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...