The Eclectic Quill

Website of Joshua McGee

Stamp Trading Offers

The Burglary

In April 2010 my home was burglarized and the vast majority of my stamp collections stolen.  It was a good nine months before I wanted to think about even sorting a single stamp, let alone acquiring more.  But I'm starting again!

However, my income is much lower than it used to be, and I am not in a position to be doing much buying or trading right now.  So this page will serve largely as a page that lists...

What I Collect

I've long thought I needed to focus my interests.  Older stamp collectors regularly tell me I have too many specialties, too many interests.  Well, some do.  The more creative ones don't!  :-D  I've divided the list into three sections by price, starting with...
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The Inexpensive

Machins by postmark

I collect 22mm circular date stamps socked on the noses of Machin stamps.  This is just about as cheap as one can get to sort stamps these days -- I don't spend more than US$2.50/kg for the stamps on paper.  As I only find about two or three stamps in that mass fit for my collection, it means they cost about $1 apiece now -- and that will drop further as my collection improves -- but that's not counting the lovely, relaxing time I get in searching for them.

Canceled Machins ready for sorting and album consideration
Canceled Machins ready for sorting and album consideration

Germany 10pf red of 1889 (Scott 48)

These too are cheap, though more expensive than the Machins.  These very frequently have gorgeous, well-centered cancels.  I love the design of the stamp -- it's quite striking to me.  Please don't read anything into that.

Germany Scott 48 ready for album consideration
Canceled Germany Scott 48 ready for album consideration

Machin booklets

Again, one more increase in price, but the booklets are remarkably inexpensive.  I collect two kinds:

  1. Pictorial Decimal Folded Counter Books
  2. Pictorial Decimal Folded Machine Books

For these, I haunt online auctions and flip through dealers' stock looking for varieties, with my trusted reference book in hand.  There are, by the way, a stunning number of variations, many of which are inexpensive, but many of which are significantly less common -- and those are sometimes sitting next to much more common examples.

Decimal Folded Counter Books
Decimal Folded Counter Book

Decimal Folded Machine Book
Decimal Folded Machine Book (not to scale)

The Moderately-Priced

These are still lower-end items, but I am finding it hard to afford them today, and I am discouraged at having to start all over on the collections.

Penny Red 'letters'

I buy them -- in bulk, if I can -- and sort and plate them.  I try to identify the precise plate each stamp is from -- and I have very good reference works that were not stolen -- but a scanner with at least 600dpi resolution is very helpful!

Penny Red 'letters'
Penny Red 'letters'

Plate blocks of George Rogers Clark issue of 1929

I wrote about this stamp, its history, and the coolness of the plate combination in a post on the stamp that has since become very popular with search engine visitors.  There's a lot more detail there.  But here's a plate block:

George Rogers Clark plate block'
George Rogers Clark plate block

International Reply Coupons

I am fascinated by International Reply Coupons.  I don't want to do a long explanation, but a little research on your part would reveal some fascinating philately.  And history.  Did you know that the first Ponzi scheme was based on IRCs?  I collected (and might begin again) UPU IRCs of Types I through 21, 31, and 32 (i.e., those with a country name pre-printed on the coupon, and not in the Lausanne style.)  Here's an example of an IRC (specifically, Type II, Great Britain, unredeemed).

International Reply Coupon, Type II, 1907.  Wivenhoe, Great Britain.  Unredeemed
International Reply Coupon, Type II, 1907

The Pricey

I don't have scans of any of these as all three collections were stolen.  A quick overview of what I used to collect; I can't really see myself collecting these intensely again.  Perhaps ever.

Worldwide Postage Due stamps:  There's a range of values in this arena, but anything approaching a complete worldwide set would be exorbitant.  If one were to sort them in ascending price, they are cheap for a while and then shoot up very rapidly.  Plus, the albums are big and heavy.

U.S. Navy Department Officials:  It's the blue colors.  I love all the shades of blue available in this set.  Simply sublime ink.  Perhaps a weird reason to collect an issue, but there it is.  These get quite expensive, too.

South Australia Departmental Officials:  I'm not going to type out the whole story of these issues, but suffice it to say that it's entrancing -- or at least captivating to me.  Any collecting area where one can encounter a stamp marked "I.S.", where the initials stand for "Inspector of Sheep", is good in my book.

I Guess That's It For Now...

I don't have money to buy stamps from you.  I could happily trade current U.S. stamps from the mail I receive, or some non-U.S. stamps that escaped thievery, for socked Machins or Germany Scott 48.  You can reach me at if you're intersted.  In the meantime, good luck with your stamps, and I hope you wish me luck too!

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