As the year draws to a close, I would rather not reflect on what was another terrible year for Planet Earth.
The news during the year read like some sort of Apocalyptic science fiction novel…
War, climate change, pandemics, inflation, stock market volatility, the cost of living crisis and a major recession looming.
Stamp collecting gives us an escape from all this misery.
It is one of those hobbies that allows you to immerse yourself in something intellectually stimulating, safe and predictable.
This year has been a year where collectors needed to turn to their collections more often for comfort and a means of relaxation.
Rare stamps are also somewhere you can put your money where you don’t need to live in perpetual panic of losing it because of global economic issues.
I always find looking back over our sales report for the year interesting.
Seeing which areas of the market were most in demand helps me to focus my buying efforts in the year ahead.
As always, the biggest challenge for us is finding premium quality rare stamps in these areas of highest demand.
I have selected for you 10 choice examples of the kind of stamps which were most popular with our clients this year.
With discounts on offer of up to 58% you won’t want to miss them.
I hope you have the time today to take a look at my recommendations.
These are the top 10 countries in terms of the number of stamps we have sold in the past year.
Let the countdown begin…
10. New Guinea
New Guinea was a surprise new entry into the top 10 this year.
New Guinea is famous for being the largest island in the world. It sits just below the equator, separated from Australia by the Torres Strait.
It has always been a popular area of collecting, but its popularity skyrocketed this year.
There was a major auction in London during the year of a collection of New Guinea rarities.
The results were, by any definition, spectacular.
Almost every New Guinea “G.R.I” overprint stamp featured in the sale beat the auction estimates by some margin.
Many of the stamps sold for prices representing a multiple of the current Stanley Gibbons catalogue values.
Consequently, our stockholding became exceptionally good value overnight and we sold out of all bar one
New Guinea 1914-15 8d on 80pf black and carmine/rose, printing variety with surcharge double, one inverted, SG26f.
A fine mint example with large part original gum.
The upright surcharge is from setting 10, position 2; the inverted surcharge is from setting 11, position 4.
A major British Commonwealth rarity.
Accompanied with a Peter Holcombe Certificate of Authenticity (1993).
The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £8,000.
Price: £7,000 (13% discount)
9. New Zealand
New Zealand finds its way back into the top 10 this year after a brief absence last year.
New Zealand has a healthy base of home grown avid collectors.
It is also a country which has attracted a wider base of collectors from around the world. Collectors are drawn to the quality of the designs and depth of philatelic study available.
New Zealand is also famous for being the first country to issue pictorial stamps as early as 1898. Prior to this, stamps from the British Commonwealth countries featured only Kings, Queens or heads of state.
This exhibition piece featuring the first pictorial stamps is available at an incredibly good price…
New Zealand 1899-1903 2s blue-green, no watermark, perforations 11, left marginal block of 4 from R5/6/1-2, showing minor plate flaws, SG269.
A brilliant quality unmounted mint marginal block with full original gum (hinge mark in margin only). Typical perforations and centring, and left pair with slight wrinkles, still a lovely piece. Rare in this quality.
Provenance: Ex Michael Burberry, the recognised authority on varieties of the New Zealand pictorial stamps. Presented on part display page with enlarged drawing (and plating notes in pencil on reverse).
One of the most attractive designs from what was the first pictorial series from a major British colony. The design of Milford Sound is home to some of the most impressive waterfalls on earth.
It was customary at this time for the monarch’s head to form the basis of most stamp designs. As such, this first pictorial definitive series, issued in 1898, caught the public’s attention.
The designs stemmed from a public design competition launched in 1895, offering cash prizes for the best designs. This approach was to support the government policy of encouraging new settlers and promoting tourism at that time.
The superb engraved views of New Zealand’s scenery, with mountains and water proving the most popular subjects among the competition winners, captured the imagination of the Victorians and have remained ever-popular with collectors as they were ground-breaking at the time.
The Campbell Paterson Catalogue value is NZ$7,000 (approximately £3,600).
Price: £1,500 (58% discount)
8. North Borneo
North Borneo enters the top 10 for the first time.
Borneo is the largest island in Asia.
Its main value to the British Empire was timber exports. Half of the world’s timber still, to this day, comes from Borneo.
I believe the rising popularity is connected to the fact you can build a collection of stunning engraved pictorial stamps at very affordable prices…
North Borneo 1897-1902 10c brown and slate-lilac 'Sun Bear', perforations 14½-15, SG104.
