Posts

Stamp Dealers: The Travel Agents of Philately

Earlier this week I had a conversation with a philatelist who responded to my blog posts this past week. He said that he thought that the widespread availability of basic stamp information had made the professional stamp dealer somewhat obsolete, and that this was why dealers like myself were having difficulty building loyal customer bases.

I thought about it for a while and then I realized why I felt he wasn't 100% correct in his analysis:

Knowledge does not equal experience!

Then I had a thought flash in my mind - about travel agents. When it became possible to book airline trips and vacations online a number of years ago, the conventional wisdom was that travel agents were now obsolete and would soon be out of business. But, almost 20 years after online booking of trips became a thing, they are still going strong. Sure, the worst ones went out of business - those that provided little value. But the better agencies are still thriving. Why is this, and what does this have to do w…

The 6c Black Transportation Stamp of the 1967-73 Centennial Issue Part Two

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Today, I will cover the printings of the 6c black that were printed by the CBN. The CBN printed the coil stamps, which were issued in August 1970, and the sheet stamps that were first issued in 1972 and replaced the BABN printings. These stamps are all very easily identifiable by the stiffer paper used to print them, the tagging that was used on the tagged stamps and the differences in the die that was used to print the stamps. The CBN die is known also as die 1a and looks very similar to die 2, in the sense that the shading of the sky and background is even. However, the CBN die resulted in stamps that look less intense than the die 2 stamps. A closer look at the stamps reveals that the right frameline is not thick, like die 2, but thin, and the shading lines themselves are not as thick as the die 2 stamps.

The scan below shows the difference between die 1a and die 2:


Die 1a is shown by the block on the left, while die 2 is shown by the block on the right. If you look at the left an…

Before This Week's Scheduled Post: My Answer

This last weekend has been a very emotional one for me, as I faltered in the pursuit of my dream. I do believe in being a consummate professional, but I don't think that that precludes me from being vulnerable and showing my customers that I am human like them. I've been scared. Very scared. I spent three years building a business on E-bay only to find that E-bay had betrayed me, like it does with all its long term sellers. If you just sell casually on there, you would never notice what goes on: you have to be a professional long time seller to see what is really happening. Suffice it to say for now, that E-bay manipulates the visibility of sellers' listings: the thing they pay dearly for and uses this manipulation to bully sellers into continually lowering their prices and offering buyers other concessions, which oftentimes do not make economic sense. E-bay doesn't care though, because like a lot of other companies that have sprouted up in the economy now, they don&#…

Is There Even Any Room In The Hobby For Professional Stamp Dealers Anymore?

Today's post is not a scheduled one. It is actually more of an appeal to all of you. For once, I am not disseminating information to you, but attempting to open a dialogue. I am trying to do this because I am honestly not sure if there is a viable place in the hobby for me anymore, and I want to find out if I am just feeling sorry for myself, or whether or not I have actually stumbled onto an uncomfortable truth that I have to work on accepting. I am hoping that some of you will read this and will actually comment, so that I can get a real sense of what I should be doing.

Ever since I discovered stamps at the age of 6 in 1977 I have been hooked, and determined to do everything I can to serve the hobby and contribute to its long-term health. I recognized, even at a very young age, that in order for the hobby to stay healthy, it needed to have new participants, and it needed to have sharing of information - to expose people to ways of collecting they hadn't thought of, to show …

The 6c Black Transportation Stamp of the 1967-73 Centennial Issue Part One

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Today, I begin a new series of 4 posts to explore the 6c black transportation design that replaced the 6c orange stamp in early 1970. The orange ink had proved to be unsuitable for the facer cancelling machines that relied on the Winnipeg tagging to orient the envelopes properly so that they could be cancelled. So, the colour was changed to black and was first issued on January 7, 1970.

Of all the low values in the series, this is one of the most complex, along with the 8c slate Parliamentary library design. One of the reasons is that the sheet stamps were printed by both the BABN and the CBN, while there were several different printings of three basic stamp booklets, all printed by the BABN. This value includes one of the rarest Centennial issue items: the booklet of 25 on hibrite paper, which Unitrade values at $4,500, and which trades very infrequently. Because of this complexity, I will cover this value in 4 posts:

1. The sheet stamps printed by BABN will be covered this week.
2.…