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May 2020


Millennials now increasingly stamp collectors.



An interesting phenomenon has been occuring in recent years.  More and more “younger” people are entering the stamp collecting hobby.  Most especially, in the Millennial type age bracket - i.e. under 40 years of age.  It is almost “Retro” and a little cool to them.  Rather like Lava Lamps!

I see this more and more, dealing myself with a lot more females, and other dealers do too.  Many younger voices on phones.  Mainstream collectors may NOT notice it so much, who only visit old style stamp clubs, where the gender demographic has often not altered for decades.

Many “traditional” stamp clubs are experiencing far lower attendances than a generation (or even a decade) back.  Often it is because they do not promote or publicise themselves in any meaningful way, and then sit back in wonderment and puzzlement, as to why membership dwindles! 

It is the age-old chicken and the egg theory really!  The age demographic keeps getting older, and with no younger members joining up, as the clubs are largely “invisible” to the web-savvy general public, so the end result is crystal clear to all with average IQ.


This is the new face of stamp collecting.


It is not just old style stamp clubs of course experiencing this same situation.  Many once flourishing and popular groups like Lions Clubs, Masonic Lodges, Rotary, etc, see the same issues, as do near all Religious groups, and Churches of all faiths etc.

A 30 something year old (especially Female) will generally not feel very comfortable walking into a gathering of ten x 75 year old males, in brown cardigans, in a chilly Community or Church Hall etc for the first time etc.  Sad but true.  (They WILL and do click the Punk Philatelist site nearby!)

Often comprising an old mates club spanning decades, cheerfully discussing their prostate health, and old age issues, and their last biopsy results etc.  These clubs are often VERY “cliquey”, and have zero idea how to promote themselves in 2020, or make themselves vaguely relevant to “younger” people.


Get FREE global publicity for your Club/Society. has an entire Forum for any stamp club, or stamp groups globally, to use to publicise their clubs, their societies, specialist groups, and their meetings, venues, auctions, functions, competitions, Annual Fairs and gatherings etc. 

They can do this HOWEVER they wish, as often as they wish.  Add photos and news, and items of interest etc.  All to a vast global audience, and totally FREE.  Google “spiders” index it all - and offer instant publicity.  Bizarrely - almost none of them bother to use it!

Type into google Essendon Broadmeadows Philatelic Society in Melbourne and see what links you get.  The first matches are all to their page.  Why?  As the Society and savvy Committee officers regularly update their activities there, and have done so FREE, for 13 years.


Is YOUR Club/Society on here? shows WHO is using it globally.  Take a look - if your Club or Society is NOT there, and you wonder, at your next meeting of 6 elderly members, why more collectors are not present, do raise it in General Business for wider discussion. 

Simple to do, free to do, and easy to update, and keep relevant and current, and attracting new members all the time, via the wonders of Google.  Lots of Societies do not have their own websites, and such an instant and FREE way of attracting new visitors is a total no brainer, whether you are in Essendon, Edinburgh, El Paso or Essen etc.  

The American Philatelic Society (APS) in the USA this week had a global “ZOOM” streamed video/audio chat with their officers, and a Millennial Australian, James Gavin in Victoria, who I gather runs the Rhodesia Stamp Society group, and also the Punk Philatelist in Melbourne was online.

They now have about 400 members Gavin claims, but the Society was teetering on its last legs it sounds like, before it was rejuvenated with a decent website, relevant social media, and some 21st Century savvy that most older generation Committees sadly lack.


EVERY Club Committee must watch this.


In Mid-April 2020, the mass circulation “Guardian” Newspaper in the UK ran an interesting article titled - "Post modern: why Millennials have fallen in love with Stamp Collecting". 

That must-read article had an interview with the President of the prestigious Philatelic Trader’s Society (PTS) in the UK.  The article got wide coverage, and I was sent the link to it by several clients, in case I had not seen it.

To show the changing nature of this hobby, the Chairman of the PTS London, in the 40 years or whatever I have been a member, has been male, and an elderly male at that.  Nothing wrong with that - it simply reflected the average stamp dealer globally.  And none had blue painted finger nails!  These things are changing. Just like the hobby.

The current Chairman of the PTS is a 37 year old woman from North Yorkshire.  Suzanne Rae gave up her job as a management consultant two years ago, to make her hobby her business, by starting an online stamp shop, Art Stamped. “We were one of the first stamp businesses using social media”  Rae said.


