STEP 1 – CHOOSING YOUR FIRST STAMPS
A superb selection of our recent sales lists can be found here and unless already sold, all of these items are in the Stanley Gibbons online shop. Once you find your favourite item in the catalogues listed below, use the P code (e.g. P15607460) to search and buy it on the online shop or if you would like to discuss any of these items in further detail please contact one of the specialist team:
Ceylon List April 2016
We have pleasure in presenting our current stock of Ceylon for your consideration. This deservedly popular country has always been one of our favourites, and this is the strongest and most interesting selection we have had for some time. The rather large ‘Stop Press’ section at the end must not be overlooked!
Great Britain List March 2016
This month’s edition features a selection of quality pieces from our current stock. We have included a selection of items from across the entire GB collecting spectrum. We offer a broad range of material from Queen Victoria through to printing errors of Queen Elizabeth II, including several noteworthy examples of GB Departmental Officials. We also have a concise range our latest Booklets and Postal history including two attractive Channel Island covers and an interesting example of the 1929 PUC “First day” Presentation sheet.
Reflecting as many collecting interests and budget ranges as possible, we trust that there is something for everyone in this month’s Great Britain Brochure.
There are some remarkable stamps out there; printed on wood, cork, plastic and even stamps made from foil! However, there is one special stamp that many GB collectors aspire to have – the £5 Orange. Along with the Penny Black, £1 Seahorse and £1 PUC, the £5 Orange is a stamp that is a true emblem of Great Britain philately. [Read more…]
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.
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…]
Last year, the Penny Black celebrated its 175 years and this year, on the 10th of February, it was the Penny Red’s turn to celebrate its 175th anniversary. Whilst the Penny Black was initially a success it ultimately failed. Examples were reported with the red maltese cross cancellation removed and attempts made to re-use the stamps. Following some trials both the colour of the stamp and the cancellation were changed – the Penny Red was born. [Read more…]
COLLECTING PENNY REDS – THE PROBLEM WITH THE PENNY BLACK
The status of the Penny Black as ‘the stamp which changed the world’ is beyond doubt – but it did have one serious failing. Prior to its issue, Rowland Hill and his colleagues at the Post Office and at the printers, Perkins Bacon, had built a substantial number of features into the stamp, specifically to prevent forgery. However, one potential difficulty seems to have been ignored until a late stage in the run-up to the issue of the first stamps; the possibility that the red cancellation might be cleaned off the black stamp, allowing it to be reused – on the face of it a much easier way of defrauding the Post Office than going to the trouble of printing our own stamps!
Accordingly, in the same month that the Penny Black was issued, trials began to determine how easy it might be to clean stamps which had already been used and whether there was a better combination of stamp and cancellation colours than black stamps cancelled by a red postmark. The end result of these trials was the decision to swap the colours round and introduce a red stamp which would be cancelled in black. So, in February 1841, just nine months after the issue of the Penny Black, it was replaced by the Penny Red.
The imperforate Penny Red then covered the standard letter rate in the United Kingdom until the arrival of the first officially perforated stamps in 1854 and is the subject of this article.