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...
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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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.
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.
Again, one more increase in price, but the booklets are remarkably inexpensive. I collect two kinds:
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.
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!
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:
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).
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 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 email@example.com if you're intersted. In the meantime, good luck with your stamps, and I hope you wish me luck too!