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How times have changed !

collecting G.B. stamps .

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Fred Sellars15/10/2019 13:09:12
540 forum posts
218 photos

It was way back in 1924 when the first official commemoratives was originally issued, comprising of the 1d and 1½d British Empire Exhibition stamps, followed a year later by the 1925 ones of the same ilk.

For the next 35 years thereafter, a total of 16 commemorative sets was issued, up to and including the 1960 Europa stamps, giving a total of 18 sets in all,with a total face value of £2/17/6, that's £2•88 in today's money, this amount included 2 stamps with a face value of £1 each, the 1929 PUC and the 1948 Silver Wedding ones.

When looking at these statistics, a set of stamps was issued on average every two years.

---------------------------------------------------------------- HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED ! -------------------------------------------------

It would seem that the issuing policy of the Royal Mail has now changed considerably since the previous period mentioned.

With the advent of emails far fewer letters are posted and due to this fact the Royal Mail has seen a large decline in its revenue for letters, therefore in order to compensate for this loss,large increases have been made on letter rates over the last 20 years or so .

One year that springs to mind is 2011 when 1st and 2nd class letter rates was 46p and 36p, but in 2012 the price was increased to 60p and 50p (1st class an increase of 30•43%) (2nd class an increase of 38•9%) respectively .

I noticed in one dealers listing of 'stamps for sale' for the year 2010 35 commemorative items including miniature sheets ranging from SG2999 to M/S3135 .

In years to come it will not be "what reign do you collect, but "which year do you collect"

Is it any wonder that the youngsters of today are turning their back on a stamp collecting hobby they can ill afford ! The future of British stamp collecting lies in the hands of the youth of today .

What are your thoughts on this subject ?




Edited By Fred Sellars on 15/10/2019 13:16:57

Geoff CHILDS15/10/2019 21:18:36
2695 forum posts
2703 photos


I fully agree that the price of and number of issues is making the hobby of stamp collecting GB issues beyond the reach of many a young collector. Dare I say it also some old collectors.

Also the amount of merchandise that comes out with a stamp issue.

I would say not just collecting a 'Philatelic Year' but collecting a Philatelic Issue of all is difficult on the pocket.

As an example with the latest issue, 'The Gruffalo, if you were to collect all the merchandise, mint stamps, FDC's, sheets etc etc it would set you back £372.11.

Back in to my box

Geoff (GBCC)

Fred Sellars15/10/2019 22:24:41
540 forum posts
218 photos

Hi Geoff,

I'm inclined to agree with you on the various aspects you have commented on .

As you say, it's not just the youngsters or even the older collector that must be feeling the pinch .

The dealers in my estimation must have a similar problem with cash flow, as well you know, before you can sell an item you've first got to have it in stock .

Could it be that the Royal Mail are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs ?

Or could it be creatures like The Gruffalo or the like that's doing the damage ?

Thanks Geoff for your input on the subject matter, Fred .

Neil Barrett 317/10/2019 11:47:20
35 forum posts

I decided long ago that I wasn't a completist but rather I would collect issues I liked. The thing that puts me off is the increasing use of values that are not postally useful. When, for example, the Greetings booklets (early form of Smilers) came out I would buy one set to keep and one set to use. If a set is issued as 10 or 12 x 1st class I can still do that - but others leave me with excess £1.55 values - unless I write to my US friends more often...

I agree with Fred that there might well be a tactic to increase revenue - knowing those stamps will be bought anyway; why not make them a higher rate?

As for the ancillary merchandise that Geoff mentions; isn't this an attempt to get sales outside of the stamp community and into the obsessive fans of the subject (Music Giants or Star Wars or Marvel)? I know many in the world of science fiction fandom who are completists and would pay a three-figure sum for a framed limited-edition set.

And it does work sometimes... I say sometimes because issues like Dr Who in 2013 sell out quickly and then filter back on to the market - sitting on eBay at inflated prices until various sellers realise that they weren't the only ones who had the idea of making a quick profit.

