PhilaMirror readers are recommended to read this post and respond. We shall be putting in subsequent issues of debate and discussion on such topics including establishing conduct and ethics in philately.
It is one of the intriguing and enduring aspects of philately that tiny errors can not only turn a humble stamp into a highly-prized collectors item but also result in huge earning potential.
Take the 1935 Great Britain 2d Prussian Blue. This is one of Stanley Gibbons favourite errors as we had a direct involvement in its evolution.
A businessman discovered this stamp, which never should have existed, in 1935. Knowing Stanley Gibbons to be the authority on all things philatelic he called our office, explaining that he had seen some stamps in a Post Office that were a different shade than the rest of the stock and he asked our advice.
What was our advice? Get back to the Post Office and buy as many as you can!
And thus the 2d Prussian Blue was born. To this day it remains one of the rarest and most prized Great Britain stamps.
They were made for the King on his special instructions. The printers, Harrison & Son, inadvertently printed some sheets in the \’Prussian blue\’ colour. Quickly realising their mistake they destroyed the sheets but, unfortunately for them, some sheets had managed to escape having been placed with the \’good\’ stock by a busy worker.
The Post Office was quickly informed of the colour mistake and destroyed the remaining stock but not before 480 stamps had got out. One of these has recently been sold by Stanley Gibbons for £14,750. Not a bad return on an original investment of just 2d (or about 1p in todays money)!
Another error that we particularly like very different, more modern and slightly quirky involves the 1974 Australia 7c Golf stamp (though perhaps its more fun to refer to it as the invisible golf club.
I don\’t know about you, but I find golf hard enough at the best of times, let alone without a club to swing. This comical stamp error shows a golfer in full swing with one vital ingredient missing the golf club.
Only 25 are known to exist and Stanley Gibbons recently sold two examples as part of a strip of four, for £3,000.
If there is a moral to this tale it is simply this dont just lick, look! Whenever you buy or use stamps make sure you check that all looks normal and that there are no design or colour oddities.
Errors are not confined to historic stamp issues modern printing presses, however secure and computerized, are still capable of making mistakes.
The most recent error currently appearing on Stanley Gibbons books are four 2007 Canada SG57c Year of the Pig stamps from which the colour gold has been omitted. Around 825 such stamps are believed to exist and these four are currently for sale at £450.
So, you never know. That tiny slip of paper in your fingers, probably valued at just a few pence, could actually be worth thousands of pounds!
Name: Louise Reynolds
Phone: +44 (0)1425 481045
Address: 7 Parkside,
Country: United Kingdom