Current Chairman of the PTS London.


The British stamp trade have mostly been a decade behind the rest of the globe with technology.  For an eternity very many had no websites, or any real idea what the internet was, or how it created (or could create!) huge global sales in the stamp business.  I kid you not.

Today in 2020 it seems impossible to believe, but many huge stamp companies and stamp bodies simply did not bother to register their own domain names in the latter 1990s, as they simply did not understand the internet, or use it much, if at all.  (Remember Google had just started as a 2 man show in 1999!)  I typed this below in this very magazine 21 years ago, in October 1999 -


Gibbons did not register their own Domain!


“Stanley Gibbons London missed out on registering and  They instead got which is fairly OK, but they should sack their webmaster.  Even so, if you just e-mail: it bounces back “unknown”!  You need to use this impossible to type out mess:  Type that 3 times, and see if YOU get it correct!  

ASDA New York were also too late.  APTA in Australia was also too late.  Other entities registered and
 so they forever have no access to those short catchy names.  The PTS London should have had registered years back, but obviously did not, as that name also is taken. The PTS is still catching up - there is not even an e-mail contact listed in the current PTS directory for themselves!”

So I wrote about this very matter here well over 20 years back, in the 1990s, and had repeatedly then badgered the PTS to secure the simple name, and was ignored, so they got the current lame   Many UK stamp businesses I was quite sure then all used goose quill pens, and bottles of Quink Ink on a sloping ledger book, to create their monthly accounts.  Some still do I suspect! 

Gibbons later needed to later buy back their own domain name at some silly price.  Even 10-15 years back most UK dealers did not even own quality scanners, or have a clue how to furnish a clear scan of a scarce stamp even if you ask for one.  Again, some do not NOW!  Things are changing for the better, thank goodness.

Anyway, having a 37 year old, tech savvy, with real world Business acumen Millennial, heading up the PTS has seen a lot of positive changes.  They have been nudged firmly into 2020 very noticeably, with a Facebook page, and blogs and Forum, and other such modern things and devices, that many collectors and dealers actually use often.


PTS - Industry leaders for 91 years.


Philately is gaining popularity among Millennials, many of whom see the creative pursuit as an escape from their screen-based lives.  Suzanne Rae said in the article - “Philately is tangible: it’s relaxing and unplugged.  It’s also very Instagrammable.  Twitter and Instagram enable young collectors to find people just like them, and see that it’s not only a geeky old man’s pursuit.” has a detailed discussion of the new wave of Millennials entering the stamp collecting hobby, with many specific examples of those collectors given.  Not every 75 year old in a brown cardigan will agree with, or even understand the paragraph above, but it is the emerging stamp world in 2020.


Exactly WHO is a “Millennial”?


Wikipedia uses this definition - "Millennials are also known as Generation Y (or simply Gen Y)  Researchers and popular media use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years, with 1981 to 1996 a widely accepted defining range for the Generation Y."

The subject of the recent widely reported "Guardian" newspaper article is Suzanne Rae, 37, who for 18 months has been Chairman of the Philatelic Traders Society London (PTS).  They are now 91 years old, and run the vastly successful STAMPEX mega shows in the UK twice a year etc.  The black and white shield PTS member logo shown nearby, is synonymous with philately and Trust.

I've been a member of the PTS London for probably more years than Suzanne has been alive, and the Chairmen were always men, and pretty elderly men at that - like me!Nothing wrong with that at all - it was just how things were always done in the stamp business, in those decades.

Anyway at age 37, Suzanne certainly fits the strict definition of the "Millennial" above, and she once worked for ExxonMobil Oil and with Deutsche Bank etc, and does not come from a lifetime stamp dealing career background, as most did in the past, who ended up as PTS Chairmen. 


Suzanne Rae - The new look of the PTS.


Suzanne has a University Degree with Honours, studying Economics and Business Management, and has an interesting and varied career background before starting her own stamp business in very recent years - and has been Chairman of the PTS London for about 18 months now. 

The times they are a changin ……

As a PTS member myself, it is refreshing to see the changes and new ideas that can occur, when someone outside the usual profile of PTS Chairman hits the scene.  A lot of new social media presence, new business ideas, and a specific Five Year Plan etc unveiled, and savvy and interesting approaches to things.

