Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I recently went through a batch of covers that I had in my to be inventoried pile. There were 40 or so covers that were grouped together as Phosphor varieties. I am not sure how close to first day of issue for the phosphor varieties each cover is. The closest thing I found to a list was in the Wallach definitive specialized catalog, but it only has listings through about 1980, and I have several covers with dates past that listed by Wallach. I even have a bunch of covers addressed to Dr. Wallach. Anyone know of a more comprehensive list then this catalog? Anyone interested in trading this type of material? I have a bunch of duplicates...

Monday, December 8, 2008

New ATM Stamps

It is that time of year again. Looks like Israel is issuing the 2008 Christmas ATM stamp today. According to my sources, it will be available with 3 different machine numbers. Machine 001 is the philatelic services machine, and all subscribers who get their stamps directly from the philatelic services will receive only that machine number. Machine number 010 is in Jerusalem and Machine 015 is in Nazareth. As has been my practice recently, I will get a single example from each machine (with the cheapest available rate - Inland Letter) and a corresponding FDC. Complete sets of 8 rates are beyond what I want to spend for these.

In additon, in two weeks there will be a new Massad sheet issued for Philately day. If this is anything like the last few, it will be a tete-beche sheet of 10. There are normally 2 different sheets, 1 with 10 copies of the inland letter rate stamp, and 1 with 10 different values. I believe there will also be a souvenir leaf issued for the occasion as well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

APS Sales Circuits

Since I joined the APS to save money on stamp insurance, I have signed up to receive sales circuits for Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine stamps. Last week, I received my first shipment of approval books. There were 5 books in the set. Only 1 of the books really had anything interesting to me. It was a complete book of Israel revenues. I purchased about 35 stamps from this book, for a total cost of ~$45 (+$10 in postage to send the circuit back to them). My purchases included 2 radio License stamps, a couple of Kofer Hayashu issues, about 2 pages of Tel Aviv Municipal revenues, and 1 page of Palestine revenues. Many of the revenue stamps were priced under $1 (some as low as $0.07!). I had not previously collected municipal revenues, but I couldn't pass them up. I have seen them go on E-bay for $5-10 each, when they are listed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Landscape Plate blocks

In case anyone is interested, I have listed a large lot of landscape plateblocks on E-bay. Take a look. There are more than 165 plateblocks in this lot. Many different dates, but also different pane positions, papers, and gums that are listed in the Wallach definitive specialized catalog and not in Bale.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And the verdict is in...

After considering my options with the insurance, I have decided to re-join the APS and get my insurance through Hugh Wood. I got an updated quote from them that included the alarm discount I was entitled to, and it looks like I will save about $10 total by joining the APS and getting the insurance through them.

I also found that a few side benefits to this. I was able to request 4 books from the APS library. One of these is the Kaplove catalog of JNF stamps. This catalog is hard to find, and when it does come up for sale, it is pricey! I also signed up to receive the Israel circuit books. My first circuit arrived yesterday, and to my surprise one of the books contained Israel revenues. Most of the ones I need in the book are under $2, and I will be picking up 5-6.

I also have been pretty active on e-bay the last few days. I picked up a few more landscape plateblocks, leaving me needing only about 25 more to complete the date set. Of course, I need mostly expensive ones, but there are still a handful in the under $10 category that may be obtainable.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sacapex disappointment

I went to the annual Sacapex stamp show in Sacramento today. I was very disappointed. It looked like the same set of dealers that were at the last show. I am pretty sure it was the same exact material. There was 1 dealer that had a set of J1-5 plate blocks that I was interested in, but he wanted full catalog value for the set. This was well out of my budget, and I think well above what they go for on E-bay. Maybe that is the problem. I am used to the 100-200 new items a day on E-bay. At the show, there were maybe 100 items total to look at, and perhaps only 1-2 new. I probably won't attend another show until Westpex, and I am only attending that because I won the door prize last year ($100 gift certificate to the show) and received it in the mail after the show.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I currently insure my collection through Collectibles Insurance Agency (CIA). I have had them insuring my collection since I moved to California. Originally, you could only get insurance through them if you were an APS member, but that changed about 10 years ago when Hugh Wood took over as the APS insurer. At the time of that change, the rates were comparable, but to go with Hugh Wood, I would have to spend an extra $40 or so a year to stay an APS member. I choose to drop my APS membership and keep my insurance with CIA.

I have never had to use my stamp insurance (knock on wood), but still think it is prudent to maintain coverage. I had no issues with CIA. Until now. I received my renewal notice in the mail yesterday, and they have tacked on a $25 Policy Fee to my renewal amount. This is about 24% of the total policy. I think this is ridiculous. So I called Hugh Wood. They can give me a policy, with no fees, for $40 less than the total renewal price with CIA. The only catch is I have to be an APS member. Membership is $45 for a year.

So, I have a choice. It will cost $5 more out of my pocket to use Hugh Wood, but I would get all the added APS benefits. Are these benefits worth $5 a year?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bale catalog complaints

While I have been entering the prices for the items in my database, I have been using the Bale catalog a lot more than I have ever before. And boy, is it a pain. I have been primarily using the 2004 version, since that is the one I have sitting on my desk. When I go to stamp shows, I bring the 1998 version, since that was the last that was published by the original editor. For some reason, when the new owner took over, they renumbered some things (I have noticed it in the booklets, but I think there are other areas renumbered as well). My major complaint today is with the pricing. Why in the world do they have pricing for ust a tab, sheet, and FDC listed for most issues? What about a plain single without tab? There is no price listed. Plate blocks? Forget about it. I did find a footnote that says that plate blocks are 4x plain price. Of course, there is no plain price listed. Is it so hard to add the price to each entry? Also, why is the note buried in a crowded page? Can't the notes be consolidated to the beginning of the section? If you want to quickly look up the value of an item, it is impossible. You have to look up the item then start paging back looking for the notes that explain what the non-listed prices are supposed to be.
There has to be a better catalog out there for Israel stamps. Does anyone know of one?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New project

I haven't had much time for my stamps the last few weeks. I finally got a chance this weekend to put some of my latest purchases away, although I am still hopelessly behind. However, I did have a few spare minutes to work on my database program. I decided to add some fileds to track the catalog value of an item, the catalog usedfor that valuation, the purchase price, and the purchase source. It turned out to be more work then I expected. Inserting new data structures into my program is a bit complicated, especially when I wanted to hook tehm up to the inventory and want list generation functions. I also need to enter the data. I have about 17,000 entries in my database, and adding a value and catalog source to each is going to take a while. So far, I am up to 1250 entries updated. Total catalog value of the items I have: $13,548.56. Total catalog value of items I need: $9,402.80. Since I am starting with basic stamps, the numbers spiked up early and should level off as I go through the 60's and 70's. Surprisingly, most of the value is in the plateblocks. Those Doar Ivri specialized plate blocks add up a lot faster than the 10 cent stamps of the 60's.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Where did this come from?

I was going through a stack of items to put away (finally!) and found some booklets. The one on the right is the normal one. The one on the left? The sleeves are brown instead of purple (I have another booklet where the sleeves appear to be blue, but it could just be a darker purple). Originally, I thought this was the only difference. Then, I opened up the booklet to look at the stamps. Both booklets have 10 With Love stamps. But,t eh top one has 2 extra blank stamps. You can just make out half of a plate number on the bottom "extra" stamp. I looked in my Bale catalog, but no mention is made of this difference. This is also one of the few Israel booklets that was not sold as a separate Tete-Beche sheet, so I have no idea what the sheet configuration was, but this is a new variety for me. Hopefully, it is unique and worth a small fortune, but somehow I doubt it. Any ideas? I can't even recall where I got these from at this point.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another item to drop from the list!