A fine and fresh mint example with large part original gum. From 1894, North Borneo was responsible for issuing some of the most attractive and innovative pictorial stamps of the late 19th century.
The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £150.
Price: £130 (13% discount)
Ceylon, modern-day Sri Lanka, known as the island of beauty, has always been a popular area of stamp collecting and certainly in our top 20 selling countries each year.
In the past, a number of exceptional collections have been built and ultimately sold at auction. The most notable are those of Baron Anthony de Worms and Sir Ernest de Silva.
This year, new demand from a number of avid collectors entering the market results in Ceylon flying high into the top 10 selling countries.
The King George V issues from Ceylon are renowned for a good range of watermark varieties and this is one of the finest, capturing the essence of the “Emperor of India”…
Ceylon 1921-32 Script watermark 100r grey-black printing variety 'Break in lines below left scroll' (R4/9), SG359he.
Well-centred very fine example with lovely fresh colour and original gum. The odd shortish perforation is mentioned for accuracy only as this is a particularly prominent example of this variety.
The King George V issues from Ceylon are renowned for a good range of varieties and this is one of the rarest and the only example of this error I have ever seen.
Accompanied by a Sismondo Certificate of Authenticity (2011) incorrectly describes the shade as 'brownish grey', but gives the correct SG number.
The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value for this rare variety has almost doubled in the past decade. Yet, at its current catalogue value of £6,000, it is not a big price ticket for such a rare stamp from a popular collecting area of the stamp market.
Price: £4,500 (25% discount)
Stamps from India were our second highest seller last year. This year, India dropped 4 places to number 6.
The reason for the drop, however, has nothing to do with demand, which remains relentlessly strong with higher realisations at auction.
The challenge for us is managing to buy rarities of the right quality at the right price. There are two key reasons for this:
- Quality examples of rare India stamps are much scarcer than many other countries because of the inherent fragility of the older stamps produced and also damage caused by the humid climate
- Market demand is huge and far outweighs available supply
In recent years, Indian stamps have proved the most lucrative investment within the rare stamp market.
At a recent London auction we watched many items sell for 2 to 3 times their estimates.
These prices were in almost all cases higher than our retail prices.
In every case each realisation showed significant growth to its past realisation.
We rarely manage to secure any quality rarities from India to offer you.
So, you might want to grab the rare opportunity to secure this gem of Indian philately at an incredible price, while you have the chance...
Indian Feudatory States Jammu and Kashmir c.1880s ½a red on thin wove diagonally bisected ¼a used on piece in combination with India ½a blue-green, struck by Leh (Ladakh) single circle despatch mark for '29 JUL', SG126a.
A very fine used example and extremely scarce in such fine condition. There are no known mint examples.
These bisects were made during a shortage of the ¼a stamps at Leh. It is believed that only a handful of covers or cards survive. This is the first time we have enjoyed the privilege of handling this major Indian States rarity.
The issues of the Princely States of India, Jammu and Kashmir are renowned for their number of great rarities and most desirable classics.
The Princely States of India are considered the most obscure and challenging to collect. Partly thanks to the active India Study Circle for Philately, they have been growing dramatically in popularity and demand in recent years.
Provenance: Ex Harmers T.D. Eames collection Lot 118, 1996.
Stanley Gibbons catalogue value: £10,000.
Price: £6,950 (31% discount)
The festive season beckons…
I need to do some last minute Christmas shopping so I must leave it here for now.
Watch out for my e-mail next week when I will reveal to you the top 5 selling stamp countries of 2022.
To purchase today’s top recommendations, either:
- Place your order directly through our online store by clicking on the “CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW” icons
- Email me at email@example.com
- Call on +44(0)1534 639998
- Message us to +44(0)7700702962
I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.
PS. In case you’re wondering…
Malta was in 11th place but was a key mover in the year. We witnessed a significant increase in modern errors from Malta in the year. Hardly surprising, as they are incredibly affordable, despite their rarity
Malta 1965-70 4d ‘Knights of Malta‘, error ‘KNIGHTS OF MALTA‘ (SILVER) OMITTED, SG336a.
A very fine upper marginal, unmounted mint example with full original gum. Presented with the normal stamp for comparison.
A very reasonably priced and visual error of missing colour.