This below, is part of interviews Suzanne Rae has given about her business and stamp collecting background, which as can be seen, is very different to where one might imagine a PTS Chairman came from -

“I collected stamps as a child, spending my spare pocket money at Robert Murray’s Stamp Shop in Edinburgh.  Like many at that time, and encouraged by my parents, I would buy small bags of GB stamps, in the hope of filling some new spaces in my childhood stamp album.

I loved learning about the world, and about myself as I discovered a
hobby which I found competitive yet slow, never-ending yet manageable, adventurous yet calming. As a teenager with a growing number of duplicates, I started making little arts and crafts using old postage stamps, and later in life, I picked it all up again.                 


A useful end for common GB Machins!

  Fast forward 20 years . I was now working long hours for an international oil company, and travelling to and from Africa most weeks.  When I got home, I needed to switch off from the stresses of work and travel.

I remembered my stamp collection, and the feeling I got sorting stamps and exploring their stories. I bought some African stamps, and made a stamp art map of Africa from them, as a statement piece for my living room.

Granny allowed me to “follow my dreams”.


I fell in love with stamps all over again. Soon I was shopping for more, making stamp art for friends and selling the excess stamps I didn’t need, to pay for frames and more supplies.  My Granny passed away and left me a small amount of money to 'follow my dreams'.  I couldn't think of anything that brought me more joy than working with stamps, and getting them on show, and into people's lives.

Art Stamped was born, and in the last four years, it has been a stamp whirlwind of fairs, STAMPEX, social media, philatelic society dinners, stamp art, quitting my day job, selling stamps, working with other stamp enthusiasts, and generally promoting the hobby I love.

Today, I find myself working full time at Art Stamped and in my spare time, I am Chairman of the Philatelic Traders' Society - a society for respected stamp dealers from around the world. I am also a proud member of the Royal Philatelic Society London.

The PTS membership includes some of the most respected and influential stamp dealers in the world. By working alongside other influential and passionate philatelic organisations on the right initiatives, we can have a real impact on the future of the hobby. 

 At the PTS London, we have a role to champion the stamp hobby globally, and to do what we can to support it.  Talking is good, action is better.” 


An Art Stamped cricket ball creation.


Art Stamped is an unusual philatelic site, very different from the rank and file old fashioned stamp dealer sites (like mine), that offers straight forward Kangaroo stamps and 1d Black offerings etc.  A lot of material offered there are montages and objects made from, or covered with, postage stamps etc.  Several are shown nearby.

One interesting item I saw on her site, were real cricket balls, covered in genuine GB 1860s Penny Red postage stamps, for a dinner at Lords Cricket Ground.  Even the original stitched seams were visible.  All of these balls were auctioned off on the evening, to attendees.


New stamp discoveries always being made.


As I often type - “the last word in Philately will NEVER be written!”   Exciting new discoveries keep turning up - often a century or so after the stamp was issued.  I saw an eye-catching example recently and shown nearby.

It was the 1932 2d Red Australia KGV head overprinted “OS” imperforate at top, offered by Auction with an estimate of $A5,000.  The stamp has been torn from the margin at an angle, with a 4mm gap between the top perf, and the imperf top of the stamp.

After near 90 years it is odd the first example of this should appear on the market.  This is a totally new discovery.  It needs to be remembered that this was issued in 1932, at the height of The Great Depression, and Commonwealth Stamp Printer, John Ash was a frugal Scotsman!


Newly discovered imperf perf freak.


Ash was averse to waste, at any time.  His mantra was that any sheets of otherwise defective stamps too poorly printed or too ugly to be sold to the public, would where possible, be put aside, and overprinted for the “Free Government Use”.

So possibly a sheet part imperforate along top was put aside for this purpose - we shall never know.  Sometimes only one or two stamps were affected, due to a sheet corner turn, so that not all 4 sides were perforated etc, and several such stamps exist in other values.

This same 2d red CofA watermark “OS” has several stamps recorded with INVERTED OS overprints of course - cat $100,000 each in ACSC, and SG 0130a, cat £50,000.  So quality control at this point in time was certainly not all it should have been.


Waste Not - Want Not, in Great Depression.


John Ash was especially zealous regarding poorly centred/perforated stamps, and they were set aside for official “OS” overprints and perfins.  I illustrate nearby, a pair of the 1d Green KGV of this same set, with spectacularly poor centering, as you can see I once sold.

