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Athens Olympics Sampanis Drug Cheat withdrawn stamp issue


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              Athens Olympics - Greek Drug Cheat stamp withdrawn after 4 days on sale!

Well, this one will be quite a star in the future is my best guess.

The Greek Post Office (ELTA) decided to copy what Australia did, and issue an "Instant" digital print stamp for every Olympic medal winner. In fact the design is VERY similar to the Australian issues. Like Australia, at a later date, offset copies were also printed of medal winner stamps. I broke the story of that revolutionary Australian issue to the world, on the front page of "Linn's Stamp News":


This idea proved a great success in Greece, and the general public were the ones out there buying these issues for patriotic reasons etc.  Only a small % of those will ever re-enter the stamp market. 

The controversial stamp was issued to honor Leonidas Sampanis, the Bronze Medal winner in weightlifting in the 62 kilo weight class.   Sampanis won his medal on Monday 16 August  and the stamps were on sparing sale in limited offices starting Tuesday August 17.  

Sampanis later failed his drug test (twice) and  on Sunday 22 August the IOC stripped him of his medal.  Consequently, on Sunday August 22, ELTA ordered that all remaining stamps be taken off sale nationally and immediately returned to their central office and NONE were to be sold.

These are the quantities (of A4 sheets) printed the day after the medal was given to the winner,  for each of the 5 main cities:

  • Athens: 750

  • Thessaloniki: 500

  • Volos: 400

  • Patrai: 400

  • Herakleion: 500

You do that math yourself! Not large numbers at all. Nearly all stamp sales were to the general public and tourists via this initial distribution. Many were used on mail and postcards as the 65¢ rate covered airpost worldwide. They were issued in PO sheetlets of 20 - i.e. two sheetlets of 10 separated by roulette type serrations.

Stamp collectors, ALL standing order customers, overseas agents and even Greek dealers were caught totally unawares by this unexpected weekend medal stripping development when Post Offices were closed. Most were simply expecting to receive their entire pre-order of Medal Winner stamps soon after the Olympic Games closing ceremony on August 29. Why would anyone need to buy them one at a time during the Olympics?

                                    Will receive worldwide catalogue listing

So the situation is most unusual.  This was a legally issued stamp, and was on sale at face value for 4 working days at post Offices across Greece.  This stamp will clearly be listed and priced in all stamp catalogues on earth, and will be allowed for in all printed albums printed.  History shows that demand will not be so much NOW, but from mid 2005 when catalogues are issued and album supplements mailed to 1000s of collectors globally.

The small problem with the Drug Cheat issue is that no-one has any stock!  And at this point virtually no-one in the stamp world outside Greece knows this stamp is even withdrawn.

In my view it could soon be the priciest Greek issue for the past half century.  Right now that distinction is held by the 1954 purple Ancient Art top value - which even with a high million print run is catalogued at 270 Euros = $A465.  No-one has any idea exactly how many 65¢ Sampanis drug cheat stamps were sold but I can certainly guarantee it was a FRACTION of a million copies!  My guess is only about 30,000 stamps were sold, and nearly all these to members of the public and tourists, so they will be lost forever to philately.  A good number of the Greek stamp issues from the 1940s and 1950s have very high prices of course.

For instance, Greece issued a set of 1940 National Youth stamps and Airs in 1940 and only allowed them to be on sale for postage use for 3 days, but retained sets on sale at Post Offices for another 6 months for collectors.   Yet despite this length of sale the current catalogue price per set is €1,485 = $A2,550.   The Sampanis issue on sale for 4 days is a VERY interesting and valid comparison.

The supply situation on this Drug Cheat medal stamp has been very unusual.  I know for certain from an internal contact with the Greek PO that no single source "cornered" any large stocks.  Not even smallish stocks.  There were only small routine sales on this to post offices with nothing larger or more unusual than for the other 16 medal winning stamps.

I was alerted to this withdrawal very early in the piece and have spent the last month trying to track down some stock for sale.  I emailed every dealer I could locate in Greece,  (a very small data base!) and they were broadly in 2 camps. 

They either had sold whatever stock they held for 5 or 10 times face etc early in the piece - assuming ELTA would later issue the stamps for all comers, and the price would normalise.  Or, they were (and are) sitting on any stocks they had assuming these would be a $100+ type stamp very soon.

