Iconic stamps of Great Britain and the British Empire

December 20, 2016 by Stanley Gibbons
Who knew that the first ever adhesive stamp, the Penny Black, would not only instigate a communications revolution but also a much loved global hobby? It is estimated that there are 60 million stamp collectors worldwide. Stamp collections and the passion for stamp collecting have been passed down from generation to generation and they now form part of our history. But what makes a stamp iconic for the collector? Is it the design, the story behind the stamp or simply the value? [Read more…]

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Royal Silver Wedding – Commonwealth 1948

May 25, 2016 by Stanley Gibbons

Part of the Iconic Stamp series. Click here to see the full list of Iconic Stamps.

King George VI had never expected to become King, but acceded to the throne upon the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII, in 1936 (the ‘year of the three Kings’). He turned out to be a popular monarch, having been a staunch figurehead during the years of the Second World War, and his Queen Elizabeth was also held in high regard. [Read more…]

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Five Shillings Penguin – Falkland Islands 1933

May 23, 2016 by Stanley Gibbons

Part of the Iconic Stamp series. Click here to see the full list of Iconic Stamps.

In the 1920s and especially 1930s the British colonies around the globe increasingly moved away from basic functional designs for their postage stamps, and a growing vogue for pictorial stamps developed. The remote Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic were no exception. [Read more…]

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The ‘Camel Postman’ – Sudan 1898

by Stanley Gibbons

Part of the Iconic Stamp series. Click here to see the full list of Iconic Stamps.

When General Sir Herbert Kitchener was leading the campaign that would eventually reconquer the Sudan from the brutal Mahdist regime, at the battle of Omdurman on 2 September 1898, one might think that providing new postage stamps would not have been a top priority. But that is to underestimate the thoroughness of that great soldier and administrator. [Read more…]

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Four Annas – India 1854

by Stanley Gibbons

Part of the Iconic Stamp series. Click here to see the full list of Iconic Stamps.

Although the provision of adhesive postage stamps for use in India was considered as early as 1850, and local issues for distant Scind province were introduced by its Governor Sir Bartle Frere in 1852, no serious progress was made in the capital, Calcutta, until early 1854. [Read more…]

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5 Simple Steps to Starting a Stamp Collection

April 16, 2016 by Stanley Gibbons

STEP 1 – CHOOSING YOUR FIRST STAMPS

Starting a stamp collection is a lot of fun, learning all about the stamps which have been issued by the countries of the world over the years. The best advice to the novice is to buy the largest packet of whole-world stamps you can afford, together with a medium-priced album and some gummed stamp hinges to mount the stamps. This simple start will be your ‘apprenticeship’, and you will have the pleasure of sorting the stamps by country and arranging them in the album. You will be able to identify most of the stamps without hesitation: put aside any which you are doubtful about until you can trace them in the catalogue. To keep your interest alive, you will be seeking more and more stamps, and there are numerous sources of supply. [Read more…]

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Canadian Fancy Cancels

April 08, 2016 by Stanley Gibbons

When on 6 May 1840 the world’s very first postage stamp was born, the authorities were much exercised by the possibility of fraud, either by cleaning off cancellations from previously used stamps, or by marrying up bits of used stamps that had escaped the canceller.

[Read more…]

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Stamp errors – If Variety is the Spice of Life: Try Adding it to Your Stamps

February 29, 2016 by Stanley Gibbons
Collecting stamps may be enjoyed in countless ways. Some of us save stamps from the whole World, others are more interested in a specific group of countries, or perhaps have just one favourite. You may like to collect only mint, or used, or both. Perhaps you favour a thematic approach, saving stamps featuring dogs, aeroplanes, waterfalls or some other subject that appeals to you, with no concern as to whether or not the stamps were issued for postal purposes or aimed primarily at the collector. [Read more…]

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A guide to stamp condition and value: cancellation (part 5)

February 23, 2016 by Stanley Gibbons

Cancellation quality

When describing the postmarks of the nineteenth century, the word ‘obliteration’ is synonymous with ‘cancellation’ – because, of course, that was what they were designed to do – to ‘obliterate’ the stamp in such a way as to prevent any opportunity for reuse.

The Maltese cross is an attractive cancellation, especially when applied in red or one of the ‘fancy’ colours, but many early Great Britain line-engraved adhesives are heavily cancelled by over-inked black crosses, which detract considerably from the beauty of the stamps.

A ‘fine’ cancellation should be lightly applied, if possible leaving a substantial part of the design – ideally including the Queen’s profile – clear of the cancellation. Also desirable are well centred examples displaying all, or nearly all of the cancellation on the stamp.  This is particularly true where the cancellation is more significant than the stamp, such as a Wotton- under- Edge Maltese cross. Here, you would want to have as full a cancellation as possible, although it would still be preferable to have it lightly applied.

[Read more…]

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A guide to stamp condition and value: damage and perfins (part 4)

February 22, 2016 by Stanley Gibbons

What’s the damage? 

We have looked at some aspects of damage in this series, notably in relation to perforations, so let us conclude by reviewing other aspects of damage.  All young collectors are advised from the outset to avoid torn stamps, and the advice obviously holds good throughout one’s philatelic life. However, that is not to say that all torn stamps are worthless, because even a torn example of a desirable stamp is still collectable and can therefore command a price. [Read more…]

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