This my stamp thing is getting ridiculous. Today,

I got an offer from a stamp dealer offering this sheet for $100. Apparently, only 2000 or so were made. That is in additon to this set of sheets, a different My stamp sheet with a 9-11 rememberence theme. Last month, it was this set of sheets wishing good luck to some soccer team. There are jsut too many sheets being printed, and they are all being offered at huge markups. For a mint sheet they are being offered at $25 and up per sheet, with FDC's starting at twice teh mint price! Time to back off and just collect the basic sheet with the generic picture they come with from now on, I guess.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I was looking at E-bay today, and noticed something new. You can see here what is being marketed as a Souvenir Leaf. Now, Israel does put out souvenir leaves for collectors, although to me they are of dubious value, at least they are done by the Israel post, and have some degree of collectibility (though, I don't believe anywhere close to what the editors of the Carmel catalog would have you believe!) Anyway, these at first glance appear to be souvenir leaves, and the title of the auction is "ISRAEL SPECIAL SOUVENIR LEAF X 3diff BANK ISRAEL 50YEAR", but these are clearly not souvenir leaves. Real souvenir leaves look like this one. Notice the Israel Post logo? Also, notice at the top, it says "Souvenir Leaf", not "First Day Leaf". To me, it looks like someone is trying to make it appear that these are official philatelic items, while in reality, they are just a private FDC with a different cachet. Not that there is anything wrong with that. There might be a market for Israel FDC's with private cachet's, but I think these First Day Leaf's are int eh same category as the private booklets. They are philatelic creations by a dealer, and are not a must have if you are trying for a complete collection.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Not in my album

Here is the latest special souvenir sheet from Israel. This one was only available at the Jerusalem stamp show in May. It came as part of the show program. The major differences between this one, and the normal version of this souvenir sheet is that this one is imperf and has a serial number printed on it. Are we going to get one of these each year now? I am just speculating that this won't be in my album, since the pages for 08 won't be out until August of 2009, but based on prior history, I don't think this will be included in the White Ace album.

Friday, August 29, 2008

You can't be serious!

Ok, so I stole a John McEnroe line, I figure it was appropriate given it is US Open time. Anyway, I was looking at e-bay this morning, when I came across this lot. No, why someone would actually list a common, used Israel stamp (Scott #82) for 99 cents is beyond me. Calling it rare and unique go a bit beyond exaggeration however. What really gets me is that someone actually bid on the stamp! I wish I knew who, I would offer them a bag full of them. These are the type of stamps that you see in those old packets of 100 stamps for $1, and even then it is overpriced. Maybe used stamps are hot all of a sudden, but I can't think of a reason why.

Monday, August 25, 2008

SIP Website Suggestions

In a comment on my last post, Mike Bass asks for suggestions that would make the SIP website better. OK, here you go:
  1. Add an online catalog - The IPF site in Israel has an online listing of stamps and cancels, why can't the SIP website have one? Having items like the different dated definitive plateblocks would help, as would listing items other than stamps, such as revenues, postal stationary, and machine vended postage (Frama, Klussendorf, Amiel, Massad, etc).
  2. Add a place for members to swap items - I have a ton of duplicates that I would love to swap with other collectors. They are not really worth posting on E-bay (special cancels, plateblocks, etc), but would be great trading material if there were anyplace to trade it.
  3. How about press releases from Israel Post? After I had bought the items I needed from a dealer from the Jerusalem 08 show, I got a letter from the philatelic service offering me many of the items at face value. Had I known in advance about this, I could have saved some money.
  4. Even better, have the SIP sell some of the unique items from the shows through the website.
  5. How about a list of dealers of Israel material with links to there web pages?
  6. A list of what books are available from the SIP library. Even better, a way to request a book from the library online. I have only tried to borrow a book from the library once, and was unsuccessful in doing so. Apparently the book I requested was listed in the inventory published in the SIP newsletter (I have only seen the list published once, can't remember when) but was not able to be located.
  7. How about some articles? There really is no content on the current site. Instead of just having a list of slide presentations available, how about posting them as PDF's?
  8. Virtual meetings? How about having regular virtual meetings? It can be done via NetMeeting, live chat, some kind of conference call, etc.
  9. A place for members to post a want list.

Anyway, there are some quick suggestions. The most important thing to do is to get content on the site that drives people to visit it on a regular basis. The trade and discussion forums are pretty useless on there, since no one is visiting the site to leave messages. Until today, it had been a few months since I visited the site, and that was only to pull up the e-mail address of some of the officers. On the other hand, I visit the virtual stamp club every few days, just to read up and see what is going on.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stampshow 2008

