Monday, December 7, 2009

Arbor day surprise

Last week, one of the dealers in Israel that I buy from regularly sent me a scan of an interesting item. It is the 0.01 value from the Arbor day set of 3, Scott number 552. Apparently, it was reprinted. The initial printing was on 9/9/74, and the second printing was on 12/16/74. I had not previously known about this reprint. It is not mentioned in Bale, as far as I can tell, and I don't recall seeing it mentioned in the Journal of the Israel Plate Block Collectors. I am not sure how much the dealer was asking for the set of sheets, but a quick check of my collection showed I only had the first printing. E-bay had no listings for either of the plate blocks, but I did find a full sheet of the second printing on Stamp Wants. It was listed for $1.50 with $1.00 shipping. It arrived in today's mail. I am not sure if it would have been cheaper to buy it from the dealer in Israel, but I am sure that he knows what he has, while the seller on Stamp Wants was probably just as unaware as I was that there were 2 printings of this stamp, and just listed this for what he thought a sheet of stamps would go for.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This and that

I don't have anything major to blog about today, but a few small things. last week, 4 of my 6 lots on E-bay sold. The 1948-1978 singles collection went for just over $200, and the US stamp announcement sheets for just over $100. Both revenue lots also attracted multiple bids. I have already used some of the proceeds to fill in some gaps in my plate block collection, picking up another handful of plate blocks.

However, the rest of the proceeds will probably be needed for the next set of special items that the Israel post is putting out now. There is a fifth printing of "The Israeli" booklet (not including the inverted die cut variety and the missing Arabic variety). There is also a special generic sheet being issued for Hanukkah, and a set of Christmas ATM stamps (not sure how many machine numbers they will have this year, but past years have had 3 different numbers).

Here we are at the end of 2009, and there has not been a new Bale Israel catalog released since 2006. They used to be released every other year, so does this mean that they will no longer be releasing them at all? Or, did they just decide to change it to every 4 years (maybe longer)? Anyway, I am not finding that it affects me at all, since I am able to find out what is being released through other means. I used to rely on the catalog to tell me about new postal stationary, booklets, etc. I even decided to not wait on the editors of the catalog to assign numbers to the new issues. They were doing a rather poor job of it anyway (the last postal stationary item listed in Bale 2004 was issued in 1998, before the new publishers took over). Rather than wait any longer for them to assign numbers, I did it myself. One day I will publish my own listings....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Now selling on E-bay

This afternoon, I listed a few lots on E-bay. I am trying to reduce my sizable duplicated pile to something more manageable, and provide some more funds to purchase some items listed on E-bay that I need. Bid often :)

  1. A designer autographed presentation folder for the 1978 Wild Flowers stamp. Somehow, I ended up with 2.
  2. A page of the first revenue stamps. This includes some of the higher values from the set. This came as part of a collection I bought a few years ago, and I already had these in my collection.
  3. A page of the second revenue stamps. This came as part of the same collection. Again, most of the higher values are included.
  4. A nearly complete Israel Mint singles collection. This includes everything from 1948 until 1978, except for a few issues in the seventies. All the key values are there, including 7-9, 16, J1-5, C16, 241a. These are mounted on White Ace pages. I only spot checked the collection, but it appears to be MNH. Unfortunately, #9 has some damage on the back, but the others look fine.
  5. 8 pages of Palestine (British Mandate) stamps. I am not sure where these came from, but I was holding on to them in the hopes that I would one day have time to go through and identify the various varieties. They are all different shades, perfs, papers, and cancels for the various pictorial issues. I finally admitted to myself that I don't want to get that into the Palestine stamps. I figure someone out there might want to.
  6. The last item has nothing to do with Israel. These are 200+ US stamp announcement sheets. I have no idea if these have a different name, but they appear to be publicity sheets printed by the USPO to publicise the stamps that were coming out. They contain a bunch of information about the stamp, and say POST ON BULLETIN BOARD. I have ones covering the late 60's and the early 70's. These include all kinds of subjects for stamps, as well as postal stationary.

Hopefully, there is something for everyone there. Good luck.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New booklet variety

Well, I thought I was running out of stuff to say in the blog, but now I find myself posting something new for the third day in a row. I guess you never can tell what you will find.
What I found is a new variety of "The Israeli" booklet. One of the stamps (lower right) in the pane is missing the Arabic text. I have seen this offered by 2 separate dealers now on E-bay. Both dealers confirmed that the booklets they have are from the recent 4th printing of the booklet. Both show the same stamp missing the same text. Both lots appear to have been listed within a few hours of each other, and both had the same start price, $89. One booklet sold for a best offer price of $69, the other is still available on E-bay (at least, it is as I am writing this). I am not sure how common this variety is. The 2 copies of the 4th printing of the booklet I have (1 mint, 1 FDC) both do not have the variety. I have asked a few other dealers in Israel about it, and they are looking into it for me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Revenue Redo?

Yesterday, I was looking at some stamp sites, and found something I wasn't even aware existed. Apparently, last year, Israel re-printed the latest revenue stamps, which were originally printed in 1986 (the same design as the 1984 revenues priced in NIS instead of Shekels). The new printing is a slightly different color, and the Arabic is noticeably different. In addition, the new printing apparently include phosphor, which I believe would be a first for Israel revenues. As far as I know, there were 8 values printed (as opposed to 10 from the original set), with the 80, 100, and 150 NIS values not being reprinted, and a 4 NIS value added. I have asked one of my contacts in Israel to see if he can find a set for me at the post office. Hopefully, I can get the set at face value.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2006 Plateblock set, at half face value?

Today, I was the winner (and only bidder) on a set of 2006 Israel plate blocks. The face value of these was listed at 140NIS (~$37). The starting price was $19, roughly half of face value. Since I started collecting plate blocks in mid 2007, I am missing most of the early parts of this decade (older plate blocks were filled in by buying a collection that went through 1996). I am mostly baffled over how I was able to buy stamps that are still valid for postal use for half of there face value.

One possible explanation is that the seller made an obvious mistake in the listing that caused it to miss my normal search. My normal search is to got o and look for all stamps with Israel in the title. That brings up about 2000 listings, 100-200 new ones a day. This item was not present in that search. In an attempt to cram as much info into the title as possible, the seller removed the space between Israel and 2006 in the title. E-bay's search engine fails to recognize Israel2006 as matching the string Israel. I am not sure why, but I am glad I did some deeper searches to find this item.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Does anyone collect Doar Ivri plateblocks?

