The American Philatelist is the oldest continuously published philatelic journal in the world, with the earliest issue dating to January 1887. Its archive (available in print and online to APS members via the APRL) is a rich seam of philatelic writings and history.
In October of 1923, the AP published a treatise entitled "Postage Stamps as an Investment" by Charles J. Phillips, a British-American philatelist of some renown. When Phillips penned the piece, it was after having just recently sold the firm of Stanley Gibbons Ltd. and relinquished his position as Chairman (which he had held for thirty-two years) in order to immigrate to America. This move across the Atlantic did not end in retirement, however — a decade after this issue was printed, Phillips would be instrumental in the successful sale of the Arthur Hind collection. He also continued to proselytize on behalf of the hobby, writing many articles and books on the subject before his death in 1940 (following which he was inducted posthumously to the American Philatelic Society's Hall of Fame). Readers may notice a distinct lack of respect for the Scott Co., which Phillips seems to decry at every turn (in favor, of course, of his own former firm); they may also note a convenient one page ad for Phillips' business later in the issue, advertising many of the same issues he discusses in his article.
This article, while highly illuminating, could perhaps have used a heavier touch from AP editor Adolph D. Fennel — as the article stretches to upward of 8000 words (and attempting to transcribe it faithfully has made this piece quite late), we have elected to limit October's "From the Vault" to this piece. If you have an interest in the remaining articles, columns, or fascinating advertisements, you can always visit us here in Bellefonte and seek out one of our copies of this issue, or find what you need online via the digital library collection.
Note: Wherever possible, excerpts were transcribed exactly as printed, including formatting and the occasional spelling error or grammatical quirk.
The American Philatelist
Published by and in the Interest of the AMERICAN PHILATELIC SOCIETY
Volume 37. No. 1. October, 1923.
APS President: Charles F. Heyerman
Editor: Adolph D. Fennel
This Month (* indicates article is included in "From the Vault")
Postage Stamps As An Investment*
by Charles J. Phillips
Arranging the Specialized Collection of U.S. 1870-88
by W. Bates. Continued from the August-September issue.
The 3c Stamp of the United States 1851-1857 Issue
by Carroll Chase. Continued from the August-September issue.
Discussion of the Black Cross of St. Andrew.
New Issue Notes and Chronicle
Report of the Secretary
Wants and Exchanges
Postage Stamps As An Investment
By Charles J. Phillips.
A List of Some Neglected Issues That Should Prove to Be a Good Investment.
An experience of nearly fort years (alas, I have to admit it), during thirty-two of which I was Chairman of Stanley Gibbons Ltd., London, has given me some knowledge of the commercial value of postage stamps, and since I have taken up my residence and have applied for citizenship papers in this great country of the future, which I have known and loved for nearly thirty years, I have found so many groups of stamps that appear to be unduly neglected that I think a few chatty and rambling remarks may be of use to collectors and may help some of them to take up new branches of collecting that they have hitherto neglected.
Those of use who take Philately seriously and who invest considerably according to our means, cannot afford to ignore the financial side of the question, and should have the best possible guide as to their investments, and I hope and trust that this article will be found of real help to my fellow American Philatelists.
Firstly, I wish to make a few general observations and then to deal with “groups” of stamps in detail.
A portion of the title of this article is “Stamp Which Should Prove a Good Investment” and speaking generally, there are some things to avoid when we are dealing with the “investment” side of our hobby.
WHAT TO AVOID:
First, stamps quoted in advertisements at half to a tenth of catalogue prices. Remember, such stamps are on sale to dealers also and the catalogue makers will certainly reduce prices in their next edition of such stuff that is on sale at great discounts off catalogue prices.
Second, avoid all stamps cancelled to order, such as Labuan, North Borneo, “Seebecks” Dominican Republic 1880-1881; Bolivar, 1879-1891; Liberia, picture issues; Spanish Colonials, etc. etc. etc.
Third, avoid poor condition. This is the chief point of all in forming a collection from an investment point of view. If you collect used stamps, see that they are lightly cancelled. In most countries it is of great use to obtain dated postmarks to show when particular colors, perforations, watermarks, etc. came into use, and as an investment a specialized collection is much improved by a judicious selection of such stamps.
Do not be tempted to buy a scarce stamp in poor condition because it is offered you at a half, third or quarter catalog. As an investment, it pays far better to buy the superb copy at even double catalog price than the poor one at half catalog.
In unused stamps I consider that well centered stamps are of more importance than original gum.
Fourth, purchase from reliable firms. This is most important. Buy from men who have studied stamps, and who have a good reputation and then you won’t find yourself loaded up with reprints, fakes and mended stamps. You will have to pay a little more, but you won’t be “had” and find your collection full of rubbish when you come to sell.
For investment purposes, I advise the formation of specialized collections of well defined groups of stamps or of one or more countries. I will deal with this point a little later on in this article. To make a commercial success a collector must study his stamps as he would his business.