I happened to be on the East Coast this past week to attend a cousins wedding and visit with my parents. Since a lot of relatives would be coming to NY for the wedding, my sister also held the naming ceremony for her second daughter on Saturday (the wedding was on Sunday). I did a bit of searching on the web to see if there were any stamp shows in NY that my dad (also a stamp collector, though of US and UN stamps) and I could attend. Not a single one. Since the baby naming was in Connecticut, I searched there as well. Bingo! Not only was there a stamp show in Hartford (a 45 minute drive from the Temple where my niece was being named, but it was the largest show in the US this year, the APS Stampshow.
So, after attending the baby naming, my dad and I packed my daughters in a car with my grandparents, my mom, and my wife, and saw them on there way back to Long Island via the Bridgeport Ferry, we headed out to the show. We got there around 1pm on Saturday. This gave us about 3 hours to look around before we had to make our way home. After signing in, I went and visited at Garel’s booth for a few minutes. I have been buying stamps from George ever since I started collecting, over 20 years ago. Since I get my new issues from George, I saved myself some postage and picked up my next shipment in person.
My next stop was at Coverman’s booth. Since he has boxes of covers separated by country, I figured I could pick up a few interesting ones to add to my collection. What a disappointment. He had a box of Israel covers alright, and I did indeed find a few that I needed. However, when I was informed of the price (the covers are not marked, you had them to the dealer, and he gives you a total), I was shocked. He wanted $10 for a 1952 cover with a common stamp and a slogan cancel! He said someone had recently shown him the same cover in a catalog for $40. I told him it was worth $1 to me, and that was probably high. As far as I know, the last catalog to price Israel slogan cancels was the 1969 Mosden catalog, and none of the covers was listed for that much. He stood firm on his price, and I simply returned it to the box and left. I assume it will still be in the box the next time I see him at a show (in 4-5 years!) Too bad I didn’t bring my box of duplicate covers from the same time frame, I would have gladly offered them to him for $2 a piece, and been ecstatic to get that! In fact, if I could sell my duplicates at 2 for $1, I would take it in a heartbeat. Some people just have inflated opinions as to what their stock is worth. You see it all the time on E-bay, and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see it in person at a show.
Of course, the opposite is also true. I did stop at several of the dealers who stock the world by Scott number, and made some incredible finds. I picked up an Egypt NC26 (Palestine overprint airmail stamp) for $2. I am not sure what the value of this stamp is, but I needed it, and $2 is cheaper than I could get it on E-bay (assuming I could ever find it there) once I factor in the shipping. Another dealer had an Egypt N117, another stamp missing from my collection, and at 20 cents, I couldn’t go wrong. Then came the steal of the show. A dealer had a bunch of Jordan N18-22 sets, at $4 each. Now, I have this set already, but one of the dealers sets caught my eye. One of the stamps had the overprint misspelled “PLAESTINE”. This is a known variety of the stamp, and I think there was 1 per sheet. I have bid on these on E-bay, but have always been outbid. The last one I can remember went for around $100, so when I saw it in a set listed at $4, I grabbed it. Well, I must have missed some sign at the table or something, because while $4 was the catalog value of the set, the dealer only charged me $2! If I hadn’t needed the stamp, I might have been tempted to tell the dealer about his mistake, I have done it before when I saw varieties missed by dealers, but since I needed the stamp, this thought didn’t cross my mind at all. There was one more bargain I found at yet another dealers table. Again, it was the same Jordan N18-22 set. Only this time, it was 3 of the stamps with inverted overprints. And this time, the dealer had identified the variety. Still, he was only asking $30, and I thought it was reasonable, so I added it to my purchases.
I only made one other purchase, and this was of a cover. It was at the DragonCards booth (run by Lloyd De Vries, who is also the founder of the virtual stamp club that I visit daily (and comment on infrequently). I had stopped at his booth to talk to him about the site, and introduced myself. He does his own cachets, mostly for US stamps, but when I mentioned that I collect Israel stamps, he was able to point me to one he did for a pediatric medicine stamp. It was an interesting cover, and at $3.50, I added it to my collection.
I did stop at a few other booths, including House of Zion (Ed Rosen) just to say hello. I also stopped at Henry Gitner’s booth, and he actually had a bunch of Israel material, but he was too busy buying stamps from some dealers who stopped at the table to spend any time going through his stock with me. He had 4-5 customers sitting at his booth waiting to be handed material to look through, but he was more interested in purchasing some stamps from another dealer to help anyone. I don’t understand this lack of customer service, but I know it cost him any chance of doing business with several of us. I waited a few minutes, and actually spent some time chatting to the customer next to me, who collects Israel Revenue stamps (his name escapes me now, but I have his card in my luggage). Hopefully, I will be able to do some trading of duplicates with this collector in the future.
In total, I spent about $40, and came away with a few new stamps for my collection. While none of them were Israeli stamps, I think it was worth the trip. I just wish I would have been able to fill in more items from my want list, but there is always the fact that the 2012 Stampshow will be in Sacramento (~20 minutes from my house) so I will have another shot in 4 years!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Link to my E-bay items

I got a request to post a link to my items on E-bay. Here it is. Hopefully, this means the items are of interest to people, and will eventually sell.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Some updates

I spent some time catching up on my stamps this weekend. Not only did I manage to get all my 2008 stamps scanned and inventoried. Unfortunately, I found that I had acquired a few duplicates. Even worse, the duplicates are of the more expensive issues. So, I listed these on E-bay. Hopefully, I will be able to at least break even on these.

I also had time to go through more plateblocks. I spent the most time on the seven species issue. There are 42 dated plateblocks listed for this issue in BALE. The Wallach catalog does not contain much info on this issue, only listing the first date of the 1.40 value. I found that I had multiple varieties of each date, usually one with a corner cross-hatch mark, and one without. For the higher value items, I found some with wide spacing on the margin, and some with narrow. I have a fairly complete set of duplicates, including at least one example of each of the 42 dates, and I have listed this on E-bay as well.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

New special sheets

Last week, I saw that someone listed a sheet of Israel stamps that I had not seen before. It was the generic sheet with a soccer team on it. This 2 sheet set had a minimum bid of $49. I wasn't planning on bidding at all. Then, today I got an e-mail from a stamp dealer in Israel offering me the same sheets for $19 each ($38 for the set of 2). Instead of buying 2 sheets, each with the same stamps but different soccer players, I could get just 1 at a relatively reasonable price. The other thing I noticed was the printing date on the scans in the e-mail. The scans showed a 6/17/08 date, while the e-bay auction showed a 12/5/06 date. This led me to look back at what I had from the original sheets. I have 2 different dates, a FDC with a 7/17/03 date, and a mint sheet with a 1/12/04 date. I will need to check the latest Bale catalog, but my list of plate dates for this issue that I copied into a spreadsheet only shows 1 printing date, 7/17/03.

Friday, July 25, 2008

No takers?

Well, so far, I have had no takers for my business idea. Oh well. Not that I expected a flood. My sister was wondering where I was getting the free time to do this. No need to worry so far.

I really haven't had much time to spend on stamps recently. With the time I have been able to find, I did finish scanning and inventorying my shekel plate blocks. I ended up with over 300 different plateblocks, including some varieties not included in the Shekel definitive plate block catalog by Wallach. The Wallach catalog only goes through 1982, and some of the plate blocks were from late 1982, 1983 and 1984 printings. In addition, I found some phosphor errors (partially missing phosphor bars, phosphor spillage, and miscellaneous plate varieties. I haven't looked yet to see how many known varieties I am missing, but my early assessment was that there were 425 cataloged varieties. So, I am approximately 75% complete.

E-bay has been relatively slow recently. Nothing really interesting is being listed. My watch list has 5 active items, with 4 of these being Palestine overprints on Jordan stamps that I am hoping will go cheap. Even looking at recently sold items, there are only 2 interesting lots that I saw. The first was a complete set of Shekel plateblocks (98 dates), this sold for $102, catalog value for this is well over $300, so this is not a great result. Doing much better was a complete set of 21 olive branch plateblocks. This sold for $110, against a catalog value of $136. Guess selling my thousands of duplicate shekel plate blocks should wait.

Friday, July 11, 2008

New business...any takers?

I have mentioned before my new idea for a service that would take a collectors want list and match them up with sellers. I know I would make use of such a service, but I am not sure if others would. So, I figure, why not offer the service to people reading my blog? Here is how I will work it. Send me your want list (of Israel material only for now) and the price you want to pay for each item. I will then try and find the items for the price you set. If I can, I will collect payment from you and send you the item. If I do not find the item, you don't pay me anything. If I do, you pay only the price you set. How do I make money on this? Simple, I will try and find the item for less then the price you are willing to pay, and pocket the difference. Can I find you a set of 7-9 tabs MNH for $20? Highly unlikely, but you never know (of course, if I did find a set for $20, they would go to my collection, but you get the point). Will I make any money at this? Who knows, but it won't cost me anything to try!

Monday, July 7, 2008

I yield

A few months ago, Israel raised the postage rates by 0.05 NIS. Since I collect machine vended postage, I got an example of the new rate on the SIMA labels in use. I bought a mint example from each machine, as well as a FD of the new rate from each machine. Now, a few months later, they have again raised the rates another 0.05 NIS. I received a mail from a dealer I have bought from in the past in Israel, and he shows there are 13 machines (9 at post offices throughout the country, and 4 at the philatelic service). A set of 1 from each machine mint would be $30, and then FD covers another $100. If I wanted a complete set of 8 rates (rather than just the cheapest inland rate) from each machine, the mint price jumps to $247, and the FD price to $650. This is the 3rd change to these SIMA labels in the last 6 months (first, there was a change from purple ink to black, then the rate change from 1.50NIS to 1.55NIS, and now 1.60NIS). So, rather than shell out for this new rate change, I have decided that the rate change is not a new stamp, and just ignore it. I am sure there will be a whole bunch of new stamps with the new rate anyway, and I will continue to collect them. This is similar to the decision I made a few years ago to only collect a single example from each machine, at the lowest denomination, rather than a complete set of all 8 rates. It is just cost prohibitive.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Recent interesting lots on ebay

Since I don't have much to write about for my own collection, I will share some info on the last few lots that I watched end on E-bay without bidding. These are all items that I was interested in, but which closed out of my range. Of course, I am only sharing info on closed lots, since it wouldn't do to enlighten my potential competetion on my interest and strategy.

