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Friday, February 5, 2016

February Is Off To A Good Start With $450 In Sales And Admiral Listings Commence In Earnest

I've been hard at work this week listing the stamps of the 1911-1928 Admiral Issue. This attractive series of Canada was the first issued during the reign of King George V. It is so called because George appears dressed in an admiral's uniform. The basic set consisted of 8 stamps when the stamps were first issued. Then the colours were changed and additional denominations were added between 1922 and 1925 bringing the series to 12 stamps. The two colours of the 1c, the two colours of the 2c and the 3c brown are shown below:






Nice stamps aren't they? These were issued in the low billions. However despite these high printing numbers, most were not printed in a manner that enabled nice examples like the ones shown to survive, so in the above condition, they are quite scarce and highly collectible. 

This series was issued over a period of nearly 18 years from 1911 to 1928, so there were many, many printings. In fact, over 200 different plates were used to print the low value stamps. Additionally, the inks were mixed manually, and therefore, exact colour matches were not possible. Consequently, the stamps come in many lovely shade variations, as well as different papers. So some collectors like to specialize in this set and obtain as many different varieties as they can. 

I have spent the past three years accumulating material for my store and as of now I have well over 1,000 stamps of this series, almost all mint condition, with many in the above grades. I have spent the past month organizing them, painstakingly identifying the paper types and colour shades and otherwise getting ready to sell them. This week I started listing them as as of this morning, I have completed the listings of the above values, with the 3c carmine being worked on today. I am looking forward to seeing what the collector response will be over this month. 

Steph has been feverishly organizing the modern post 1952 commemorative material and is heading into the 1960's issues today. She has been learning all about grading and identifying shade and paper differences. She learns very quickly and has a sharp eye, but more importantly, we love working together! I am looking forward to seeing what she does with this material once she has it organized. 

The huge cover hoard from Finland that I bought last month has begun arriving this week - the first three parcels of 9 parcels containing what the owner has claimed are 30,000 commercial covers sent from Nigeria to Finland. Based on what I have seen, I don't think there are anywhere close to 30,000 covers, but more like 18,000. I haven't been wowed so far, but then these first few boxes are the pre-inflationary 1986-1989 period, which doesn't contain many good stamps anyway. It will be interesting to see what the 1990's look like. I am expecting to see some truly spectacular covers during the early inflation period, before the stamp denominations caught up to the new rates, and you see covers with 30+ stamps on them. 

Finally, Fabio has finished his first month with me. He has been working on organizing my British Commonwealth material, which has been a really good learning exercise for him. He has gained exposure to measuring perforations, checking die types, checking different watermarks and finally checking shades. He is learning the material well, and I am confident that soon, he will be able to start listing it for me. 

So all in all, I can see the business beginning to gather momentum. I can see now that I really did need help and realize that I likely will have to invest more personal funds in the business than I had originally thought to cover wages until the cash flow from sales can cover them. However, it will all be worth it, as the stamps cannot sell if they are not listed, and it is better to get them listed sooner rather than later, even if I have to pay for that to happen.  

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