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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Passage: MyPhilately

It is with some sadness that I recently noticed that Australia-based MyPhilately-- a major social networking site for stamp collectors-- appears to have ceased operation.

According to a message now posted on the site's front page, the site is now for sale.

MyPhilately managed to grow to more than 6000 members, which is a considerable number for a stamp collecting web site. Although the site sometimes seemed a little cumbersome to use, it was generally a friendly and welcoming community where collectors got to know each other through a variety of "sub groups" which allowed people to find each other by collecting interest.

I hope site founder Dan Brown and his team do manage to find a buyer-- it would be a great shame if the "library" of 100,000s of images, posts, blogs and more were to be lost to the collector community for good.

The (apparent) demise of MyPhilately is just another reminder of how impermanent the world wide web can be.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Is Your Stamp Collection Documented?

Recently, we moved to a new house. Then, last week, we took a trip to California to visit family.

These are normal acts people engage in on a regular basis. Moving, and being away made me stop and think about how well (or not) my stamp collections are "documented." What would other people, processing my things, know if something were to happen to me?

If you read philatelic publications-- such as the APS' monthly "American Philatelist"-- it's commonly written that it's important that we collectors remember to insure our stamp collections. There are even companies that specialize in insuring stamp collections. If you have even a moderately "serious" stamp collection, I highly recommend this. Most likely, your homeowner's insurance (unless you have a special rider) will NOT cover the full value of your collection.

But that's not my reason for writing, today.

Both my parents died, a couple of years ago. But even though their "papers" were in immaculate order, they left almost no documentation to actually identify the things of value they left behind. Finding myself "wondering" about some of their artwork made me realize that THIS is exactly how people find "a Picasso painting at a garage sale."

Odds are that unless they happen to be stamp collectors, themselves, you children (or spouse) have no real idea of what your collection is about. They may have the most general idea that your collection is "valuable" to some extent, but what will they do when you die? Will they have the information to sell your stamps for fair market value? In the event you have assembled a specialized collection... would a "general" stamp dealer-- assuming your heirs had the knowledge to contact one-- understand what they were looking at? Will the collection-- which could have paid for a grandchild's college education-- end up with some unknowing dealer who'll offer $5,000 for it? Would anyone (for example) realize that this non-descript Swedish stamp pictured at right carries the only known example of the postmark on it... and would sell for a considerable sum, if properly auctioned, in Sweden?

And so, I have started the process of "documenting" my collections, creating a file of descriptions and information that can serve as an "addendum" to my will.

It doesn't have to be complicated.

A couple of paragraphs to describe your collection, or each of your collections (if you have several). A brief listing of any "highlights" a potential auctioneer or other buyer should be aware of, along with the location of any expert certificates for better items, should you have some. A short list of dealers or stamp auctioneers YOU would entrust your collection to... were you to sell it today... along with their contact information.

Doing this will not only offer you some peace of mind, it will also offer peace of mind to those who-- at some point in the future-- will have to "deal with dad's stamp collection."

Saturday, December 03, 2011

New AFA Catalogues from Denmark

I received an early Christmas "present" today.

As a specialist collector, I depend on fairly specialized literature to help me better understand and identify the stamps in my collections. Today, I received the new 2012 AFA Denmark catalogue. Along with it, I also got a copy of the 2008 AFA specialized catalogue-- the last time this catalogue (typically released every 6-7 years) was published.

As I perused the new books, it struck me as interesting how there is much talk about how the stamp collecting hobby is "shrinking," and yet... these two catalogues are both about twice the size they were in my early days of collecting, when I was a kid.

The AFA catalogues are a must, if you're a serious collector of Denmark. The Swedish Facit catalogue will get you a long way-- AFA gets into more detail. Although they are published in Danish, and the pricing is listed in Danish kroner, they are well illustrated and easy to use. The specialized catalogue-- now in color and over 900 pages thick-- offers one of the most thorough listings of constant varieties on Danish stamps. The Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Danish West Indies are also covered.

Of course, at a little over US$200.00 (including postage from Denmark) for the two books, these are not for the faint of heart. Which is also why I only invest in new editions every 4-5 years.

Since the catalogues are Danish, I feel that they also offer a more accurate reflection of the current pricing of Danish stamps. Of course-- like all catalogues-- "full catalogue price" is a rarity for any stamp, however, the AFA catalogues offer a fairly accurate picture of the "relative" rarity of different stamps, and is especially useful when it comes to newer stamps. For example, the 2012 Denmark catalogue now includes pricing for stamps on cover up until 1995, and some of the prices accurately reflect that finding certain higher values genuinely used on cover can be extremely difficult. For example, some of the high value painting stamps-- postally used on cover-- might set you back $25-30, even though the stamps are barely 20 years old. Don't believe me? Try finding a NON-first day cover!

Anyway, I was happy to see these new additions to my philatelic library.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Moving... and Overwhelm

We are-- more or less-- moved into the new house.

Some people deal really well with stress-- in fact, they tend to be at their best when their backs are against the wall. I'm not one of those people.

The last couple of weeks have been very hectic-- and included having a houseguest for a week. Of course, that arrangement had been made a long time ago, back when we thought we would be moved in by mid-September.

The stamp area, as seen from my desk.
I have barely had time to set up (or organize) my new office space-- but things are slowly beginning to take shape. No matter what we do in life, it seems like we always have "more than expected."

As we were packing to leave our old house, I became very aware that I have accumulated far more "unsorted" stamps than I thought. Now that I am unpacking-- for what will hopefully be the last time-- I have grown even more aware of the sheer number of boxes marked "stamp related" that also could be placed into a general category of "to sort later."

Occasionally, I come across programs on cable TV about people who are "hoarders." My wife and I watch (with some fascination) and then grow more determined to control our hoarding tendencies.

It makes me wonder if stamp collectors are all "hoarders," to some degree, except we keep it under some semblance of control by only hoarding one "thing." I am yet to meet a collector who's always "caught up" with his or her collection. For most of us, there are 47 million "projects" and "sub-projects" and piles of things set aside to "deal with later." On the surface, it looks pretty neat and tidy... but stamps are little and light, and the "under control" looking shelf that houses 23 shoeboxes and a bunch of stockbooks may actually be home to a giant mess of items that number in the 100's of thousands.

Not that I am getting down on stamp collectors. Or myself, for that matter.