The most interesting lot I have seen on E-bay in a while is one of the largest I have seen offered on E-bay. This lot had over 5800 mint sheets, plus a whole bunch of extras. This lot started at 499 British Pounds, and attracted 20 bids, from 5 bidders to reach a final price of 15,850 Pounds (~$31,000). The seller claims that the 2004 catalog value of this lot is in excess of $150,000. However, the seller had set a reserve price (unknown what it was), so it did not sell. Obviously, this lot was well out of my reach, since I don't have an extra $31K around. Even if I did, I would not put it towards my stamp collection. But, it was interesting to see this lot, and I am sure it would have been a very interesting lot for someone had it sold.

One set that I have written about often on my blog here is the 10-14 vertical gutters. This week, there were 4 lots for this issue that I took notice of. The first was a set of vertical gutters with color tabs that failed to attract a single bid at the $4820 start price. The second was a partial set (just the lower 2 values) of plain tabs that also failed to attract a single bid, although at a much lower $170 start price. The third lot was a used set of plate number gutters without tabs. This one actually sold after 22 bids from 12 bidders for $228.50. The fourth was a matched set of plateblocks of 6 (plate #4). The plateblocks I have for this issue are all gutter blocks, but this lot was without the gutter pairs. This one attracted 19 bids and closed at $182.50.

The last lot I want to highlight was a large collection of Jordan stamps overprinted Palestine. These are relatively hard to find in MNH condition, and this lot had lots of blocks of 4, as well as some varieties (inverted overprint, double overprint) that would increase its price. But, the 43 bids from 10 bidders took this lot from its single cent starting price to a final price of $1150. I was expecting it to go for less than half that. Ever since the 2006 Bale catalog started listing these items, I have seen a steady increase in price and bids on these.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Definitive Dated Plateblocks - A summary

Since I am through inventorying the majority of the definitive dated plateblock issues, I figured it was time to post a summary of what I need.
  1. Provisionals - 19 needed of 42
  2. Zodiac - 88 needed of 124
  3. Town Emblems - 116 needed of 161
  4. Landscapes - 58 needed of 169
  5. Towns Airmails - 7 needed of 22
  6. Birds Airmails - 1 needed of 7

So, overall, I need 289 of 525 plateblocks, or 55%. Of course, I probably need the majority of the expensive ones, but this is not a bad start.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Well, I have now completed my plate block inventory up to 1980. I think the plate block collection I bought only goes through 1996, so I am getting close. Of course, the Shekel definitive issue from 1980 is going to take a while. Not only are there 98 different dates, but the Definitive specialized catalog had a special supplement for this issue. There are about 400 varieties of plate blocks, and I know I have at least half. So, it will take me a while to make it through this issue.

One more update on the Telabul draw your own stamp. I see someone is very optimistic on E-bay, offering a full sheet (20 stamps, 3 with tabs, plus the central label) for $2000. While this is a rare issue, I don't think the price is justified. I would rather buy J1-5 tabs for that price.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Making progress

I have found a few spare minutes here and there to continue working on putting my plate block collection in order. This morning, I was able to spend enough time to make it through the Standby issue. According to my Bale catalog, there are 22 different dates available, and I actually have all 22. I also have a few varieties not listed in Bale (they are listed in Wallach's definitive specialized catalog). The varieties are all the addition of a + in the upper right corner of the selvage.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Another update

Just when I thought the Telabul draw your own stamps were taking off, another one closed on E-bay. This one closed at $63, 25% less than the one that closed last week at $84. Of course, a sample size of 2 is pretty meaningless.

A second interesting lot from last week was a set of 10-14 Tete-Beche plateblocks. This closed at $350, which was about double what I thought it would go for. This was a mixed set, with at least 3 different plate positions represented in the set of 5 (2, 5, and 6). A few months ago, I bought a matched set of position 1 for significantly less than this one closed at.

On another topic, I have been reading a lot of discussions on teh Virtual Stamp Club message board about the APS. I used to be a member of APS, but allowed my membership to lapse years ago. One of the discussions currently is about what could the APS do to increase membership. I am not sure about everyone, but the one feature I would use would be a wantlist matching service. What I am thinking about is a reverse of the typical use of sites like E-bay. I would like to be able to enter my want list into a site, then have dealers make offers to sell me items from my list. If done right, not only would this entice members to join, but it could offer a new revenue stream, as dealers could be charged a percentage of sales (or a flat monthly fee) for access to the list.

Wow, two updates in 3 days.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Finally got a chance to work on my stamps again today. I spent a few hours putting away stamps that I had already scanned and inventoried. I was very far behind, so that this took quite a while, and I am still not caught up. I still have some items that I don't know how to store. For example, I have an airletter sheet with inverted die cut. This is too large to fit in any of my albums. I also have some mint sheets that are bigger than my album pages. I guess I will have to get a mint sheet album to put these in.

Not only did I put some stuff away today, I went through and wrote a list of all the albums I have in my collection. I counted 107. The majority of these are for my cancel collection. I have 17 Super Safe albums with special cancels, and another 5 with Slogan cancels. I have another 10 Super safe cover albums with FDC's of regular issues, and 10 with maximum cards. 11 more albums contain my Bulletin collection. I still have boxes of covers to inventory, so I will probably end up with another 20 albums at least. I am going to need a bigger room for all this.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Recent ebay lots

I haven't been bidding on much at E-bay recently, and have only won 2 lots, but there have been some interesting items that I watched on the sidelines. The first item was a set of 10-14 vertical gutters with colored tabs. This closed for $2850. Not bad, considering that there is one other set up for sale on E-bay now, with a start price of $3495. The second was a set of J1-5 tabs that closed for $1525. Both of these items had low start prices, so I was originally hopeful of snapping up a bargain, but they quickly were bid up out of my price range.

Another interesting item that closed last week was a draw your own stamp from the Telabul show. This one was without tab, and sold for $86. Right after the show, I was able to buy a tab stamp and a FDC (without tab) for less than half that price. Looks like people are starting to realize the rarity of this one.

One lot I did buy was a 4 stamp set from Egypt with Palestine overprints from the Nefrettiti issue (N53-6). There were 3 identical sets for sale, by 3 different sellers, all closing in a span of 3 days. The first one had a starting price of $25, and it is the one I ended up buying (I was the only bidder). The second set went for $42, and the third set for $22.50. If I had waited, i might have been able to get it for a little less, but I might not have.