The key to the whole situation is WHAT exactly ELTA - the Greek PO Bureau was going to do about releasing these stamps in the future.

I am typing this in early October - and the Olympic Games concluded in August.  What I do know is via my contact is that ELTA has about 13,000 standing order customers on its books.  These are the backbone of all Bureaus, and they are ordinarily looked after VERY well, to repay their loyalty - and the big money they spend each year.

ELTA planned to mail each of these 13,000 customers a sheetlet of 10 at face value as a reward for being loyal customers - and handing them a valuable stamp right from the get-go.  If ELTA had the only say on this, the stamps would have been mailed. 

                       Legal advice says DO NOT ISSUE THEM

HOWEVER they obtained legal advice, and my understanding is that was strongly that these stamps simply CANNOT be mailed in October or indeed at any future time or the IOC would explode and the stamp issuing reputation of Greece would also be badly injured or damaged.

Many would not realise but as these stamps have the Olympic Ring symbol on them, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) needs to approve all such stamp issues.  The IOC I do know gave Australia Post Philatelic major headaches all during and leading up to the 2000 Sydney Games for the same reason - they needed to approve EVERY stamp before it was issued.   AND take my word for it, the IOC reaps a LARGE royalty from the sales of all these stamps.

The IOC has a rock solid policy that there will be ZERO tolerance for any identified drug cheats.  Therefore the host country issuing stamps depicting a disgraced drug cheat months after the games concluded would raise the roof off the IOC headquarters in Lausanne!  As it would clearly appear they endorsed this.

I could be proven wrong, but it is my belief that NO stamps will be mailed by ELTA depicting this drug cheat Sampanis.   Had they done it within a week of the Drug ban, well they could say "sorry, Sales Dept did it before we could recall them" and the matter would have rested most likely.  But months later no such excuse will hold water with the IOC.

This leaves at least 13,000 keen collectors of every Greece new issue all needing one of this stamps - and as many of them collect sheetlets of 10, that is a MASSIVE pent up demand ready to explode.  Not to mention Olympics is one of the most collected thematics/topicals there is.

ELTA worked hard to try and partially placate their 13,000 best customers by mailing them mid October 2004 a "test sheet" of the Olympic design stamp, in a folder along with the 16 issued stamps from non drug cheats.  Cost was not cheap - about €130 I understand - or $A225.  This depicted ARIS KARAYEORGOS,  who is a former employee of Greek Post and competed in the 1980 Moscow Olympics in the 20km walk.  This info probably had NOT been reported anywhere else on earth in fact outside Greece until my posting it on this website!  My ELTA contact gave me a real inside scoop on this one.

Karayeorgos is pictured in a Greek tracksuit top, holding his Olympic participation medal.  The "test" stamp has a denomination of  "€0.0"  and across the bottom left hand corner, printed in red is the Greek word DIAGRAFETE, which means "cancelled" or "Specimen".

20,000 of these "stamps" were released - or a sizeable 200,000 units.  However, remember they are not issued stamps, and will NOT be listed in stamp catalogues or be allowed for on all printed album pages.  The 65¢ Sampanis Medal winning drug cheat stamp WILL be in both.

As evidence of how long ELTA sweated about selling Sampanis, only in November 2004 did they FINALLY decide they were not going to get away with selling his stamp, and issued an un-announced se-tenant sheetlet of SIXTEEN of all the other 16 Greek Athens medal winners.  The Athens Olympics concluded latter August, so this took them months to get around to issuing, as they always hoped Sampanis stamp could be included in the block of course.

Seeing the nearly identical sheetlet of 16 of the Australia Sydney 2000 medal winners (which had HALF the face value of this block!) now sells for $100,  I suggest you grab a sheet of (or more) of these if you collect Greece, or Olympics.  I secured a small stock in mid November as i know folks on the ground in Athens.  99.99% of dealers and collectors do NOT know this sheet even exists, and I am advised the number printed was rather low.  At $A60 (or 10 sheetlets for $A500) there is not much downside! 

Remember these winner stamps have a high face value, being all the International airmail post stamp denomination.

This is a FAR neater and more logical way to collect the issued stamps. Stores beautifully on an album or stockbook page or a #1 size Hagner sheet.  AND it is abundantly clear at a glance that your separate Sampanis stamp is NOT part of the main PO release when you can see he is not included!



