NEWSLETTER MAY 2018

Similar to the weather, this month has been very variable. One week was jolly busy with several good sales, then the next week was like falling off a cliff (although I do not intend to find out how it feels). It felt like the poorer the weather, the less orders I received and I have never noticed that so starkly before. As I write this, the sun is beating down and there is not a cloud in the sky, so I am hopeful!

Progress is being made on my second web site www.robstineextra.com and by the time you read this, there may be nearly 2000 items visible on the site. I started with a smattering of items from most of my main countries but now I am trying to produce bigger lots each time I work on a country. Japan is a good example of this. There is a mixture of fine used and mint items plus a few selections. I can be led by you on the selection of items as there is no shortage of material.

UPDATES ON STOCK

Australia. The Aussies have been “active” with their new issues lately. Among the subjects have been a set of Finches, a stamp commemorating the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and another set after World War One, this time homing in on Memorials. Finally the annual issue for the Queen’s Birthday using tasteful pinks and sky blues with lots of flowers.

Australian Antarctic Territory. A set of stamps showing Seals has been issued, including one or two cute images. 

Belgium. It was good to meet one of my Belgian suppliers at the Antwerp Fair. He had a lot of material for me although I still need more. I have received a few substantial orders for Belgium lately so there is always a need to replenish stocks. The new stock included values from most periods.

Commonwealth:
—Indian States. I was offered a very valuable lot of KG6 Convention States including many high values. These stamps are very hard to obtain so this purchase was very pleasing. I still have a number of QV-KG5 items to sort and price. When is the next rainy day?
—Jamaica. I priced up a collection of Jamaica with material from the first issue up to the 1970s. At the same time, I added some items to the section in www.robstineextra.com
—Seychelles. Another single “country” lot which covered the early period right through to QE2. I do travel sometimes to obtain stocks, but perhaps I should go to the Seychelles in search of stamps. It will be a hard job, but someone has to do it!

Estonia. Finding fine used modern Baltic States stamps is not easy. However I did pick up a reasonable amount at the Antwerp Fair. It was a shame I had no time to look for stamps in Tallinn during my recent trip but perhaps another time. I have been told there is a paucity of stamps in Tallinn but I am willing to try!

Germany-Saar. My German supplier found me a few more of the 1930s Charity issues following on from those last time.

Germany (West + Unified). A smallish batch of recent issues again following a decent lot last month.

Greece. It was high time I did something about my Greek stock, especially as I had bought three more collections which needed to be merged into the existing range. I was pleased with the results. Firstly the “easy” part of Greece was covered in each collection so I now have some depth. Then there was a decent range of earlyish issues. Sorry but I have not attempted to sort the Large Hermes Heads. That will have to wait for another day, but I do have quite a lot of them. Then I found several Postage Dues and Islands (Samos, Crete etc) particularly in one collection. So my Greek selection is now better than it has been for a long time.

Greenland. I finally made contact with the couple I had met last summer in Finland. They are based in Denmark and seem to stock all of Scandinavia. After trouble with missing e-mails, we are now firmly in touch and the first stamps I have received from them has been an excellent little lot of Greenland, filling various gaps in my range. It has been many moons since I added to my Greenland stock, partly due to a lack of demand. Hopefully now there will be a resurgence.

Hawaii. It was only a small selection but I was more than content to come across these as they do not see the light of day very often. Some of the better items are visible on www.robstineextra.com

Iceland. Various odd values bought to fill gaps during my trip to Antwerp at the end of March. More importantly, I broke down a significant collection with many better values covering most periods.

Ireland. New issues this month include a set of four stamps for Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (plus mini sheet), the INTO Teachers’ organisation, a love heart and of course St Patrick. More values have appeared to form part of the “historical object” definitive series. I am sorry but I find these boring, especially after the lovely bird and flower stamps.

Italian Colonies-Eritrea. A lovely little collection came into my hands. I already had a decent range of these stamps but several gaps were filled and the quality was good too. Above, I said it would be nice to visit the Seychelles in search of stock, but I think I will give a trip to Eritrea a miss!

Japan. This was the biggest single job I undertook during the month. I had a smallish stock already but had purchased four more lots since then. I spent nearly two weeks getting it all in order and still I have 4-5 books to sort out. I did not study the early issues due to lack of time (and the fact they are so complicated) but all the middle period has been done. There are more stamps in the 2000s to price up when I next get on with Japan. One of the major additions to stock was quite a good range of the Prefectures, although again I know there is more to include sometime soon.

Luxembourg. Until recently the only Luxembourg of the last few years that I have been offered has been complete with intrusive FDC cancels. Why the continentals like these kind of postmarks is beyond me. Anyway I will soon be listing a number of new items once I get over a computer glitch at the end of my Luxembourg list. I have just had a bright idea that might solve the problem.

New Zealand. Just new issues this time. One set commemorates the sinking of the Wahine in Wellington Harbour and the other is another World War One set.

POSTAL SALES

As I said above, it has been a strange month with many good sales then almost nothing to follow! The actual number of orders was only slightly down on the average.

The Commonwealth was again the main area, rivalling January for the number of orders. Those two hardy regulars, Australia and Belgium, were again next in line with big orders being the norm for Belgium. Other countries making an impression were France, Luxembourg and Sweden.

STAMP FAIRS

I was very pleased with the Fairs during April. My Solo Fair in Oxford and the monthly Wokingham Fair were both well above budget. I am even more worried about the Wokingham Fair, however, as the number of dealers was low as was the number of customers. Thank you to all my regulars who keep me going!

The Potters Bar Fair was also very good, but as I had a bumper year in 2017, it was hard to keep up with the stringent budget for this event. The only fly in the ointment was Chichester Fair where many of my regulars were nowhere to be seen.  

Just two events during May: Wokingham (13th) and my Solo Fair in Bromsgrove (20th). 

Thank you again to all my customers and I hope to see you or hear from you again jolly soon!