Saturday, February 4, 2012

The R factor

Well I hope after watching the above you are not thinking WOW! What a rarity!
 What a load of nonsense it is about as rare as a blade of grass on a football pitch!
Rarity is the one term most often abused by sellers on Ebay and Delcampe. There is nothing rare about this set of stamps. Yes they are a withdrawn set of stamps but there it ends, they were sold but later withdrawn, who is to say that they were returned to the Libyan Postal Authority, who is to say they were destroyed. How many were sold in the time they were on sale. How many have esc onto the market?
You will see these with an asking price of $3-$450 a set, they don't sell, why?, because they are both over-priced and over hyped.
Rarity is a state of scarceness, uniqueness, this issue has neither of these qualities, it is not scarce as it is found in fair abundance and its not unique either, they are just mint stamps.
So what is rarity?
Is this rare?

Well its not rare but it is scarce, its not good quality but its hard to come by.
This one sold for $36 on ebay recently a good example would set you back about $3-$600 a mint example about $2600 tops. Plate 125 was the last plate printed from and therefore was not printed in a great amount, unlike the Libyan stamps of Gadaffi which were printed in great numbers...... Would I rather have the 225 spacefiller.......??
For sure it has far greater rarity than the Libyan stamps.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The OTHER Line Engraved Issues Part 1 the Halfpenny

Introduced in 1870 the Bantam or Halfpenny line engraved stamp was a curiosity. It was half the size of any stamp seen in Great Britain and likewise cost half as much. Yet it was still printed as a Line Engraved stamp even though Surface printing (A far cheaper method.) had been used for GB stamps since 1855. The stamp was introduced to pay for a newly introduced reduction in the postage rate of Newspapers and other printed matter. 
Instead of a crown watermark that had been the norm on the line engraved, the watermark for this issue had the wording 'halfpenny' across three stamps.

A Plate 13
The 1d sheets of penny reds, that were the norm for 25-30 years were printed in sheets of 240 stamps lettered AA AB AC .... AL and continued down to the bottom row as TA TB TC ...... TL.
However the half sized stamp called for half size measures and so there were now 480 stamps on each printed sheet. Printed in 20 rows of 24 stamps they were lettered.
AA ..... AX through to TA ... TX.
Plate wise there were a small number of plates used in comparison to the 1d with plates 1,3,4,5,6,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,19 and 20 all put to press. The other plates 2,7,16,17 and 18 were not completed whilst two other plates 21 and 22 were produced and registered but never used.
The rarest is plate 9 the 'only in an emergency' plate is valued at x60 of a 'normal' plate.
 A Plate 9

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A NEW Line Engraved discovery or two!

This week I came across what has now become a new discovery on the GB QV Line engraved. A friend was trawling ebay with me looking for items of interest.
I suggested that he buy a plate 20 stamp lettered QH.
Here is the stamp below.

What caught my eye after he had bought the stamp though was, when I looked at the reference image for 20QH both this stamp and the reference had what appeared to be a mark on the cheek of Victoria. After others confirmed it was present on their copies but not listed in the specialised catalogue. It is a constant mark, albeit some printings are not as pronounced. The mark was also noticed on 20QG on the reference image see below:
What appears to be like a kiss curl on the cheek has been said to be a tiny bit of swarf from the metal, plate which has become trapped between the die and the plate when impressed after two impressions it looks to have been dislodged.
Hopefully this new variety will get a listing in the future. For now it has been added to the line engraved database for the plate listed as.
M.cheek* for QG and M.cheek for QH
 meaning Mark cheek * (* = weak) for QG and Mark cheek for QH.