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.