Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blue International Realizes $21,240 in Kelleher Auction

Stealing a page from Dave Barry's playbook, many thanks to alert reader Jim for alerting me to a Scott Blue 1840-1940 Collection housed in 3 volumes that realized an alert-worthy $21,240. The collection was offered as Lot 2144 by Daniel F. Kelleher in his Sale 628 held January 25-27, 2012.

What is as amazing as the stamps is how they are mounted. I like Jim's description on the Stamp Community list: "Never have I seen an album so encrusted with stamps like barnacles on a hull." While I have seen album pages completely covered in stamps, they have invariably been ones where the stamps bore no relationship to what was intended by the editor to reside on the page. You can check out the images on Kelleher's website for a fraction of what was in the albums.

Here's the description from Kelleher's auction catalog (I corrected a few typos):

"Worldwide, Absolutely Extraordinary 3 Volume International Collection, 1840-1940. Forget what you have ever thought about International collections, as this magnificent, old-time collection is absolutely astounding in its breath of coverage. If there was no space allotted the owner just went ahead and created one. Duplicates or parallel mint and used coverage? Definitely not a problem, as the owner simply overlapped premium stamps one over another, often with a better mint example buried beneath. To list the endless quantities of premium individual stamps would be fruitless, though we will provide scans on the internet to give an overall flavor of the lot...About the only slight negative we can associate with this valuable lot is the time necessary to properly evaluate it. Turn each page and add it up; we've handled scores of International collections, but few like this one! Estimate $10,000 - 15,000."

While I would never mount a collection this way, you've got to admit that is unique.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"The Most Affordable Classic Stamps to Collect"

When I was first researching the collecting of classic era stamps, I came across the website by Michel Bégin of Quebec with the above title. His site is no longer online but can be accessed through the Internet Archive WayBackMachine. I tried emailing M. Bégin several years ago but had no response. But as I once again came across the archived pages a few days ago, I decided I should mention the website here.

Bégin's purpose was to show which were the least expensive classic era countries to collect. As the website is still copyrighted I can't reproduce the data, but here are some highlights. Bégin calculated there were 436 countries that issued stamps during this time (not counting Offices). During the 19th Century alone, there were 276 stamp issuing entities. During the classic era, there were 13 countries with more than 500 issues. The US had the dubious distinction of having issued the most stamps: 902.

 Bégin calculated that 148 countries could be considered the most affordable to collect and provided several tables summarizing this information. For example, he notes that the Ivory Coast issued 166 stamps starting in 1892 with no stamps cataloging over $100 (based on 1997 catalog values). So, definitely still worth checking for Bégin's interesting statistics and comments, especially if you are considering starting an affordable single country collection.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 1st Breaking News: Slabbed International on eBay

In what may be a first, an eBay seller, Bob's House of Stamps, has listed a slabbed Blue International Volume 1. According to the description, before slabbing the album was completely filled with all 35,000 stamps graded GEM100 or above. The eBay description also states that each stamp was MNH when it was hinged into the album. Furthermore, every stamp is guaranteed and the album comes with 35,000 certificates from Bob's House of Expertising. All the certs read: "We beg to inform you that is our opinion that this stamp is what it appears to be."

Opening bid is 99 cents. Bob's House of Stamps has 10,000+ all private feedback of 100% and he is a member of all major organizations including the APS (Amalgamated Peripatetic Stampers) and the ASDA (Albanian Stamp Doctorers Anonymous). Note that Bob has only twelve of these slabbed albums available so this is definitely first come, first served. The seller appears to be located in Antarctica but offers discounted shipping if you select the "Buy It Now" option for $199,999.99. The album may be returned within 24 hours for partial refund but only if the slab is unopened and the seal is intact.