Saturday, January 3, 2015

If You Still Have Money Left Over From the Holidays....

The Daniel F. Kelleher Auction Sale #662 (January 23-24, 2015) features more tantalizing country and area collections than I've encountered in awhile. (There is one Blue collection, lot 857, that looks interesting but one would need to see this in person to gauge its completeness. If you look at lot 857, note what I assume are custom binders. Cool.) But I'm posting about this sale because of the range of single country and area collections, particularly Tony Pasquarello's "Impossibles" Collections.

According to the auction firm, these are "vast country collections from 1840 to 1940 where the emphasis was on obtaining stamps that were impossible to find and to complete each collection. (I'm not certain that "Impossibles" is entirely accurate, but at least they didn't called it the "Uniques" collection.) Pasquarello's collections focused primarily on Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt (see the image on the left), Estonia, Finland, France, Germany & Germany States, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Italy and Italian States & Colonies, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Colonies, Norway, Poland, Portuguese Colonies, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tripolitania, Turkey and [the always popular] worldwide balances. The collections are mint and used and complete or almost 99% complete." Not only do I like the date range that Mr. Pasquarello chose, but also that there are a surprising number of (choice) used stamps as opposed to the high percentage of unused/mint typically found in large country collections. Now all I have to do is win each of these lots and I will be well on the way to a nice Brown International Collection (or a Blue with a lot of extra pages).

In addition to Pasquarello's holdings, there are many others worth perusing, not the least of which is Michael Roger's specialized Ethiopia. But the latter falls beyond the scope even of the Brown Internationals.


ChrisW said...

Definitely nice custom binders. Most of the stamps seem to be too heavily canceled for my taste. Still nice collection and thanks for bringing it to our attention. I never before really realized how much you can learn by looking at the various big stamp auction houses’ website/catalogs.

Bob said...

Cwialkala publishes a monthly list of upcoming auctions from around the world which I find very useful:

Unfortunately, most auction firms' descriptions of worldwide collections aren't that helpful. I guess that is because the firms assume that most people won't bid without seeing the item in person.

A couple of times a month I go to the major auction houses like Siegel who have archives of their catalogs and just browse previous sales that look interesting, e.g., the Zoellner auction. They almost always are.

ChrisW said...

Do you have a sense (or have done the analysis) if the Scott International Vol 1 coverage varies significantly over time (i.e., over the decades from1840-1940)? In other words, is the coverage worst for the 19th Century stamps as compared to the later years (1930s)? Which maybe would be expected since these would be the more expensive stamps? Or perhaps the other way round?

My thinking is…could one (initially anyway) supplement their Big Blue with one volume of the Brown’s and have a nice WW classic album with “moderate” coverage, but still be in the 5-6 binder range? Maybe it wouldn’t make sense to do this with the Brown’s Vol 1 since the 19th Century stamps would be the more expensive ones?

Just curious to hear yours or others thoughts on this.

Bob said...

Chris, your question was one of the main reasons I started looking at the Blue albums in detail, hoping to find rhyme or reason to what is included. But alas, I think one can only make the most general statements about coverage. And the reason is the quality of the editing varied so much. For example, there are a number of Portuguese colonies with identical stamps except for the colony overprint. The Blue pages for some of these colonies will include a particular 19th century set, but others won’t, even though the catalog value is similar. A few French colonies will have all the common design issues, most won’t. Most British colonies will have all the coronation sets, a few won’t. Even for countries with reasonable coverage, such as India, Jim in his Big Blue Bog shows that the KG V issues are a mess. And later editors undermined earlier editors: compare the coverage of US cut squares in the 1947 edition versus today.

Speaking of Jim, I think it is worth looking at his narrative analysis of what is included in the Blue, country by country.

And I don’t know a practical workaround beyond what I wish I had done: buy the latest four part version which makes it easier to add your own pages. I would love to hear about other options.

I really do like the Blue; it is an old friend. But it is an old friend who has a lot of issues. Well, 35,000 issues but those aren’t the kind of issues I mean :)

Bud said...

I see that lot 857 brought $8,260. If Kelleher had taken the trouble to provide more than a dozen and a half photos and a breezy description, I suspect it would have brought a great deal more, since internet bidders would have had better knowledge about what was actually in the two albums. As it was, unless you were physically at the auction, you were largely blind bidding.

It's time that auction houses quit relying on their pre-internet reputations and do a better job of describing what they're selling. Doing less raises suspicions among potential buyers.

DrewM said...

I'm a little late to this discussion, but I do agree with Bud that auction houses need to do more, especially with their larger and more expensive lots. The description of this $8K Big Blue collection was not impressive, and the few pictures made it very unlikely to attract much bidding online. You had to be there, I guess to be sure it was worth bidding on, and it that's the case what's the point of an online auction?

If the simplest fix is to take many more pictures, then do that. Some online sellers of larger albums on Ebay provide a hundred or more pictures. I'd like to bid on a few collections, myself, but I'd never bid with this sort of description being given. It's too much money for too little idea what I'm bidding on. Kind of kills the whole point of an online auction, don't you think?

As for the custom binders on this particularly lot, they're intriguing, and I wonder how they were made and by whom? The binders which Scott/Amos Press sells for the Big Blue (and most other albums) don't hold up over the years and need to be babied especially if they have lots of pages in them like the Big Blues. I've always wondered why Scott didn't make smaller sized binders available -- or a higher-quality option? The new metal hinges on their Specialty albums are a promising step toward more rugged durability even if they're not all that attractive.

Jim said...

At the possibility of promoting competition for the lots by giving publicity (I will be interested in some), Bud has alerted me to a 90% filled 1940s edition BB that is beginning to be sold off by country on Ebay presently.

The Ebay seller is kenr2

Listed under "Great Scott International Vol. I Album"