Click To Go Back To The Main Stamps Homepage

 Welcome! You are visitor  free counter to


Glen Stephens
Monthly "Stamp News" Market Tipster Column

November 2007




Gibbons get WITH it !

Stanley Gibbons catalogue department have lost the plot in recent years in my view.

This is sad for the stamp world, and whatever 25 year old kids with Marketing MBA's from Harvard managed to de-rail a well ordered system seem to have been finally over-ruled - or sent packing to assist Pizza hut or Red Bull!

For about 100 years SG published the "Part One" - a detailed priced listing of all Commonwealth stamps from 1840.

It got thicker and thicker with all the WALLPAPER new issues by places like Guyana - where literally dozens of pages were filled with this new issue junk, and all of us needed to pay for a catalogue listing we never looked at.

The books got to be 2 massive hard cover volumes - so Gibbons simply stopped printing them. And had no plan "B" in mind.

The set I have been using in my office is dated 2003, and it is falling apart.

For a while afterwards all one could use to look a 1953 Commonwealth definitive was to lug out the huge SIMPLIFIED world cat from one of 3 or 4 hard to handle soft cover volumes, and look it up there.
No mini sheets listed, no perf varieties, no watermark errors, no booklets, no "on cover' rates etc. Near useless.

Then someone at SG finally had the bright idea to issue a single volume for all stamps 1840 to 1952. -  i.e. pre QE2.

Handy and welcome, but it still did not cover the VERY popular early QE2 issues..

The prices for early QE2 booklets, errors, and perf vars have therefore not in most cases been updated since 2001 when the "2002" cat was priced.

At LAST - a new SG !


This has all changed with the way overdue issue of what I suggested 2 years back -- an 1840-1970 single volume.

Which contains the usual DETAILED info on this reign.

In the interim the dreary black and white photos printed on grey paper stock has been upgraded to full colour photos on bright white paper - SUCH  a difference when I compare the 2 issues side by side, for only 5 years difference in time.

Colourful and vibrant


Printed on a nice crisp fresh white paper stock.  Cheery and "alive" compared to my already VERY yellowed 2002 SG pages with sad grey illustrations.

Lots of constant flaws are now listed. Lots of inverted watermarks - find just one and the entire book could be readily paid for!

So bottom line, go and buy one -  in case some 25 year old MBA decides not to make them for the rest of the decade!

It is a good compromise making it up to 1970.  It can be price updated each year or so hopefully, and yet not affect the book size.

An 1840 to 2007 set would easily run 3 volumes, and no-one could afford to buy it.

Personally if I ever need to look up modern Guyana (and I never have!) I'll do that via Stamps Of The World.

It is a huge hard covered book being well over 600 large format pages, and is not cheap, but trust me you'll do well to invest in one.

All large dealers have copies, and stock from England should just have arrived as this column goes to press.


   Waste of paper


Gibbons do absurd things with their large size "regional" catalogue listings. They recently issued a flimsy A4 sized thin "Eastern Pacific" that costs a small fortune locally, for what you get.

That lists Samoa and the Cook Island areas ONLY.  How insane.  Total sales here for that I bet you could count on fingers and toes of that un-needed volume.

Gibbons also publish a nearly as worthless WESTERN Pacific book - also costly at $A59.95.  This inspired mish mash lists Vanuatu, Pitcairn, PNG, Kiribati etc.  Bizarrely it does NOT include Norfolk Island as they weirdly include that in the "Australia" book.
As they do with New Guinea/Papua/GRI, which are also in "Western".  Confused?  You'll never get an MBA!

Gibbons also issue a thin volume of "New Zealand"  at $52.89 - which they update when and if it ever suits them, and a thicker book on "Australia."

Now the Australia being annual might well make commercial sense - at $A67.50 it is fairly decent value.   I certainly buy each edition. The dills in Britain were talking about pricing it is AUSTRALIAN dollars.  Durrrhhh.  They also do Ireland in Euros and USA in $US so the mind boggles.

WHO buys this one?


But why someone at SG does not get a clue and lump NZ and the 2 Pacifics into a single "New Zealand and Australasian Pacifics" hard covered volume sure beats me.

Cost to buy one would probably be half the cost of 3 together, and they'd actually sell a LOT more units as it actually would be useful to a ton of
dealers AND collectors who right now buy none of them.
But what would I know - I do not have a MBA or acne.   I bet if they now sell 1000 sets of 3, they'd sell 10,000 single volumes at half the cost.

In the meantime lets be thankful for small mercies, and rejoice that some vestige of sanity has returned to the GB "Marketing" division, and praise the Lord this new book is in out midst!