He must not only accumulate a large mass of material, but he should read all that has been written on his particular group of stamps and then study the stamps themselves and endeavor to find out more than is known by anyone else about his particular subject. Many leading collectors in Great Britain have made really large sums of money by building up fine collections of neglected countries, making themselves master of their subject and then writing up their special study and showing the stamps at Exhibitions and Clubs. They then dispose of what they have mastered and take up a new group.
When a stamp collector is charged with being extravagant, with spending money lavishly and foolishly on a mere hobby, he may very justifiably reply that even his most extravagant spendings may be regarded as an investment and a good one at that.
At this moment, I know of two leading American collectors both of whom have over half a million dollars [almost $9 million today] invested in their stamps. They have both bought so judiciously that I should be very glad to purchase either collection at 25% over what it has cost its owner, and quite possibly I could pay much more on a careful valuation.
I doubt if any of their other investments would show anything like so great an advance in value in the same period.
Many collectors that I knew in Great Britain kept a strict account of what they spent on their collections and I quote a few examples which I know to be authentic and for which I can vouch.
Mr. W. Hughes Hughes started his collecting in 1859, spent $318.00 on it and sold it in 1896 to Stanley Gibbons Ltd. For $13,800.00 [about $28,000 in 1923 and about $506,000 today].
Mr. Theo Pauwels made a collection, which up to 1871, cost him $1,656.00. He sold this in 1898 to Stanley Gibbons Ltd. For $18,400.00 [about in 1923 and about today].
Mr. M.P. Castle, about 1890 commenced a collection of Australian stamps upon which eh told me he spent $25,300.00. In 1904 he sold this to Stanley Gibbons Ltd. For $46,000.00 [about in 1923 and about today]. After this, Mr. Castle turned his attention to forming a magnificent collection of the whole of Europe, upon this he estimated he spent $75,900.00 and twelve years after he commenced it, he sold it, through Mr. G. Hamilton Smith, now the head of Stanley Gibbons Ltd., to Mr. W.W. Mann for $127,700.00 [about in 1923 and about today].
Mr. F.W. Hunter a well known American collector kept a careful account of the money he spent on his collection which amounted to about $7,360.00. Some years after, he sold his stamps at auction through the Scott Stamp & Coin Co. and they realized $25,300.00, a remarkable return on the original investment.
I could quote many other cases within my own knowledge, but the above are a fair example of them all.
The greater the investment and the better the class of goods bough, so much greater is the return on one’s investment.
Now we will consider what is the main part of my article: –
Groups of stamps that are neglected by the bulk of American Collectors but which I consider should prove a good investment on the lines I have indicated.
First of all there is one general point to consider and that is the date up to which one should take stamps when buying for an investment.
I am strongly of the opinion that one should put little money in the stamps of the 20th Century. I know, by long experience, that in buying such stamps, we dealers reckon most of them at face value only and only reckon outstanding rarities at any special rate.
I would even go further than this and say that as an investment, I would prefer to put all my money in stamps issued before 1890.
These old classic issues are the ones that tell in a collection, and are the soundest in which to invest. In writing about “Stamps that should prove a good Investment” I must deal with affairs as they are today, especially in Europe.
In buying stamps the “Investor” must always bear in mind his market for selling, when the time comes to part with his stamps.
Bearing this in view, I cannot, at the present time, advise my readers to invest in certain classes of stamps which are magnificent property and with much to interest the student, but, which, at the present moment, would be very difficult of disposal owing to the unrest in central Europe.
I specially refer to the group of the old German States, Italian States, Russia, Turkey, etc. etc. As far as I know, these countries are not in much demand in the United States or in England and owing to Exchange rates, they cannot now be sold where there is great demand for them. On the other hand, collectors who care to make a bold bid for the future and form fine collections of Germans, Italians, etc. may reap a rich reward if they can wait long enough.
In the following notes, I recommend the collection of early issues of certain European countries, such as Scandinavians, which can always be sold to advantage in Norway, Sweden and Denmark where exchange is not far from normal.
Other European countries sell well in the United States and in England and I include such in my list of countries I recommend for investment. In general, I am trying, to the best of my knowledge, to advise the formation of specialized collections for which there is an unlimited open market, when the time comes to dispose of them.
I will now consider various groups of stamps in the order in which they appear in the catalogue.
Official Stamps. (Departmentals.)
I consider this fine group of stamps the most neglected of all the United States Stamps, and why this should be so, I do not know. The stamps are handsome in appearance and fairly easy to obtain. There are no varieties of perforation or watermark, but there are many, many interesting points in these stamps that, in my mind, should make them subjects for specialists.