The 2004 bale catalog lists the Doar Ivri plate blocks in 157 different groups (not including sub groups). The groups are separated by Denomination, Type (Slug, Star leaning Left, Star Leaning Right, or No.), Paper type, Perforation, and Distance from the top of the stamp to the control. Of these 157 groups, I have 48 in my collection (30%). I have seen an additional 32 of the groups (20%) listed on E-bay at one time or another. The remaining 50% I haven't seen on E-bay yet (at least, as long as I have been tracking this).

Recently, I decided to look at the these plate blocks in more detail. I started tracking all the listings of these on E-bay (and even checked Delcampe and Stamp Wants). There are 85 plate blocks that came up in my search. 6 of these had significant errors (4 were double perf, 2 were imperf). If I exclude these, the start price of the listing was on average 60% of the Bale 2004 catalog value. However, only 7 of these blocks sold. 3 of the lots that sold were from the batch of 4 with double perfs. The other 4 sold for only 37% of catalog on average. This doesn't even tell the whole story, since of the 4 that sold, 2 sold for less than 20% of catalog value, and 2 sold for just over 50% of catalog value.

It is also interesting that only 18 of the 85 lots were listed in the traditional auction format, while the rest are listed in the store format with buy it now prices. The 2 plate blocks that sold for under 20% of catalog value were both listed in the traditional auction format. That isn't to say there aren't bargains available in the store format. There is a 50 mill plate block, group 141, listed at $19 buy it now. The catalog value of this block is $160. It has been listed since June at this price, and there have been no takers, even at 12% of catalog value. There are 3 other plate blocks listed at less than 25% of catalog value, so this is not an isolated case.

One of the benefits of looking at plate blocks is that they each have serial numbers that make identifying them easy. This allows me to get a more complete look at what is going on with the price of an individual item. For example, one seller listed the 15 mil plate block from group 94 with serial number 1030 3 separate times before it sold (to me). The first time, it was listed in his store at $27 (54% of the $50 catalog value). It went unsold until 10/20/09, when the listing ended. The seller than listed it in a 7 day traditional auction with a start price of $12 (24% of catalog value). Again, it went unsold. It was then listed in another 7 day traditional auction with a start price of $9 (18%). I was the only bidder. I could have taken a chance that it would have been re-listed lower, but I decided to buy it.

There is also a significant benefit to shopping around. There are 10 copies of the 50 mill plate block in group 141 currently for sale. They range in price from $19 to $130 (12% - 81%). Some of the blocks in the middle are listed as LH, while both the high and low priced ones are listed as MNH.

I also see one seller listing the same plate block on E-bay and Stamp Wants. The prices on each site are very different. The 20 mill group 123 plate block is listed on stampwants for $1300 (with the make offer option enabled), and the same plate block is on E-bay for $1400 (again, with the make offer option enabled). The same seller has a 50 mill group 139 plate block for sale on E-bay for $399, while on Stamp Wants, the exact same block (identical serial number) is listed at $500. The same seller also has an imperf plate block of the 5 mill for sale on both sites. It is listed at $900 on Stamp Wants, and a staggering $1200 on E-bay. It definitely would pay to shop around if you are in the market for these high end plate blocks!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Too much of a good thing

These last few weeks, I have seen a ton of material I need listed on E-bay. My watch list is normally 20 items or so, recently, it has topped 75 items. Many of these are store inventory items listed with a buy it now price that is usually not as good of a deal as I can get on an auction, or are just not worth the price plus the shipping. When I buy something at auction from a seller, I will see if there is something on my watch list from the same seller that I can add to the order. This way, I can get the item without paying the added shipping. Sometimes, I will e-mail the seller asking them to make a deal at a lower price for the second item.

Some are very good deals, but I need to wait until my budget will allow me to buy them. Some I am watching just to see if the seller can get that much for an item (Bulletins for $15 each? I hope he gets it, I would be willing to sell 100's at 15 cents a piece if I could get it!).

In order to avoid cluttering up my watch list, I actually bid on a few lots right as I saw them, rather than wait until the last minute like I usually do. One reason I did this, is that if the item goes above the minimum bid, I probably wouldn't bid on it. So, rather than let someone else make the decision for me, I just made the bid and now if someone wants it, they will have to decide if it is worth more than the minimum. I will see how well this strategy works.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I am getting close to completing my collection of landscape plate blocks. Of the 171 plate blocks listed in Bale, I am missing only 6. 2 of these 6 are well out of my reach (LS6 at $2000, and LS113a at $3000). The remaining 4 (LS7, 27, 51 and 55), should be within my budget, assuming I ever see them for sale. LS55, which catalogs for $8, is the one that doesn't really fit here. LS7 and 51 both list for $280, and LS27 at $110, so these are evidently more rare. I don't think the catalog values are very accurate, since I never came close to paying full catalog price for any of the more valuable blocks (I think I averaged paying less than 20% of catalog price), but they should be useful to reflect relative scarcity. That is why I am baffled that I am missing one that lists for $8. It should be relatively common. Of course, the common ones were where I actually had to pay much closer to actual catalog price (sometimes over it, when you factor in shipping). Dealers seem much more willing to get $30 for a $110 item, then they are to get $5 for a $10 item. It seems counter-intuitive.
Shouldn't the rarer items go for a higher percentage of list price then the more common items? My best guess is that there just aren't that many buyers for this type of material now, and dealers are just trying to clear their inventory before the catalog makers catch up with the new reality of the market. Will this ever happen?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why did they do this?