                    Greek PO Philatelic website is still "under construction"

ELTA is a disaster of Olympic proportions itself I really must comment here.  They have a totally non functioning website where you cannot even order their other 16 Olympic stamps on-line in any way.
I emailed them off their website to order 50 sets of normal stamps (very sizeable order value €520) and got an unsigned note back Sept 24 saying:  "Dear Sir, Unfortunately our web side is under construction and it is not possible to subscribe for the time being.  If you wish you can send us your full postal address to receive by letter all the relevant information materials and documents".

So, instead of having a smooth, functional website up and running and fully tested before the Games so as to make MILLIONS selling Olympic stamp products worldwide, we all need to write off for a brochure!  AND then pay them in cash, or bank draft - no credit cards possible!  These guys are bozos.

I spoke today to Max Stern on October 5 as this was written - who is the official Australian agent for ELTA, and who well over a full month after the Games closing has seen not a single Greek Olympic new issue stamp, has no idea when he will receive any, and does not expect to receive any Sampanis at all and he is 'not happy Jan' to put it mildly. 

I have a small number of the Sampanis Drug cheat stamps for sale that took me a month to track down.  I do not believe any stamp dealer in Australia has these - indeed I would be surprised even in England or the USA if any dealer has stocks of these - at ANY price.  They cost me well over the going rate as I wanted to secure a couple of 100 units, and unless you paid well and dug around they simply were not available. Those that hold them think the price will go way above present levels - and very soon.

1.  Price is $A60 per MUH or CTO single (all have wide selvedge as you can see)

2.  Colour Pictorial FDC of Sampanis stamp. (Super scarce and only IF in stock) $A175

3.  $A225 for the block of 4 from very top of sheetlet - with Olympic medals etc.

4.  $A315 for the block 6 from top sheet, i.e. with all the special side inscriptions.

5.  Or a MUH (A5 size) sheetlet of 10 : VERY popular size with all collectors: $A500

6.  A complete un-severed PO A4 size digital sheet 20 - i.e. 2 panes of 10 - $A900 

7.  Or - 2 panes of 10 at sheetlet 20 price. Stores perfectly on a #1 Hagner. $A900

8.  All the other Greek winner stamps, in a Limited Print sheetlet of all 16.  $A60

9.  The same un-announced late issue sheetlet 16 as lot #8 - but TEN sheets $A500

10.  The OTHER 16 Greece Medallists.  16 sheetlets of 10 (huge face value)  $A300


Post and Registered for Lots 1 or 3 will be only $A5 domestically or $A12 overseas.

Post and Registered for 4 - 10 will be $A7 domestic or $A20 overseas due to their larger size.

So clearly you save money if you order 2 lots, as the Registered Post cost does not alter one cent.

All credit cards accepted at no fee,  and of course Lay-By/layaway is always possible on all sales over $A250


You can order fast on-line at -

Are these stamps going to go up in price?  I honestly have no idea.  Buying a sheet for $A45 a stamp as lot #7 might see you more than double your money if they get to $100 - or halve your money if the price settles at $20.  There is no way right NOW of knowing. 

If they are catalogued at $500 each in a few years you are a genius and can dine out on your wisdom for years.  If they are catalogued at $30 in a few years you lose the cost of a pizza or a bottle of wine at dinner!  Lots of upside and very little downside it seems to me.  

I am simply offering them for more than I paid, and moving on.  It is not often we ever get a chance to buy a stamp "on the ground floor" from a popular country that was on sale for just 4 days.  Especially a stamp with an Olympic theme, and especially with a story connected to it like drug cheating and being stripped of a medal.  The last Greek issue on sale for a few days is now Cat over $A2,500 after all.

You decide.  The demand for these stamps has not even STARTED yet,  just remember that.

I do not have many stamps at all, (honest!) and when they are gone I will not be able to replace them.  I am certainly going to write about this issue in my stamp columns as I think it is an interesting development, and when a lot more folks hear of it, the interest may grow - who knows.

Finally - these are offered of course on a "First Come - First Served" basis.  I do not have many, and they could sell out quicker than I imagine.  Someone might buy the lot just to sit on them -  I have no idea.