Mr. Frank E. Goodwin has written an excellent pamphlet on these stamps, based on the monumental work of my friend, Mr. J.N. Luff. But I do not think near the last word has been said about the many interesting varieties that abound in these historical stamps. In each group, there are numerous printings, shades, and colors; and we should list all these, finding out which values exist in each shade. When this is done, collectors will find many rarities here. There are double transfers, double papers, ribbed papers, stitch watermarks, cracked or broken plates, and last and not least, a vast number of interesting cancellations. Then there are the “Specimen” stamps with all their errors and varieties. There is a grand field for a few specialists to take up; I find the stocks in all dealers hands extremely small, and within a very short time, I feel sure these stamps will have a “boom” as great as that of the U.S. 1847, 1851, and 1857-65 issues have had. The wise man wlil [sic] get in early before the rush.
I claim, and I always have claimed, that this group of stamps is not only the most historical but also the most valuable group that exists. The stamps were created in the stress of the greatest and saddest war that has occurred on the North American Continent since the Revolutionary War. In the Provisional Issues, scores of varieties of envelopes are known that appear to have just as good a claim to be listed as those already in the catalog. The “adhesives” of the Provisionals are all being absorbed and very few good copies can be found in the hands of the trade. In this group are many of the greatest rarities of the world, some are unique, of others only two or three copies are known. In the near future, we shall see $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 repeatedly paid for such rarities and they will be well worth it.
I consider that the lowest priced adhesives of these provisionals, such as Charleston, Knoxville, Macon, Memphis, Mobile, Nashville, New Orleans, Petersburg, are underpriced and all these, and the rarer varieties should have a great future.
The cataloging of these by the Scott Stamp & Coin Co. Ltd. Is, in my opinion, a blot on a great catalogue. Why the Directors of that company neglect a good list of one of the most historical and interesting groups of their own stamps, while they issued up to date advanced lists of early issues of Shanghai, Chile, etc., is one of the things I should like my dear old friend Johnny Luff to explain to me. In Great Britain we have only two or three collectors of these stamps, because the “trade” has no stock whatever, but we have some attempt at a decent list in Stanley Gibbons Ltd. catalogue, but not half as good as it should be.
In the “General Issues”, there are only about three rare stamps, the 10c rose, 10c blue, and 10c blue, with frame, so there is plenty of material to be got.
But what a field is here for the moderate specialist,– just see what a fine lot of work can be done. In the large stamps of 1861 and 1862, all the values can be plated, and in some cases, two or three plates were used for one value, and there are also rare cases of substituted transfers.
In the small stamps of 1863-64 we have the printings of the 5c blue by Messrs. De la Rue and Co., London, England and Archer & Daly, Richmond, Va.; in the 10c blue, there are different dies and plates and printings by Archer & Daly, Richmond, Va., and Keatinge & Ball, Columbia, S.C.; all these are easily distinguished and should be catalogued, and must be before long. Then we have a large number of shades, all kinds of papers, a vast and interesting field of study in the postmarks, many interesting varieties of imprints, etc. etc.
A great advantage is that material is still to be obtained although stocks in dealers [sic] hands are dwindling away. Take it all in all, I think that the General Issues of the Confederate States afford one of the very best subjects for the American collector to take up. A collection can be made full of interest to one’s non-collecting friends. He can show him scores of Patriotic Envelopes with their War Mottoes, Envelopes made of wall paper, and envelopes used twice over, showing the shortage of paper in the Southern States in 1862-64. “Prisoners of War” envelopes; United States envelopes seized and overprinted for the use of the Confederacy, and many interesting letters.
The early issues of this great South American Republic are very much collected in the Argentine and a fine collection can always be sold, at high prices, without any trouble. I would only collect the issues from 1858 to 1872 inclusive.
The stamps of the Confederation are cheap, unused; here there are a number of types and various arrangements of the sheets. Care must be taken when buying used stamps of this issue, as many forged postmarks are made on the common unused stamps.
The “Shield” issues of 1862-64 are all good property both unused and used and some real rarities will be found in these issues.
The really interesting stamps of the Argentine are the “Rivadavias” of 1864-72. These stamps have been exhaustively studied by my old friend the late Dr. Marco del Ponte.
The 5c perforated, may be easily divided into the six printings, differing color, paper, etc. There are many scarce varieties in this issue and this issue alone, in the three values of 5c, 10c, and 15c is a fine subject for specialism.
AUSTRIA AND LOMBARDY-VENICE.
From the investment point of view, I should recommend the collection of the issue of Austria, 1850, to 1877, and of Lombardy-Venice, 1850 to 1863. The best list of all by which to collect these stamps properly is that by Dr. J. Brace Chittenden in The Philatelic Gazette, Vols. 4,5 & 6 (1914-1916). Most of these stamps are cheap and a moderate investment in these issues should prove well worth while.
The issues of 1859 to 1883 are beautiful and interesting, and a fine collection of the first type stamps is a very desirable item. The standard article on these issues is that by Mr. L.E. Bradburg which should be consulted by all who collect early Bahama stamps.
Issues 1852 to 1878 make a wonderful collection. There are many rarities to search for and the whole series is well worthy of collection, and a fine collection will always find ready buyers. The best writings on these stamps are in the Handbook by Messrs. Bacon & Napier and numerous articles in the London Philatelist by Messrs. E.D. Bacon and the late C.A. Stephenson.
