This week I was shocked by a call from a very close stamp-collecting friend of mine. While exchanging niceties, he casually dropped in the line: "I'm giving up stamp collecting."
My jaw dropped. What on Earth was he talking about?
This guy is one of the most dedicated philatelists I know, and spends hours poring over catalogues and research. Maybe he's just having a bad day, I thought, and pressed him further…
Too many modern British issues? The Royal Mail released this
It turns out he didn't mean giving up collecting all stamps, just modern British issues. My friend has a penchant for melodrama but, to be honest, I can see his reasoning…
The cost of GB stamps has long been a concern for both the British public and the philatelic community, but combine this with an ever-increasing number of topics each year and the number of variants within each topic, and you begin to see quite how much of a challenge collecting modern British issues can be.
Quite simply, the area is just too broad. In 2014, there will be 12 regular issues of stamps, along with three Post & Go sets to complete. With "alluring" topics such as Sustainable Fish, collecting every one of these stamps doesn't seem like the most exciting prospect - and they're certainly not a viable investment as they're released in far too great a number.
But for me, rather than a signal to give up altogether, this problem highlights the importance of specialising when collecting stamps. You have to find the fun yourself, and a collection that is highly focused on one particular area is usually the key to success.
Stamps sent on cover to a particular overseas destination, modern postal markings, official instruction labels - you can collect just about anything. There are myriad benefits to a specialised collection of this kind:
- If your collection highlights an often overlooked area, you will be able to find material easily, and at a good price too.
- You'll find yourself the subject of admiration from fellow collectors, envious that they didn't think of your idea first.
- Develop an area about which little is known, with some solid research, and you could find yourself picking up awards for your troubles.
- What's more, a specialised collection is often the best way to make a profit…
Think outside the box and you could discover that you are the only serious collector in your field. With no one to compete with at auction, you'll easily corner the market and it'll be you who calls the shots when it comes to future sales.
You'll create the demand and the supply - the dream of every businessman.
Take for example the British Guiana collection of John du Pont, which is due to appear at David Feldman in June.
I don't imagine there were many people dedicated to collecting stamps from the little-known British colony when du Pont began his collection. This allowed him to capture the market with little resistance from his competitors.
After the collection placed du Pont third on the list of all-time multiple Grand Prix winners with five separate awards, the market for British Guiana stamps was created.
The problem? Du Pont owned them all (well, all the finest ones, at least).
As such, the philatelic community has been waiting for years for du Pont's stamps to arrive at auction, and those with half-completed collections certainly won't be stingy when bidding in June's auction - an opportunity like this doesn't come round too often.
Paul Fraser Collectibles can help you build that specialised collection. We have years of experience in sourcing the finest stamps for sale. Give us a call on +44 (0)117 933 9500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll discuss your options.
All my best,