VERY IMPORTANT - all my mint Sampanis stamps are quality OFFSET printed. These were issued just as the stamps were yanked off sale by ELTA and later nearly all were burnt/destroyed. Nearly ALL the other Sampanis stamps I have seen or heard of being sold are the DIGITAL (i.e. 'instant') prints. i.e. they were the only ones on sale nationally for the first 2 or 3 days, and sold well to keen collectors and dealers and the public. They are quite literally colour photocopies onto unwatermarked paper, being very "fuzzy/blurry" looking and lacking the fine detail only a printing plate can offer.

The really tiny "AOHNA 2004" printing top right is an indecipherable blur on most Digital prints. Sharp and clear on the Offset prints. My fear is in future if the retail price rises strongly, and a forger gets to work, replicating the "Digital" version would be incredibly simple. Not so the Offset printing. A Greek dealer tells me in his view the Offset will end up being worth TWICE the price of the Digital as many less exist - time will tell. Remember - what you buy off ME is Offset printed. Take no chances.


Lot #8 - The un-announced block of 16 Olympic Medal winners - only $A60 the entire block. (10 for $A500) This came out in November I understand - 3 months after the issued singles. And as usual I received stock before anyone else here ever knew about it. I understand it was only for sale to standing order customers, but with the wackiness of ELTA, who would EVER know what they are doing. It is not even mentioned or illustrated on their own hopeless website as of December 1.

Fits perfectly on a #1 Hagner sheet or stockbook page or album page. A FAR smarter way to store the set of 16 stamps as you can have NO short perfs or gum bends etc that you'll ALWAYS get on 16 singles. And these are quality OFFSET printed, not the muddy, blurry 'digital' set 16 stamps many others are selling. If you have a Sampanis single, you need this block to be complete with all 17 issued Greece Olympic stamps. And remember the similar Australian Olympics 2000 Block 16, at HALF the face value of this now sells for $A100.


  The incredibly RARE FIRST DAY COVER - $A175.

The leading Greek dealer and catalogue producer tells me only a few 100 ever issued of ANY kind of FDC. Everyone was waiting for the PO to supply them in full sets! Possibly the scarcest Olympic FDC from ANY country in the last 50 - 60 years. Only a few in stock, and these will sell FAST. Have 3 of this cancel and 2 of the far more applicable "Olympic Wreath" FDI cancel.


Double perfs ERROR discovered on Sampanis stamp!

Close up of double perforation.

Double perfs ERROR discovered on Sampanis stamp!

I was tearing up a sheetlet of 10 for customer orders today and noticed that the block 4 I had left over was DOUBLE PERFORATED down the centre!

How this can occur on an offset printed comb perforated issue I have absolutely no idea, but as you can see (hopefully) from the photo it is so.  It SHOULD be technically impossible.  There is no evidence of perf doubling on the left or right hand vertical margins which is the weird bit.

 The other 6 stamps had gone into customer orders, but as I had already torn them into 6 singles they will not be very evident - you need an unsevered pair to see this variety properly.

This may well be the only block existing, and no other sheetlets 10 from same batch in my stock had any perf error.

 Price is $A500 the block 4 as shown - or $275 each horizontal pair - there is ONE block only so - "First in - best dressed".

 A possibly unique printing error on Greece's scarcest modern stamp is quite something to add to any Olympic collection!


This Sampanis drug cheat stamp has been front page news all over the stamp world.  And the legend is just starting.
This is from the website of the best selling "Stamp Magazine" in England.   They call the stamp: "one of the major Olympic rarities of all time" -  yet you can still own a copy for just $A45 from my offer above!
The world's largest selling stamp magazine "Linn's Stamp News"  in the USA ran it as a major piece in mid November 2004.
So did the leading International stamp dealer magazine: "The Philatelic Exporter".
And "Stamp News" in Australia ran it solo as a lead story on their front cover in November.

Drug cheat creates Olympic rarity

What could prove to be one of the major Olympic rarities of all time has been caused by the Greek Post Office (ELTA) issuing an 'instant' stamp for the bronze medal winning weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis that had to be withdrawn within days after Sampanis failed two drugs tests.