I started to put away my 2008 stamps in the White Ace pages I got a few weeks ago, and found I was missing some stamps. How can this be possible? I get all the new issues, and I am constantly finding stamps that are not included in the pages. How can I be missing some? It turns out that they decided to have spots for some of the booklet singles in the album this year. I have the complete booklets, and I save those in a different album, since there are no spaces for the complete booklets in the White Ace albums. Now, I have to make a choice. Do I buy a second booklet to break up so that I can fill the spots in my album? Do I try and buy just a single from the booklet, probably paying a hefty premium? Or do I just leave the spot blank? My first inclination is to leave the spot blank. I would have no use for the left overs from buying a second full booklet, and I don't think it is worth paying a premium just to fill the spot.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

White Ace album pages

When I started my collection (20+ years ago now), I used White Ace Israel Tab pages to house my stamps. I have continued to use White Ace, with my dad sending me the supplement each year. When I first started getting supplements, they would come out in April or May each year. Then, a few years ago, the supplements started slipping to June or July. I think last years came out in August. This year, it is the end of September and the supplement just became available. I don't get it. Why, in this day and age, does it take over 9 months to put together a supplement that is probably only 10 pages. Nearly all of the 2009 stamps from Israel are already released now, yet none will be included in this supplement. The last 2008 stamp was issued on 12/17/08. I realize it is unrealistic to expect the supplement to be ready for 4-6 weeks after the year ends, but why 9 months? The 2010 car models were available before the 2008 Israel supplement. Something is wrong here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Reprints, reprised

Looks like the Israel Post ran out of stamps again. The 50Ag and 1NIS menorah self adhesive sheets are being reprinted, and a new value (40Ag) is being added. The reprinted sheets have 2 Menorah's on the selvage to indicate the second printing. In addition, The Israeli booklet is being reprinted for the fourth time, and this one will have 4 Menorah's on the back to show that. If these printings are handled the same way as the past ones, none will be offered by the philatelic service.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bargains on E-bay

OK, so the question was asked how do I find bargains on E-bay. There are some tricks, which I will not be sharing so that they will still work for me, but mostly it is just looking. Every day. I start with going to and searching for Israel. I do this almost every morning. I sort the items by newly listed, and then I only need to look at the items listed since I last looked. Usually, there are 100 or so new items a day. It doesn't take long.

So, what do I find at bargain prices? Here is an example of what I found now (none of these items are being sold by me, nor do I have any financial interest in driving up the prices for them). Obviously, I am not going to list items that I am considering bidding on, since I don't want to create competition for items I want to buy.

The first item is the Ardon Windows imperf sheet. Here it is at a start price of $9.99. My 2004 Bale catalog lists it at $50.

Not good enough? How about the Postal Museum sheet? The same seller has both the perforated and imperforated versions for sale at the buy it now price of $20. He also has best offer enabled, which means you can probably get it for $15. Bale has the imperf one at $50, and the perforated one at $4.

Ok, what about older stamps? How about C1-6 tabs with a start price of $0.99? or the UPU set, currently selling for $5.50? Can't beat those deals.

Ok, so there are 4 different deals that I found in 5 minutes of looking. The deals are out there. If you can't find them on your own, consider being my first customer for my stamp finding service.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I recently have seen some people on the VSC talking about delcampe, an Internet auction site, and decided to take a look. One of the selling points of delcampe is that they don't charge sellers a listing fee, and just by looking at the items for sale on the site I can see this. There were over 35,000 items that came up in my search for Israel stamps. It took a while, but I looked at all of them. This was made easier by the fact that I could see 500 per page, and the site loaded fairly quickly. Also, it didn't take long to look at each item because they were mostly uninteresting. I could break the items into 4 large categories.

The first, and largest, was single used stamps that are basically a dime a dozen (and you would be lucky to get that much for them!) Is anyone really looking to buy used definitive stamps at 2-3 cents each? The shipping costs make this a no win situation, even if there were a lot of people who collect this way.

The second category are mint stamps and FDC's listed at full retail price. This was also a fairly large chunk of the listings. I guess when there is no cost to list the items, there is no reason to start the item low and let the market determine the price. Maybe I am spoiled by the prices I can buy items for on E-bay, but I guess this makes more sense for sellers. I just can't see paying 10-15 Euros (almost all the lots were priced in Euros) for an item that catalogs for $15-$20. Once I factored in shipping, I would be paying more than full catalog price. If this was a super fine example of a rare stamp, maybe. But, for an IRC? Yes, it would have removed an item from my want list, but I just can't justify spending that much on it.

The third category is interesting items from sellers who I can't do business with. Admittedly, this is a very small category, but there were a few covers that I was interested in, but the seller would not accept any method of payment I could send. Most of my purchases from E-bay have been done by PayPal, and a few by check. However, there were sellers on delcampe that would only accept a bank transfer, or in Euros (send cash?). If the items were priced better, i may have invested some time in finding a way to make the transaction work, but they were priced right at the limit of what I was willing to pay, and it just wasn't worth it to put in the extra effort.

The fourth category was also the smallest. Items priced well that I needed. There was a single plate block that I placed a bid of $0.40 on. I wish I had found more from the same seller that I needed to amortize the shipping costs across, but I didn't. It is not even a rare plate block, just one that I am missing. Maybe it is even priced at full catalog price, but it was cheap enough that I felt I could bid. I won't be too disappointed if I am outbid, but I would like to win. And the seller even accepts PayPal.

So, out of 35,000+ listings, I found 1 to bid on. Not a good return on the hours of time I spent looking at the site, and not nearly as well as I do on E-bay on a daily basis (I usually find 1-2 items for every 100 that I at least watch).

Monday, August 24, 2009

An update on the special self adhesive sheets

Last week, I mentioned that I would provide an update on the special self adhesive sheets from the post office. So, here goes.

I had someone at my work help translate the sticker book that was given away at the post office. There is a letter in there basically encouraging kids to go back to simpler times, before video games, and before the Internet, and start collecting again. Not just collect stamps, but collecting in general.

There are 100 spots in the sticker book for the numbered stickers on the post office sheets. There are also additional blank spots for people to put pictures of their friends, their classmates, and their family.

I now have in my collection 18 different post office sheets. 6 of these are with the hugs and kisses stamp, 8 are with the Blue and White stamp, 3 are with the With Love stamp, and 1 is with the Mazel Tov stamp. Based on the philatelic service versions, I know I am missing 4 of the stamps (Thank You, Good Luck, and the 2 different Flower stamps). Based on this data, I am unable to determine how many different sheets of each exist (or if they were issued in even numbers of combinations). I am hoping that some of my contacts in Israel can provide that kind of information. From examining the 18 different sheets I have, I can tell you that the sticker combinations are not unique. Some stickers are on multiple sheets. For example, sticker #56 is on both a Blue and White sheet and a With Love sheet. I also do not have any sheets that exactly correspond to the sticker combination seen on the Philatelic Service version of the stamps, but I can't rule that out either.