There is also one lot that I saw listed 2 times, and it failed to sell both times. It was a sheet of the Shrulik Tete-Beche issue from the 12/28/97 printing missing the cyclometer number. I guess a small number of sheets were printed this way. I remember when it first came out being offered a mint sheet, a FDC sheet, a booklet, and a FDC booklet all with this error. I turned them down at that time, and have been seeing them come up on E-bay sporadically. What is interesting to me is that the original listing for this sheet was at a start price of $125. After 10 days of no bids, the price dropped to $115 but still no takers. I don't recall the exact price I was offered these at but I think it was a bit above this offering (around $150).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Another post, finally

Looks like May is a lousy month for my blogging. I took a vacation last week to the Houston, TX area. I had planned on visiting the 2 stamp stores I found online to see if they had anything of interest. However, neither dealer I e-mailed responded, so I ended up not going to the stores. However, I have been tracking E-bay, and making a handful of purchases, the most significant of these being a set of all 26 plate blocks of C1-6.

Other than that, I bought a small set of the 1.00 Town Emblem plate blocks with different dates, a tabbed FDC for the 1952 Tel Aviv issue, and a 10ag over 32ag accounting tax revenue. Another half dozen or so items off the want list. Only a few thousand to go. If I can ever finish inventorying my plate block collection, I will be able to go through my post office openings collection and really knock the want list down.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Long time, no post

It has been a while since my last post. For the most part, this is because I haven't had much time to work on stamps. I still check E-bay for new items, but in the last few weeks, I have made only 1 purchase, and that was for an $0.80 sheet of blank Massad stamps. I know the seller probably got it for free at the post office (when I was in Israel in 1999, I was able to get one from the clerk for free), but I couldn't resist it for $0.80.

I have been reading on the Virtual Stamp Club message board about the large drop in APS membership recently (over 4,000, nearly 8% of all members). I used to be an APS member, but dropped my membership years ago. I really saw no benefit of staying a member. I didn't use the sales circuits, and the American Philatelist magazine never had any articles that interested me. The magazine was geared to people who would think nothing of spending a few thousand dollars on a stamp, not to the average collector.

This is similar to the reason that I stopped subscribing to Linns. I would read the weekly magazine in under 10 minutes. I guess if my collection was Great Britain or US stamps, it would be more relevant, but the vast majority of the time, there was nothing for an Israel collector. When I let my subscription lapse, they sent a letter saying how the hobby had lost another collector. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am still actively collecting, I just find that I can do so without paying for a Linn's subscription.

How can stamp collecting grow? My best guess would be to capture the average collector. Rather than targeting only the high end, someone should be targeting the 95% of the collecting population that sees buying a one hundred dollar stamp as out of there price range. In my previous blogs, I posted about a lot of items that are harder to find, but the vast majority of them can be found for under $100. I can't recall every spending more than a few hundred dollars for a set of stamps (Doar Ivri tabs, First Airmails), most of the time, I buy items for $5-10 each. I think that is what the vast majority of collectors do as well.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I am starting to look into the special items that will be offered by the postal service in conjunction with the Jerusalem 2008 stamp show. I thought it would be $200-$300 in special items. Boy, was I wrong. If I want one of everything, it comes to over $1000. I was shocked.

First, there are 4 prestige booklets, with a total retail price of over $75. I am not sure how much markup is included in the retail price over the face value, but it doesn't seem like a lot, since I see 3-4 dealers all advertising approximately the same prices. FDC's of the 4 booklets will cost at least the same as the mint booklets, but could be as much as 2x the price. This isn't the first show with prestige booklets (Israel 98 had one, as did Telabul 2004), but to have twice as many new prestige booklets in this show as in all previous ones seems excessive to me.

Another special item they are only offering at the show is the show book. This book will contain an imperf souvenir sheet. This book will only be available at the show, and the imperf souvenir sheet is available only in the book. I am not sure how much the book will retail for yet, but it will probably be in the $40 range. Of course, a FDC will be prepared by dealers in Israel, and there will be a markup over the mint sheet as well.

The next items are the Massad Tete-Beche sheets. There will be one issued every day of the show (8 total), and each will have different text (opening day, collectors day, etc). The sheets will have a face value of about $15 each, meaning a set of 8 will be $120. Again, FDC's will be available from dealers for a premium over the mint sheets. In addition to the 8 sheets of 10 values each, the opening day of the show will feature a special sheet with 10 stamps with the 1.55 NIS value.

Then, there are the SIMA stamps. 2 different machines will be used (001, and 060). Normal sets are 8 different values. Each set will again be $15 or so. Not only are there FDC's, but there are maximum cards as well. Since this will be the first time the 001 machine is in use since they converted from purple ink to black ink, the 4 most recent SIMA issues will also be available in black print for the first time.

There will also be a new Israel 60th anniversary booklet, a 60th anniversary poster souvenir sheet, and a 60th anniversary definitive. There will also be a Jerusalem of Gold souvenir sheet (the perforated one that will be imperf in the book). This souvenir sheet will have gold leaf and a rather hefty price tag by itself.

Last, there will be 2 new flower sheets that will be able to be printed with custom stamps ("My Stamp"). I believe these will be scratch and sniff stamps as well.

I hope this is all the issues, but I am sure there will be a surprise or two. I am already trying to figure out what I will buy, since 1 of each is clearly out of the question (I would rather buy a set of J1-5 tabs for almost the same price). I will probably use the money I earned selling my duplicates to fund my purchases, which would put me at around $300.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Westpex...waste of time

So, I went to Westpex on Sunday in San Francisco. What a waste of time. Despite having e-mailed all the dealers with what I was looking for, just 1 dealer had Israel material. There was also an SIP meeting there, with a total of 5 attendees, including Ed Rosen who was running the meeting and Ephraim who gave a talk about self taxation in Israel during the 1940's. While the talk was interesting, most of the material discussed was so specialized as to be beyond me. That was a common theme for the day. I walked around the 3 rooms twice. First, I was looking for Israel, Egypt overprinted Palestine or Jordan overprinted Palestine. Most of the dealers had nothing. Two actually had some basic material, but nothing of interest, and 1 dealer had some interesting items. That was the extent of it, for a show with about 50 dealers. There was really only 1 booth doing a lot of business, and that was the A & D booth in the corner. They were the only ones at the show who seemed to carry basic material (for example, any items that sold for under $5) for the world. For the 3 hours I was at the show, this double sized booth was packed, often with 3-4 people waiting in line to take a seat at one of the 15 chairs in front of the booth. None of the other dealers had more than 1 person at the table. I was also the youngest collector in the room, by at least 2 decades. What does this say for the future of stamp shows? Why bother going to a show, paying $5 admission, and seeing less than 10 items of interest when I can log into E-bay at any time and see over 1000? Of those 1000, I typically will watch 20-40 at a time, and it costs me nothing to browse. Of course, you pay for shipping (sometimes it is more for shipping than the stamps!), but the dealers at the show don't carry this material anyway, so that argument goes out the window. I think the show promoters just don't get it. They set up kids areas with stacks of used stamps for a penny a piece, and think that is going to attract kids to the hobby. But, when they want to go from collecting penny stamps to being more serious collectors, they have to abandon the shows. There is no one there providing stamps in the under $5 range, with the one exception noted above. At this point, 90% of the kids will give up and move on to some other hobby. Dealers would rather hit the home run selling a few $500 stamps, then actually have to work at the show selling hundreds of low priced stamps for the same net profit. When I was a kid, 90% of the dealers at the show would have items for the average collector, and I would spend hours going through a box of covers, or through stock books. Now, it is down to 1 dealer a show. Give it 5 years, and the shows will be attended by fewer people than a Marlins-Dodgers game in August, when both are fighting for last place.