Actually the SG Catalogue editor Hugh Jeffries is a great guy and has done fine job on the pricing and content.  I can bet the MARKETING part of the operation is not his domain, and that is where SG have repeatedly lost the plot in the past decade or so.
A number of new items and notes and plate varieties have been added throughout the catalogue.  Buy it now before some acne faced 'marketing' hot-shot decides this will be the last one for another 5 years!
I may buy two as my last set from 2002 has totally disintegrated from overuse in the past 6 years. I like planning ahead.

More ebay madness

One sees some quite bizarre things on that auction venue.
On this month a member advised that a recent "Stamp News" free giveaway had just sold for $A187.50 on ebay.
It was auction lot 280145216480  and a less than informed bidder called "prime5212" from Lake Macquarie NSW was the 'lucky' bidder.  I just do not understand where these folks are coming from?
"Stamp News" gives these things away FREE with new subscriptions in you ask for one.  Indeed $187.50 would have bought  "prime5212" a THREE year subscription to this magazine.  AND he'd had got this item FREE along with a bunch of other goodies, many of which sell very well on  the secondary market.
I guess you have the scratch your head in wonderment and say "WHY"?  As P.T Barnum once said -  "there is one born everyone minute" .. and it does seem like they often grow up and patronise ebay! 

Freebie sells for $187.50!


Civil War Suprise



A rare cover from the American Civil War has been discovered in an estate accumulation in Melbourne.

Melbourne auction house Prestige Philately will offer the cover in its public auction on Saturday 1st December.  Prestige director, Gary Watson,
says it is one of the most exciting finds of his long career in stamps. 
"We are accustomed to unearthing Australian and Pacific Islands rarities", he said. "However it is not often that anyone in this country finds something that gets the American dealers excited."

On the face of it, the envelope is nothing much to look at.  It bears a single imperforate 5c Confederate States stamp cancelled at Wilmington North
Carolina, and is addressed within the same state. 
However, what alerted the eagle-eyed Watson to this being rather unusual cover was the forwarding handstamp from a town called Nassau.

"I immediately thought this might be a Blockade-Run cover from the Bahamas but experience has taught me to be cautious about such things," said Watson today.

 Blockade Runner

Thinking that the cover may have originated in an American town called Nassau, Watson undertook a series of Google searches and found a link to an auction conducted by leading American firm Robert Siegel of New York.
Back in 2006, Siegel's had offered a rather tatty Civil War cover that, in spite of its unfortunate condition, still sold for $US1,760. 
It bore the same Confederate franking as the Prestige cover, a strike of the same forwarding agent's handstamp, and was even addressed to the same person!
What's more, the Siegel description identified the cover as indeed having originated in the Bahamas and having been carried through the Union blockade of Southern ports.
The clincher was the statement: "two other blockade-run covers are known from the same correspondence."

When asked what he expected the cover to sell for, Watson said it was very difficult to say.  "The poor condition of the Siegel cover needed to be taken into account and, on that basis, it might be worth over $US10,000"  he concluded.
"On the other hand, the buyer of that cover might now be out of the market, there might be only one or two other interested parties, and it might not get anywhere near that figure." 
The 2006 Siegel cover wasn't endorsed with a ship's name whereas the Prestige cover bears the name of "Wild Rose", a ship that successfully ran the Union Blockade no less than 8 times.  This, said Watson, should significantly enhance the value of the cover.

What Watson did confirm is that the cover is being offered with an Auction estimate of $A5000.

The message is clear - never dispose of any stamps or postal history without getting an experienced professional philatelist to cast his eye over it. Who knows?  You too might own an unrecognised rarity.

VERY expensive New issue

Anyone who complains about the face value of local issues should thank their lucky stars they are not living in Hong Kong.

And they should also pray Australia Post philatelic is NOT reading this column!

Hong Kong issued a special joint issue with China in mid September to mark 10 years since the "Handover".

Joint issues are normal all around the world and this was no exception, except it was in a cute little box. 
One pane included "A Symphony of Lights" hologram stamp sheetlet and a serviced First Day Cover affixed with a set of six stamps of "The 10th
Anniversary of the Establishment of the HKSAR".

The other folder included a mini-pane and a serviced First Day Cover affixed with a HK$1.40 stamp and a China RMB1.20 stamp of "The 10th Anniversary of the Reunification of Hong Kong with China"


$HK$3,888 package!

All done up in a nice little folder in a box.     Cost? Price $HK$3,888 per each album!    Only 2000 were done, so despite the insane issue price will likely go up in price given the huge HK/China market - and this is a JOINT issue.



This is a strange one and readers might be able to assist.

A member of from Florida posted up the photo nearby showing a 1d Queen Victoria Queensland stamp with the striking error OOEENSLAND.
Full discussion and many more photos are at  for anyone keen to add commentary

Collectors of Queensland will know Gibbons for ages have listed a similar error "QOEENSLAND"  ... that is about a $100 stamp mint and $30 or $40 used.