Basically, I am still in need of more data. If anyone out there has more of these sheets to sell or trade, please let me know. Thanks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Latest purchase

I have been real inactive with my stamps for a few weeks, but just purchased the lot on the left here on E-bay. It is 2 copies of the Shrulik booklet. The one on the top has a cyclometer number next to the printing date, while the one on the bottom is missing the cyclometer number. I remember when these were first discovered, and I was offered a mint tete-beche sheet, a FDC of the sheet, and a booklet all missing the cyclometer number. Each was in the $150 range, and I passed on them all. My 2004 bale catalog lists the mint Tete Beche sheet as IrS.45e, with a $400 value for the mint sheet. The FDC and the booklet don't appear to be listed. I occasionally still see the sheet offered on E-bay, always for upwards of $100. When I saw this lot on E-bay, with an $18 starting price, I figured it was worth a shot. I guess either no one else saw it, or they didn't realize the significance. I was the sole bidder, and picked up the lot for $18. Since both the normal and the error booklet were included, each cost me $9. While I am sure the error is not worth $400, I am pretty sure it is worth more than $9. It looks like there are still bargains to be had on E-bay, you just have to keep looking.

I did receive one other item from Israel last week. It is a book that was given away at the post office to hold the stickers from the special self adhesive sheets. It has 100 spots for the stickers. I need to bring it to one of my friends that speaks Hebrew so they can translate it for me, but at least it is a step to solving the mystery. I will post more details next week when I have more news.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

All's quiet on the stamp front

I haven't had much to blog about recently. Mostly, because I haven't spent a lot of time on stamps. My buying on e-bay has been limited, mostly due to the fact that I just don't see anything worth bidding on. i did pick up one of the Zodiac and one of the town emblems plate blocks I needed, but other than that, my watch list mostly contains store items that I need but don't quite want to spend the money on. Occasionally, if I find a bargain from one of the sellers I will add an item from their store that I am watching to the purchase in order to save on shipping, but otherwise I just watch the same items go unsold for weeks (or even months). I do see 2 of the early Israel booklets for sale, a B3 for $450 and a B2B for $1000. The B2B looks like it will sell, the other has yet to get a bid. Both are well out of my budget, so I will not be bidding. The market for these early booklets remains strong. Otherwise, I just keep looking to see what interesting items come up next.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Recent sales on E-bay

well, the market for better Israel stamps seems to be holding up strong on E-bay. A set of J1-5 with tabs sold for $2000, and a plate block of 4 of the 500 mil Doar Ivri sold for $400. These are surprisingly high prices to me.

Speaking of high prices, for some reason I am on the Apfelbaum auction mailing list. every few weeks they send out a link to there latest auction. I always look to see what they have in Israel. Usually, it is 1-2 lots. Recently, the same lot has been re-appearing in every auction. It is a basic tab collection up from 1949-1970, missing most of the high value tabs (25, 28-30, C1-6, etc). They have an estimate of $400-$500 on the lot. However, the minimum bid is $750. How in the world do they expect people to bid twice their estimate as a start bid? No wonder it never sells. Not that I would buy the lot, I just find it fascinating that people keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. A lot of what I do at work is looking at failures, and figuring out what we need to do next time to avoid the same problems. I guess not everyone does this on a regular basis.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Plate blocks

Well, I just received my June shipment of plate blocks from Israel Post. The With Love definitive stamp came as a plate block of 4. Unfortunately, looking at the sheet, the plate block should have been a block of 6. The Menorah symbol (signifying first printing) is on the margin of the 3rd stamp down on the right side of the sheet. So, a block of 4 would not have this. Just something to watch out for.

My plate block collection was started by buying a few collections. Unfortunately, these collections ended around 1996. Starting in 2007, I subscribed to Israel post to get the new issue plate blocks directly. So, I have a roughly 10 year gap in my collection. Unlike the earlier Israel stamps, the ones I need are still valid for postage, and are therefore rather expensive, even at just face value. Last week, I saw a lot on E-bay offering 124 plate blocks from this missing decade in my collection with a total face value of NIS1658 (roughly $425). The starting bid was $299 (roughly 70% of face). I was the only bidder. It looks like I saved 30% (plus shipping costs) by not getting these direct from the postal service. A good deal for me, but a bad sign on the future value of my collection of these, I think.


This morning, I was checking e-bay and noticed that there was a new generic sheet. This is with the new With love stamp. Instead of the smiling face, this one is themed with the Disney channel. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has four stamps, Hanna Montana has 4 stamps, and the Jonas Brothers get four. This issue seems clearly aimed at kids and Disney topical collectors. Julie already has said she wants the Mickey Mouse stamp for her collection. At $18-20 a sheet (asking price on E-bay), it is just another shot at getting more money from us collectors.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Batting .846

Well, if I was a baseball player with that kind of average, I would be in line for about $25 million dollars a year. But, on E-bay last week, it grossed me about $38. 11 of my 13 lots sold. Most went for the minimum $2.99 price, but a few went for a little more. Not the most profitable sales I have ever had, but not bad. The duplicates were just taking up space in my stamp room, and they cost me next to nothing (they came as part of a huge lot I won on E-bay, and I consider the price I paid well worth it for the items I needed, the doubles were just a bonus).

On the other hand, the self adhesive stamps I have been selling on E-bay have done quite well. I have sold all 10 lots I listed, and most have had a lot of bids. Average sale price has been over $6.75, with the highest price being $10. None have sold for the minimum.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bakers dozen

I was cleaning up a stack of duplicates today, and listed 13 new lots on E-bay. These are all stamp show related. There are some special FDC's, some special show booklets, and a whole bunch of special show cards. All are starting at $2.99, with free shipping in the US. I have a stack of vending stamps and FDC's to list next week. Take a look.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Plate block swap

I received a mailing from a fellow plate block collector in Australia today. I believe I first started corresponding with this person from a classified ad he placed in the SIP, but I could have found his e-mail address somewhere else. Anyway, he had 33 Shekel plateblocks from my want list, and I had a handful of seven species and zodiac plateblocks from his, so we did a straight swap. Much better than having to purchase these on E-bay, or from a dealer. There are so few dealers I have found that actually carry what I am looking for that the few who do have the items charge outrageous prices. Anyone else interested in trading? I still have more plate block duplicates to trade, as well as a ton of special cancels and post office openings.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

More details

Ok, here are the scans. The one on the left is one of the set of 8 sheets offered by the philatelic service. According to my source, the first day these were available was June 1, 2009.

