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Member postings for Ralph

Here is a list of all the postings Ralph has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: What do you collect?
11/05/2013 17:06:59

Now there is a question...

My main collection is GB genuinely used but I am always looking for something else. The problem with my GB collection is that after 50 years of collecting I am now at the stage where everything I want is either too expensive of just not available… but I keep looking!

To open up more avenues of collecting I have helped my wife with here interest in Italy and France and have been studying decimal Machins… Boy, there are a lot of those! I was thinking of tackling them by denomination, chronologically. The trouble is where do I draw a line on variations? The jury is still out on that one.

In recent months I have been drawn to the Antarctic Territories – even the modem stamps have appeal to me. The whole subject fascinates me, the expeditions, especially the early 20th century undertakings, the people and the history. The fact that war was declared with Germany on the same day Shackleton and his ship Endurance were due to sail from London is incredable. Shackleton immediately offered his ship and crew to the service of the nation. However, First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Winston Churchill on orders from KGV, sent the famous single word telegram “Proceed”. It is the stuff of another era 100 years ago.

And that is just one story – I think it would make a fascinating collection that could be written up around the exploits of the early pioneers and their 21st century counterparts that man the ice stations today. There must be lots of covers and other postal items to be collected and studied. To me, a collection of this type is all about the research and collation of material to make it interesting and informative.

Fifty-plus years of collecting and I still get excited over new challenges, isn’t that what it is all about – it’s not about how deep your pocket are it is the hunt, at least it is for me!


Thread: Football Heroes stamps
11/05/2013 11:13:29

I am sorry to make another negative post but I can't be the only one who is disillusioned by RM's policy of producing lots of stamps for one issue (See: ). This set, hot on the heals of the Doctor Who set, is yet another mass of stamps that are sold as postage stamps but are really 'Manufactured collectables' along with all the other stuff that RM try and sell.

Please, don't get me wrong, I am not having a go at collectors that like the idea of buying issues as they appear but for me the magic has gone with regards to new issues.

As a kid, growing up in London in the 50's and 60's, I would peruse my passion for collecting stamps in two ways. First I would get on my bike and visit the stamp shops and on a Sunday morning go the East Street Market and visit the many stamp dealers that had stools or operated out of basements of the shops. Here I would search the bump-bins full of cheap stamps and then look through the dealers stock books for specific stamps.

My second source of stamps came from the first day issues. I would make a point of going to the post office on the day of issue and buy two sets of stamps, one to keep and one to stick on a cover, which I would address to myself in my best handwriting (which was always a bit scruffy). I could do this because the stamps were not expensive and there were fewer issues. I could usually expect to find genuinely used stamps in the dealers stamp bins that I mentioned earlier. All this was funded on pocket money 6d a week in the early days and then by my paper round, milk round, bread round and any other small job I could find. It was fun and I look back on those days with a warm feeling every time I see those issues.

I doubt I could do the same today and that is why I feel the magic has gone from new issues for me.

Back in the 70's I decided to concentrate on my GB collection of used stamps. My Dad wanted to continue with the FDC and mint new issues. I was about to get married and stamps were fairly low down on the list of priorities. Buying a house, furnishing and running it all took centre stage. My Dad continued to maintain the collection of FDCs and mint stamps until he passed away in the summer of 2011.

In the meantime my wife and I continued to collect GB used, and a few other areas, leaving the new issues to my Dad to take care of. After his death I inherited the collection of new issues and as it is almost complete QEII (apart from a few early issues) I decided to keep it going. In my last post I did say I intended to give it up, but so far I have hung in there for the sake of completeness (that is the collector in me). It's a shame, but that may be progress. I will just have to go along with it for the time being but with the cost increasing I am not sure for how long.


Thread: That's it I have had enough...
29/03/2013 12:41:04

You can read my rant HERE concerning the Doctor Who issue and on top of what I said there, RM have increased the premium on the Prestige booklet. I am really disappointed in RM. From now on I will only be buying mint stamps from the new issues all the rest is just blatant profiteering from manufactured so called 'collectibles'.

The only reason I am keeping up the mint collection is that we are complete (almost) in Lighthouse hinge-less albums to date from 1952. The later albums have more value (if cost =value) than the stamps.

I am very tempted to go back to studying my real stamps and sell of what has become a drudge. There is very little enjoyment in new commutative issues any more, for me. I am buying them just for the sake of it. Some long hard thinking is required here...

In over fifty years of collecting I have never sold any of my collection - that was never the point. Even monetary Value is not important to me - I just don't like being exploited.


Thread: Doctor Who Prestige stamp book
29/03/2013 12:14:24

I don't know either. Royal Mail are just putting more and more real collectors, like me, off. They must be relying on the 'manufactured collectable' market. And I completely agree with you, adding any premium is just WRONG!


Thread: What do you collect?
29/03/2013 11:46:01

Hello Folks,

First time posting here, but I have been a stamp collector for most of my life. I grew up in the inner-city suburbs of London in the 50s & 60s. Like most schoolboys, of my generation, stamp collecting was just one of the burgeoning group hobbies in a pre 24 hour television world. Of course, Stamp collecting had been around for over 100 years by then but this was the real start of consumerism and the beginning of the end of what I like to think of as 'active' hobbies. Now I know that there is not much physical activity involved in stamp collecting but in order to be a stamp collector some instigation is required. Today's hobbies, what there are of them, seem to involve consuming something. The thought of actually thinking about it and working out what is what seems to be too much like hard work. And the thought of actually learning something is seen as a chore that should have been left in the classroom.

I started collecting whole world stamps at a time when the SG 'Simplified' was one small volume and there were only a dozen or so current definitives. Stamp collecting was about discovering that the current set of wildings had previously carried a different watermark and the 11d Plumb (as it was described in my Collect British Stamps) was the one to look out for. It also involved a lot of walking and cycling to all the local stamp shops, of which there were many, not only here in London but every seaside town that we went to on holiday seemed to have a stamp shop. Stamps in packets were sold in sweet shops and all sorts of other places. But the real fascination was the stamps that came through the door. Yes in those days, envelopes had stamps on them and Royal Mail would cancel them with a postmark - remember that!

Today, in my late 50's, I collect mainly pre 1952 GB. I particularly like the line engraved issues and spend a lot of time trying to identify individual stamps and tie them down to specific plates and printings where possible. At the other extreme, I inherited my Father's collection of mint and first day covers in June 2011. Until this month, and for the sake of completeness, I have tried to keep up both, even though I have no interest in 'manufactured collectables' which is what the covers have become. After receiving the latest issue of Doctor Who stamps and illegible, unnecessarily fussy, ink-jet printed 'post marks' I am going to cancel my subscription to the FDC service. The mint stamps, although I object to the volume of issued stamps I will continue with, as they are real postal items, even if most of them never get used for their intended purpose.


Edited By Ralph Laughton 2 on 29/03/2013 12:10:45

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