March has been a terrible month for many people. The coronavirus has taken hold and we are all in virtual lockdown. There is nothing we can do about it apart from obeying the instructions and getting on with life at home. It is desperately sad for those immediately affected by the virus but heart-warming to see the response from many across the country.
As with sport, stamp collecting seems to be of little importance compared to the state of the nation and much of the world. All the same we need things to occupy our minds while waiting for the virus situation to recede. Stamps are a good thing at such times as you can lose yourself for hours while sorting or re-organising your stock or collection. I have been very fortunate as I am used to spending time this way and there has been a surge in demand because people are stuck at home.
I am continuing to trade almost as normal. I now have my post delivered instead of going to the post office to accept items from my P O Box. I will only go to the other post office when really necessary to send a few registered envelopes. So the system is working but inevitably there will be delays of a couple of days, perhaps longer. I have always prided myself on the speed in which I send out stamps but now circumstances mean things will be slower. The main point, however, is that I am open for business!
UPDATES ON STOCK
Australia. More new issues including the Disaster Relief booklet.
Austria. I took down a collection of Austria from my shelf, dusted it down and started work on it. My Austrian stock is strong but many of the gaps were now filled and my back-up stock grew too.
Belgium. It is a long time since I added anything new to my early Belgian stock. I have started work on a specialised collection and it has offered me extra items from 1849-1880. My Belgian contacts do not seem to sort such stamps by perf, shade etc so this collection was very welcome. I still have the rest of the collection to work on.
Canada. Just a few new issues: Dahlias with mini sheet and another five coil stamps from this year’s Far + Wide series, with different perfs.
Chile. Two volumes from the 94 stockbook range. This was an excellent lot and highly complete. I think Chilean modern stamps are very attractive. A lovely collection can be formed cheaply and it shows the country well.
Commonwealth. Someone had spent a lot of time and effort at sourcing stamps from the QE2 period (1953-74). It was a shame to split it down, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much new material there was for me. The collection had been nearly complete and in pristine condition.
There was a separate collection/stock for the QE2 issues from the South Atlantic territories (St Helena, Tristan, Falklands etc).
A third lot was QE2 issues from the Pacific (Samoa, Niue, PNG, Nauru, Tokelau, etc). Lots of new items for stock here and mostly inexpensive.
Finland. I now have the Christmas 2019 issues.
Guatemala. I may have mentioned a recent purchase of 94 stockbooks containing stamps from countries outside my traditional range. One of the first to be worked on is Guatemala. You rarely see stamps from such a country and certainly not a complete run. This was a useful lot and a solid basis for expansion.
Ireland. A decent batch of new issues including Galway + Rijeka (cities of culture), Love, the Irish Abroad and famous women.
Monaco. I have done well for Monaco lately. This month, I added stock from another collection, filling lots of gaps in my coverage. The earlier period saw the biggest gains but my range is now quite comprehensive.
New Zealand. You will find an expanded range of NZ back of book now. New stock is to be found in the Postage Dues, Life Insurance and especially Postal Fiscal sections. There is now a decent quantity of the large QV Postal Fiscals, having been checked by a knowledgeable friend for perf and watermark types.
Portuguese Colonies. I bought a really good collection of St Thomas + Prince which vastly increased my range of that colony. The bad news for some reading this is that I have since sold quite a few of these stamps but many remain in stock. The condition was excellent compared to much Port Cols material.
South Africa. I added a small number of pairs from the KG6 era.
Vietnam. 5 of the 94 stockbooks contained stamps from Vietnam. Up to 31 March, I have priced up the North and South issues and hope to finish the unified stamps early in April. The range of North Vietnam was very strong. They claim to have shot down phenomenal numbers of U S aircraft and shown it on their stamps. One way of looking at things.
March has been a record-breaking month for postal sales. Sadly, everyone is having to stay at home and one way to occupy time is to update the stamp collection. The top-selling countries are a mixture this month. The usual countries (Commonwealth, Australia and Canada) have performed well. In addition, these areas have been especially notable: Latin America, Portuguese Colonies, Monaco, Malta and Germany (1872-1945).
As you know, Fairs have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.
So, please keep well and stay at home as long as necessary. We need to get over this while remaining fit and well.