For the moment, it's just a little daunting... there is so much (now that everything is finally in one place) and "where do I start?" I keep reminding myself of an old truism: "The way to eat an elephant is... one bite at a time..."

Friday, October 28, 2011

The upheaval of moving...

We are moving.

In a few days, the movers-- in the form of two guys and a truck from a local furniture company who moonlight as moving services-- will be here to pick up our stuff and move it to our new house. Well, the house is new to us, not new in the age-of-the-building sense.

A few years back, using part of a bookshelf as "office"
Moving tends to be very stressful and typically a hassle. This time, though, I am somewhat looking forward to it. For the first time, I will have an actual "dedicated" office space for my stamps and other home businesses. Even though I have been "working from home" for years and years, I have never had an actual office to call my own-- typically, I have had a corner of a living room, half a bedroom, a walk-in closet, or something similar. This time, we converted what was the previous owner's fairly large workshop into a light and spacious office for yours truly.

It has been a long time since I have actually had all my stamp boxes unpacked in one place. It will be interesting to see what's in some of these boxes that have not seen the light of day in maybe 15 years.

We are planning to make this our "last" move. Maybe those sound like "famous last words," but we spent a long time very carefully planning what we needed in a home, and then taking our sweet time until just the right thing came onto the market. The relative luxury of being able to wait and buy what we wanted, when we wanted is something we worked a long time towards. My wife and I are both veterans of many, many moves, and tumultuous childhoods that involved frequently moving... so the idea of a "firm" home base is very appealing to both of us.

So, for the moment, I need to shut things down for a while, and pack my stuff. I'll be back with new musings when we get to "the other side."

[Written 2011-10-28; refined and published 2011-12-01]

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stamp Collecting and Building Community

I often talk about "community," on these pages.

One of the things the Internet has given us-- as stamp collectors, as hobbyists, as human beings-- is the opportunity to connect with others and develop more of a sense of community.

In days of old, "community" was pretty much a local phenomenon. You belonged to a local "interest" group-- be it a stamp club, or professional, or political organization-- in your village, your town, your city. That was your "community."

Denmark Scott 737/AFA 768, from 1983
In some interpretation of the world, stamp collectors-- and letter writers-- were among the first who reached out to the precursors of the "Internet," through the fairly common practice of "pen pals," during the Victorian age. "Penny Postage" allowed people in the UK-- and subsequently in other parts of the world-- to reach each other through "Pen Pal Clubs." In many ways, these were the pioneering days of becoming "friends" with someone you'd never actually met in person.

With the arrival of the Internet the idea of "communities formed around a common interest" has grown enormously. Suddenly, we were no longer "geographically dependent," which expanded our opportunities tremendously. Although many philatelists may pooh-pooh the idea of email and the www as a tool to save stamp collecting, fact remains that it's through the Internet we're now able to so easily connect with thousands of collectors around the world whom we'd never have had the opportunity to know, otherwise. Not only that, but we're able to find colleagues and friends, no matter how specialized our field of interest.

I am not unaware of the fact that stamp collecting historically has been a pretty "solitary" hobby... and I also recognize and honor that part of the appeal has been that stamp collecting was something you could "do alone." As such, I would expect a general "personality profile" of philatelists to include disproportionately many introverts and "loners," if compared to the general population... many of whom would simply not be interested in sitting alone in their study for hours, looking at little pieces of paper.

That said, we humans are ultimately "social" creatures... and no matter how introverted we may be, at least some measure of our collecting enjoyment comes from "swapping fish stories" with our peers; comparing and sharing what we have in our collections, and trading with others.

It's up to us, however, to reach out... rather than allow ourselves to grow isolated behind our computer screens. It's up to us to use these new types of media as tools to connect; rather than as an excuse to not have to leave the house, at all. It's up to us to re-create stamp collecting as a 21st century "community," as well as simply an interesting hobby we love.

As I have written before, stamp collecting will not survive-- and even thrive-- if our main effort goes towards trying to bring more "retirees" into the hobby, using the "old ways." It won't work-- especially not in the long run. The people we need to bring into stamp collecting are from "Generation Internet;" the first young people who grew up as "technology natives" with computers and social media.

"Occupy Wall Street" protest in Port Townsend, WA
Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours in the company of several hundred people staging a peaceful protest outside the local offices of a large national banking corporation, as part of the now globe-spanning "Occupy Wall Street" movement. One of the things I "took away" from this event is the notion that the old idea that "the youth of the world will change society" may be an increasingly outmoded concept.


Most members of "Generation Internet" are mired down in escalating student loans, the struggle to merely survive in a hostile and uncertain economy and a certain degree of hopelessness as greater and greater numbers resort to "moving back in with the parents." It is actually the 50-somethings and 60-somethings who have the experience, wisdom... and (usually) the time and financial resources to make a difference. Interestingly enough, the activist/protesters of the 1960s-- for a while "absent" to pursue the almightly dollar and material success-- now find themselves as the most qualified to be "world shapers and changers" in the 2010's. They are not merely (to use "Occupy Wall Street" terminology) "in the 99%," they are typically in the  80th to 99th percentile who have the most to lose.

The thing that saddens me a lot is that such large numbers of people who belong to this subgroup of "former activists" are deeply apathetic and indifferent-- complaining endlessly about the "decline" of the world, but then choosing to sit at home on the couch with excuses like "I can't make a difference, so why bother?" and "it's up to the YOUNG people, not up to ME."


Getting back to stamp collecting, in order to appeal to "Generation Internet," we-- the "elders"-- must be willing to step outside our comfort zones to make room for them. That means not only being willing and open to using twitter, facebook, tumblr and online forums to talk about stamp collecting-- but embracing that "interesting stamps in 2011" may be what we (secretly, or not) would consider "useless wallpaper."

The future is now. Are we ready to embrace it and help create a new paradigm for stamp collecting? Or are going to passively stand by and allow our resistance to change to slowly kill the hobby love, and from which we've gained so much?

The next move is yours....

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Classic Denmark and Swedish Cancels on eBay

With fall around the corner, and the weather outside not as friendly as it has been, I have been working more on organizing stamps and sorting through old lots.

As a result, I have been adding new items to my eBay stamp store. As always, I focus on listing good quality and desirable material. It continues to sadden me how many stamp sellers use eBay to "dump their junk." I definitely do not choose to be part of that philosophy... and to the degree I sell "junk" stamps, I usually lump them into one large "floor sweepings" lot, clearly marked as "stamps with problems."

