April 2024

An interview with Senior Philatelist, Dickon Pollard


In our latest profile we speak with seasoned philatelist Dickon Pollard. Dickon set up the Turks & Caicos Islands Philatelic Bureau in 1976, before returning to the UK and commencing a career in ‘real stamps’. Dickon works at Stanley Gibbons where his specialist knowledge of George VI is utilised handling a number of exciting collections, including The Academic Collection and The Raffles Collections. Both auctions have sequel parts due out in 2024.


Could you tell me a bit about how you got started working at Stanley Gibbons?

Well, my journey to Stanley Gibbons was quite a long one; I could never think of anything else I wanted to do except be involved with stamps. When I left university I went straight out to the West Indies and worked for a company running Philatelic Bureaus out there, but I knew I wanted to be in real stamps and after 18 months or so I came back to the UK and found a job in proper stamp dealing.  A few years later, I joined a company that specialised in George VI. It was something of a niche market at the time, but as more research was undertaken (and nostalgia for the era grew) it became far more mainstream.  Richard Lockyer’s articles in Gibbons Stamp Monthly, and mine in Stamp Magazine, helped open general collectors’ eyes to the possibilities.  In partnership with a colleague we started a company in 1990, which continued to specialise in George VI; this was later acquired by Stanley Gibbons in 2014. Since then I have worked mainly in the auction department, where I describe mainly single-vendor Commonwealth collections, not just George VI.  The Academic Collection and a large section of The Raffles Collection are very much focused on George VI and are a great opportunity to acquire quality examples.

As a specialist in King George VI, what drew you to learning about this area or philately?

I started specialising in this area in 1982.  It was largely through coincidence; it just so happened that the company I was working for was focused on the area, and I rapidly discovered its complexity and threw myself into it!

What advice can you offer to those looking to collect this area?

Know your subject. The best way to form a good collection is to form a good relationship with dealers, auctioneers and other collectors - and keep your eyes open. You also have to keep your eyes on the internet these days as well, while being aware of the many dangers involved; remember that many sellers don’t really know what they are selling, and some are less than honest.  Read anything you can get your hands on, be it online or through paper. For example, if you want to collect George VI generally, the best thing you can do is to join The King George VI Collectors’ Society, which you can easily find online.  There is a huge amount available in terms of information on the internet.  Talk to people; lots of dealers (and just about every collector!) will be very helpful to somebody starting a new field.

Academic_dispatches_feature1.jpg(Above) Lot 281 featured in The Academic Collection, Part 1

We have parts three and four of The Academic Collection coming up, could you tell me about the collection?

We have a large collection of material we are preparing for the forthcoming auction. At the last count, in my little office, I have over 50 bulging stock books, two cartons of Postal History and five further cartons of material still to describe, with more still to be sent down to me. The unusual thing about this collection was that it was not in any order. The collection contained large numbers of straightforward stamps with a heavy emphasis on multiples, collections intact as purchased and single specialised items; sometimes these were stuffed inside the front cover of stockbooks, sometimes in bundles.  In a number of cases, there were more examples of a rarity than I had seen in my previous 40+ years of dealing in the field.  An important part of my job is to make sure these items are identified and properly described for auction.  Handling this collection has definitely been a major highlight of my career!

What are some of the highlights in The Academic Collection? 

In this collection, I have found over half the world's supply of certain rarities.  In some cases, I've seen more examples in this collection than I have in my previous 40 years of specialisation in George VI. It has been an absolutely incredible collection and not to be missed. There are items featured in the first couple of sales that have not seen the light of day for 30 or 40 years, with some rarities where there are only two or three known examples in existence. These items have now found homes, but there are similar items that are coming up in the next two Academic sales. In the case of some particular pieces I knew of their existence, but didn’t know where they were. 

What are some highlights from The Raffles Collection? 

 The Raffles Collection was put together in the Far East, and it was stored for safety and conservation purposes in what are known as 'cool' boxes. Unfortunately, some of these did not work as well as hoped for, and because of the climate, the stamps contained in these have become a little toned. However, there are some very rare items, many of which are unaffected. The collector had wonderful taste; he concentrated on buying multiples and many plate blocks and the rarities that are in good condition from this collection will do very well. The collection is a tribute to his collecting skill. The next auction is the second catalogue of his collection; the first part concentrated solely on Malaya and related territories. It also follows his own interests; Brunei, Sarawak and North Borneo are heavily represented, whereas some colonies which did not appeal so much have basic coverage only. 

Above (Lot 318

How long would The Raffles Collection have been in the making? 

I first met the collector in the Fast East in the mid 1990s.  I believe he started in the late 1980s and become a serious collector right around the time I met him, so it is a collection which has been well over 30 years in the making.

raffles_dispatches_feature_02.jpgAbove (Lot 413



Above (Lot 318


What are your personal favourites from The Raffles Collection?

The item on the cover, a 10/- block (Lot 318) is extremely rare and one to look out for. I also like (and have a little bit of a weakness for) the modern Singapore and Malaysia Orchid series errors. The latter were issued in 1965 with low values for each state of Malaysia, including Sarawak and Sabah and only went from 1c to 20c. They printed large numbers of them and they made quite a lot of mistakes!  There are plenty of these in this sale - we don’t often see many of these over here.

Curated by Stanley Gibbons , The Raffles Collection Part II is available for pre-viewing prior to the live sale on the 22nd April 2024, with The Academic Collection Parts III and IV due out later in 2024. Visit Baldwins.co to view our upcoming auctions schedule.


To request your auction catalogue please email to auctions@baldwins.co


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