I am a very great believer in the early issues of Belgium, especially the imperf. First and second type stamps of 1849-61, but I think this country might be collected down to the end of 1883.
The beautiful stamps of 1849 are worth buying in quantity as they are bound to continue to raise in value and one may find some of the double entries and retouches which are fairly numerous. The stamps of 1850 are really scare and underpriced in the catalogues. The issues of 1851 to 1863 should be bought whenever found in good condition. These stamps are replete with retouches and re-drawings of the side ornaments.
No collector will make any mistake who gathers together a fine lot of these interesting old stamps.
I class all the issues from 1843 to 1891 as a good investment; but I would advocate that any amount one can spare could be put in the issues of 1843-1861 and a moderate amount only in the alter issues up to 1891.
The “Bulls Eyes” of 1843 are fashionable and worth it. There are a large number of plates and very many minor varieties. The 1844 to 1861 issues are also fine stock, always saleable and with much to study in the way of re-entries, etc. etc. Great care must be exercised in buying the perforated stamps of 1866. I think that nine out of ten of those offered bear forged perforations.
For those who want to form a small but high class collection, I can strongly recommend this district of Canada. There are not many stamps and only one rarity, but much can be done in seeking for varieties of obliterations, stamps on covers, and combinations of these stamps used with those of the United States.
This is one of the great philatelic countries of the world, but only a rich man can collect it in its entirety. For those who can afford it, nothing better in American stamps can be obtained.
I can recommend those of moderate means to collect the issues of 1853-59, 1860, 1860-62, and 1860-75.
Stamps of Types A3; A5; and A12 are of great interest, many points in them have to be cleared up. There are many varieties of color, paper, type and perforation and the whole forms a charming group worth much more attention that it has received in the United States, although it is largely collected in Great Britain. Such a collection would always meet with a ready sale.
This is a small country in all ways but there are quite a few rarities in the early issues. The 1865 to 1887 issues, are first rate stock and even the provisionals of 1888 may be included, as they are very limited in number and serve to “round off” a very sound and interesting little group for those who do not want much study in a small collection.
The country to collect of all the British North American Colonies. In fact I consider a fine specialized collection of Canada as one of the finest possible investments a collector can hold. This country should be taken from the issues of 1855 to 1893. The whole of this very important group of stamps is wretchedly catalogued by the Scott Co., but American collectors, the last two years, have much helped Stanley Gibbons Ltd., who have a good sound list upon which to base a fine collection.
The last eight years have seen enormous advances in the study of early U.S. stamps, and a rapid and very large appreciation in the value of these stamps. Canada “pence” issues, and early “cents” are just as interesting as the U.S. issues, and when the fine Handbook now in preparation by a Committee of the Collector’s Club, New York, has been issued, we shall see great advances in prices and in collecting of these fine old stamps.
The “pence” issues come in many papers and in many shades of colour [sic] and there are a considerable number of re-entries in the different values, some of which are of great rarity. Stamps on cover are very desirable and much sought after.
The “cents” issues of 1859 to 1888 are full of interest and there are many points yet to be studied. It is only last year that Stanley Gibbons catalogued the different issues print at Montreal and at Ottawa, and also let out the fact that between 1873 and 1878 Montreal used a perforation 11 ½ x 12 which was quite new, even to the bulk of Canadians themselves.
Stamps on the original cover in the “cents” issues are very desirable, for by this means we get at the approximate date at which various colors were used. Take the 10c of 1859. We can easily list fifteen shades and colors and prove to a month or so when each one was used.
The cancellations of the Canadian stamps have been neglected, except by a few keen sighted men, who stand to earn a large reward by their perspicacity. There, as in the United States, we have large numbers allotted to various towns, railway cancellations, fancy designs, such as “maple leaf”, crown”, etc. etc. Many of these will realize high prices in the near future and I strongly advise collectors who can afford it to make a solid investment in these fine old stamps which, I feel sure, have a great future before them with large increases in value.
The Philatelists of Europe and of the United States did not understand the early issues of this country until I went to Chile about eleven years ago. At Santiago, I met an enthusiastic group of local collectors headed by Baron Walcheck who gave me all the information about the local printings enabling me to re-write the Stanley Gibbons catalogue with a correct list. Since then, first type Chile stamps have been great favourites [sic] in England and collectors like Messrs. E.D. Bacon, T.W. Hall, and G.H. Daunatt have published numerous articles upon them.
I strongly advocate the collecting of the issue from 1853 to 1894, and specializing in the stamps of the first type. All these stamps sell readily in Chile and the Argentine and the demand is almost unlimited for choice collections.
