Showing posts from October, 2015

Why Stamp Collecting is the Most Cool and Awesome Hobby

Today I wanted to share my thoughts for those of you non-stamp collectors about why I think stamp collecting is the most awesome hobby in the world. 
I start by examining the purpose of most hobbies. Hobbies generally are a way for us to relax doing something that interests us without any standards and goals beyond those which we determine for ourselves. There are many different kinds of hobbies, but most fall into the following categories:
1. Hobbies that involve collecting something.  2. Hobbies that involve creating something. 3. Hobbies that involve experiencing something.
In all cases, the hobby activity stimulates our senses - smell, sight, touch, hearing, as well as our exercising and engaging our minds. Most people find comfort in one of the above categories and occasionally one encounters individuals whose hobbies span all three. Most hobbies have a life cycle:
1. Dabbling 2. Increasing the intensity of interest and goal setting 3. Pursuing the goal intensely or casually 4. …

Of Stamp Gum and its Originality - How to Authenticate Gum

It has been said before that there is perhaps no substance on earth that is more valuable, in terms of its volume, than original stamp gum on classic stamps. Collectors will pay up to 1000% more for a stamp that has it, and more commonly 100-200%, than a stamp that lacks it.

This of course has led to a thriving industry involving adding gum to stamps that lack it. In some cases, the re-gumming job is so good that it can fool a collector who is unfamiliar with the stamp issue at hand. 
So how do you tell if a stamp has original gum or not?
Kind of like fingerprints, stamp gum has its own unique appearance for each issue on which it appears. Fortunately, there tends to be some uniformity in the chemical composition and method of application of gum by specific printing firms, so understanding the characteristics of the gum they employed in production will prove to be invaluable to a collector who encounters an expert re-gumming job. It will also enable you to authenticate gum that is ori…

The Face Value Follies - 5 Reasons Why Treating Modern Stamps as Discount Postage is Damaging to the Hobby

Today's post is about a development within the hobby that I have found to be very damaging to the hobby in general and damaging to the long-term ability of dealers to service their collector market. That development has been the tendency by dealers and collectors to perceive modern stamps issued after 1945 as mere postage and to take the position that it is worth less than its face value.

It is hard to be certain where it started, but I have a fairly strong hunch that it was started by dealers back in the day of brick-and-mortar retail stores. I can certainly understand why dealers at this time saw no harm in this practice: in their collective minds, they could not envision a time when demand would be sufficient to absorb the then colossal supply of mint stamps. Back in the 1970's and most of the 1980's, most of the industrialized countries in the world were issuing upwards of 30-50 million of each commemorative stamp, so the supply seemed endless. At the same time, most …

What a Difference Condition Makes and the Importance of Knowledge in Sourcing Philatelic Bargains

In my last post, I wrote about my take on catalogue values versus market values. In much of what I wrote, I talked about how most stamps are not worth anywhere close to catalogue value. But I also pointed out areas where the catalogue prices are too low or where exceptional quality can take an ordinary stamp to stratospheric heights. Indeed there are still many discoveries and bargains to be found in philately.

But what are examples of such stamps? How do you know when a stamp is a true condition rarity? How can you judge what constitutes exceptional quality for a particular issue? The answer is acquiring all the background knowledge that you can about the issue in question.

The examples I am going to use in this post relate to Canadian stamps, but the principles are the same for any country and you should read it with that in mind if you collect a country other than Canada.

Now for the  examples. Consider these four stamps from New Brunswick that I am currently selling:

They are all …