So, what's new?

Denmark 4RBS Chestnut Brown
Right now, I am in the process of adding Danish stamps, most of them pre-1930. There are quite a few from the "Bicoloured" issue, although I have not spent time plating most of these... however, the scans are large and clear enough that collectors should easily be able to determine printings and positions from the scans. I have also been listing a number of better varieties and plate flaws... although I am not going to get into specifics about these, as it seems like they sell almost immediately.

Among the better items going up for auction later today (start Sunday, October 9th, end Sunday, October 16th) is a very presentable copy of Denmark's 4RBS brown (Scott #2b/AFA no. 1IIIe) in the rare chestnut brown shade. Although not listed in US catalogues, this shade is valued at US$300.00+ by European catalogues. As with all my auctions, I start bidding at 99 cents, and no reserve.

Meanwhile, I have been sorting and cataloguing a large lot of Sweden Officials and Postage Dues, bought at auction earlier this year. This has turned out to be a very interesting lot, containing not only some nice varieties, but a large number of really nice town cancels. The lot has an interesting "history," in that it contains all Swedish stamps, but was assembled by a collector in Canada, then sent to Denmark to be auctioned, and now has ended up with me in the USA. An excellent example of how stamp collecting truly is a Global hobby!

Normally, when I sort "messy lots" like these, I end up with a lot of defective and uninteresting stamps. This group, however, has been "cleaner" than most with a surprising number of good cancels. After picking out many stamps for my own collection, there has still been a lot left over to sell as duplicates... or as simply not fitting in with my areas of interest.

Current new listings include this copy of a 20 öre red "long" official with a nice strike of the fairly rare "VESTRA KARABY" town cancel. Valued at 500:- SEK (about US$72.50) in the Swedish Facit Postal cancel catalogue, this is one of the rarest cancels I've had on eBay in several years. Although stamp collecting may not be thriving in a worldwide sense, the collecting of postal history and regional town cancels in Sweden is going strong. Known to many as "Hembygsfilateli" (literally: home area philately), this is a highly specialized area of Swedish philately, where collectors focus on postal history from their county or region. This may sound relatively simple-- on the surface-- but it can be surprisingly challenging, as many small towns and places of the 1800s are no longer active postal places, and some were in use for very short period of time.

I hope you'll take a moment to check out my eBay stamp store, today!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


The Internet is a funny place.

I must also confess that I have a short little span of attention, and often get sidetracked by "shiny objects." In the case of the Internet, the shiny obejcts just happen to be web sites I end up at... as no particular part of what I was just doing, just a few minutes earlier.

A few days ago, I ended up on a web site called "Stamp-O-Rama."

Denmark Scott B5
Seemed like a very interesting site, and a bit of a departure from most stamp sites-- combining "forum," "stamp club" and "auction" features on one site. So I decided to apply for membership. The membership application process was also appealing, with the final notice that a "real live human" would review my application and approve my membership. Part of why that was appealing is that so many (stamp) sites are plagued by huge numbers of random spammers that ruin it for the legitimate collector and hobbyist. On an actual monitored site, I feel, there's a greater chance that only collectors will be present.

So, I sent off my application, and started checking my email box for my membership approval. The final web site note stated that "it could take several days," which seemed OK since the site is run by volunteers.

And so, the days passed. I patiently waited till October 2nd (12 days later), but did not heard anything back-- and I even checked my email spam filters, since unknown mail sometimes finds its way there. That made me a bit sad, so I'm wrote a note back to the email address on the initial "please wait for approval" letter to see if there was a problem-- and if anyone was still even there.

It's a sad truth of the Internet that many sites (of all kinds) are started with great enthusiasm, and then the founders of those sites lose interest when not as much activity as they expected happens on their sites. It's difficult and time consuming to run a web site-- still more difficult to get it to become a well trafficked "success" that many people use.

In this case, I was relieved that there was a fairly quick response. There had been some kind of mix-up, and I'd somehow been assigned the ID of a different member-- but the error was quickly taken care of. Since Stamporama is run by volunteers, it's understandable that sometimes things slide through the cracks-- I run enough web sites of my own to appreciate that. The Stamporama club/site secretary was very friendly and helpful.

Now I just look forward to exploring the site... and based ion what I've seen so far, I'd like to encourage others to do so, as well. Not only does this appear to be a friendly and fun community for stamp collectors, it also serves as part of the overall effort to help build stamp collecting communities online. Visit and join Stamporama today!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Finding "Treasures"

For me, a large part of the joy of stamp collecting comes from finding "unexpected treasures" in a lot of stamps.

Sure, we can go out and find a stamp dealer, or go to an online stamp store, and buy precisely the one stamp we need to fill a very specific space in the album. And I won't deny that this may be the most appropriate way to collect, for many people.

For me? Not so much.

Most of my collection has been built through buying fairly large lots, collections or accumulations... and slowly sifting through the "mess" to find the few "gold nuggets" I wanted to include in my collections. Sure, I do end up with quite a bit of duplicate material... but there are ways of trading or selling that to other collectors who may need what I don't need.

Recently, I splurged and bought a fairly large lot of classic used back-of-the-book issues from Sweden. Well, for me it was fairly large outlay-- about US $375.00, from a stamp auction firm in Denmark.

Sweden Scott O10, XF-S with rare FRÖSKOG cancel
Buying these classic issues-- most from the period 1874 to about 1900-- is always a bit risky, especially if you can't be present to check the condition. The Swedish "Long" officials (Scott O1-25, Facit TJ1-24) are especially notorious for poor condition-- thins and tears are common, and most stamps are somewhat to extremely off-center. Often the cancels-- especially on the higher values, which were used on parcel cards-- are heavy and unattractive, and will have bled through to the back of the stamp. Collecting a set in VF+ sound condition can be quite challenging... and many collectors just give up on such a proposition, settling for a "reasonable" in Fine or better condition.

As expected, condition was somewhat "mixed." That's typically "dealer speak" for "all the better values are damaged, the cheap stamps are mostly OK." After sorting through the lot, almost 50% of the stamps ended up in my "junk pile" because they were damaged/faulty to some degree. However, there were also some very nice stamps-- with very attractive cancels, one of my specialties-- in the lot.