Stamps are a strange hobby.  Collectors pay a PREMIUM for very well centred stamps.  The Americans pay quite INSANE premiums as we know for “Graded 100” stamps, that as we all know are often nothing like perfect centred anyway!  The American almost Ponzi style, snake-oil system at work.  More on that below.


REALLY off centred = $400 Catalogue!


Poorly centred normal stamps generally halves the prices - indeed it often quarters it.  From any country.  Indeed, for cheap stamps you can barely give them away.  HOWEVER here following is the totally perverse part of this hobby.

GROSSLY misperforated stamps suddenly take on a whole new price level.  Instead of a few dollars for bad centred, the 1d KGV pair I show nearby, I sold for a few $100s.  THE ACSC of course lists and prices this pair as 82(OS)b, at $A400.

So say $20 for a superb centred pair, $4 for a badly centred pair, yet $400 for a quite appalling centred pair!  As THAT is a “variety”.  This is indeed a strange hobby.  And rather hard to explain these kind of wildly contradictory concepts, to new adherents for sure.


Another corny American passing Fad?


The 4¢ USA 1901 stamp shown nearby, the Professional (sic) Stamp Experts “PSE”  graded as utter perfection - “100 GEM Condition” yet a blind man can see it is somewhat off centred to the right hand side, the black central vignette is also poorly centred, and two corners are bent, and seem about to fall off. 


$50,000 paid for this, I kid you not!


A pretty stamp of course, but not remotely NEAR the ultimate “100 GEM Perfection” grade.  Scott cat is just $US185.  Six MILLION were sold!  Retail if I owned it, or most sane dealers outside the USA, a few $100s.  Nevertheless, some American Bunny with FAR more money than sense, paid over $A50,000 for it at auction.  Never, if he lives to age 1000, will he get even half that figure back. has a several hundred post discussion where the two left feet PSE “Promotions Manager” Caj Brejtfus ducks, weaves, slides, obfuscates and insults folks calling them ”Communists and douchebags” etc, if they disagreed as to how this stamp ever got given anything near the perfection “100 GEM” grade, that it very clearly is NOT. 

His lame efforts to comically explain the unexplainable, have likely set back numerical grading by 50 years. “Sorry we screwed up badly here folks” is not in their vocabulary.  Probably if they withdrew their loopy “100 GEM” number grade, the $50,000 dummy buyer would sue them for his huge loss?  Only in America.  PSE are based in Las Vegas, after all!

“Numerical Stamp Grading” seems to be just another corny American huckster fad, like YoYos, and Hula Hoops, and Beanie Babies.  The stamp sucker buyers seem to be drying up, and some grading numbers recently seem just like wild guesses.  Perhaps PSE will then move on to numerically grading Coca Cola and Pepsi bottle caps out of 100? 


COVID-19 Stamp New Issues.


As we all know, every major event in the past century or so has had some kind of stamp issue highlighting it.  Wars, conflicts, Moon Landings, political upheavals, Royal Weddings, natural disasters, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions etc, etc.  Stamps document the path of all these things, and the COVID-19 epidemic has now joined them.


World’s first COVID-19 stamp issue.


It seems like the FIRST country to issue a COVID related stamp issue was Iran.  Linns reported Iran unveiled a special postage stamp honouring medical professionals as frontline fighters of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in that country. (Iran is in the “Top 10” of % deaths globally.)

The unveiling was announced Wednesday, March 17, on an Iranian government website. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani launched the stamp as part of a cabinet meeting.  The new stamp from Iran is inscribed “National Heroes” in English on the lower left of the main design.

The design of this 18,000 Rial commemorative, shows four people and includes symbolic images based on electron micrographs of the coronavirus. Three of the four people depicted on the stamp appear to be medical professionals wearing face masks. The fourth person, just to the right of the English inscription, appears to be a soldier wearing a gas mask

According to information posted on the website of the National Iranian Postal Company, this new 18,000 Rial stamp salutes
“the sacrifices of the country’s medical staff, as front-line efforts to fight the coronavirus.”
Many other countries have since followed suit of course, and a number of stamps were also issued for stamp exhibitions that were to take place, and were cancelled at short notice.  Some were for the huge LONDON 2020 International of course - now cancelled.


A stamp for a cancelled 2020 Olympics.