Sampanis won his medal in the 62kg weight class on Monday, August 16, 2004 and the digitally printed stamps were on sale in a few post offices from August 17. But Sampanis later failed two drug tests and on Sunday, August 22 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped him of his medal.

Later that Sunday ELTA sent a memo to all post offices ordering that all remaining Sampanis stamps were to be taken off sale nationally, audited, and immediately returned to its central office on Monday.

Five Greek cities were involved in this digital print campaign and the quantities (of A4 sheets) printed the day after the medal was won were - Athens: 750; Thessaloniki: 500; Volos: 400; Patrai: 400; and Herakleion: 500. They were printed and issued in PO sheetlets of 20 - i.e. two 'A5' sheetlets of 10 separated by roulette type serrations, making a standard A4-sized paper sheet.

This legally issued stamp was freely on sale at face value for four working days at post offices across Greece and it will certainly be listed and priced in all stamp catalogues, and a space will be allowed for it in all printed albums worldwide. Demand for it is likely to heavily increase from mid-2005 when catalogues are issued and album supplements mailed to thousands of collectors globally.

High price expected

It's believed the Sampanis stamp could soon be the second (or even first) highest priced Greek issue of the past 50 years. Right now the priciest distinction is held by the 1954 purple Ancient Art top value that, even with a high million print run, is catalogued at €270.

It's unclear exactly how many 65c Sampanis stamps were sold but ELTA spokesperson Kyriakos Vlastarakos was quoted in the Greek newspaper Ekathimerini stating that only 136,000 Sampanis stamps had been printed. A number of sources in Greece told STAMP MAGAZINE that only 30,000 to 40,000 of these were sold before their withdrawal. Nearly all those sold were to members of the public and tourists in sheetlets of 10 and 20. Many were used on mail and postcards as the 65c rate covered airpost worldwide so they will be largely lost forever to philately.

In 1940 Greece issued a set of National Youth stamps and only allowed them to be on sale for postage use for three days, but retained sets on sale at Post Offices for another six months for collectors. Despite the length of sale of this set, the current catalogue price is €1,485.

The Sampanis issue on sale for four days is a valid comparison. It appears to have less copies issued than any stamp from Greece since that 1940 Youth issue.

A contact within the Greek PO confirmed to STAMP MAGAZINE that there were only small routine sales of this stamp to post offices with nothing larger or more unusual than for the other 16 medal winning stamps.

 It's believed that stamp dealers in Greece have either sold whatever stock they held for well over face value, assuming ELTA would back down and issue the stamps again, and the price would normalise or they are sitting on stocks.

Rare first day covers

First day covers of the Sampanis issue are very scarce. Greece colour catalogue producer, and leading dealer A. Karamitzos explained: 'These FDCs are really very rare. Maybe only a few hundred exist, possibly less. I have one in my current auction with a starting price of €150'. The stamps have been selling on the web at around £25 each but with ELTA not releasing more it's likely that price will double or treble.

ELTA has about 13,000 standing order customers on its books and planned to mail each of these a sheetlet of 10 at face value as a reward for being loyal customers. However, after taking two sets of legal advice ELTA was strongly advised that these stamps can't be mailed out as the IOC would be likely to take punitive legal action due to its zero tolerance policy on identified drug cheats.

Also, as these stamps have the Olympic Ring symbols on them the IOC needs to approve all such stamp issues. So, it's likely that ELTA will not be mailing any more of the Sampanis stamps out to existing customers.
With 13,000 regular collectors of every Greece new issue all needing at least one copy of the Sampanis stamp and the Olympics being one of the most collected thematics there is clearly going to be a huge demand for this issue.





Did some more digging on the web today, and found some useful press articles in English that may interest you as a buyer.  Only 136,000 x Sampanis stamps were printed in total it seems, (only 13,600 sheetlets of 10) - according to the PO spokesman after they were withdrawn, and my info is that most of these were withdrawn by the urgent PO Memo sent Sunday. 

The vast bulk of what was sold apparently were bought by Greek locals as patriotic souvenirs,  one sheet at a time, and to tourists etc and will likely not come back on to the market.    So the number in the stamp market might be lower than I guessed -  probably only a few 1000 pieces - no wonder they are hard to come by.  And being an Olympic topical this really is the icing on the cake.  