Friday, April 25, 2008


So, I published a few weeks ago about my new purchase of a UPU tete-beche sheet. Well, I saw a similar sheet on E-bay, and I was happy to find that the lot on E-bay went for considerably higher than I paid through the conventional auction house that I bought mine from, even when the commision charged by the aution firm was included. If I didn't need the item in my collection, I would consider flipping it.

I also listed another 11 lots on E-bay. These are all artist signed folders. I tried listing them with a start price of $4.99 instead of the $0.99 I started the previous lots at. The lots end this weekend, so I will see how I do.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Other sites of interest

Recently, Ihave found 2 new stamp sites that are worth checking out. The first is the Virtual Stamp Club. This site seems focused primarily on FDC's, but occasionally, there are some good discussions in the forums. The second site is My Philately. It is relatively new, but there is an Israel forum on there. Unfortunately, it is mostly Stampman and I doing the posting, but hopefully it will pick up.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Looks like a new Israel catalog was recently released. I am seeing these listed on E-bay starting today, at $49.99 plus $7.50 shipping. Has anyone seen this catalog? I am still using the Bale 1998 catalog. I have the newer versions, but ever since Mr. Bale sold the catalog, it has gone downhill. The prices seem to be way out of reason, especially for the back of the book material. Prices of 10% of 2000 Bale catalog are more reasonable. Spending over $50 for a new catalog seems to be a waste, especially since the majority of the information is not very useful. I am interested to know if the catalog has more details on back of the book items. Any information would be appreciated.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Planning a visit to Westpex

I got a post card in the mail last week announcing the Westpex show in SF for the last weekend in April. I already had plans to go to the Bay Area on Saturday of that weekend for a visit to Six Flags for a work party, so it looks like we will make a weekend out of it.
I have been to this show in the past, and it is usually pretty good. However, there is always some dealer whose response to my typical question of "Do you have any Israel?" is "Yes, I have just what you are looking for, but I forgot to bring it." This frustrates me to no end. I understand dealers can't bring there entire stock, but still, there is always an SIP meeting at the Westpex shows, so if you were a dealer, wouldn't you bring your stock that is guaranteed to have a collectors asking for?
Instead of leaving it to chance, I decided to e-mail all the dealers participating in the show. Luckily, the show website has e-mail addresses for 90+% of the dealers, so I just copied and pasted from there. So far, 2 of the e-mail addresses bounced, 2 dealers said they would bring what they had, and about 5 dealers said they don't carry the material I am looking for. I guess in 2 weeks, I will know if it did any good.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Last week, I listed 15 lots on E-bay. Yesterday, they ended. All 15 sold, and I was amazed at how many bids these lots received. I sold the 15 lots for a total of $175 and change. Additionally, I sent second chance offers to four bidders who lost out by 1 bid on items that I had multiple duplicates of. 2 of the 4 second chance offers were accepted, bringing the total for 17 lots up to just over $200. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, last year when I tracked E-bay sales for 6 months, special booklets sold for nearly $16 each on average, and I recieved less than $12 on average. Subtracting out the $62 for the souvenir sheets, the special booklets went for only $10.30. Not bad, and better than I had hoped for. They were all duplicates, and were just taking up space, now I can turn them into items that I can cross off my want list. Hopefully, this weekend, I will list some more items. Showcards, maybe?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Should I feel bad?

I saw this lot on E-bay today, and I couldn't resist the $3.84 buy it now price. The item is obviously mis-described as the normal 1340-1 souvenir sheets. Instead, these are the rarer, imperf and numbered issue from the Israel 98 show catalog. These normally go for at least $20. Am I taking advantage of the fact that the seller doesn't know what he has? Or, am I just taking advantage of my knowledge of the stamps to make a shrewd buy? I did consider e-mailing the seller about his mistake, but decided against it. In the past, when I see items at shows that are mislabelled, I have pointed it out to the dealer, and they usually are happy to learn about it. But in that case, I am usually talking to the dealer about other items he has, or I have seen the dealer at the show before. In this case, I don't know the seller at all, and may or may not see items he is selling in the future. What would you have done?

New purchase

I saw this item for sale in a recent auction, and couldn't resist putting in a bid. Despite the fact that I dislike the fees associated with regular auctions, the start price was low enough to make taking a stab at it. Surprisingly, I won. So, here is my latest addition to my Tete-Beche sheet collection. I think I now have every issue in full sheets, except for 10-14. This won't stay my latest addition for long, as while putting away my plate blocks, I noticed that the Zodiac tete-beche sheets come in two different printing dates. Of course, I only had the first printing date for the sheets, but I quick search on E-bay turned up a set of the second printing dates (thanks Sam!) that were listed for buy-it now at a reasonable price, so I purchased them as well.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Last Monday, I listed 28 lots on e-bay, mostly artist signed FDC's and Souvenir Leaves with a few random other lots sprinkled in. Well, they all closed last night, and 26 of 28 lots sold, with the two unsold lots being a sheet of South African stamps and a souvenir leaf. For the 26 lots that did sell, I realized a total of $154.30. Not bad, considering that the majority of these items came as part of large accumulations I bought, and have a cost basis near zero. The reason I say the cost basis is near zero is because of my buying strategy on E-bay. When I bid on a lot, I bid what I am willing to pay for the items that will become part of my collection. If there are additional items in the lot, I value those at zero when deciding on my bid. So, when I sell these back, it is pure profit.

I started all lots at 99 cents, and all but 3 of the lots sold at more than that. The lot that went for the most was a bunch of Egypt stamps overprinted Palestine. There were 47 stamps in the lot, and it went for $39. Artist signed FDC's did very well, with most going for over $5 each. Souvenir leaves were the weakest, with 2 of the six that sold only garnering a single bid for the minimum, and the others not going for much more. The 2 postal stationary items I sold didn't do much either, with neither going for over $3, and the UPU plate blocks only went for $1.04.

I decided to list some more lots yesterday. This time, I listed 15 lots, most of them are special show booklets. I also listed a 1041a souvenir sheet (The imperf version of the Ardon Windows souvenir sheet from 1990) and 907-9a (the FIP overprints on the Israphil 85 souvenir sheets). So far, a little over 12 hours in, 9 of the 15 lots have bids, some have several.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

For sale

I noticed that E-bay was having a one cent listing sale yesterday. Since I have stacks of duplicates, I spent an hour listing 28 lots. I listed a bunch of artist signed FDC's, souvenir leaves, and Palestine overprints on Egypt stamps, plus a few other miscellaneous lots. In order to speed it up, I tried to list items that I had scans of already. I still have tons of duplicates, but hopefully at the end of the week, I will have 28 lots less. So far, after about 12 hours, 7 have bids. Hopefully, in the next 4 days, they will all get bids. I would prefer more than 1 bid on each item, but I will be happy to sell all the items for the minimum bid.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Long time, no blog