The "upside surprise," however was that the very best stamp in the lot was also the one with the highest catalogue value:

The pictured stamp is a near-flawless copy of the Sweden 50 öre "long" official, perfed 14, from 1874, Scott no. O10. Not only does it have almost perfect centering, it is very fresh and bright, it has full perfs and no back faults, and a lovely upright town cancel from the village of Fröskog-- a smaller, hard-to-find place. There is a faint hint of a pencil line in the upper right corner, but otherwise it's as close to perfect as they get. This is a difficult stamp to find in merely "sound" condition... but in "gem" condition like this, it an extreme rarity. If I were to try to purchase this stamp individually at a stamp auction, in this condition, chances are I would have to pay well in excess of the $125.00 stated catalogue value.

Needless to say, I was very pleased with the outcome of this purchase, and I am still left with lots of trading and approval book material. Which just goes to show that it's not always the highest value stamps that are in the most "mixed" condition!

Friday, September 09, 2011

I Stopped Collecting Stamps in 1985...


Wait a minute.

This probably sounds a little strange for someone who's often going on and on about how we must try to bring new collectors into the hobby. Well, let me assure you that the title is not what it seems. So, let me explain what brought those words to mind.

I collect postally used stamps. My personal philosophy is that I like to have a collection of stamps that have "done" what stamps were designed to do: Carry the mail. For me, there is a certain charm and interest added by being able to look at a stamp and know that it carried some letter-- anything from a wedding invitation to a payment for a credit card bill-- from "Point A" to "Point B."

In fact, this part of philately/stamp collecting is so important to me that several of my collections are centered not just around the stamps, themselves, but around the postmarks on the stamps.

The collection I currently consider my "primary" is of town cancels on classic Sweden-- only on the issues of Scott/Facit nr. 1-51.

My broader Denmark specialized collection does consist of "one of each" but is also supplemented not merely with varieties and plate flaws, but also with what I think of as "luxury" cancels on all issues. In the US, collectors typically called them "Socked-on-the-nose" (S.O.N.).

So what's the issue?

As mail service-- and the way we communicate-- has entered the technological age, not only are we seeing fewer and fewer letters with stamps, but the way "snail" mail is being processed is increasingly automated.

From the perspective of my Denmark collection, hand cancels (like the one from Horsens, at right) pretty much became a thing of the past, during the mid- to late 1980's. But that's not all. Even nice machine cancels (like the one from the town of Års, upper right) started to fall by the wayside as more centralized mail processing became a fact of life.

What does that mean, in a practical sense? Well, local post offices stopped "handling" mail, and would simply bag incoming mail and send it-- by van or by train-- to central sorting facilities, where the postmarks would be applied. However, instead of 100's (or even 1000's) of different towns, Denmark ended up with just a handful of the postmarks of central sorting facilities.

The photo to the left shows a typical "modern" Danish cancel. It is certainly a "nice" one, and would fit my old qualifications for a "luxury" town cancel... except for the small detail that there is no longer a town involved. The cancel-- from 2010--reads (translated) "Central Sjælland's Postal Center." There is now just one standard postal marking for a region with 100's of towns and villages, and a population of some 300,000 people.

To me, that's just not very interesting. And that's why I realized that I "stopped collecting" around 1985, when town cancels started to go away.

Of course, I haven't actually stopped collecting. 1985 just became my "cutoff point," after which I no longer look for luxury cancels on newer issues.

Of course, this particular "issue" is not unique to Denmark. Other countries around the world are increasingly automating their mail delivery systems, and town cancels everywhere are becoming a thing of the past. In some places, cancels (as applied by a canceling device) have completely gone away, to be replaced by rather unattractive ink-jet "spray on" cancels.

Of course, many postal administrations still allow collectors to bring in their stamps to be hand cancelled by a postal worker at the post office. But whereas I can certainly appreciate the "extra effort" to keep stamp collectors happy, I must confess that I am a bit of a "purist:" Such cancellations-- while certainly "genuine" in all respects-- just do not fit my idea of "postally used."

Ultimately, I can't say that I blame the postal services of the world for "getting with the times." Everyone has to carefully watch where the money goes-- and in saving money, speed and technological advances often becomes a very important factor.

That said, it still makes me sad to realize that my stamp collections have become somewhat "finite;" that is, the possibility of ongoing expansion has gone away.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Auction News: Postiljonen Fall 2011 Auction

Swedish Stamp Auction firm Postiljonen has announced that the online catalogue for their fall 2011 stamp auction is now online. Postiljonen is one of Europe's well known-- and quite prestigious-- large stamp auction firms. This year's fall auction will take place at the Hotel Savoy in Malmö, Sweden, on September 30th and October 1st, 2011.

Although this is a "brick-and-mortar" auction, the richly illustrated online catalogue makes it possible for collectors all around the world to participate-- and email bids are accepted.

A quick looks through the catalogue shows the firm's typical strong selection of high quality classic Scandinavian stamps-- including both superb individual items, as well as large exhibition quality collections. Not for the faint of heart, the lowest priced lots generally have an estimate of 100 Euro (about US $140), with opening bids running to the thousands.

Lot 611 in Postiljonen's current auction. Opening bid: 80,000 Euro
One highlight (click on image to see a larger version) is this superb classic cover  from Sweden, described in the catalogue as: "An exceptional 3-colour franking to the Papal States with 3, 4 and 24 Sk. Bco in very strong colours and with extremely clear excellent cancellations "STOCKHOLM 15.9 1857". Transit and arr. pmks on back together with an official figure handstamp by the Consulate of the Papal States in Stockholm. Cert. Obermüller Wilén. SUPERB EXHIBITION ITEM OF HIGHEST RANK. Provenance: Hans Mott Hugo Josefsson, Grand Prix STOCKHOLMIA 86."

Indeed, worthy of any collection. Opening bid is 80,000 Euro (about US $109,700). So much for the "global recession!"

You can use the following link to visit the Postiljonen Auctions online catalogue and have a look at the offerings in the fall auction.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The "Birthday" theme: Stamp Collecting for Fun

I think it may be a "natural progression" for stamp collectors to begin their collections in the broadest possible way (when I was a child, I wanted to collect "The Whole World"), and then become more and more specialized as time goes by.

Denmark Scott no. 294, cancelled 30.8.1946
I know this has held true for me. "The Whole World" gradually became "Scandinavia," then "Denmark and Sweden." As the years rolled by, each country got further subdivided, as I got interested in specialty areas: For Denmark, numeral cancels on classic issues; the Bicoloured issue and "lux" cancels. For Sweden, the "Ringtyp" issue, and classic town cancels.

