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Collectors of Rare Stamps

Updated on October 25, 2012
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Anarchist. Atheist. Childfree. Vegan. Environmentalist. Citizen of the world. Animal Rights Abolitionist.

Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria | Source

Brief History of Stamp Collecting

Stamp Collecting began when Great Britain issued the first adhesive postage stamp to prepay for the delivery of mail on May 6, 1840. Postage stamps were the idea of Sir Rowland Hill, as part of Great Britain's introduction of standardized postal rates. The first postage stamp, the Penny Black, pictured young Queen Victoria and was produced without perforations and had to be cut from the sheet with scissors in order to be used. Penny Black has helped eliminate most of Britain's postal problems and since then, the idea of prepaying for delivery of mail was so successful that by 1860 more than 70 countries were using postage stamps. People also started to collect stamps almost immediately in various manners and ways according to the collector's wishes and preferences. One Parisienne was supposed to have wallpapered her bedroom with sheets of an early issue from France - a stamp issued in sheets of 100, and that now sells for up to several hundred dollars each!

Stamp collecting was originally known as timbromania (stamp madness) but was disliked and gradually fell out of use as philately gained acceptance during the 1860s. Philately is the study of stamps and postal history and other related items. Although it involves more than stamp collecting, the person who studies or collects stamps called philatelist, does not necessarily have to own stamps. He could study them in museums, especially those that are rare.

The term philately is the English version of the French word philate'lie, coined by George Herpin in 1864.

Status of Stamp Collection

According to PR Krishnan, secretary of the Philatelists Coimbatore, India, stamp collection can even be more lucrative than investing in gold. In June 2012, Coimbatore held an auction on stamps and he saw a transaction that fetched around 1 lakh rupees (equivalent to US$1860 today). And based from the prices I have seen from most online stores, including eBay, rare stamps, indeed, can be very good investment. Krishnan also added that the price of a stamp is based on how rare the stamp is, which depends largely on the theory of supply and demand. The stamps that are high in demand are those which are not issued any longer because of some error in design.

picture 1
picture 1 | Source
picture 2
picture 2 | Source

Auctions on stamps are going on in many places all over the world. According to auction house Zurich Asia, a pair of rare stamps (see picture 1) bearing a picture of Chinese nationalist Sun Yat-sen sold for HK$ 5.52 million ($ 707,700) at a sale in HongKong. It is considered rare because the picture of Sun is accidentally inverted.

Later in November 13 and 14, auction house Sphinx is going to show one of Australia's most valuable private stamp collection, the Australian Commonwealth stamps, in London. Sphinx expects the collection to net more than $A 3.16 million.

Auctioneers Warwick and Warwick sold a rare stamp, The Great Britain stamp (see picture 2), which is more than 100 years old at an auction for £48,300. The stamp dates back to the reign of Edward VII which was introduced in 1910.

Business moguls Warren Buffet and Bill Gross are major investors in stamps. Recently, Gross sold part of his Great Britain postage stamp collection for $10.5m, which he originally purchased for $2.5m around 7 years ago.

The above news are just a few of the many information that any stamp collectors would like to know. And it really seems like rare postage stamp collection is fetching huge money and a very good investment indeed!

So What Are Rare Stamps?

The stamp that bears the picture of Sun Yat-sen is considered rare because it is accidentally inverted, which further means that the stamp was released with error and therefore no longer in circulation.

Today, a postage stamp is available in its classical form but once, postage stamps were round in some nation and in others like Italy, postage stamps were square. This is one of the many peculiarities of rare postage stamps. Other rare postage stamps can be those which are issued between 1861 and 1900 and those that belong to the period of the kingdom of Victor Emmanuel II, first king of a unified Italy.

Although there are too many parameters and too many evaluations and studies to be done to identify a postage stamp as rare and of notable value, there are experts in this field to help one out in identifying its rarity. And if you think you possess a notable postage stamp but not sure if it really is, the internet is one of the many places to start from to look for experts who can help you evaluate your collection.

Red Revenue Small One Dollar Surcharge Estimated value: US$333,382
Red Revenue Small One Dollar Surcharge Estimated value: US$333,382 | Source

Rare Postage Stamp Collectors

Philipp von Ferrary (1850 - 1917)

  • a French/Austrian aristocrat who was a noted stamp collector and considered to have had the most complete worldwide collection that ever existed, or likely to have existed. But his collection was broken up and sold by the French government after the First World War as was reparations because he was an Austrian citizen. Amongst his extremely rare stamps were the unique Treskilling Yellow of Sweden and the 1856 one cent "Black on Magenta of British Guiana.