Collectors have a fine field of study in the issues of 1853 to 1865. The local printed stamps of Desmadryl and Gillet are all becoming exceedingly rare in fine condition. The lithographed stamps are a study in themselves with their numerous “transfer” varieties and I consider all these will considerably advance in value in the near future. There are quite a number of varieties in these early issues that have never been catalogued and many other could be found by careful work. Stamps on the original cover are very desirable to establish the dates of the various printings, and luckily man of these can be found in this country. Bisected stamps used for half their value were freely used, and should be included in all their printings. A marked “re-touch” has been found on the London printed 10c blue of 1862 and other varieties are well worth looking for. This is a fine group of stamps much neglected in the United States and those who take it up early and make a really fine collection will prove to be wise men.
My notes here not only refer to the stamps of Colombia itself, but also to those of all the States in the Granada Confederation.
I cannot understand why these fine old stamps are so neglected in this country. The early issues are almost all enormously underpriced in the catalogues. Since I have been over here I have been looking over the dealers [sic] stocks for these stamps and find exceedingly few for sale.
All the early issues are interesting and the bulk of them can be plated. In England the interest of these stamps has been recognized for many years by Mr. T.W. Hall, President of the Royal Philatelic Society and he has undoubtedly the finest collection in the world, but over here I have not seen one real good collection and some keen American philatelists should get busy on this section before all the material is exhausted.
Possibly one reason these stamps are so neglected here is the fear of reprints and bogus varieties which exist in large numbers in the issue 1868 to 1881. I have fully described most of these in a series of illustrated articles in the Monthly Journal, October 1905 and there should be no danger from these.
The issues that I strongly urge collectors to take up seriously are as follows:
Colombian Republic …………………………………………1859 to 1883
Antioquia …………………………………………………………1868 to 1890
Bolivar ……………………………………………………………..1863 to 1878
Cundinamarca ………………………………………………….1870 to 1886
Santandar………………………………………………………….1884 to 1889
Tolima……………………………………………………………….1870 to 1887
All these are groups of old classic issues which should show marked increase in value in the near future.
The early issues are a good sound lot of stamps always saleable and good copies have mostly been absorbed. There are many fine collections in Europe, but over here very few indeed. All the issues between 1851 and 1880 are well worthy of being seriously collected.
The stamps of the first two types 1862 to 1873 are good sound stock well worthy of the attention of serious collectors. All these can be plated and I refer those interested to a series of articles I wrote in the Monthly Journal, Vol. 17 (1906-7) with illustrations of reconstructed plates. The Medio real is especially interesting as it was printed from two different plates, one of 12 stamps and the second of 10 stamps.
I cannot advocate the collecting of the later issues, interesting as they are, because they are “Seebecks”; at any rate the issues of 1879, 1880 and 1881 were printed by the Hamilton Bank Note Company and were cancelled by the thousands in New York!! Verb. Sap.
Collectors may think this is a curious country to recommend as an Investment, but I only advocate the collecting of a very few stamps, those of 1865 to 1872 inclusive. These are very interesting stamps and I do not know anyone in this country who has studied them. They are cheap and both unused and used can be obtained and a fine specialized collection can be made without the expenditure of too much money and it should prove well worth while.
The issues 1866 to 1879 are full of interest. They are very badly catalogued by the Scott Co. but the different printings and perforations are clearly set forth in Stanley Gibbons catalogue and collectors who decided to specialize would be well advised to use this list.
The King of Egypt, Ahmed Fuad, is one of the great collectors of the world, and his late Secretary helped the Gibbons firm to compile a really correct list of these interesting issues.
A collection of all issues of this little group of Islands is interesting and should be a good speculation. There are no rare stamps and the cost would be small. It is difficult to find early issues on original covers, and fine used copies are very desirable.
Some years ago I wrote the standard work on these interesting stamps, and in this, collectors will find numerous plates of reconstructed sheets of the Fiji Times Express the 1871 issue and 1872 overprinted V.R. in Roman and in Gothic type. I was able to “plate” most of these and to show the position on the sheets of all the rare errors. There are some fine collections of these stamps in England. H.M. King George V bough the one I formed to aid me to write my book and has since added largely to it. I do not know a single good collection of Fiji Isles in the United States and it seems quite time that some real American set to work to remedy this. I should advocate the collecting for investment of all the issues from 1870 to 1893. The perforated stamps of Fiji are, in nine cases out of ten, very badly centered; avoid these and only take the tenth copy that is well centered, a little trouble is well worth while and will pay itself over and over again when one comes to realize.
I have always been fond of the early issues of this country and a fine collection is a very good property. It is difficult to find perfect copies with all the “teeth” intact of the issues of 1860 to 1875 but they are worth looking for and should be bought whenever found. I advocate the collection of all the issues from 1856 to 1885 inclusive. All of these are full of interest and most of them are decidedly cheap at present quotations which will materially advance in the near future.
