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).