The one on the right is one of the ones available at post offices around Israel.
While they are similar, they are not identical. The key difference to me is the label attached to the stamp. The ones from the philatelic service have the generic label, while the ones at the post office have different images. There are at least 5 labels for each stamp that you can find at the post office. The other differences are the text in the yellow box in the center, and trhe inclusion of a web address in the white section on the bottom of the philatelic service ones.
Below you can see the envelopes that these are sold in at the post office. There is no way to know what one you are buying until you open the package. It is more like collecting baseball cards in packs then stamps. Each package at the post office is NIS4.90, or about $1.25. Unfortunately, based on my experience at 1 post office, about 80% of the ones you buy are duplicates. Maybe the chances are better if you buy a few at a bunch of different post offices, but I didn't have the ability to test that out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just when I thought it couldn't get worse....

I am on a trip to Israel for work, the first time I have been on a business trip in 10 years. I arrived here Sunday evening (having left home on Saturday morning), and I leave here tonight (to arrive back home Friday morning). I took advantage of the trip to meet up with some of the people I have been buying stamps from for years. I found out about some intersting items that I had not heard about before. Apparently, there was a printing 1a for "The Israeli" booklet. It has the die cuts for the stamps inverted. The only way to see the difference is to look at the corner of the stamp, and see if it has a peak or a valley. This printing was released in October.

The next item I found out about was an even bigger surprise. The generic stamps that Israel has been issuing for the past few years have been the traditional lick and stick variety. Now, for some contest run in Israel starting in February, they are selling the same stamp in a self adhesive variety. There are 8 stamps, each with 5 different personalized stamps (I think it is 5, I might be wrong though). They come on a sheet with 1 stamp, 1 personalized label, and 3 stickers. The sheets are sold in a foil wrapped envelope, so when you buy them you don't know what stamp/label combo you are getting. Apparently, the first 10 people to collect a complete set win a PSP. At this point, there is no way to buy a set of these anywhere, and I have not seen any offered for sale (on E-bay or elsewhere) in the US. The only way I found out about it was talking to Zohar here in Israel. I went to the post office in jerusalem myself, and bought the few they had for available there. I only managed to get 4 of the 8 stamps, and no more than 2 different labels for each stamp. I did get a few duplicates, and I will probably be listing them on E-bay when I get home. This might turn out to be one of the rarest new issues from Israel in a long time, and one of the hardest sets to put together. Or, the postal service might decide to offer complete sets to collectors once the contest is over, and it will merely be an interesting variety. Only time will tell, I guess.

There is a second variety of the same stamps that were made available on June first of this year. It has the same self adhesive stamps, but just with the generic smiling face label attached. It is 1 stamp and 1 label per sheet. The sheets are the same format as the ones above, but the text on the sheet itself is completely different, since it is not part of the contest. I did get a set of 8 of these, but they didn't seem to be available at the post office (at least, the one I went to). I haven't seen these offered from the philatelic service yet. I will have to call them and see.

When I get back home, I will scan and post the items so everyone can see what I am talking about.

Friday, June 12, 2009

New ATM Stamps

Last month, Israel issued a new ATM stamp to commemorate the visit of the Pope to Israel. It was available with 3 different machine numbers (001, 010, 015). I am not sure how long they were available for in the machines, but if you collect ATM stamps, you should be aware of this issue.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Julie's 2nd stamp show

Two weeks ago, I received a postcard in the mail about a stamp show in Sacramento. Before I even had a chance to look at it, Julie had seen it and declared she was going to the show. The show took place this last weekend (Sacramento Stamp Expo), and Julie and I went on Sunday. We got there around 10:30, and spent only an hour at the show. Julie was disappointed that there were no tables piled high with penny stamps for her to look through, like she had seen at the last show we went to. However, we went around to all the dealers, and several had boxes of stamps available at face (usually 3 and 4 cent plate blocks), and one even took out a book of Disney stamps for her to look through and pick out a few at 20 cents each. There were 2 dealers that gave her some free covers that she liked. She had fun, but not as much as she did at the last show. Hopefully, the next show will have a table of used stamps at a penny or two each for her to spend hours digging through.

Friday, May 29, 2009

House of Zion Auction 76

I sold a bunch of material to Ed Rosen of House of Zion at WestPex, and I took half as cash and half as credit for future stamp purchases from him. The credit was rather large (at least for me), and I was able to bid on items that would normally be out of my price range in his auction last weekend. I bid on 4 total lots, a set of 7-9 plate blocks (the tabs were still, unfortunately out of my reach), and 3 booklets (2B, 3A, and 5B). I just got the results e-mailed to me by Ed. And I am shocked. I won the 7-9 plate blocks, for just over the minimum bid (which was less than a third of catalog value).

However, I was no where close to winning any of the 3 booklets. B2B had a minimum bid of $400, with an estimated value of $1000. The 2004 Bale catalog lists it at $850. It closed at $1900. When you add in the buyers premium, the winner will have paid nearly 2.5 times the catalog value. B3A had a start price of $600, with an estimated value of $1350 and a 2004 Bale catalog value of $1200. It closed at$1650. I checked the other booklets offered, and the majority of the early booklets went for more than the estimates.

So, it looks like the early booklets are hot right now, and their value should be on the rise. Most of the better booklets rarely come up on E-bay, so it is tough to compare. None of the early booklets have sold on E-bay in the past 2 weeks, and only 4 are currently offered for sale (B1, B3B, B5C, and B6). My earlier data from 2007 E-bay tracking shows several sales of the early booklets, most at about half of catalog value. Of course, I wasn't looking at traditional auction realizations then to know if this is normal, or an upward spike.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Did I do the right thing?

Another E-bay situation came up yesterday. A single seller had about 15 lots of maximum cards up for sale, at a start price of $1.99. I was planning on bidding on them just before they closed. I noticed that earlier in the day, someone had bid on all the lots I was interested in. I can't be 100% certain that it was the same person bidding on the lots, but it is highly likely. I bid on the first one, and I bid it up to about $15, before giving up and moving to the next. The same thing happened on the second and third lots. At this point, I gave up on the rest of the lots. I could have bid them all up to the most I would pay for the lot, but I figured the other bidder had bid higher than I was willing to pay on all the lots. I didn't think it was worth it to just drive up the price he would pay, without any chance of me winning the lots. Now, looking back at it, I am wondering if I did a disservice to the seller? He got less for some lots than he would have if I had bid on them. Also, the buyer got a better deal then he would have, and now may have more money in his stamp budget to outbid me on or drive up the price on lots I want in the future. without knowing the buyer, I can't know if it is a zero sum operation for him, where he has a fixed amount to spend, or if he is buying to resell later, or what the situation really is. As an occasional seller, I would hate to have a potential bidder on some lots stop because of what other lots went for. After all, it is not like it cost me to bid on items that I don't win. I guess the lesson I take from this is to not list too many lots that are similar at the same time, or risk losing out on potential bidders. Especially on E-bay, where most lots have a low start price and rely on having bidding wars to establish the value of the items.