I just love the early issues of this country; they are as interesting as the U.S. 1847 to 1869 and quite as well worth while collecting. All the early French can be found with numerous rare cancellations and many stamps catalogue 10c to 50c each are worth $5.00 to $20.00 with special coloured [sic] cancellations. I find many of these can be bought cheaply in New York and elsewhere. The issues 1859 to 1875 are as sound and good an investment as anyone can desire and are full of interest to the specialist. There are grand collections of these stamps in Europe, I think the best in the world is in London and naturally many fine ones are in France, but has the United States with all its wealth, a good French collection? I doubt it and I deplore the fact. No investor would be likely to lose money in this fine group of stamps. They are always saleable, especially in Paris and London. Special attention should be paid to the 1849 issue and to the very interesting 1870 Bordeaux printings, an emergency issue caused by the Franco-German War.
All the issues 1861 to 1891 are well worth while and will be found full of interest to the specialist. All these stamps are getting scarce and fine copies should be picked up whenever they can be obtained. The Handbook written by Messrs. Bacon and Napier will be found indispensable to collectors who wish to understand all about these very interesting issues.
The early issues are well worth while and I should advocate collecting from 1871 to 1881 as an investment.
The lithograph stamps can be plated and it should prove very interesting to find out how they were “laid down” on the stones. The following issues have a vast number of “retouches” which are a fine subject for study and research.
The issues of 1854 to 1859 were all issued under the old East India Company and it is just these that I should choose as an investment. Few stamps are more interesting than the 1854-55 issues, but no specialist can take them by the list in the Scott Company’s catalogue but must use the new list with its wealth of illustrations in the last Stanley Gibbons catalogue. There one finds the difference set forth between the various dies, and notes on the numerous retouches.
The issues 1860 to 1888 are fine stock and this little group of stamps is one that I strongly recommend. I consider that the first issue – those watermarked Pineapple, -- are much rarer than the catalogue price and both this issue and the following one is well worth while specializing and should show a good return if a really fine collection is got together.
For many years I have been very fond of these quaint stamps which are most artistic and one of the finest groups for specialising [sic] that I know.
There are many rare varieties and numerous “retouches” in the first type stamps. All these stamps can be plated, there being forty varieties on each sheet any [sic] in many cases there are more than one plate of each value. In London of late years, we have found the Japanese buying back the best of their bric a brac, such as armour [sic], porcelain, ivories, etc. and now this applies to stamps. When Japan was first opened to the commerce of the world, the Japanese sold anything and almost all their early issues of postage stamps left the country. Of late years, they have begun to correct this and are rapidly buying back their best exports. In the past years, my old firm sold collection after collection of Japanese stamps over there. The heir apparent to the throne, H.R.H. Prince Fushimi, is a noted collector and many wealthy Japanese have taken to the hobby. The result has been to clear out all stocks in the hands of both European and American dealers and I think a good sound investment would be to form a really fine collection of the issues 1871 to 1875 inclusive. Where they can be obtained uncut sheets and blocks of unused stamps are very desirable and much sought for in Europe and in Japan.
The issues 1874 to 1894 are good sound property and copies in perfect condition both unused and used are becoming hard to obtain. Unfortunately, there is little scope for study in these stamps, but outside that, they are good goods and a nice straight set to obtain in all shades and varieties.
These seem to be totally neglected in the United States and I see very few fine copies in dealers’ stocks. The early issues are decidedly good stock and must improve in value. The country is small, so was the issue of most of the stamps and I strongly advocate the collecting of the issues 1852 to 1880 inclusive.
As regards the “Official Stamps” of the same period, they are interesting and many varieties are scarce but from the investment point of view, I think it best to omit them, especially as among them one finds so very many bogus varieties.
In the early days of collecting this was one of the favourite [sic] countries by many great collectors. In the United States we had F. de Coppet, Lawrence, etc., in France, the brothers Caillebotte, in England, J. Lockyer, in the Argentine, Marco del Ponte and many others who formed noted collections. Then came along numerous forgeries and reprints of the stamps and of the rarer District names and this caused a lull in the collection of these stamps.
In 1917, I published a small Handbook on the issue 1856 to 1872 and this gave a description of the reprints and forgeries which has made their detection a simple matter.
Since then a few men in the United States with keen foresight have been building up good collections of these stamps, but I think they should be much more generally collected and at present itme [sic] a collection of real importance could be made at a moderate cost, which, in a few years, should repay itself several times over. For the real Philatelic student I know of no country that offers such a field for original research work as Mexico. There we have every complication that the most advanced collector can desire to work at. In the early issues, some values have been printed from two, three or perhaps four different plates, and the stamps of these printing [sic] can be separated, the one from the other. In the 1868 and 1872 issues, we have many “retouches”, some of considerable rarity.
In the lithographic stamps of 1866, there are rare varieties of defective transfers. We have also a grand series of District Names and numbers which are most interesting to try and complete, and finally, in Mexico, we have what is perhaps the most interesting group of cancellations in the issues of fifty to seventy years ago. In these early days, many Districts often ran short of low values and quartered stamps of higher values were used for the lower denominations. Such varieties should always be collected upon the entire cover as the cancellations are necessary to prove their authenticity.
