamps collection was started. This was partly due to a large collection of them coming onto the market, and partly the range of new interesting challenges they presented. In beer stamps the same design may be used on several different coloured papers, along with die-cut and cut-to-shape varieties, and pinning down the Scott number is an intricate business.
Two of the highlights in the upcoming auction are as follows:
From the 1909-11 issues is a 1909, 33 1⁄3c Black on Blue, for a third of a barrel. Of very fine appearance, it is one of just two examples known and listed at $20,000.
This stamp was previously a part of the Tolman collection. One of the other key highlights is one of the other ex-Tolman stamps from 1951 with similar colours (if you'd had a barrel-full, you might confuse the stamps).
This however is the Black on Bright Blue Paper, 25bbl - the last beer stamp issued, for 25 barrels. It too is of very fine appearance and one of just two known, and carries the same listing: $20,000.
The auction takes place in New York on February 25. Collectors looking for a high class blue stamp might like to look at this 1915 10s Deep Blue Postage Stamp from Great Britain.