Many countries issued stamps for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo before it too was cancelled, until (hopefully) July 2021.  Cyprus issued a set of 4 stamps on March 16, and the 64¢ value is illustrated nearby.  Many readers will form sideline collections of such stamps. lists all those known to be issued so far.  Stamp issue programs are generally formulated months in advance - often a year or more ahead, and who was to guess an Olympic Games would ever be cancelled except in a World War?  Weird times indeed.


Switzerland issues a strange Sheetlet

  Switzerland was hit unusually hard by the Corona virus, with deaths in top 10 globally, % wise.  Swiss Post rushed out a sheetlet in April that contained ten x 6 Franc stamps - each only good for 1 Franc (100 cents) postal value.  So face value was 60 CHF, but the PO sold them for 50 CHF = $A82 as I type.  

Face is 60 CHF - PO Cost just 50 CHF!

  Swiss Post on their website states that you are essentially getting the 10 Francs of Postage ‘Free’ as they are donating the entire 50 CHF you pay per sheetlet of 10, to Swiss Solidarity and the Swiss Red Cross. Their website shows a daily tally of how much has been donated so far.  Very unusual.

The Switzerland COVID-19 stamp new issue was created at very short notice as you can imagine, and designed by Berne based studio - Nulleins Kommunikationsdesign. The graphic design professionals designed the stamp at a safe distance from their home offices.

The Post Office there states that the new stamp symbolizes solidarity during the coronavirus pandemic: with Switzerland at the center, while the rotated cross reveals a shining globe.  A postally used sheet of 10 on a 10 CHF Registered letter would be QUITE a scarce piece used in period I suggest, and worth well over the 50 CHF cost price. 


COVID-19 Shuts down mail services


The COVID-19 chaos is also heavily impacting lots of mail systems, that many may not realise.  Australia is a very remote island of course, and there are basically ZERO commercial flights in or out of the country for the past month - hence almost no airmail.  SEA to Europe/Canada from here is 6 weeks.

For many sellers - especially those using eBay this will be a total disaster, with endless PayPal “goods not received” claims. From reports I have had here, PayPal cheerfully pay out on those after a few weeks as usual, meaning the seller loses the lot – the cost of the goods, AND the cost of the shipping.


Germany-Aust Mail returned to the sender.


Many large countries will not send mail or parcels to Australia, and Australia cannot send any there.  These include Germany, most of Scandinavia, and Canada, and more are added weekly sadly - full regularly updated global details here -

Stampboards members posting purchases and swaps to each other are now often seeing them returned by their Post Office.  An early April, Paderborn Germany Priority Airmail sending to Melbourne is shown nearby, with the German PO sticker translating as -
"Postal traffic to the country of destination is currently interrupted. The resumption date is currently not foreseeable.  Return To Sender."


A little stamp related COVID humour.


In this COVIT-19 global madness, and lock-downs, and disruption and deaths, that we are all facing every day, a little light humour is always a good thing, to bring us back to a tiny sense of normality.  There should really be more of it, and thank heavens some folks do attempt to do it.


Buy a 1d Black - get a free Loo Roll!


Stampboards members pointed out a recent eBay auction of a GB 1840 1d Black imperf stamp, that came along with a toilet roll tossed in free!   Pretty innovative, and good to see a little levity and fun, mixed in among all the other depressing COVIT-19 daily news updates.  UK based empirecollectables-com was the eBay seller name.

Their ebay auction was headed thus -
*Mint Loo Roll* - comes with Used 1840 1d Black Plate 6 (FH) Used”

“Not sure which of these items is scarcer but up for grabs is an Unused Mint Loo Roll Andrex Deluxe Quilted *VERY RARE!!!**  Comes with a four margin Used 1840 1d Black Plate 6 (FH) red Maltese Cross This could be the last Roll you see on offer. PS - I've plenty of Penny Blacks if we do run out!!

A member of the Philatelic Traders' Society (PTS).  We do our best to be accurate with descriptions, noting faults and giving a straight forward presentation of the items for sale.  We care what you think and welcome comments and feedback about our service and items so we can improve customer satisfaction.”


Loo Roll added zero to final price!


The news is, the 1d Black sold for what it would have got, if offered without the Loo Roll, so there might be a message of some kind in there - what that message is, I have no idea!  However just a little bit of harmless fun, mixed in among all the other depressing news we seem to be hearing for hours each day in recent months.






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500 page ACSC New “Australia KGV Reign” catalogue in Full Colour - just  $A170 (Stock 382KX)

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