I was on my travels this month. I had two shortish birding trips (Devon + Cornwall and Norfolk) for migration in this country. Then I went to Finland at the end of the month on another birding trip, mainly to see Owls. However I extended the trip forwards to see if I could find a supplier for Finnish stamps.

I did make contact with someone in Finland and came back with lots of items from 1999-2007, a tricky period. It was also educational. Across Europe, collectors like to obtain stamps with full cancellations (date, town etc) whereas many British collectors want to see the stamp’s design and so like corner cancels. In Finland a stamp that normally sells for one Euro will sell for 5-6 Euros if it has a full cancellation as above. On earlier stamps the price difference is greater. So my new Finnish contact was reluctant to sell me several stamps where he had the potential for a much higher price. All the same I bought good numbers and hope for more to come. It is just that it will not be so plain sailing as it is with many other countries.


Commonwealth QE2 period. This was perhaps the main area I worked on during the month. I was breaking down a collection of all Colonies from 1953-76 with variable coverage from almost nothing to almost completeness. Since I started stocking this area, I have been surprised by how popular it is. Perhaps what has struck me most is the interest in the 1960s Omnibus issues: Red Cross, ITU, World Cup etc.

Denmark. I received my first consignment from new Danish suppliers this month. It was only a small lot but you have to start somewhere and hopefully they can locate more items now they know what I seek. This lot consisted of odd values filling gaps that had appeared in stock over the previous months.

Finland. More new issues this month including a set for the World Wildlife Fund.

Italy. Just some gap-fillers from the last few years. I need to get back in touch with my man in Torino to fill all the other gaps that customers have created!

Lithuania. It has not been easy locating stocks of the Baltic States from independence in the 1990s. This month I have added a reasonable amount of items from the 1990s which makes a good start. At the time of independence I had a few contacts in Lithuania and supplies were plentiful. Interest over here waned quickly though especially as there was so much bogus material from parts of the old Soviet Union that wanted independence. It was hard to see sometimes which issues were official and which were not. In the end customers lost interest because there were about 15 new issuing countries (Ukraine, Kazakstan, the Baltic States etc) and it was all too much.

Luxembourg. I now have a good range of their stamps from the 2010s. Previously all that I had seen consisted of stamps with heavy FDC cancels which we all try to avoid. Why these cancellations are popular on the continent baffles me. Collectors want to see the design not a pile of ink! Anyway while putting these stamps into stock I managed to solve a problem I had with my Luxembourg list. I had been unable to add new material to the list but now it is all up to date as you will see.

Macedonia. Similarly to the ex Soviet countries, the break-up of Yugoslavia created many new stamp issuing countries. Macedonia is one of the most neglected, so I was pleased to locate a small amount of their stamps. Mostly these are part sets but that is better than nothing! 

Netherlands. This was a smallish lot of mainly recent issues, including commemoratives and definitives. These came from a relatively new Dutch supplier and had much nicer cancellations than some I had seen recently.

Norway. Some new issues arrived: Fish, Europa etc.

San Marino. These are very hard to find. Luckily I came across an attractive range from the first issue up to 1936. Considering the small population of San Marino, you can see why fine used stamps from here are like hen’s teeth. It is true stamp dealers will have created more mail but even so, the numbers of used stamps are not great.


May was the quietest month for orders since December, although there are extenuating circumstances. Being away so much naturally curtailed the number of days I could handle orders so June will look busier due to my absence in Finland during the last week of May. All the same May is often a quiet month for postal orders. Does gardening take over or are people on holiday more?

Orders were spread across the board in May. The Commonwealth remained popular but with a smaller total. Australia and New Zealand performed quite well with Canada taking second spot. Other countries showing interest were Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg and Sweden. 


I attended two events during May: the monthly Wokingham Fair and my Solo Fair in Bromsgrove. Both were above budget which is brilliant. I have loyal, regular customers in both venues and it is always nice to see them and catch up on the news.

Again, a wide variety of countries were sold. Notable were Albania and Yugoslavia with Saar and Greenland contributing. When I am trying to decide which books to bring to fairs it is not always easy bearing in mind the variety of interests but luckily many customers give me a hint as to what I should bring!

I will probably not go away again until the York fair so I intend to price up lots more new material. In a month’s time we will see how I get on!