There are some 14,000 Greek PO ELTA standing order customers who for STARTERS will need this stamp when they realise they are not getting it from ELTA.  Many of those collect only in sheetlets of 10, so the Maths look pretty encouraging.   If there are say 5000 stamps out there right now,  (and assuming all have stayed unbroken) only 500 collectors worldwide who collect by sheetlet of 10 could obtain one, no matter what the price.

They printed only a fairly small initial amount of ALL the medal stamps, and this guy was only a bronze winner and it was a pretty unglamorous sport  - weightlifting - and a minor class at that,  so sales to public I guess were not mind boggling!

 An unusual issue, certainly a world first for a stamp to be withdrawn due to a drug cheating positive test! 

Remember this withdrawn stamps has attracted virtually NO publicity yet, anywhere in the world.  Other than my email, 99.99999% of dealers and collectors had no idea this stamp existed.

 I will certainly be writing about this in the various Australian and overseas stamp magazines I am a columnist for, and from that,  I imagine awareness will spread pretty quickly.   However, as mentioned on my website on this, the main demand will occur next year:

 This was a legally issued stamp, and was on sale at face value for 4 working days at Post Offices across Greece.  This stamp will clearly be listed and priced in all stamp catalogues on earth, and will be allowed for in all printed albums printed.  History shows that demand will not be so much NOW, but from mid 2005 when catalogues are issued and album supplements mailed to 1000s of collectors globally.



SAMPANIS STAMP - August 24, 2004.

Picture of disgraced athlete withdrawn

Special commemorative postage stamps bearing the image of Leonidas Sampanis - the 32-year-old weightlifter stripped of his bronze medal after testing positive for excessive testosterone - are to be withdrawn from circulation, according to a Greek Post Office (ELTA) decision yesterday.   ELTA issued an urgent memo to the country's post offices to immediately stop the sale of the Sampanis stamps and take an inventory of stocks.   ELTA's decision is to be finalized by the end of the week.  About 136,000 Sampanis stamps have been printed.

Post Office stamps out athlete

Athens - Commemorative stamps featuring doped Greek weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis stand to become a collectors' item after the Greek post's decision to withdraw the issue because the athlete failed a drugs test.

The Greek post office ELTA issues commemorative stamps of every Greek athlete winning a medal in the Athens Olympics the day following their success.

But the ELTA decided on Sunday to withdraw from circulation the Sampanis stamp issue after the athlete tested positive for a banned substance and had his medal withdrawn.

"The sale stopped on Monday," said ELTA spokesperson Kyriakos Vlastarakos.

Vlastarakos said he had no information on how many Sampanis stamps had been already sold between Tuesday, a day after Sampanis won his medal, and Sunday.

According to the English-language daily Kathimerini, 136 000 Sampanis stamps have been printed.

The Greek post will not wait for doping results before issuing the next commemorative stamps. "We will continue to proceed as we have so far," Vlastarakos said.

ELTA rewards Greek athletes winning gold, silver or bronze medals in the Athens Olympics with 100 000 euros, 50 000 euros and 25 000 euros respectively.

"It's obvious that after the IOC decision to withdraw the Sampanis medal, he won't receive that money," Vlastarakos said.,,2-1652-1655_1577824,00.html




                            Greek lifter tests positive

Paul Kelso in Athens
Saturday August 21, 2004
The Guardian

Greece yesterday lost one of its three Athens medals after the weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis, who won a bronze in the 62kg category on Monday, was found to have tested positive for a banned substance.

The Hellenic Olympic Committee last night confirmed that Sampanis, the 1998 world champion, had been informed that his A sample was positive and that he had requested that the B sample be tested.

Sampanis, who won silver medals in Sydney and Atlanta, was selected under International Olympic Committee regulations that stipulate the first four finishers in every event must be tested.

The news came two days after Kostas Kederis and Ekaterini Thanou withdrew from the games after missing a dope test. It will heap further embarrassment on the hosts.

Last night Greece's Olympic team manager Yiannis Papadoyiannakis offered his resignation but it was not clear if it had been accepted.

Weightlifting has always attracted suspicion and Sampanis's test comes two days after five competitors were suspended for failed tests. Two of them learned they were disqualified as they were about to compete in their events. A crackdown by the governing body has seen 21 world-class weightlifters caught or suspended this year.


