Spink is holding an auction of rare stamps this Thursday in London. We caught up with Spink's Philatelic Specialist, Dominic Savastano.
What are the highlights of Thursday's auction?
Lot No 9, a small colour trial of Great Britain's Two Penny Blue - a block of four - is worth looking out for, if only because it's a pretty thing.
Lot No 48, an 1857 £5 Orange stamp is certainly one of the key lots. This was a very valuable piece back then and it's unusual for such a pricey item to have been collected in those days. It's estimated at £8,000-10,000.
Of the collections I'd pick out lot 694, a collection of Saudi Arabian stamps which is estimated at £12,000-15,000.
But overall no enormously valuable pieces will appear on Thursday. This is much more of an auction for established, specialist collectors looking for specific items.
Have you seen an influx in the new collectors from the so-called BRIC nations? (Brazil, Russia, India, China).
Yes in Russia certainly a few years ago, although it has rather dried up recently. This has had a vast effect on the Russian stamp market and there are now some very valuable pieces.
There is a huge demand for Indian stamps and they have a very strong presence in the market - much more than expected and this continues to grow.
China has always has been a strong presence as there has always been the wealth and money around. However now we are seeing a large increase in the number of people with this wealth.
How has the credit crunch had an impact on your business?
Demand has remained steady during the recession but what has been harder is persuading collectors that this is just a good a time as money to invest/sell/buy. We have seen people being a great deal more selective over what they buy and want items to be in much better condition. This has established a very strong market.
What are your predictions for the stamp collectors market in 2010?
This is a particularly exciting year for collectors as there is an enormously important event in May that only happens once every 10 years: the International Stamp Exhibition in London. We will no doubt see some very exciting items coming onto the market leading up to this auction. Where we will see the strongest markets and exciting new collections emerging is after the sale and leading into 2011.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out (collecting stamps)?
Choose a country that interests and appeals to you, a place that you enjoy reading about historically. It is this interest of the country that you will be able to bring to your collection.