Those stamps all come from the Die 2 plates of this issue. The letter "U" as you can see had foreign matter lie across the top of the letter U and yes it does look very vaguely like an "O" - but the underlying shape of the flat sided "U" is obvious - as the nearby photos show.

The OOEENSLAND error shown nearby has the second letter clearly circular in shape and clearly has nothing to do with being a U, with a hickey on top.


Clearly an "O" 

It is the same shape as the first O ...  and even if that really is a Q with a filled in tail .. it still does not make the second O a U by any stretch of
the imagination.

More important this OOEENSLAND error is clearly Die 2 .... so has nothing to do with the catalogued QOEENSLAND Die 1 stamps.

The specifics for this stamp are - it is a Die I, Perf 12, Watermark Crown over Q (T6). The color is pale orange, most likely Stanley Gibbons 138.

The stampboards member "stampbiz" who owns the stamp was told by a Gold Medal Queensland exhibitor in the USA - the late Inslee B. Greene that there had been an article on an OOEENSLAND stamp some years ago.

His quest - and now my quest - is to see if any reader might have a copy of this article they can share with him.

The question is of course whether the original report was of this stamp, or a different stamp with the same error reported in the past.

If the latter, it seems to point to this being a constant variety, with at least two examples known.

A new major error?

I am a firm believer that the last word in philately will never be written.  Many major things have come to light 100 years or so after issue

My gut feeling is that the  OOEENSLAND error is genuine and is thus far uncatalogued.  There is no way known that a "U" with flat sides can end up
looking like a neat almost spherical "O".

The stamp was sent to the APS to be expertised.  If the second O was painted in or crudely or expertly fiddled they'd have seen it and commented but they did not. 
As for the "OO" variety, this item has been looked at up to 50X magnification, in which individual paper fibres can be seen. There is no indication that any type of ink removal has been done. One can see the layering of the ink on the paper fibres at this magnification.
there are numerous high resolution scans on the following stampboards weblink. For anyone who likes a mystery pop by and have a look at -

Time will tell - I'll update with any new info that may be unearthed as a result of this article.






Get my regular market update emails FREE.   Stamp gossip, price trends, record sale prices, and many one-time stamp specials, wholesale bargains,  and exciting offers and breaking philatelic news.  A mini stamp magazine in every email!   "KNOWLEDGE IS POWER".  The ONE stamp list you MUST be on,  to keep in touch with the rapidly changing world market.  One client made $65,000 profit in a few months after following my specific advice.  Sign up securely and quickly by clicking HERE  to access my automated data base.  And wiser still ADD your home AND work email, if I only have one right now.   Add a stamp friend's email address if you wish.  One short click and you are subscribed to probably the most read email list in the stamp world! 



Instant Currency Conversion
Universal Currency Converter
FREE! Just click here...
  see exactly what my lots cost in your currency.

If you would like to be notified of updates to this website, Click HERE. If have any questions,
or comments regarding my site, please email me at


Search this site

Search all my 300+ web pages! Simply type in what you are looking for. "Penny Black", "Latvia", "Imprints", "Morocco", "Fungi" "Year Books", etc! Using quotes ( " ) is more accurate for multi word searches - i.e. "Australian FDC" gives FAR more specific matches than simply Australian FDC if used with no quotes. Search is NOT case sensitive. Tip - keep the search word singular - "Machin" yields  far more matches than "Machins" etc.



I am a Dealer Member in Good Standing Of:

Full Time Stamp Dealer in Australia for over 25 years.

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



Time and Temp in Sunny Sydney!



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% + 17˝ + GST, etc.) AND their five-month delays! Read this for details.

"Lothlórien4 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

Sign up AUTOMATICALLY to my world renowned bi-weekly stamp gossip mailing list!

Click here to see MANY 1000s of stamp lots for sale at low $A Nett prices

Click here for all you need to know re SELLING your stamps for SPOT CASH

Click here for the current Monthly "Internet Only" special offers - CHEAP!

Click HERE to read all my recent International stamp magazine articles.

Click here to get back to the main Homepage

Click here to ORDER on-line ANY items from ANY of my dozens of lists

Click for all info on Conditions Of Sale, Payments, Shipping, Returns &c 

Click here for the complete library of my very unusual world travels!

How to PAY me.  I accept EVERYTHING - even blankets and axes and beads!

Australia Post Annual YEAR BOOKS - massive stock - '27% off' discount offer today!

Visit my new page on RARITIES - Roos & other expensive photo items.

Stampboards where Philatelists Meet..

Instant Currency Conversion
Universal Currency Converter
FREE! Just click here...

E-mail me at -

Every credit card shown is accepted WITHOUT fee.
Earn Frequent Flier points while buying at bargain prices!
ALL prices are in weak Ozzie Dollars. I charge NO nasty, nasty
"Buyer's Commission" on stamps like nearly every "Auction" does.