King George V, Great Britain (1910-1936)

  • possessed one of the most valuable stamp collections in the world and became the president of the Royal Philatelic Society. He became a serious philatelist by the help of his uncle, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. His collection was later passed on to Queen Elizabeth II, who, though was not a serious philatelist, has a collection of British and Commonwealth first day covers which she started in 1952.

Prince Rainier III, Monaco

  • is an ardent philatelist and is internationally recognized for his promotion of philately. The Musee des Timbres et des Monnais (The Museum of Stamps and Currencies) was founded under his patronage and houses his extensive personal collection.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, U.S. President

  • thirty-second president of the United States aroused nationwide interest in stamp collecting when, during the 1930s, the White House released numerous photographs of him working on his stamp collection. In 1946, following FDR’s death, his family sold his philatelic estate through Harmer Auction. It included U.S. die proofs, full sheets, worldwide stamps, and covers.

Ernest A. Ackerman (1863-1931), Congressman

  • amassed one of the nation’s greatest philatelic collections during his lifetime. Intrigued by the stamps on envelopes his father, a patent lawyer, received from the Patent Office in Washington, D.C., Ackerman began his business career as a stamp dealer, building an impressive mail order business. Though a successful businessman, Ackerman devoted much of his adult life to politics. He held many posts in the New Jersey legislature, and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1919.

James Farley, U.S. Postmaster General

  • It was President Roosevelt who appointed him as postmaster general, the highest political patronage position in the nation. Using his position as postmaster general, he purchased the first sheets of imperforate, ungummed stamps for use as political favors. He and FDR often signed and dated these sheets, thus creating valuable philatelic collectibles. When philatelists complained, demanding access to the sheets, Farley ordered additional special printings of those stamps, now called “Farley’s Follies".

George Ludlow Lee

  • Lee discovered the satisfactions of stamp collecting during the early 1950s. His collection of Canadian plate blocks, which included twelve of the “impossible” positions of the 1939 World Visit issue, ranked among the world’s finest. He owned numerous copies of the “Inverted Seaway” stamp, and donated a used copy – one of eleven known — to the National Philatelic Collection in 1961.

Benjamin H. Homan (1904-1976)

  • renowned for his extraordinary collection of British Commonwealth stamps, joined A. Krassa to establish the firm Homan-Krassa in 1926. The New York-based business bought and sold some of the rarest U.S. classic stamps. His plating of St. Lucia remains one of philately’s finest achievements.

William H. Gross

  • founder of PIMCO investment firm and a renowned philatelist. He has donated $10 million to the National Postal Museum to create a new 12,000-square-foot gallery that will be named in his honor.

John P.V. Heinmuller, President, Longines-Wittnauer Warch Co.

  • Heinmuller was an aero-philatelist and past president of the American Air Mail Society. His interest in airpost material began in 1909 when, as a seventeen-year-old student in Geneva, Switzerland, a school friend sent him a zeppelin souvenir that had been mailed at the ILA international aviation exhibition in Frankfort-am-Main. Heinmuller eventually collected over 5,000 zeppelin pieces. Some were acquired by purchase or exchange with other collectors; others were acquired by writing Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin directly, asking him to send a postal souvenir from an advertised flight. Part of his acquisitions derived from the well-known Thompson, Steiner, and Luderman collections.

Amelia Earhart, Aviatrix

  • On May 20-21, 1932, Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, flying between Newfoundland and Ireland. The feat ensured her not only worldwide acclaim but a place in the annals of aviation history. On the flight Earhart carried fifty pieces of “unofficial” mail (the flight was not authorized by the post office), each postmarked before and after landing, cacheted, numbered, and autographed to document the historic event.

Simon Wiesenthal, Hunter of Nazi War Criminals

  • The world knows Simon Wiesenthal as a Holocaust survivor who tracked down Nazi war criminals for more than half a century. What many do not know is that he spent his evenings on a very different quest: searching for vintage postage stamps. Most of his stamp collection was a classic holding of stamps from various countries. But it also included a more personal section, a collection of postmarks and postcards from different towns named Wiesenthal. The National Postal Museum owns this specialized cancel collection and several of his personal philatelic tools. Simon Wiesenthal once wrote that he became interested in stamp collecting in 1948, when he visited a doctor for severe insomnia. "He suggested that I do something at night to take my mind off my troubles, and that's how I began collecting postage stamps," Wiesenthal explained.

Morton D. Joyce (1900-1989)

  • began collecting stamps as a young boy. His collection of United States revenue stamps, most dating to the late nineteenth century, ultimately emerged as one of the world’s finest and formed the basis of George Turner’s extensive study.

