CUSTOMER SERVICE AND HEALTH
Everybody is receiving their stamps as promptly as ever and I am back at work. Enough said!
The increase in postage rates means I have raised the bar for free return postage to orders of £8. or more with 1 packet and £10.00 with 2. Hopefully you'll regard this as fair and still offering great value.
NEW "INTERNATIONAL" PACKETS - what's the difference?
The question as to whether the stamps in the international packets are sourced differently from the big packets is answered simply by "no". However, they are more work to put together and are better ordered, so are priced a little higher. It's simple as that!
NEW COMMONWEALTH PACKETS
These are much bigger with 750ish stamps and containing more post 1970 items, with quite a few high values and mint therein. I have dropped the price per stamp when you have taken over 100, to 4p. A couple of nice examples of post 1970 stamps below, The birds are pretty of course, but the Ghana surcharge (there are quite a few in one pack!) is interesting - these stamps were overprinted locally and there are thus many varieties but also "proper", (i.e. to defraud the post office), forgeries. GSM ran an article about them a while back, and there is the odd forum thread etc. to be found
RECENT AUCTION EXPERIENCES AND OBSERVATIONS (ctd.!)
The problems buying stock mentioned in the last post have eased somewhat by some fortunate purchases on Ebay and the opportunity to actually view some auction lots locally. Yes, a day before our glorious leader (unexpectedly?) froze the country again, I managed to view some lots at an auction whose premises allow for socially-distanced viewing though not of course socially distanced bidding. It was a case study in the importance of viewing. Several lots I looked at, although accurately described, were not as envisaged and if I'd bid blind I would have bid on something that wasn't quite right. As ever, I was outbid on most of the lots I wanted but came away with some good stuff. I say "came away" but the intention to collect the lots was ruled out and the cost of delivery exceeded the buyer's premium by some way.
As for Ebay, I have always struggled to find the right stuff there. It takes a long time to search and there is an awful lot of junk. Furthermore, many larger and mixed lots can make high realisations, a reflection of the fact that Ebay is after all, a retail marketplace. However, I recently stumbled on an excellent seller who regularly lists stuff that is just right for me (and you!) and that I've been able to "win" at the right price. However, as I write, I have been outbid on several lots and Ebay is encouraging me to bid more to "win what I want" or other such coarse consumer language.
Meanwhile auctions everywhere seem to be posting record number of bidders and realisations. I speculated in the last post that this might be due to people over bidding for fear of missing out, however, another theory is that the use of platforms such as EasyLiveAuction makes it very easy for bidders to get into competitive situations. For me, the cost of using these kind of platforms rules them out. Not only will you be clobbered by the auction house's premium but there's a cost to using the online platform as well.
Overall though, there are parallels, one might controversially observe, between internet bidding and internet gambling. Clicking is just too easy. Winning and losing are also too easily confused: if I have paid too much in the heat of the moment, is that winning, or losing?
As for realisations and the general climate, it's well worth reading what Grosvenor have to say here www.grosvenorauctionsm I really get why someone would want to bid over the odds on items in the remarkable Ken Carter collection as this was a rare opportunity, but on fairly routine mixed lots, well...........they'll come again, and if someone wants to bid a penny more than me on such stuff they can, as they say "have it!"
I'd be interested to know what others' thoughts and experiences are.
SOCIETY SPOTLIGHT - The National Philatelic Society
GIBBONSWATCH No. 1 Postponed!
That's it for now. I'll try and make the next one a bit sooner, without filling your inbox with the great unwanted.
Please click on the title above to open up the post. This will reveal a box to allow you to comment at the bottom. You can also read other people's comments and get a good argument going!
Anyway.....welcome to the first (at last) newsletter. I have been trying different ways to do one, but they have all been problematic and expensive. The obvious solution is of course to have a blog page, which, very stupidly, I never realised I could do on this website. Anywhere, here it is, he we are, boom, as they say.
PROBLEMS BUYING STOCK!
The recent and continuing events which we shall not name have not affected me very much, mainly, ironically, because my day, or rather night job is in the NHS. However when it comes to buying stock, the problems have been very real. The main one is that although auctions are still running they do so as de-facto postal auctions and there is no viewing. One enterprising auction house painstakingly uploaded videos but I still bid too low. Whatever, videos or no videos realisations in all auctions have been bewilderingly high. Why? I suspect that many bidders, used to being in the room, are bidding high to avoid not getting what they want. Will things return to normal when normality, if it ever, returns? I'd be delighted to know your views and experience.
Meanwhile, buying on Ebay has been a bit mixed. There are people who will tell you that everything they have bought on there has been a bargain while everything they have sold has realised a top price. My experience is generally the opposite, and again I have seen some crazy realisations for mixed lots (by other sellers!) However I am not yet out of stock for the standard packets, (though some one-country selections have sold out rapidly) and hope is at hand as one or two auctions who have the space, are allowing viewing, which is great, I'll just have to remember to bid up a bit!
CUSTOMER SERVICE AND HEALTH ISSUES.
One or two or you may have had your orders delayed by my having a heart attack and spending two days in the hospital where I now work. Apologies. I am making an excellent recovery as my heart is undamaged and I am back bimbling about in the countryside and will be back to work (damn!) in mid January. Bit of a non-event really, apart from the argument with the locum cardiologist, but you don't need to know about that.....!
AN INTERESTING STAMP.
"What do you mean interesting? It's a used Wilding!" Yes, well, point taken, but do have a look at the postmark. It's not the usual smudged machine effort but a barred numeral, 723 to be exact. 723 is Southampton and according to the records I can find (Parmenter and Smith), this was last used in 1964, which makes it one of the latest uses of a barred numeral. According to the GB Philatelic Society website, they were used on surcharge and instructional markings. Beyond that I can find no more info. Anybody know anything?
A QUICK PERSONAL REVIEW OF THE UK PHILATELIC MAGAZINES.
Print remains popular; the idea that print is for the old and out of touch is very much an idea that is itself, old and out of touch. Likewise, the moan about stamp collecting dying out along with the collectors is itself not looking very well: there is a definite growth of interest in stamps by younger people, and by women. So, it should be no surprise that the UK stamp community supports 3 magazines which show no signs of going downhill. These are of course Gibbons Stamp Monthly, Stamp Magazine and Stamp Collector Magazine. Let's have a quick look at each.
In short, they are all great in their different ways, but I have a particular liking and respect for Stamp Collector, there's a lot of time, thought and effort gone in to this and it just keeps getting better. Well, what do you think?
THAT'S IT FOR NOW, thanks for reading, do leave a comment.
Happy you know what and all the best for 2021 or is it going to be the year Zero?