August 23rd - Reuters
By Paul Majendie

The Games got off to a disastrous start for Greece when sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou pulled out over a missed drugs tests.  Then weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis had his bronze medal taken away.

The tale of Sampanis - a hero one minute, a zero the next - took another bizarre twist.

A Greek prosecutor launched an official investigation into the circumstances surrounding the positive dope test given by the weightlifter, a judicial source said.

Sampanis, who lost his bronze medal after testing positive for high levels of testosterone, has vehemently protested his innocence saying a drink he consumed after the competition but prior to the doping control had been spiked.
National coach Christos Iakovou has said he was given a drink by an unknown person while waiting to give a urine sample after finishing third in the 62kg category final in front of a delirious crowd eager to forget about their disgraced sprinters.

"There was mayhem in this room," Iakovou said. "Over 15 people were in the doping control room when there should have been none except the athlete and his official escort."

Athens has provided a host of memorable sporting moments to cherish. But the sleazy world of drugs is never far from the headlines.


The Sampanis Mini Sheet

  The text at right reads: "Olympic Games Athens 2004 - Leonidas Sampanis, Weight Lifting, Men's 62 kilo, Bronze Medal, 28th Olympic Games, Athens 2004".  


And with the terribly low rate of the Australian dollar in recent times, the prices on these lists converts to CHICKEN FEED for those of you who earn other than "Pacific Pesos."    Not ONLY the $US, but Sterling and the EURO are also incredibly strong against our pathetic little currency.   I buy 99% of my stock locally - I am thought to be the largest stamp buyer in Australia's largest city,  so I pay in Pacific Pesos and sell in Pesos,  hence the incredible savings to ALL overseas buyers.   If you buy via "Auction"  (even if you are an Australian resident) you are always paying 15-20% "buyer premium",  plus GST/VAT type taxes  and other charges in many cases.   That can add 30% to the hammer price of the stamps!   There is NO sales tax or "premium" or GST/VAT of any kind added to orders from the list below, no matter WHERE I mail the goods.



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IMPORTANT NOTE  ...  all my stamps - on this page or other pages are charged in  AUSTRALIAN DOLLARS  at the $A prices shown.   Where I have used a £Stg or $US price etc conversion in text on any offer at any time - that is to be treated as very APPROXIMATE as it may have been computed a while back.  It was correct at that time, but $A exchange rates have been VERY volatile in recent times.   Please use the spinning gold currency converter found on Home Page of my website to ascertain the current EXACT amount in your own currency according to today's mid-rate.   Remember -  I will always charge your credit card the $A sum shown for each lot,  (plus shipping and insurance) and NOT the sum shown as rough approximation in a non-Australian currency.  
There are NO nasty 15% "Buyer's Commissions" or other such outrageous fees added to the price YOU pay when you deal with Glen Stephens.    A $1,000 Kangaroo stamp from me costs $1,000 plus shipping.    You could bid "$1,000" for the same Kangaroo stamp from an "Auction" house  (who in Sydney OFTEN owns the stamp themselves anyway!)  and it might cost $1,000 plus 15%  "Buyer Fee" plus 10% GST on that $1,150  = the "$1000" stamp is now often invoiced at $1,265.   All depends on whether possibly saving $265 is important to you I guess.     





Full Time Stamp Dealer in Australia for over 25 years.

Life Member - American Stamp Dealers' Association.  (New York) 
Also Member - Philatelic Traders' Society.  (London)  ANDA. (Melbourne)  American Philatelic Society, etc

 ALL Postage + Insurance is extra. Visa/BankCard/MasterCard/Diners/Amex all OK, even for "Lay-Bys"! All lots offered are subject to my usual Conditions of Sale, copy upon request BIGGEST STAMP BUYER: Post me ANYTHING via Registered Mail for my same-day cheque. Avoid the  GENERALLY 40%  Auction " Commissions" (15% + 17½ + GST, etc.) AND their five-month delays! Read this for details.

"Lothlórien," No. 4 The Tor Walk, CASTLECRAG (Sydney), N.S.W. 2068
Phone: (02) 9958-1333  Fax: (02) 9958-1444 (Both 25 Hours, 7 Days!)
Web Sites:  or

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ALL prices are in weak Ozzie Dollars. I charge NO nasty, nasty
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