I haven't had much time to blog recently. Work has been busy, and home has been hectic. I just haven't had time to work on my stamps. I finally got an hour or so to do more work on my stamps today, and spent the time going through my plateblocks and getting them scanned, inventoried, and put away. I am now caught up through 1960, and am ready to get to work on the Zodiac issue shortly. There are 124 different dated plateblocks for this issue, and it looks like I have about a quarter of them. I have been watching e-bay daily, and bidding on a few items here and there, mostly cheaper items to fill in random spots in my want list. I lost out on quite a few lots of modern maximum cards, which was a bit disappointing. I bid them up to about $1 a card, and they went just past my bid (the winner sniped them at the last second). At $1 a card, they would have been nice, since when they are listed individually, the seller usually wants $3-5 a card. No big deal, maximum cards are not a big priority. I did make 1 buy of an item that has been impossible to find, whether on E-bay, through dealers, or even through my contacts in Israel. It is volume 1 of the official Israel post cancels catalog. Volume 1 lists the new post office openings, and while I have a listing, having the actual catalog will make things easier to find. I even tried to borrow a copy from the SIP library at one point, but even though they list this book as part of the library, it is apparently missing.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Something new, no longer blue (purple just doesn't rhyme)

Looks like the postal service did it again. They are changing the ink color on the vending stamps. The old version, shown here has the machine number and the postage printed in purple ink. Recently (don't have the exact date yet) they have changed the machines to use black ink. My sources in Israel (and on E-bay) show that 8 of the machines have been changed to black ink. Another new variety to add to the collection. Keeping up is hard to do...

Monday, March 17, 2008

More plateblocks

I am still in the process of going through the plateblocks in my collection. I have gone through 1959, and found some interesting things. I have lots of duplicates, and lots of varieties. Some of the varieties are listed, some not. For example, I have some plateblocks with wide margins, and some with narrow margins for the same issue.
For listed varieties, I found that for the first airmail issue (C1-6), I have 15 of the 26 listed plate numbers. I am looking for C2 plate numbers 2, 5 and 6. C3 plate numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5. And C6 plate numbers 3, 4, 5, and 6. Bale catalog also lists cyclometer numbers over 150,000 as later printings. For these, I have just plate #1 of C2. I am not sure if all 26 plate blocks (C1 and C5 apparently are only with plate #1) were reprinted later, or if there were only select ones reprinted. Bale is lacking in details.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New things to look for

I spent some time this weekend trying to get my plate block collection cataloged, and found some more interesting items. For example, I found that I have the 12 tribe issue plate blocks with and without watermark, as well as 2 of the 3 issues listed in Bale with the "A" watermark variety (missing only the 20). With my tab collection, I have never looked at the watermark type, just whether it was with watermark or without. It seems I will have some more work to do once I finish with the plateblocks. I also noticed that the ship issue (shown here) has 4 different watermark varieties listed for the low value (10). Of these, I found that I had 3 of the plateblocks. According to my Bale catalog, 2 of these are common, and 2 catalog for $100. Unfortunately, I have only 1 of the 2 high value ones. Again, I will need to go back through my tab collection to see what I have, and this will give me more items to hunt for next time I go to a show. Looking at the watermarks is a pain, so I will probably just look for the ones listed in Bale, rather than look at all of them. Looking on e-bay for watermark varieties is probably not feasible. I am not looking forward to the phosphor varieties on the later stamps.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Slogan Cancels

I have had little success finding slogan cancels for any but the one one city that was the primary city for the cancel. Most of the slogan cancels were used in multiple cities, and for multiple different date ranges. However, the philatelic service only provided one example (usually Tel Aviv or Jerusalem) to customers. The others are rarely seen. Has anyone else experienced this?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Stamps or sets?

Since I am missing only the 3 big sets of Israel tabs(7-9, J1-5, 10-14 vertical gutters), each of which goes for around $5000, I figure I never will be able to finish my tab collection. It will be nearly impossible to have enough money available for my stamp collection to buy these stamps. I guess I could stop buying stamps for a year or two and save my money for these, but what is the fun in that? I have been adding other items to my collection over the years, and can't see going 2 years without a new addition. Wouldn't it be nice if the stamps were sold individually? That way, I could pick up a 7 here, a J2 there, and eventually get them all? Unfortunately, rarely (if ever) are the stamps sold individually. When I see them offered individually, I have shied away from these for now, since they are offered so rarely (and I have never seen them offered this way from dealers in price lists or at shows) that I am afraid I am never going to be able to find the ones I need offered individually. I know that US stamps are routinely offered individually, rather than only in complete sets. Why are Israel stamps only sold in complete sets?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Plate blocks

I started going through a few plate block collections I bought this weekend. I am trying to get an idea of what I have, and what I am missing. I found this is much more difficult than I thought. Take this issue, for example. According to my Bale catalog, there is just a single plate block of 4 listed for this. I was able to find 4 distinct varieties, one with fully perforated margins, 1 with fully imperf margins, and 1 each vertically and horizontally perforated margins. Is this the case for all issues? Is there a catalog, or some other source, that lists all the varieties available for each issue? The only other source I know of is the Wallach definitive specialized catalog, but it doesn't list issues like this one.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New printing date for "My Stamp"

This is a sheet of Scott 1692 with a new printing date. The original sheet has a printing date of 5/15/07. This reprint was printed 11/14/07. As a reprint, it is not available through the standard new issue service. Different printing dates for Israel stamps is nothing new, many definitives have multiple printings, and some of the printing dates are quite rare. According to my source in Israel, this second printing went on sale on 12/16/07. You may want to see if you can acquire it while it is still readily available.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Another auction

Despite my past bad experiences with conventional auctions, I placed a bid in last weeks Nutmeg auction. It was for 3 FDC covers, one for each of the 3 second coin booklets (B4, B5, B6). There was a suggested bid of $250. Unfortunately, I didn't even come close to winning, despite bidding higher than the suggested bid. Whoever did the estimates for Nutmeg was way off as well. The covers closed at $1900. Well above my budget.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Palestine overprints on Egypt stamps

A few years ago, I began collecting the Egypt stamps used in Palestine. They catalog for next to nothing, and gave me a chance to go through dealer stock that I hadn't already picked through a lot. Howwever, I was surprised to find that the stamps are much rarer than the Scott catalog pricing would lead you to believe. Finding the earlier stamps MNH was (and still is) nearly impossible. I still find an occasional item, but that is it. Whenever they go up on e-bay, they seem to sell for several multiples of Scott catalog, rather than the fractions that the Israel stamps go for. Any idea why?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Want list item of the day

Show cards were issued for many stamp shows over the years. Based on what I have found, they are much harder to come by mint then they are cancelled. Here is the card issued for Philexfrance 82 (SC3). I have only seen it FDC, not mint. So, if you have an extra mint one, let me know. I am also looking for Belgica 82 (SC4), Finlandia 88 (SC20), World Stamp Expo 89 (SC23), and Capex 96 (SC35).

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Want list item of the day

I decided it is time to address my want list. Rather than post about items I have, I will post about items I am looking for, and hopefully, someone will respond offering to give/trade/sell me the item I am looking for. The first area I would like to address is vending stamp FDC's. This mint label from Christmas 1997 honoring Philately day 11 is one item that I have mint, but do not have a FDC of. Anyone got an extra? For those of you that actually check, I am also in need of Philately day 10 (National Science Museum 1996), 13 (1999), and 14 (2000).