I think a sound investment can be made in the issues 1856 to 1883, but the bulk of the collection should be in the stamps issued up to 1872 as these are the soundest and the most reliable stock.
Specialists in this country should use the fine monograph (published in 1912) by Mr. S. Chapman on the “Eagle and Maximillian Stamp” and the “Stamps of Mexico 1856-1872” by myself. This latter pamphlet will be found the easiest guide to the arrangement and classification of the early issues. The later issues are very fully listed by Dr. J. Brace Chittenden in The Philatelic Gazette.
I have never seen a really good specialized collection of this country. It is difficult to get the stamps, but for anyone with time and money at his disposal, I think it would be a fine country to take up and the stamps are always saleable. We know practically nothing about the make-up and arrangement of all the early provisional issues and their study should prove instructive and remunerative.
A favourite [sic] country in Europe and collected as is only natural, very largely in Holland where there are many wonderful collections of these stamps, and where fine specialized collections can always be sold. I think the finest collection in the world is that of my old friend, Mr. A.J. Warren, of Epsom, England, who took the Gold Medal in the championship class for his Dutch stamps at the recent International Exhibition. From the investment point of view, I would recommend the collection of the issues 1852 to 1875, but collectors must ignore the exceedingly poor lists in the Scott Company’s catalogues, where cheap and rare issues are all jumbled together, and should use those of Stanley Gibbons catalogue where the “types” are all listed and the various sets of perforations are listed and priced.
Next to Canada, I consider this is the most important of the British North American Colonies and think that it is almost as good an investment as Canada, without the many interesting features, that render Canada such a fascinating subject of study. Fine copies of the “pence” issues are rapidly appreciating in value and these can be collected on at least three kinds of paper, the thickest of which is generally for the best. Many values were bisected and used for half their nominal value and such are all rare on original covers. The early “cents” issues are all good and can be collected unused, used, on covers and in blocks and full panes.
I should advocate the collecting of Newfoundland stamps as an investment down to 1896 inclusive.
NEW SOUTH WALES.
Two, if not three, great American collectors have specialized these stamps for years, to their great advantage and benefit. But generally speaking, the great bulk of American collectors seem to ignore the Australian stamps, which are so largely collected in Great Britain, France and Australia.
There is no more interesting group than all these countries (or any one separately), all are sound as regards their early issue, and for those who can afford them, I cannot imagine a better group of stamps to collect.
In New South Wales, I advise collecting the issues 1850 to 1867 only. Later issues are interesting, but they are complicated by different types of watermark, which are difficult to separate and by a complicated series of perforations and as an investment, I cannot recommend any issue after 1867.
One of the soundest countries in the world and very popular outside of the United States. I should collect stamps of the first type only, 1855 to 1872. (See note on New South Wales.)
I would collect this from 1854 to 1884. All these issues are interesting and are very much collected in Europe. Many standard articles upon them will be found in various journals.
The great bulk of the stamps of this country are unmitigated rubbish. Many issues are purely speculative fostered off on a foolish public by foreign dealers with headquarters in Vienna, Switzerland and Paris, chiefly the latter place. To this there are exceptions and I consider the early issue of Persia very interesting and a fine collection should be a good investment. I should collect these from 1870 to 1882 only. The issues of the types A1 and A2 are good sound stock and all of them can and should be plated.
A grand lot of most interesting stamps are the square imperf. issues of 1858 to 1872. These are all good sound stock and almost all of them can be plated. There are many scarce varieties of cancellation and a good collection of these fine old stamps should be a profitable investment.
The early issues of this country are a fine lot of good sound stock well worth collecting. The issue 1853 to 1880 are those to choose for investment.
The Scott Co. group the common and rare perforations altogether and ignore important differences of paper, therefore a collection should be bahed [sic] upon the Stanley Gibbons catalogue who list all the varieties.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
I do not know why it is that this little section of Canada is so neglected by American collectors. I have enquired from many collectors and dealers and I have only been able to learn of one good collection of these stamps in America. The only reason for their lack of popularity that I can think of, is that in 1874 the “remainder” of the stamps were sold locally. These were mostly absorbed many years ago and I think we have here a very interesting and neglected lot of stamps that will afford plenty of scope for study and a big return for any investment made in them. Since I have settled in America, I have been trying to get together a stock of these stamps but have almost entirely failed as I find so little worth having in the hands of any of the trade.
The best article printed on Prince Edward Island is that by Mr. B. Goodfellow in the London Philatelist, Vol. 23, 1914. The list in Stanley Gibbons catalogue has been based on this article and collectors will find that list a reliable one by which to arrange their stamps. Used stamps, stamps on the original covers and bisected stamps should all be taken whenever found. Fine unused copies of the early issues are much underpriced in the catalogue and all but the very common varieties must largely advance in value in the near future.
All stamps of the first type are absolute “gilt edge” stock and as an investment, I should go further and include all issues up to 1883. (See general note under New South Wales.)