Now, I'm not saying that specialization is a bad thing-- far from it!

However, I do think that sometimes our "obsessions" with specialized areas can become a major part what leads to the public image of stamp collectors as "stuffy old men who live in their office." Let's face it... to an outsider, just how interesting does it seem that someone dedicates their life to looking at the "upper right corner" of hundreds of the same little old pieces of paper? Not very inspiring, right? If I were to encounter that-- and the only perspective I can offer is that I have encountered such things, in other collecting fields-- I'd think something like "Wow... I admire the tenacity but pretty boring..." and move on.

I wouldn't exactly say that specialization causes us to "lose our youthful sense of wonder," (after all, WE remain in "wonder" at what we're doing, right?) but perhaps we end up taking ourselves a little too seriously. And perhaps the "side effect" is that specialization also means that what we consider to fall within the realm of "fun" becomes more specialized... consider, again, the "upper right corner" example, from above. I consider the the Swedish "ringtyp" stamps fun... as do 17 other people. But not thousands of other people. And certainly not potential new collectors.

For me, part of what keeps me in touch with the original reasons I started to collect stamps is that I start new collections from time to time. This not only allows me to retain "beginner's eyes" in the context of my new area, but it keeps me from getting stuck in too much of a rut of "Being A Serious Philatelist."

Today is August 30th. It is my birthday. And so, this article becomes about one of my "Fun, Light and Fluffy" collections: stamps postmarked on August 30th.

Denmark Scott no. 73, postmarked 30.8.1909
I started this collection about 15 years ago, when I found an older Danish stamp on my birthday and noticed it had been used on that same day-- August 30th-- 80 years earlier. And it gave me the idea to start the "birthday postmark collection."

This collection has proven to be inexpensive, yet quite tricky. After all, looking for a stamp postmarked on a particular day means you not only have to find stamps with readable cancels, but your chances of finding the date you need is just 1-in-365. But one of the fun things about it is that-- even though this is a "specialized" collection-- I can find stamps to add pretty much anywhere there are stamps sold or traded, and most of the stamps in the collection have cost only a few pennies each.

Within my "Birth Date Collection," I have particular "prizes" that I assign higher rank or rarity to: Any stamp that was cancelled on my actual date of birth-- August 30, 1960-- gets bonus points from me. Similarly, any stamps canceled on August 30th in one of the two towns in Denmark where I grew up-- Rungsted Kyst and Hørsholm-- also get "bonus points." So far, I have only found three examples of the former, and ONE example of the latter. But the hunt continues!

The "moral" of the story is that I take an active role in remembering what makes stamp collecting fun... and what made it fun for me, in the first place.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Auction News: VF Auktion Auction 1207, August 30th, 2011

Danish auctioneer "VF Auktion" has started their Weekly Auction Nr. 1207.

According to the online catalogue, there are almost 6500 lots in this auction, with the majority of them being Danish stamps, but also with a representation of the rest of the world. Most lots are illustrated with color photos, particularly individual stamps... but also many of the "lots and collections." As is typical for this auction firm, there is pretty much "something for everyone" offered in this sale, with lot opening bids running from around 50,- DKK (less than US $ 10.00) to the thousands.

For those outside Denmark, the online catalogue is available both in Danish and English. Bids can be submitted online, once potential bidders have set up an account.

The stamp at the right caught my eye-- a beautiful copy of the 4 skilling "Arms" issue from 1864, with a pretty strike of a Hellerup "star" cancel. It would fit well in my collection as not only "classic Denmark," but also an interesting cancel in top quality. I don't often buy individual stamps, but I'm tempted!

In the remainder of the sale, I noticed some nice smaller lots of Norway's "Posthorn" issues. In the section for Sweden, quite a few lots with high quality town cancels. There's also a good showing of GB with Victorian classics, along with good sections of Germany, France and Switzerland.

Bidding for this auction ends on August 30th.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Auction News: Philea Auction 297, August 24th, 2011

I've spent part of today looking at Swedish Auction firm AB Philea's online catalogue listing for their August 24th public auction.

As usual, there are thousands of lots offered, with the majority of the weight being on Sweden. I've found that summer auctions are often a good time to buy, as many collectors in Scandinavia are preoccupied with things other than stamp collecting, while the weather is nice.

6 öre Ringtyp with two pre-printing paper folds
I am always looking for interesting and unusual items for my collection of the "Ringtyp" series; in this particular sale, I am considering a copy of the 6 öre perf. 14 stamp, with TWO pre-printing paper folds. With an opening bid of 500:- Swedish Kr. (about US $78.00) it's by no means cheap, but I've not seen one like it before (photo at left).

Of course, it's typically "lots and collections" that really catch my interest. However, since I made quite a few "box lot" purchases this spring, I am in a rather "picky" frame of mind, these days... but by no means so picky I'm going to pass up what appears to be a true bargain. Naturally, true bargains are rare, when you are looking at the auction catalogues of firms with thousands of clients worldwide.

One lot that caught my eye is a collection of "ringtyp" stamps chosen for cancels. Although the online photos suggest that maybe one-in-ten stamps meet my own criteria for cancel quality, the appeal of a lot like this is that most cancel collectors are not interested in plate flaws... and so, once I'd removed any desirable cancels, I would be able to go back through the lot a second time and scan for varieties. That said, the opening bid of 4000:- Swedish Kr. (about US $625.00) is a bit "stout" during these meager economic times. I'll have to consider whether or not I'd be able recover some of the cost of the lot with subsequent sales on eBay... seems like a fair percentage of the cancels still look "collectible" enough to warrant interest from those not quite so particular about obtaining perfect strikes.

Over in the Denmark section, I noticed several very nice lots of duplicates. When looking for Danish stamps, I prefer lots that only run to about 1960, 1970's at the very latest... as I just don't have much interest in more modern material. Unfortunately, several of these lots already have gone 50% past opening bid from online bidding and I feel hesitant to place a bid beyond that. These higher prices are no doubt due to the fact that the economic recession in most of the world is fairly mild in the Scandinavian countries.

