Follow Scandinavian Stamps on Twitter!

Follow Scandinavian Stamps on Twitter!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

At Auction: Cancels and Varieties from Denmark

I expect it happens to most "general" stamp collectors after a while, that they start to experience what I have come to think of as "creeping elegance."

What follows is a bit of a "back story" about the stamps I have for auction on eBay this week. If you want to skip the story and just look at the stamps, follow this link to my auctions.

What do I mean by "creeping elegance?"

Denmark 15/24 øre Provisional from 1904
 For me, it meant starting to add 2nd and 3rd copies of stamps in the margins of my album pages. Maybe there was a beautiful or unique cancel. Maybe I discovered that I had a major variety or plate flaw among my duplicates. Maybe it turned out that a particular stamp was printed in a number of different shades.

I believe this is how specialized collections get started.

After a while, I noticed that my pages were getting increasingly "messy" looking, and I was starting to mount stamps on the backs of pages as well. Not the greatest of ideas, even if the stamps are protected by stamp mounts... the stamps start rubbing against each other, and falling out when you move the pages in the album.

I suppose I have just never been "one of those people" to just collect "one of each," and then feel like I am done. In fact, this can be said about some of my other collections, as well... collections not at all related to stamps. The basic "rule" I follow goes something like "If I think it's interesting or pretty, it goes in my collection."

The stamp from above-- plate flaw "chop in top frame."
Even if I already have 42 others.

My Denmark collection remained fairly "general" for a number of years, until my limited budget was no longer able to support my adding new stamps. In other words, "the next blank space" was a little out of my price range.

But since I'd already built a large hoard of duplicates, I followed my older cousin's suggestion of starting to collect plate flaws and varieties. After all, finding varieties among stamps I already owned was basically a free way to add to my collection.

Cousin Ib even gave me my first copy of the Danish "AFA Specialkatalog" which opened up a whole new world for me... hundreds of listed varieties! And the treasure hunt was made even more interesting by the fact that some of these stamps were quite valuable.

Of course, varieties don't really fit in a standard album, so I gradually ended up migrating my Denmark collection to my own blank pages. That worked for a number of years... but then I decided it might be easier to use high quality stock books, because the stamps would be easier to move around. The project of moving my specialized collection-- with varieties, printings, plate flaws and cancels-- from albums to stack books is an ongoing project around here... that will probably take several more years to complete.

LUX quality cancel from the village of TAPS
As I mentioned at the beginning, "somewhere in there" I'd also saved some stamps with attractive and/or interesting cancels.

Cancel collecting is "A Really Big Deal" among collectors in neighboring Sweden, but it never struck me that Denmark collectors were all that interested. Sure, some people collected numeral cancels, some collected the "star" and "udslebne" cancels, while yet another group collected Danish stamps postmarked on the Faroe Islands. But it was still a highly specialized affair.

However, I liked the way really nice cancels looked on stamps... and I had never been particularly interested in mint stamps... so I decided (early on) to keep the nicest cancels I would find as part of my specialized collection.

Of course the nice thing about a cancel collection is that you can add almost endless variety to your collection without "breaking the bank." At least most of the time. Almost perfectly centered cancels like the one from TAPS (a tiny village in southern Jylland) pictured here often command rather "stout" prices.

I suppose people approach stamp collecting from different perspectives. My collections-- and my personal enjoyment as a stamp collector-- revolves around "building the collection." The idea of having something one could call "a complete collection" doesn't really enter into my thoughts. "Completion" is not a very interesting concept for me, "building" is.

Combining BOTH: A plate flaw ("pointed eyebrow") and a
really nice cancel on the same stamp!
On more than one occasion I have been asked "But how will you know when you're DONE?"

My answer to that is that I don't really plan to BE "done." This baffles some collectors... while others nod knowingly. Which just goes to show you that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to collect stamps.

As a variety and cancel collector, I am not particular about how I add to my collection. I have never really been attached to the idea that I have to "wait" till the exact stamps I need shows up for sale, before adding it to my collection.

In fact, my favorite way to go is to buy large box lots and duplicate stocks and slowly sift through them, looking for "treasure." Often there are some really good "finds" to be made, especially with lots from here in the USA, where the stamps have generally not seen the eyes of a Danish specialist for decades... if ever. At the end of the sorting process, I sell off the material I decided not to keep... and sometimes that means I have bought thousands of stamps just to add a few dozen to my collection.

This week, I am auctioning off some of my older Danish duplicate stamps, with a focus on plate flaws and really nice cancels, including the items pictured here All in all, there are 40 lots of both individual stamps as well as a few sets... with values running to about US $100.00. As always, all items have an opening bid of ONE CENT and there are no reserves-- so the possibility of picking up a few bargains definitely exists.

Bidding is open until Sunday, August 11th, till about 2:00pm US Pacific Time/5:00pm US Eastern Time or 23:00 Central European Time. I hope you'll find something of interest to add to your collection!

Click here to see the current auctions with Danish stamps.