Friday, May 15, 2009

E-bay frustrations

I have had some frustrating experiences on E-bay recently. I guess the first one is not just recently, it seems to be becoming a trend. I have seen a bunch of lots offered with 1-2 items that I am interested in, along with a ton of common material that is of no interest to me. This is frustrating, since I either have to overpay for the item I want, and hope to make back enough when I sell the remainders, or just pass on the item. This probably even makes sense from the sellers standpoint. Having a few better (or more interesting) items in the lot will probably get more people bidding on it, therefore giving the seller a better price. But, from a buyer's standpoint, it is terrible. I would rather be able to bid on just the items I want, rather than the lot of duplicates.

The second frustrating thing is that I have been getting outbid on nearly every lot I bid on these past few weeks. There was a set of third coins tete-beche sheets up for sale (each sheet listed separately). While I already have almost 2 full sets, a few of the sheets had differences in the margin perforations (one or 2 edges imperf) then the ones I already own. Since I started collecting plate blocks with margin varieties, I thought I could pick up some of the ones I was missing in these auctions, without having to buy a complete set to just get one new variety. However, I think someone was after a complete set, because I was outbid at the last second on every single one I bid on, despite not bidding myself until ~10 seconds were left in the auction.

I am still watching ~15 items, but most of those are just plate blocks that I am interested in, but not willing to pay the buy it now price. These are all store inventory items, and they have been on my watch list for a few months now. I figure eventually the seller will drop his prices. We shall see.

On another note, looks like I will be going to Jerusalem for work in the middle of June. It doesn't look like I will have any free days in my schedule, but I hope to still meet some of the stamp dealers and collectors over there that I have been corresponding with for the past few years.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Westpex 09

I went back to WestPex this year. The SIP was holding its annual meeting there, and I wanted to go see what was going on. Unfortunately, I thought the meeting started at 10, and so planned to leave my house by 8, which would get me there right around 10. Unfortunately, I got a bit of a late start, leaving at 8:20, and for some reason, the meeting started at 9. So, the meeting was nearly over when I arrived. I did get a chance to say hello to the members who were still there. Apparently, many of them are reading my blog here regularly, nice to know I have readers out there who are not related to me. A couple of people even asked about Julie, but she didn't make the trek with me.

The part of the meeting I did catch was all about the new SIP website. The new website looks nice. It is nice that you can now buy any of the publications online, and even pay your dues via PayPal. Hopefully, the discussion and trade forums take off. Like I mentioned at the meeting, if no one is updating the site regularly, there is no reason for people to come back to it on a regular basis. If the discussions start going, I am sure people will visit the site daily. Otherwise, it will be just when people hit upon it with a search engine, or when someone is looking for something they know is on the site. I did notice one post on the trade forum, and already sent a mail to the poster. Hopefully, I will be able to trade for some plate blocks I need.

I did walk around the bourse for a while. There were really only 2 dealers with any decent amount of Israel material. Ed Rosen from House of Zion was there, and I spent an hour or so talking with him. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to find anything I needed at his table, but I did learn about some interesting postal history items. There was also a person who sat down next to me at one point talking about his postage due exhibit. I was able to help him out a bit by e-mailing him the postal bulletins for the second postage due issue. I have copies in Hebrew and English in my collection, but, unfortunately no duplicates. Hopefully, the scans will work for him in the near term. As an additional bonus, even though I didn't find anything to buy at his table, Ed did buy a bunch of my duplicates. I took half in credit, and half as a check. He tells me his next auction will have a bunch of items I need, and I will be able to bid for a bunch of items that are normally out of my price range. Looking forward to that.

The other dealer with some Israel stock was Michael Jaffe. Unfortunately, I think it was the same material I saw last year at his booth. He had a handful of revenues that I needed, but they were a bit pricey, so I passed. The other dealers at the show had hardly any Israel.

Last year, I won the door prize at the show, a $100 gift certificate that was mailed to me after the show, good for purchases at this years show. Luckily, my dad collects US, and he had sent me a want list before the show. I was able to find a postal stationary dealer who had most of the postcard first day issues he was missing. I used the majority of the gift certificate on that. I also found 2 sheets he was looking for at the USPS booth, even though they are no longer on sale at the SFS.

A few negative things about the show. There is a $5 charge for admission, which is unusual for stamp shows. Most other shows are free admission. Not only that, but there was a $5 charge for parking, and it seemed like I had to park a mile away from the door to the hotel. I heard one collector who came to the show found out that he would have to pay admission, and turned right back around and left. Also, the dealers were spread out in 3 different rooms, and some of the rooms were hidden. I wonder if it was cheaper to have a table in one of the lower traffic rooms?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New issues...expensive!

Israel is releasing some new high value stamps in a minisheet format that is going to be very expensive to collect. I collect Tab singles, Plate Blocks, and minisheets, with both minisheets and Tabs as FDC's as well. This issue is 3 minisheets, with a total face value of over 175 NIS (~$45). So, this issue alone is going to cost over $100 at face value. The one seller I see on E-bay that has listed these already is offering the sheets for $76 mint and $90 FDC. Glad I can get these at close to face value through my new issue service! At some point, I will have to stop collecting the minisheets, or at least the FDC's of the minisheets. It seems like almost every commemorative (and even a few definitives) are being sold in minisheets, rather than standard sheets. Maybe Israel Post has realized they can get more from collectors this way. Wonder when other countries will follow suit?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Too good to be true?

I saw this plate block for sale on E-bay, with a start price of $0.99. This appears to be one of the rarest plate blocks of the Doar Ivri stamp. It is Group 1, according to Bale, with a catalog value (in 1998) of $26,000. I watched it on E-bay to see what it went for. It had been bid up to about $60 with 3 days left, when all of a sudden, the lot was pulled. I e-mailed the seller, and he said he had taken it down to get it expertized, as someone suggested it might be a fake. If it turns out to be real, the seller has a real gem on his hands, and will probably be better served to sell it through a different venue then E-bay. He would not get anywhere near catalog value on E-bay, but would probably do much better through a private sale brokered by a specialist dealer, or perhaps through an Israel focused conventional auction.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Massad stamps

I haven't seen this particular issue on E-bay at all yet. But, last month, Israel issued a new Massad Tete-Beche sheet of 10. I received this from one of my contacts in Israel.