I took a brief look at Overseas lots, because I do collect a few items from outside Scandinavia-- and found a fairly appealing lot of used Australia, which is now up for serious consideration... part of the appeal here was the descriptive text that it includes "more than 200 kangaroo stamps." One of my specialized collections is the Kangaroo and Map issue, and finding these stamps in quantity outside Australia (where specialists have already picked over most lots) holds a lot of appeal.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A New Forum for Stamp Collectors: Stamp Bears

From time to time, I have written on these pages about the need to bring new collectors into the stamp hobby.

This week, I'd like to introduce a fairly new stamp forum and community named Stamp Bears.

A lot of (older, mostly) collectors are worried about the state of the hobby... and as the "old guard" slowly dies off (yes, I know, that's a bit morbid), how there seem to be very few younger people coming in to take over the space they leave behind.

A hobby-- on a large scale-- is also a community. And when it comes to communities, the ones that thrive are the ones that appear vibrant and "happening." I realize a lot of old-timers would be set in their ways and dismiss "vibrant and happening" as nonsense... because THEY don't need it. True enough.

But attracting new people to stamp collecting isn't about what appeals to "old philatelists," but about what appeals to youngsters and newcomers.

What I like about the Stamp Bears community is that its intent is to be a "family forum" for stamp collectors... and NOT "yet another forum for Serious Philatelists." The forum's focus and mission is very much about the fun and joy of simply "collecting stamps." This is not to say that you wouldn't enjoy it, if you were a "serious" collector... nor that "serious" philately isn't discussed.

The community was created and is run by a 30-something couple who are both stamp collectors, and they have two young daughters, who are also getting into collecting... thereby being a living example of a stamp collecting family.

As a collector with 40-something years of experience, I found the "atmosphere" of the forum very refreshing and friendly-- and I'd like to encourage you to click here and check it out!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I have spent this past week giving the Scandinavian Stamps blog a major "face lift."

I was looking at my posts, and realized that the site had not been "modernized" since I started it, back in early 2006. That's 4 1/2 years ago.

On the greater scale of things, 4 1/2 years is not a long time. As stamp collectors, we look at "4 1/2 years ago" and think it is "new." Yet, in the modern age of the Internet, 4 1/2 years is a huge amount of time.

For one, there are LOADS of easy-to-use features you can add to blogs, that simply weren't there, in early 2006. Also, monitor technology has come a long way since then... and the old blog format-- built to conform with a standard that a web page is best left "under 1028 pixels wide" was out of date... and the blog looked "dated" and "tired" by today's standards.

It also made me think a little bit about stamp collecting, itself... and the "crisis" a lot of people seem to think the hobby is facing, in this technological age. And it occurred to me that we cannot hope to attract young "fresh blood" to the hobby if we come across as "old" and "out of date" and not technologically savvy.

I'm not saying we shouldn't collect "old stamps" anymore-- I'm just saying we need to get with the times and present our collection of "Queen Victoria plate varieties" in a manner appropriate for today, and not in a manner best left back in Queen Victoria's time...

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Stamp Collecting Seasons

When I was little and growing up in Denmark, stamp collecting was more of a wintertime hobby.

Winters in Denmark were dark, wet, often cold and generally the period between the end of October and mid-March involved a lot of indoor activities, because being outside was pretty miserable. Stamp collecting was a good way to keep the "young ones" occupied inside, in a way my mother felt wouldn't destroy the house. My best friend Henrik and I spent many a winter afternoon after school "playing" with our stamp collections.

Summertime in Denmark! 
Come about mid-April, the days (and sunbreaks) would get longer, and we would increasingly often be kicked outside to play. So we went out to play soccer, play in the street, go to the beach, or the woods, or whatever. When I think back to those days, I realize that I rarely looked at my stamp collection during the summer-- even when school was off.

Now that I'm an adult, I don't exactly have a time when I completely put away my collection for the summer. Let's face it... it's summer where I live, right now, and I'm writing these words on a stamp collecting blog! But I'm not really doing much with my collections, these days: any new acquisitions get put into a glassine and tossed into a box with brief notes about what I need to do with them, later. I haven't been anywhere near eBay in about eight weeks. Tomorrow will more likely be given to working in the garden, getting house projects done and even going for walks with my wife or beach combing. Other days are given to going on holiday, or on short trips.

For some, there are no "seasons," of course. If you call Key West, Florida "home," the idea of long cold dark winters is alien to you. Others, who might be retired, experience seasonality as less important. For some, stamp collecting is their primary interest, and so they are always at it.

How about you? Are you a seasonal collector, or someone whose collection is going ALL the time? Do you completely stop during the summer, or just cut back your time? Does "holiday" mean you have more time for your collection, or that you put it away completely?

Please share your thoughts and comments!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Postmarks: Hackås, Sweden

Pictured to the right is a copy of Sweden Facit nr. 31, the 6 öre lilac Ringtyp, perf 13, with a very nice cancel from the village of Hackås. The postmark is very crisp and clear, and reads "HACKÅS 3.4.1879." This is an example of the Swedish "normalcancellation 16;" in the small diameter with "thin" writing, typical of small postal places.

What is the value of this stamp? The stamp itself is a copy of Facit no. 31c which has a catalogue value of 45:- Swedish kr. A clear readable Hackås cancel from this time period carries a premium of another 50:- Swedish kr. The stamp is sound although a little off-center, but it is an unusually nice and clean example of the cancel. A stamp like this would probably sell for about 150-200:- Swedish kr. (about US$23.50-31.25) at auction; probably more from a specialist dealer.

About the village: Hackås is located in Jämtland county in central Sweden. The town itself has about 500 inhabitants; with a total of 1100+ if you count the outlying surrounding municipality. There has been a settlement in this area for many 100s of years, and it was considered one of the "central points" for community connection in Jämtland county. Later, it became a stopping point for the railway, as well a ferry landing for boats on nearby Storsjön which is Sweden's 5th largest lake. The nearest major population center is Östersund, some 25 miles to the north.

The church and bell tower at Hackås with Storsjön in the background.
Local lore suggests that the name Hackås is derived from the word "haknas," which is believed to actually be a misrecorded written entry in local records for the name "Hakuas," as the place was locally called in the early 1300s. "Hakuas" was most likely a compound word formed by the words "hake" (meaning a "point," as in, the point into the lake) and "ås" (meaning a ridge, or shallow mountain range). So, it could be said that the town's name was the result of poor penmanship, almost 700 years ago!