This is one of the “great countries” of Europe from a stamp point of view, but it requires a rich man to collect the early issues. For a man of moderate means, I can strongly recommend the issues 1862 to 1972 inclusive. All these are full of interest, most of them can be plated and a good collection is fine property that will find a ready market at any time.
The stamps of the first type (A1 and A2) are all good sound property and no mistake can be made in specializing the issues 1856 to 1884. Suitable for a small investment.
The fine Perkins Bacon stamps of 1860 to 1885 are all good stock and their collection can be well recommended to those who only want to invest a small amount.
One of the best of the West Indian Islands in which to invest. All the Perkins Bacon stamps are good sound stock and well worth collecting. Mint copies, well centered, have become very scarce and fine used early issues are most desirable. I think all the issues from 1861 to 1897 should prove a sound investment.
Most of the later issues are rubbish and little likely to show much appreciation in value, but the stamps of 1866 to 1878 are of a different category altogether and I strongly urge their collection.
I think these stamps are good property, very interesting and they should considerably increase in value.
The issues 1859 to 1884 are good stock and this is a suitable group for one to take up who wants to form a small but sound investment.
The issues 1855 to 1884 are good sound stock and I do not know a single good specialized collection of them in America. Collectors will find this one of the most difficult countries in which to secure fine well centered copies, but they are well worth searching for and a good collection is a most desirable asset. (See note on New South Wales.)
With the exception of the truly marvelous collection of Mr. Arthur Hind, which took a Gold Championship medal at the Exhibition in London, I do not know another collection of this country in the United States.
The collector who takes up Spain seriously must have the superb handbook on the early issues published by my friend Mr. Hugo Griebert. I advocate the collection of all issues from 1850 to 1866 inclusive. All these stamps are fine stock and they all command a ready market in England, France and Spain.
The early issues are distinctly good stock and have a ready sale throughout Scandinavia. I think this country can be collected, as an investment, from the issue of 1855 to 1879. The stamps, with a few exceptions, are cheap, and in the near future, should materially advance in value.
For a rich man, this is one of the really great countries of the world. The early issues are among the oldest stamps known, Switzerland issuing her “Cantonals” some years before the United States had any general issues.
Not only are these stamps very valuable, but they are among the most interesting of any Philatelic group that I know of. The reconstruction of the plates, the study of cancellations, retouches, etc., are all fine work and can here be indulged in to the limit of one’s purse. The stamps constantly increase in value and I am glad to say that two of the finest known collections are in the United States. However, they are not generally collected here and are worthy of much more general attention than they receive. For those who cannot afford the large amount necessary to collect all the rare Cantonals, I would suggest that they commence with the “silk threads” issue of 1854 and collect down to 1878. This gives a very interesting group with plenty of study in the two issues.
I advocate the collecting of the issues from 1853 to 1876 and these should be collected by the new and very complete lists in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue. (See note under New South Wales.)
One of the finest of the West Indian group and there are two or three good collections in this country, but it is worthy of much more recognition. The blue lithographed stamps are exceptionally fine property and this country should be collected from 1851 to 1882. A fine collection cannot but prove a real good investment.
In another of the classic groups of West Indian stamps. The provisionals of 1881 are very limited in number and I hardly ever see a rare one in any dealers [sic] stock over here. It is most interesting and profiable [sic] to reconstruct the plates of these stamps in all their settings and this has been rendered easy by the magnificent monograph fully illustrated with all types, written by Mr. E.D. Bacon, the Philatelic Expert of H.M. King George V. I consider these stamps should be ollected [sic] from the issues of 1867 to 1880 as the soundest for an investment.
The issues of 1856 to 1867 are the soundest ones to collect from the investment point of view. The collector who specializes in these must have the fine handbook written by Mr. Hugo Griebert.
This is a grand lot of stamps in which to specialize and the two finest collections in the world are in this country. The stamps should be much more generally collected by the U.S. philatelists, and it would well pay some of them to turn to this branch of collecting before all the material is absorbed. Nearly all these early issues can be plated, and the cancellations offer, also, a fine subject for study. The stocks of these stamps are so low that prices must considerably advance in the near future.
The finest collection, by far, in the whole world is that formed and still held by a noted American philatelist, but the great bulk of American collectors seem to ignore this magnificent lot of stamps. As an investment, the issues 1850-1878 seem to me to be the soundest and should give a good return for anything invested in them. (See note on New South Wales.)
The issues 1866-1889 are all worth while; and this should be a good and sound investment for those who only want to put quite a small sum in stamps.
I think I have loved these stamps for 35 years. I wrote about them in the “Stamp Advertiser and Auction Record” when I was in Birmingham in 1889 and I showed the largest collection ever got together, in Geneva about 30 years ago, for which I received a Gold Medal.
I still think them as good stock as I did then, and a buy at present prices will be bound to prove a sound investment. The stamps of the early issues are all really rare and I have not been able to find anything of interest in dealers’ stock in this country. I advocate the collection of the issues from 1854 to 1878 as those likely to give the greatest return on the amount invested.