A guide to stamp condition and value: gum (part 1)

November 16, 2015 by Stanley Gibbons

A guide to Stanley Gibbons’ definition of ‘fine’

The quality and overall condition of a stamp are vital when determining its value and each feature of a stamp has to be considered. The state of the gum on the reverse, the condition of the margins and perforations and whether it has faded or sustained damage are just some of the factors that can have a dramatic impact. The article below covers the subject in great detail and is essential reading.

What exactly does ‘fine’ mean and how do slight defects affect the price? To quote in full the relevant paragraph in the introduction to the current Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth and British Empire Stamps Catalogue; ‘The prices quoted in this catalogue are the estimated selling prices of Stanley Gibbons Ltd at the time of publication. They are, unless it is specifically stated otherwise, for examples in fine condition for the issue concerned. Superb examples are worth more, those of a lower quality, considerably less.’ This single paragraph is probably the most significant piece of information in the entire catalogue – but one that is frequently ignored or forgotten. The big question, of course, is just how much more is ‘more’ and how much less is ‘less’? [Read more…]

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A guide to stamp condition and value: margins and perforation (part 2)

by Stanley Gibbons

Margins

Another feature which has long been a part of the ‘Stamp Improver’s’ repertoire has been the adding of margins to stamps which have been deficient in them. Once again, this ‘service’ has developed because of the premium placed by collectors on ‘fine four-margin’ examples of stamps like the Penny Black. [Read more…]

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How to start collecting other fields

November 14, 2015 by Stanley Gibbons

BRANCHING OUT

If, like the apprentice who finally qualifies in his trade, you wish to develop your stamp collection on more specific lines than simply accumulating stamps, there are various ways in which you can pursue a serious philatelic study. The specialist is a mature student of stamps, their design and printing, their history and postal significance, devoting his attention to one particular country, or even to one period of a country’s issues, its postal history and postmarks. It follows that a good knowledge of the four principal methods of printing stamps – recess or line-engraving, typography or ‘letterpress’, lithography and photogravure (a form of recess printing) – is one of the necessary qualifications to becoming a philatelist. [Read more…]

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How to Use Stanley Gibbons Catalogues

by Stanley Gibbons

The Stamp Catalogue

The stamp catalogue, basically a dealer’s price-list, is a most essential work of reference for the stamp collector. It provides complete, detailed lists of all the postage stamps issued by every country in the world from the earliest days, with information about dates of issue, commemorative events, face values, colours and designs, and – if it is a fairly new catalogue – the current prices of the stamps, unused and postally used. For the beginner and general collector the most useful catalogue is the Stanley Gibbons Simplified Catalogue of Stamps of the World published in five volumes. This catalogue contains all the details – except perforations, watermarks, designers, printers and varieties – the average collector needs for every country. [Read more…]

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How to choose your stamp album

by Stanley Gibbons

Before you purchase your first stamp album you should have some plan in your mind, even just a few thoughts and inclinations, on the likely progress and eventual scope of your collection. Most beginners buy, or are given, a monster packet of stamps and a printed album with a page for every country. Sooner or later you will run out of space and the surplus stamps of some countries will be scattered untidily on other pages. In these circumstances enthusiasm may flag, as the only solution is a larger album with all the work of rearranging your stamps! [Read more…]

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A guide to accessories for stamp collectors

November 13, 2015 by Stanley Gibbons
HINGES & MOUNTS

There are two main ways in which collectors can mount their stamps to album pages. The original method involves using hinges, small pieces of special gummed paper which allow the collector to attach stamps directly to an album page.

Plastic mounts meanwhile enable collectors to present their stamps in albums without physically attaching the stamps themselves to pages. Stamps are placed inside protective plastic mounts and the mount is then attached to the page, meaning unmounted mint stamps can remain in pristine condition whilst still appearing in an album. Mounts are available already ‘cut to size’ or in strips that can then be cut to the correct size depending upon the size of stamp. [Read more…]

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How to organise a stamp collection

by Stanley Gibbons

The essence of a good stamp arrangement is neatness – stamps placed squarely in the spaces provided for them or in level, tidy rows on a blank leaf. It sounds simple – and indeed it is – but it does require care and thought. Some printed albums have stamp ‘squares’ in rows across the album page. Usually these are big enough to accommodate the majority of stamps, which are invariably rectangular – horizontal or vertical – in shape.

Larger stamps will extend beyond the confines of the square and in such cases the printed background should be ignored, with two stamps taking up the space of three squares. Personal preference and ingenuity should be employed! [Read more…]

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The Penny Black

November 08, 2015 by Stanley Gibbons

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

The Penny Black is frequently referred to as an Iconic Stamp and we have put together an interesting range of information and items, including some free downloads:

  • A free PDF guide detailing more of the story behind the Penny Black plus some unusual facts that you may not be aware of
  • Our Penny Black initials finder for you to try out
  • Details of the Treasury Competition and the medal that inspired this iconic stamp
  • An introduction to the ways in which these stamps can be collected, including issued stamps, varieties, cancellations and trials
  • A collection of supporting publications and albums, including an excellent free PDF article from Gibbons Stamp Monthly
  • An exclusive offer to display your stamps to their very best advantage
  • A range of gifts.

*SPECIAL OFFER – Buy your Penny Black from the Stanley Gibbons online store and receive a free presentation album with our Certificate of Authenticity.

The 1d Black was produced between May 1840 and February 1841. It was not only the world’s first postage stamp, it also changed the world and the way we communicate. It caused global change and incentivised many to read and to write as it made sending letters affordable for any Victorian. This year we celebrate not only its 175th anniversary but also the men behind the world’s most famous postage stamp who, without knowing, started a revolution. Every collector would like to own a Great Britain 1840 1d Black, so, together with our Great Britain specialists, we take a look at the story behind the 20x24mm stamp that changed the world.

[Read more…]

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A Beginners Guide to Stamp Collecting

November 07, 2015 by Stanley Gibbons

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. Postage stamps are miniature works of art – colourful, well-designed and superbly printed. Some of them commemorate famous people and events, others show animals and birds, flowers, railways, ships and aeroplanes, buildings and bridges, coats-of-arms and flags, space and sport. [Read more…]

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