Hackås is best known for its very unusual and richly ornamented church, dating back to the 1100s-- along with the nearby belltower built in 1750. Although the church was rebuilt and expanded later, the structure still includes part of the original church, the altar, and frescoes dating to the 1200s. There are also a number of well-preserved paintings from the 1600s.

The church is located near the shore of the lake, a little bit away from the village, which is set back about 500 meters from the water's edge.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Scandinavian Stamp Specialist shop on Bonanza

This is to announce the opening of my new online stamp shop on the "Bonanza" web site. Formerly known as "Bonanzle," Bonanza is a web site where sellers can create online stores to offer items for sale.

Bonanza is not specifically a "stamps venue," but the new shop I've opened is ALL about stamps... and the web site has other stamp vendors, as well.

The focus of the store is "Better Scandinavia." You can expect to find some of my higher quality stamps there-- especially from Denmark and Sweden-- all listed with good descriptions and large clear photos. The stamp pictured is just one example of the type of material you can expect to find.

I hope you'll check it out, and bookmark it to check back, from time to time. Click on this link to visit the stamp shop!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

eBay Time: Denmark

I recently purchased some collections of Danish stamps, and this week will be selling off the better stamps I didn't use for my own collection.

It's a relative modest group of "somewhat better" values, running the range from classic issues to mid-period, and  also with some back-of-the-book items.

Like is the case with most of my eBay auctions, everything starts with an opening bid of just 99 cents, and there is NO reserve on any lot-- and there are some items here with catalogue values running to US$60.00.

I hope you'll stop by and check out this week's offerings! The auctions end on Sunday, May 22nd.

Click here to visit my eBay page!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

eBay Time: Worldwide bits and pieces at auction

It is already May, and only now am I getting around to listing my first set of stamp auctions on eBay, this year!

Up for grabs are 50 better items, predominantly Western Europe with most of the weight on Scandinavia. Lots include some Danish Bicolours, Swedish with better cancels on classics, some better Germany, France and Switzerland. There are also a few bits and pieces from the US.

This group is not typical of how I like to offer things for sale on eBay, but these were a bunch of "leftovers" I just didn't have any other place to put.

Like is the case with most of my eBay auctions, everything starts with an opening bid of just 99 cents, and there is NO reserve on any lot-- and there are some items here with catalogue values running to US$700.00.

I hope you'll stop by and check out this week's offerings! The auctions end on Sunday, May 15th.

Click here to visit my eBay listings!

Monday, April 11, 2011

How NOT to Ship Stamps

I usually try to leave my personal gripes at the door, when I sit down to write-- whether it is an article on spirituality, an eBay auction description, or a post on this blog.

Today, however, I am in a rather grumpy mood. Let me explain...

Most of my collections have been built through a slow process of buying large "box lots," sorting my way through them to pick out any individual "gems," or varieties, or other kind of specialist material. When I am done with a box, I "recycle" the remains back to the collector market... usually through eBay or a similar venue.

Many of my box lots and collections come from overseas-- specifically from about 5-6 large sellers in Scandinavia. Not surprising, since my primary philatelic interests are Denmark and Sweden.

I recently won several collections from a sale by a large well-known auctioneer in Scandinavia. Understanding from the description (and photos) that I was buying a lot of stamps on loose stock leaves, I took the time to write to the auction firm to recommend that they "cross-strap" each album/stockbook with heavy rubber bands to put the pages "under pressure" and to prevent the stamps from falling out and getting damaged. Most auctioneers and dealers I do business with ship albums this way. Some even insert the albums into individual padded envelopes, before putting them into the shipping box.

The stamps, as I received them... one of 12 albums
Some three weeks later, my box of new acquisitions arrived! All excited, I opened the box... and found a horrible mess. Not only had the various albums been stacked rather carelessly in the shipping box, a couple had been put in upside-down, and there had been lots of loose space for the albums to rattle around, during trans-Atlantic shipping. And absolutely no sign that the albums had been strapped, to keep them closed.

The result?

100s of loose stamps floating around the box-- many of them damaged by being beaten between heavy albums. It just made me angry, and sand... and begs the question "just HOW hard is it to take just a little care, before shipping a box of valuable stamps across the Atlantic?"

Of course, I find myself with rather a "Catch-22" situation, because complaining would do little good. I have already complained about this issue, once before. But the rest of the "problem" is that this auction house is one of the very best sources for Danish bulk lots in the world... so deciding to no longer do business with them would also mean cutting myself off from one of my best suppliers.

I guess sometimes there's just no winning...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Where Collectors Come From

I have long had an interest in "community building," as a central part of ensuring the continuance of the stamp collecting hobby. I strongly believe that if we make an effort to be more connected-- as collectors-- we present an image to potential newcomers as having something they'd "want to become part of."

If we portray an image of being "solitary and antisocial hermits in our dark studies," it will not serve us well, in this modern world where the Internet increasingly connects us all.

As "keeper" of this blog for some five years, I periodically sit down with the site's "visitor logs," which help give me a sense of "what's going on" and who's reading these pages.

Whereas Google (searches) has always been the primary referrer to this site, I noticed something interesting, the last time I looked at the site logs:

"Spanning the Globe"
"" (the "main," USA- and worldwide-based site) is not my top Google referrer. In fact, it's not even in the top three: (United Kingdom) (Canada) (Sweden) (India) (Australia) (US/World)

Of course, it's open to interpretation what this really means.

It could mean that stamp collecting is more "active" in top five countries listed, than in the US-- even though they all have much smaller populations.

It could mean that Scandinavia-- as a collecting area-- is more popular in the top five countries listed, than in the US.

It could mean that stamp collectors in the top five listed countries are more likely to use the Internet, than collectors in the US.

What it does tell me, however, is that we have the ability to connect globally, these days. There can still be "stamp clubs," even if they become increasingly online-based, and they may be stronger and more focused than ever.

It's all about connecting across common ground!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Classic Swedish Cancels

I started collecting town cancels on classic Swedish stamps in the mid-1980's.

A nice "SKENINGE" cancel on 5ö green
The collection started more or less "by accident:" I was at university in the US at the time, and had gone "home" to Denmark for the summer-- in part to visit family, and in part to work (I didn't have a work permit for the US, at the time) to make money for school.

One day, I found myself strolling through the streets of central Copenhagen, looking at stamp shops. This was back in a time where "street level" retail stamp shops were still fairly numerous; there were at least 12-15 shops I liked to check out, on a regular basis.