In addition to this Massad stamp, there is a new series of ATM stamps being issued. Instead of releasing the same stamps to all of the machines at the same time, they are supposedly going to release a new design to 2 machines at a time. Pictured here is the second issue from February. This one was only available with Machine 001 (Philatelic Service) and Machine 006 (Haifa).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Newest acquisition

I just picked up a set of J1-5 Plateblocks of 12 from an auction (Cherrystone). Plateblocks of 6 and 9 are listed in Bale, but not 12. However, a set of singles catalogs for about $85, so 12 sets of singles would have a catalog value of roughly $1000, without any premium for the plateblock. I paid significantly less than that, even when you add the buyers premium and outrageous shipping charge ($18!) in. In fact, I have seen a set of plateblocks of 6 for sale at the local stamp show for a firm price of over $500, which is about double what I paid for my set. I haven't been able to win a set on E-bay, despite trying for the past year or so. I was kind of shocked that I won this set for the minimum bid.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Julie's first stamp show

My five year old daughter, Julie, has been "collecting" stamps for a few months now. I gave her a few spare cover albums I had collecting dust, and she went through a box of covers I had set aside to one day put on E-bay, pulling all the ones that interested her and placing them in her albums. It was fun to watch her trying to build a collection like daddy's. She has been asking me when I could take her to a stamp show.

This weekend was the time. There was finally a show in Sacramento, the Easter Seals benefit show, that was perfect for her. There were 8-10 dealers selling stamps, but the main attraction were the tables and tables of 2 cent stamps laid out throughout the room. These had thousands and thousands of used stamps. There were pint sized containers that you could use to put the stamps in, and she filled one to the brim! She went for flowers, horses, dogs, and birds. Not just one of each, but as many as she could find!

Originally, I had thought we would be there about an hour. We got there just after the show opened at 10, and I thought we would leave around 11:15 or so, get lunch, and go home. Well, that plan wasn't going to work. She spent over 3 hours at the tables, then wanted to grab a quick lunch at the show, and go right back to looking at stamps. We didn't leave until after 2:30, close to 4 and a half hours after we got there. The last time I went to this show alone (probably 10 years ago) it took me about a half hour, since I ignored the 2 cent tables and merely shopped the dealer tables for Israel stamps, finding almost nothing, and I never bothered to go back. Now, however, it looks like we will go back every year.

Not only did Julie find about 600 stamps for her collection, we also shopped at the table of donated supplies. We bought her a bunch of stockbooks and glassines, as well as another cover album. I even managed to pick up a pair of nice sheet albums for a dollar a piece. I think we spent a total of $35, including the $12 we spent on lunch at the show, but it was worth every penny. Julie called it a perfect day, and now we are spending some time together putting the stamps in her stockbooks. If I could only get her to understand that she doesn't need 50 of the same stamp in her album...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Costs of doing business

I was answering a question on the Virtual Stamp Club about shipping fees, and it got me to thinking. How much does it cost to sell a single item? So, lets look at the costs:
  1. E-Bay insertion fee - the cost to list an item on E-Bay, it is not a fixed cost, but depends on the start price. The lowest cost option is to list an item for $0.99 or less, which costs $0.15.
  2. E-Bay Final Value Fee - the cut that E-Bay takes of the sale. Again, it is a sliding scale, but for items that sell for less than $25, it is 8.75%
  3. PayPal Fees - the cost of accepting a payment via PayPal. Of course, E-bay now requires you accept PayPal, and the majority of buyers pay via PayPal, so this fee is incurred the majority of the time. $0.30 + 2.9% (for all sales under $3000).

So, for an item that sells for $0.99, I would need to pay $0.57 in fees. So, unless I paid less than $0.42 for the item, I am better off tossing it in the trash than trying to sell it on E-Bay.

Of course, that doesn't include shipping costs, which include not only postage, but the packaging material and envelope to send the item in. Most of the time, I get my shipping charges figured out correctly, and the buyer actually pays enough to cover the cost of shipping the item to them. However, in a few cases, I have been surprised at the post office when the postage comes out higher than I would expect. Whether this is because of a non-machinable surcharge, or an envelope being too large to qualify as a letter and going out as a parcel instead, I can never quite figure out. Some countries, like the Netherlands, are just insanely expensive to ship to for some reason as well.

Looking at the fees, it is easier to understand why E-Bay shipping fees often seem quite high. Rather than start an item at $3 with a $0.42 shipping cost, I can start it at $0.99 with a $2.50 shipping cost. Both cost the buyer about the same, but I can save $0.20 on insertion fees by starting the item at $0.99 rather than $3. Also, since the E-bay final value fee is on the final sale price, before shipping costs are added in, I can save an additional $0.175 in fees if the item goes for the minimum bid. I know it is not much, but on a percentage basis, it is huge.

I also know that a lot of dealers have discount postage around. If they sell US stamps, they can use the scrap from there US inventory to pay for postage. If you are willing to play some math games, you can also find large amounts of lower value US stamps for sale below face (left over $0.41 or $0.39 stamps, for example).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Now I am curious

In volume 1 of the Israel Plate Block Journal, there was mention of 2 different commemorative stamps that have multiple printing dates in the plate block. I went through the nearly 30 years of archives that I got from the SIP, and there was no other mention of what these two issues were, or what the two different printing dates were. Does anyone know what these issues were? I checked my Bale catalogs, and see no reference to this either. Any help would be appreciated.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The blog hits the radio

A few weeks ago, a comment on this blog caused me to post on the Virtual Stamp Club message boards to continue the discussion. Yariv, a dealer in Israel, posted a response to my blog saying that E-bay sellers were driving down the value of Israel stamps. I disagreed, and posted a message on the stamp discussion boards to solicit other opinions, and hopefully get some interesting dialog going. Well, not only did I get some dialog going, but Nancy Clark, host of the APS StampTalk Internet radio show saw the post, and invited me on her show to discuss it further. My 30 minute interview took place on Wednesday, and today it is available for download.