Friday, February 8, 2008


I was thinking (dangerous, I know) are the Israel souvenir sheets really semi-postals? This Olympic souvenir sheet from 1984 has a face value of 240 shekels, but was sold at 350 shekels. Doesn't that make it a semi-postal? Most of the Israel souvenir sheets were sold for more than the postage they were valid for. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Interesting cover

Here is an interesting cover I found. It has a complete set of both the second and third postage due issues (J6-11, J12-20). I believe it is a combination last day of use of the second dues and first day of the third dues, but I am not positive. The second dues are cancelled 11/28/52, and the third dues are cancelled 11/30/52. Anyway, it is an interesting cover I thought I would share.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Weekend update

Well, I didn't get any time to work on stamps over the weekend. I did get to watch the Giants win the Superbowl, which was a fantastic game. While the game was going on, I didn't even look at the 8 auctions that I was watching that ended during the game. One of the auctions that closed was the B8 FDC's that I was looking at. They received one bid, for the $45 minimum bid. Another auction that closed was a B2 booklet. This is one of the rarest Israel booklets, and it catalogs for $850. Again, it attracted only one bid, for the minimum of $450. Out of my price range for now.

I still have a bunch of items I am tracking in E-bay, but nothing real exciting. E-bay did recently increase there fees. They positioned it as a decrease, but digging in to the details, you pay more for each sold lot. Listing lots is cheaper, but the Final Value Fee (basically, E-bay's commission) has increased significantly for lots that close at less than $25.

On a positive note, the ads on this blog are starting to pay off. I got my first check from Google last week, for the first 3 months the blog was up, I earned $120 or so. In January, it looks like another $100. If this keeps up, maybe I can finally get the 7-9 tabs I have been waiting for...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Missing overprint

Here is another interesting item I found. The zodiac issue of 1962 was overprinted with new values before being sold. Apparently, some got out without the overprint. Not sure how rare this is, but it is something to add to my collection.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Deja Vu

Well, I did a double take when I was searching through e-bay today. I saw a new lot that looked familiar. Of course, most FDC's from Israel look the same, since nearly everyone uses the official cachet cover. This one, however, was uncacheted. And it looked very familiar. A quick check through my covers turned up nearly the exact same covers as shown in the lot. I think the address is different (it is hard for me to tell), and the ones on E-bay show the designer name on the cover, but otherwise they are the same. At least, they were similar enough for me to do a double take. Now, I will watch the auction to see what they sell for. I don't keep good enough records, so I have no idea what I paid for these covers, nor do I recall where or when I got them, but I know I must have paid less then the start price for the e-bay auction. So, assuming it sells, I did well.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Show Labels

I plan to go through my collection and catalog all the different show labels I have. I think I have at least one from each major show in Israel. I have some mint, some on cover, and some in sheets. For some shows, there were perf and imperf versions of the same labels, and sometimes there were different overprints. I have yet to see a catalog that lists these. Any ideas?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Items I don't collect

While I have spent a lot of time talking about the items I do collect, there are a few things that I have decided to avoid. One item I have avoided is Souvenir Leaves. I do collect the ones that are available through the philatelic service, but the vast majority of these souvenir leaves are never sold to the public, and are instead printed in limited quantities for specific organizations. Some of these limited edition leaves "catalog" for insane amounts of money. The only catalog that I have seen to list these is the Carmel catalog. When I see these for sale on E-bay, the seller usually lists them at 10% of the catalog value, and 99% of the time, they fail to attract a bid. My conclusion is that the catalog values are extremely inflated. In my opinion, these are one step above the gold leaf stamp covers in collectability, and in value.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Shai covers

I have a bunch of Shai covers in my collection. These are first day covers with a rubber stamp saying Shai, or gift, and sometimes with an JNF stamp attached to the cover as well. I assume these were given away to contributors in some fashion, but have not seen anything that says who they were given to, or how many were given out per issue. For some issues, I have multiple different Shai covers, mostly from the JNF, but also a few from other groups such as the Judaica Society of Collectors, or the Army Welfare Committee. Looks like I have about 200 different Shai covers in my collection. Since there is no telling how many different covers exist, I don't have any way to generate a want list. I can just compare ones I see against the ones I have. It is a bit of a pain to do it this way, but it is the best I can come up with. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Touring Stamp Exhibition

I have quite a few covers from the Touring Stamp Exhibition from the 1950's. It looks like they had a couple of shows a year, and had different cachets and special labels printed for each. This is one of my favorite ones, as it appears they have taken the second coins tete-beche sheets and overprinted them in both English and Hebrew. Other covers I have were used as receipts for the show entrance fee, and have a revenue stamp attached. According to the Mosden catalog, I am missing covers from only 4 of the 38 shows. These are Nahariya (6/4/50), Hadera (11/24/50), Even Yehuda (10/16/51), and Ramatayim (1/1/56).

Friday, January 11, 2008


Another suspicious item I came across recently in my collection. Here is a set of the owls stamps from 1987. This set has a second set of perforations just above the one attaching the tab to the stamp. What is suspicious to me is that this set of 4 all have the same error. These were printed as 4 separate sheets, so how can they all have the same error? Any clues?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Special plateblock

This is a plateblock of the draw your own stamp from the telabul show in 2004. The bottom right stamp in this plateblock of 6 is the center stamp from the special sheet. I am not too fond of the scribbles the person used for the stamp, but never the less, this is a modern rarity. I am glad to have one in my collection.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Rejected designs

This is a test stamp done for a design that was rejected because it looked to much like a German soldier. I am not sure how common these are, but I see them come up on e-bay from time to time.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Remembrance Letters

Ever year since 1952, the Israel government sends letters to the families of soldiers who were killed on duty. These remembrance letters are sent on memorial day, usually in a special envelope with the memorial day stamp on them. Inside is a letter from an official (not sure if it is the prime minister, or the minister of defense). Just another interesting category of philatelic collectibles to get into.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I was tracking two similar items on E-bay, and I am really puzzled by the results of the auctions. the 2 items were nearly identical, one is a set of 10-14 vertical gutters with tabs and the other is a set of 10-14 vertical gutters with colored tabs. The only difference is that one comes from the left side of the press sheet, the other the right. Each press sheet has 2 sets of each of these, so there should be an equal number. So, why did the colored tabs go for $400 more (nearly 15% premium), and attract 10 more bids? Of course, both sold for less than half the 2006 bale catalog value. This is typical of other high priced stamps listed in the catalog. Either the catalog value is wrong, or E-bay is not the way to sell better Israel stamps. I suspect it is a combination of the two.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Found something new...

Just when I think I have my want list pretty well up to date, I found that I am missing something. The Massad label issued for Israel 98 (shown on the left here), was actually issued as 9 different sets, one for each day of the show. And, it is not just that the date changed each day, but the text printed on the label was changed each day to correspond with the theme of the show that day. The opening day (5/13/98) was Tel Aviv Day, as shown on these, but the other days were: Postal Authority day (14th), Israel Jubilee (15th), Doar Ivri Day (16th), Youth day (17th), Olympics day (18th), Computer day (19th), Environment day (20th) and Collectors day (21st). I checked in the Bale catalog (2006 edition) and it doesn't mention this. It does show that the Massad labels were only sold for the 9 days of the show, but it makes no mention of the fact that each days labels were different. So, another 8 items (16 if you count the FDC's) were added to the old want list.
Speaking of my want list, back in my Halloween blog, I mentioned that my want list was at 10,254 items. Now, it is down to 9,715. Most of this is due to adding about 500 special cancels to my inventory list. But, I have managed to catch up quite a bit on my boxes of stuff to be put away. I did manage to add another 200 items to the database (including the 8 mentioned above). Another few years (more like decades at this rate) and I may catch up.