One stretch of Gammel Kongevej had several dealers clustered together-- one of them was a favorite: Usually a "cluttered mess" of boxes and albums; this dealer's specialty was to take in people's collections-- and even entire holdings-- on consignment "as is." His opening hours were... well... sporadic, and I expected depended on whether he was out making a "house call" to an estate or someone who wanted to get out of the stamp collecting business. I don't think more than maybe 1/4 of the shop's stock was actually the dealer's own material. Anyway, this shop offered a constantly rotating "treasure hunt" for stamp collectors-- no knowing what might show up.

Of course, being just 24 at the time and a "starving student," my stamp budget was quite limited. Besides, I was in the business of saving money... not spending it; I needed to pay for my classes. However, I was working the 11pm to 7am shift at a factory AND taking on all holidays and weekends I could get (at the time called "antisocial hours"), and making a rather good wage-- so I had allowed myself a little "stamp money."

At the time, my primary stamp collections were Denmark, Sweden and France. I had pretty good collections for someone my age, and had even (hesitantly) started a couple of specialized collections... Danish numeral cancels and the Danish "Bicolours" issue.

As I looked through the shop's endless piles of boxes and albums, I came across a battered shoebox marked "old Sweden." Inside was an unruly mess of old yellowing glassine envelopes with thousands of classic Swedish stamps, from the "Arms" issues to the "Oscar" issues. Some seemed sorted by stamp; some seemed all mixed together. Mostly, I noticed that there was extreme duplication on some stamps-- and I guessed that was why the box was only marked at 1200,- Danish kr. (about US $200, but still a hefty sum in 1984, to a young man with little money). After all, who would want 1000+ copies of a 10ö red Oscar II stamp? I didn't know much about classic Sweden, but I did know that "bundleware" (even old) tended to be cheap.

Originally, I included the Oscar II series
I am not sure what possessed me to take a second look-- but as I scanned through the old glassines, I noticed a few had been marked "better cancels" (in Danish) in pencil. I also noticed that these "better" cancels were lovely strikes, by any measure-- most of them were on 12 öre blue "ringtyp" stamps, as well as the "Oscar II" issue. Having recently started my collection of Danish numeral cancels, I decided that collecting old Swedish cancels might be a fun sideline-- since I had reached a point with my Sweden collection where adding more stamps generally required me to spend $20 or more, per stamp.

I should add that I really "didn't know what I was doing," at the time. In my mind, I had a notion that perhaps I'd get a hold of a map of Sweden and cross off (or highlight) town names as I found them. I should also add that I found this box before cancel collecting in Sweden really became "a big deal."

My Swedish cancel collection started quite humbly. I bought a 32-page stockbook, which gave me a page per letter of the alphabet, with enough left over to make a separate page for major cities like Stockholm and Göteborg. Aside from that, all I did was put stamps in the stockbook, alphabetically, by place name.

It was actually several years before I learned that there was such a thing as a Swedish cancel catalogue-- the "Facit Postal" catalogue, issued every 4-5 years. And then I was amazed to discover that quite a few of my original "shoebox cancels" had considerable value... and they went on to form the basis for my Swedish cancel collection.

That was 27 years ago. A some readers may know, Swedish cancel and postal history collecting has since become a "big deal." Although "ortstämplar" and "hembygdsfilateli" are mostly Swedish philatelic interests collected in Sweden, I have met many fellow specialty collectors around the world-- from Denmark, to the UK, to the US, to Australia.

"Finds," like my original shoebox lot, are rare these days because awareness of this type of material is so much higher than it used to be. Top quality classic cancels sometimes sell for extraordinary prices at large Swedish philatelic auctions. Even those from relatively common (large) towns have been known to sell for many multiples of their catalogue values.

"WESTERÅS" on an early printing of 20ö red
About ten years ago, I decided to narrow down the scope of my Swedish cancel collection, limiting the stamps to only the "Vapentyp" (arms type) and "Ringtyp" (circle type) issues, Facit numbers 1-51. I still have many of my Oscar cancels, but am not actively collecting them any more-- and periodically have sold off some of the better items on eBay. Even so, my collection has grown to several thousand stamps and continues to grow-- albeit slowly-- as I visit stamp shows and pick up an occasional "box lot" or collection from a stamp auction.

Part of the slowness of the collection's growth can be directly attributed to my own rather particular requirements of the quality of cancel I am willing to include. From time to time, I realize that I may have put unreasonable constraints on myself-- but I am in no great hurry, and hopefully have at least another 30 years of collecting ahead of me!

Along the way, I have had the good fortune to pick up a few rarities-- at least within the limited context of Swedish cancels. That said, I am still missing quite a few "fairly common" cancels... just waiting for examples to show up, in the right condition.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Auction News: Goodbye Thomas Høiland?

I recently clicked on my bookmark to go visit the web site of Danish stamp and coin auctioneer Thomas Høiland.

The Thomas Høiland Auctions building
For many years, this has been one of my favorite "big" auction firms in Scandinavia, offering some of the finest material from the Nordic countries and beyond. I've particularly like them, on account of their extraordinary offerings of Denmark, especially as accumulations and box lots.

Much to my surprise, I found myself looking not at what I expected-- a spring auction catalogue-- but a notice that the company had sold its stamp operations to Danish art auctioneer Bruun-Rasmussen.

Meanwhile, Høiland's "web auction" division has already been transferred to Norwegian stamp and coin auctioneer Skanfil A/S. As a long time client of Skanfil, I know the web division is in capable hands.

Now, I know the Bruun-Rasmussen firm because my father was an art collector, and he'd sometimes take me to auctions with him. I realize they are a highly respected firm, and are certainly capable of conducting high quality auctions. What concerns me is that a "stamps only" firm is becoming part of a "general" art auction house... how will this affect the quality and quantity of material offered? I have previously seen Bruun-Rasmussen's stamp auctions and they were very nice, but small affairs with maybe 800-1000 very "exclusive" items... not the giant 10,000+ lot offerings of a Thomas Høiland auction.

The news release from the Høiland firm also stated that founder Thomas Høiland-- along with a number of his staff members-- would be moving along to the Bruun-Rasmussen company.

I have hopes that the quality of Thomas Høiland stamp auctions will find its way to Bruun-Rasmussen... but, for the moment, I am taking a "wait and see" approach.