W. Wilson Hulme

  • served as the National Postal Museum’s Curator of Philately from 2002 until his death in 2007. Prior to his position as curator, he served on the museum’s Council of Philatelists. Hulme was instrumental in bringing exhibits like “The Queen’s Own: Stamps That Changed the World,” an exhibition of materials from Queen Elizabeth II’s own Royal Philatelic Collection; “Stamps Take Flight,” featuring materials from the United States Postal Service’s Postmaster General’s Collection; and “Rarity Revealed: The Benjamin K. Miller Collection,” from the renowned Benjamin K. Miller Collection, on loan by The New York Public Library.
  • Hulme specialized in the study of perforations and nineteenth century U.S. stamps and mail. He also had a collection of “fun” philately related to his birth date and personal interests.

Egyptian stamp
Egyptian stamp | Source
Russia: 1935 San Francisco surcharge, small Cyrillic "f" in "San Francisco", surcharge inverted Price Realized: $718,750.00 From June 2008 auction
Russia: 1935 San Francisco surcharge, small Cyrillic "f" in "San Francisco", surcharge inverted Price Realized: $718,750.00 From June 2008 auction | Source

Online Collectors of Rare Postage Stamps

arago is all about people, postage and the post. It's named after Francois Arago (19th century French scientist and friend of James Smithson and is your resource to the study of philately and postal operations as seen through the National Postal Museum's collection. They have a wide display of rare stamps. They also provide a complete information about the things you might want to know regarding stamps and stamp collection.

mysticstamp deals with buying and selling rare stamps. Their collection is huge and includes stamps from all over the world. They offer interest-free monthly time payments for all orders above $500. And if you want to grow your stamp collection or you have a particular stamp in mind, they can help you find them. Their stamp displays are detailed. All you need to do is browse, choose and purchase.

2clicksstamps offers stamp collecting tools, how and where to buy postage stamps and explains the different parts of postage stamps. It also talks about coins. So if your collection includes coins this site could offer you what you just need.

cherrystoneauctions auctions stamps and is an online shop. This site helps you realize how expensive a single rare stamp is. So if you are thinking of taking stamp collection seriously, you can start here to get familiarized with how stamps do in the market.

collectorscorner is the premier market place for serious rare coin, currency, sports card and stamp collectors. Many of these have images which allows easy viewing for customers thereby helping them decide whether to purchase or not. At Collectors Corner, buyers deal directly with the world's top dealers.

golowesstamps is a place where you can buy stamps from almost all over the world. Their prices range from $25 to $2500, sometimes even more!

cyberstamps displays the world's largest selection of an online postage stamps catalog from around the world with detailed information for each stamp and features a library of over 25000 stamp images from 90 countries. Their collection includes Elvis Stamps, Diana and the royal family, flowers, butterflies, animals, war, history and art. Cyberstamps is a subsidiary of the Stamp Gallery and is one of the world's leading philatelic companies offering official legal tender postage stamps and collectible coins, banknotes, medallion and many other collectibles.

arpinphilately is another online stamp collector of rare stamps. Its products include Canada and US stamps, thematic stamps, world stamps, and other stamp supplies and accessories. They have free shipping to US and Canada for order of $75 and above. They also offer free stamps by joining Arpin Philately and trying their service of stamps on approval.

countystampcenter started in 1953 as an open stamp store where customers would congregate to view collections, buy new issues, and have their collections appraised and sold. In 1976, County Stampcenter expanded its mail order business by concentrating on selling worldwide newly issued stamps and filling want lists for older and rarer issues. Today, it continues to fill want list, service new issue subscribers, and buys and sells collections.

paulfrasercollectibles guides you in investing in rare postage stamps. At Paul Fraser, you can also read news and be updated with the latest events like stamp auctions. They also display a huge collection of collectibles where you can buy for your own collection. And if you are looking for a particular stamp to be added on your personal collection, you may try Paul Fraser 's services.

Rare stamp collection is like wine: the longer the years it is kept the more delicious it tastes. So as to stamp: the older or rarer it is the more expensive it becomes.


References:

http://www.postalmuseum.si.edu

http://arago.si.edu

http://EzineArticles.com

George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers

Association for Stamp Exhibitions Inc. ‘Official Catalogue, International Philatelic Exhibition, New York’, 1936.

http://stamp-collectors.blogspot.in

timesofindia.com

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    • profile image

      sarah 3 years ago

      Hello ..

      I have 2 of the showing stamps and I really don't know anything about stamps I have it ever since my father give it to me

    • John Knopka profile image

      John Knopka 3 years ago

      please notice that very rare Zanzibar E3F inverted overprint stamp

      is listed on ebay, catalog value is $1700

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 2 years ago

      I would not mind expanding to stamps but we have such high humidity I fear the would adhere to things, even each other.

    • Astralrose profile image
      Author

      Astralrose 2 years ago from India

      Sarah...maybe you can contact a collector or display them on ebay...if you are interested in selling!

      Blackspaniel...a proper storage place would do great for stamps!

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