Although there were some technical difficulties at the start of the show (the VOIP system at my desk phone evidently doesn't like the radio system), I think it went well. The only thing I wish I had done differently was that I didn't have my 2007 E-bay data open in front of me at the start of the show. I had thought we would be discussing more of the impact on prices, and less on my data analysis of market trends on E-bay. Oh well, live and learn.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Israel Plate Block Society

I have been collecting plate blocks for a while, and I just discovered a great resource. The Israel Plate Block Society Journal. I am not sure if the society is still in existence, as my e-mails to the president have gone unanswered, but I was able to borrow the archives of the journal from the SIP library. The archives contain almost 1200 pages of material, starting with the first issue in 1978, and ending in mid-2005. So far, I have made it through over a thousand pages, extracting about 250 different items that I need to add or modify in my database. The research done was incredibly detailed. Most issues are listed, with the number of panes per printing sheet, number of printing runs, and information on how to tell where a given plate block came from.

So, given all this information, what should I collect. My current plan is to collect all plate blocks that have a visible difference. For example, the four different perforation types, or different colors of plate number, or different printing dated. For the shekel issue only, I am trying to collect each plate and each printing run, but this is only because I have a fairly comprehensive collection already. I will not be going back and trying to collect the various pane and printing runs for other issues. Otherwise, I could go on forever.

One last thing. I said I discovered this resource. The discovery was made on E-bay. I saw a lot for sale of the back issues of the journal. I lost out, as the lot went for more than $75. I then went to the APRL to see if they had a copy that I could borrow, and I sent a request to the SIP librarian at the same time. Both libraries had a copy, and it was cheaper to borrow it from the SIP, so I did that. Had the lot never appeared on E-bay, I would not even know this resource existed.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Dilemma Decision

Yesterday, I talked about my dilemma. Today, or actually late last night, I made a decision. I choose option C. Of course, yesterday I only talked about 2 options. The third option appeared last night. One of the stamp dealers in Israel listed a large lot of Town Emblem plate blocks (76 different printing dates). I checked the pictures, and found that I need at least 40 of the 76 plate blocks in the lot. And the total Bale catalog value for those 40 is north of $1700. So, rather than spend $150+ on a single landscape plateblock that catalogs around $400, or spend the same amount on a bunch of maxi-cards that aren't even listed in the catalog, I chose to spend a bit more than I wanted on the 76 plate blocks. Value wise, I am paying less than 20% catalog for the items I need, and I will still have 30+ plateblocks that I can re-sell and try and lower my cost basis for the ones I needed. I also listed another dozen or so items on e-bay (currently, I have roughly 25 auctions running). Hopefully, I will make enough to allow me to buy some of the other items I want. Then, I will be back with the dilemma I had yesterday. Unless, some of the lots sell, or are taken off sale by then. 3 of the maxi-card lots I was looking at already sold, so it is a possibility. We will see...

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I have been selling a bunch of duplicates on E-bay the past few weeks (mostly IPF showcards and Phosphor FDC's, with a handful of others thrown in). Sales have been OK, and I have a decent amount in my PayPal account now. I have always used these funds to finance more purchases for my collection. This is where the dilemma comes in. I have about 60 items on my E-bay watch list. There are 2 big categories, one is definitive plate blocks, the other is modern maxi-cards. I can either purchase 1 of the more expensive definitive plate blocks on my want list, or I can purchase 20 or so maxi-cards. That is the dilemma. both are relatively difficult to find, but the maxi-cards are not in any catalog and only go for a slight premium over FDC's of the same issue. I think value wise, I get the most bang for my buck by buying the pricier definitive plate block (which is being offered at roughly 40% of Bale catalog price). But, with the maxi-cards, I can knock over 20 items off my want list. What should I do? Any advice?

Friday, February 6, 2009

IPF Show Cards

I recently started trying to make some sense out of a stack of show cards I had sitting on my shelf. I am at a bit of a loss on how to do this, since there does not seem to be a list of these issues anywhere. For the issue pictured here at the left, Independence 40, I have 15 cards all with matching numbers (0019/1000). Is 15 a complete set? Or are there more? Other cards I have show subtle differences, blue text on the bottom instead of black, or glossy paper vs matte paper, for example. Were these sold as separate items, or were they just sold as the same? Is the fact that multiple different cards with have the same serial number indicative of a set? Or is it a coincidence? I am leaning towards saying they were sold as a set. But, I would still like to know. I sent a mail to the IPF, but it seems they lost there archives, and do not have info from before 1991. At least, I know now that there were none of these cards sold after 1991. Any help would be appreciated.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Same thing, 2nd verse (or printing, as the case may be)

Looks like Israel snuck in a couple of reprints to start off 2009. Pictured here is the back of a booklet of "The Israeli" stamp. The one on the right was issued in 2008, the one on the left just came out last week. The main difference is the 2 menorah's next to the barcode on the 2nd printing. I don't believe this will be part of the standard order provided by the Israel Philatelic Service, or most new issue providers. I know of at least 1 other issue getting a second printing like this, the 24 hour express self adhesive stamps. Only in this case, rather than being printed on the back of the pane, it is in the upper right corner on the front. Both items are available from multiple dealers in Israel on E-bay. Hopefully, they will come down in price as more people outside Israel learn about them.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Landscape Plateblocks

In the last week or 2, I have seen a ton of landscape plate blocks listed on E-bay. The majority of them are listed as buy-it-now, with prices less than 50% of the Bale catalog value. So, it makes me wonder, how accurate is Bale in valuing these? I have never seen these offered by any dealer at a stamp show. Unlike US stamps, Israel plate blocks seem to be collected rarely. Of course, there is some good news. I am down to needing 14 out of the 170 different printing dates. The bad news is that 11 of the 14 are expensive, with 8 of them being greater than $100, and at least 2 of them greater than $1000. I haven't seen the 3 relatively inexpensive ones (< $20 each) listed on E-bay yet, while 8 of the other 11 are currently listed on E-bay. Some of them are being offered as full sheets, which are obviously more expensive. I have picked up some of the full sheets to fill in some missing printing dates, but only when the cost was relatively low (usually under $5).

Monday, January 19, 2009

How to value items not cataloged?

I have been updating my inventory with pricing for each item. All of the items listed in Scott or Bale catalogs are easy to value. But, that leaves a lot of items that are not listed. For example, Palestinian Authority FDC's are not valued anywhere that I can find. Artist folders, bulletins, and other similar items are equally without an easy way to value them. Most of these types of items are not offered for sale individually, only in large lots or collections. The way I am doing this now is to simply value them at what I would be willing to pay for the item if it was offered singly. Is this reasonable?