NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2018
July has been a notable month, one way or another. We have been enjoying (or enduring) the extended hot spell and there was the second half of the World Cup. These two events have brought business to some sectors of the economy but not stamp dealing! The number of orders by post has been down and attendances at Fairs has also been low. It is what one would expect.
However my figures have not been too bad with a number of dedicated collectors carrying on as before. Processing less orders, I have had more time to price up new material. Some exceptional lots have come my way during the month. Of course it takes some time to then have all the stock neatly in place, all price up and added to my web lists. I would love it all to be done more quickly but I also want to do it properly which takes time.
My “other” web site www.robstineextra.com has begun to bear fruit. It is a long hard slog adding new material to the site but it now seems worth it! Some orders are coming in and beginning to give me more idea what people would like to see portrayed.
UPDATES ON STOCK
Albania. Two more lots merged into stock. I have added more scarce values in the early period and more sets and singles in the 1960s and 1970s. My stock is now quite strong and there are lots of mint items, some visible on robstineextra.
Australia. I have a big stock of Australia but sorted out three more lots from the Kings period with new Roos and Heads values. More importantly there were many new Postage Due and Official stamps. As always, more new issues came my way including a very attractive set of Natural Art and set two of Finches.
Canada. At long last I received the package from my Canadian supplier. It was too late for the York Fair but has added much useful stock, particularly the new issues. We have agreed that I will receive new issues regularly every 2-3 months and other items too from lists I supply him. Separately an English dealer provided me with an accumulation of stamps from the early 1950s to about the mid 1980s. I have yet to complete work on these but the main point is that they all bear CDS cancellations and not the dreaded block cancels or worse! Canada had about the worst cancellations on their stamps but gradually I am replacing these “average used” with stamps bearing CDS postmarks. Between these two lots I have re-filled most of the phosphor gaps in stock.
Separately I put into stock three lots of New Brunswick and especially Newfoundland. There were lots of new items for my list and the condition was greatly improved.
Commonwealth. My biggest purchase this month (and for the last several months) was a stunning Ideal album with QV-KG5 issues. Many of the colonies were complete or very nearly so. It will take a long time to completely sort this lot but I made a start and more is being done each week. This month I priced up Aitutaki, Antigua and Ascension (with some Australia as above). While I sort these out, I am also clearing up other stocks that had been lying around for some time.
France. My Parisian supplier sent me a small selection of stamps to fill the few gaps I had in stock. Also present were some more recent singles and mini sheets from 2014-6.
French Colonies. Three huge boxes of stockbooks of French Colonies was put in front of me at the end of July. Naturally I was pleased to get them. It seems like most areas are represented and as you can imagine it will take some time to price up. This month I only had time to work on New Caledonia. Much of the bulk is actually post Independence material. I think I know which French dealer used to own these books!
German “Areas”. Part of a dealer’s stock, this lot included Allenstein, Marienwerder, Danzig, Memel, Saar, Gen Govt etc. The main area for new items was Memel with the Lithuanian part well represented.
North Korea. When did you last see a stock of North Korea? I was offered one during the month and gladly accepted. The coverage was very patchy and they are all cheap items but the condition is good and it makes a good start. Lots of mini sheets were present.
Latvia. It is rare to see a good lot of early Latvia but one came my way! Many of the scarce sets from the 1930s were present.
Luxembourg. My stock was already strong but this new collection was very comprehensive from early issues up to the modern era. There were no Official stamps but I had re-stocked these only a short while ago anyway! This time all the Charity sets were present from the first onwards plus just about all the definitive stamps after a selection of the early Arms types.
Monaco. I came across a two volume collection of fine used Monaco and hurriedly added the stamps to stock. The condition was excellent and give me a solid range of these attractive issues.
Norway. I worked on a collection that covered most periods up to 1991, just missing the early Posthorn issues. Then there were some more new issues including stamps showing World War 2 and Tourist sites.
USA. Recently I have bought three early collections/lots of USA. Between them there is extensive coverage of issues from about the 1870s up to 1940. Many rare values of the Washington + Franklin issues were to be found as well as quantities of some of the early commemoratives. I still have work to do on these: work that will take some time due to their complexity. In addition I received some more recent issues (2016-8) from one of my usual suppliers. These too are scarce as we all know how few stamps are used on mail these days.
It was a quiet month for orders, probably due to hot weather and the World Cup. This trend started in mid June when both of these conditions applied. All the same many of my regular customers did their bit and there were some sizeable orders too. A reasonable number of new clients appeared as well.
Sales of Commonwealth material were well down but Australia was particularly popular. Other countries showing well included GB, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, NZ, Monaco + Albania.
The big event was of course the summer York Fair. Sales were well down on summer 2017 but that had been a record. I was still quite pleased with this year although it was like my old school reports “could have done better”. The Chichester Fair was similar: down on 2017 but still not bad. Wokingham was excellent but against a backdrop of a declining event.
There was no specific trend with sales this month. I need to bring a variety of countries to Fairs because everyone seems to want something different!