I reckon we could say the same of the Royal Mint and the unending parade of commemorative 50p coins in various guises. At least there is the possibility of getting an unusual one in change and putting it aside (effective cost of face value) which if one is in need - can be liquidated at face value.

Fred Sellars17/10/2019 15:53:17
540 forum posts
218 photos

Good afternoon Neil and thank you for your contribution on this controversial subject .

I note what you say, however, it's not just some of the values that are inappropriate for postal use, it's the reputition of higher values in the same set !

In the latest "Gruffalo" issue there are 3 × £1•60 stamps, where only one need suffice to cover that particular postal rate, in the previous "Royal navy ships" issued on the 19th September there is the same duplication and in the Elton John set there are 4 × £1•55 values and 4 miniature sheets .

All of this duplication of the higher values is unnecessary and is counteractive,this is one of the multitude of reasons as to why the hobby of stamp collecting is on the decline .

The Royal Mail must think that money grows on trees ! Especially if you bought the forestry pictorial set issued on the 13th of August this year (again with similar duplication) .

So far there have been 12 commemorative or pictorial sets this year and still counting .

There is an old saying "too many cooks spoil the broth", and the same applies for issuing stamps that very few collectors can afford .

The "goose" is still alive, but Christmas is on its way .

Neil Barrett 318/10/2019 10:02:52
35 forum posts

Fred said: In the latest "Gruffalo" issue there are 3 × £1•60 stamps, where only one need suffice to cover that particular postal rate, in the previous "Royal navy ships" issued on the 19th September there is the same duplication and in the Elton John set there are 4 × £1•55 values and 4 miniature sheets .

Absolutely - I'm thinking back to say the early 2000s when a set would often be 1st, 2nd, E and two higher values (45p and 65p ring a bell). Now - we usually only see that pattern in the Christmas issue.

We maybe get one a year which is 2x2nd, 2x1st, 2xEurope rate, 2xWorldwide rate - Captain Cook from last year comes to mind and Ladybird Books before that.

Fred Sellars18/10/2019 12:42:17
540 forum posts
218 photos

Good afternoon Neil and thank you for your latest rendering,

As any economist knowes the price of an item is driven by supply and demand, the greater the demand the higher the price and if there is a short supply of the item the price will tend to increase .

The same applies to the issue of modern day postage stamps, however, the Royal Mail seem to be working in reverse,as they are producing more stamps than is needed for a particular postal rate and increasing the price for the service given .

This in turn drives down demand and increases the supply available on the "new issues" market .

It just doesn't make sense, collectors are being taken for a ride ...... Destination unknown .

In the meantime, I'm sticking to pre-decimal issues as there is still a lot to be discovered in these stamps ! And that's true philately 👍

Fred Sellars22/10/2019 11:46:25
540 forum posts
218 photos

img_20191021_131716.jpgimg_20191021_131812.jpgTo add to my previous posting, the reason for sticking to pre-decimal issues is the current retail price of some of the earlier QE2 commemoratives and ironically it's all to do with that dreaded word   


As everyone must know, the purchasing power of the £ has got less and less as the years progressed due to the increase in prices, not of just goods but also for services rendered .

When you purchase a stamp for postage you are paying for the service to be carried out with regards to the delivery of the item sent .

When the first and second class postal system replaced the old one on the16th of September 1968, the price of a letter weighing up to 4 ounces was 5d sent first class and 4d for second class, and with decimalisation on the 15th of February 1971 it was adjusted to 3p and 2½p respectively ❌ .

Back in the mid 50s and early 60s postal rates hadn't much changed up to decimalisation, with that in mind, I looked at what a set of stamps issued in that period would cost if you bought them today based on their face value, taking into consideration inflation over the years from when they were issued .

Take for instance the 1958 Commonwealth Games set, 3 stamps which had a total face value of 2/- in the old currency that is the equivalent of 10p today, however, when you you look at the rate of inflation then it equates to £2•30, this set unmounted mint is currently retailing for around £1, so really it's being offered at less than 50% of its original face value, to be more precise it's more like 56•5% .

The General Letter Office set of 1960 with a face value of 1/6d equates to £1•66 giving a discount off the face value in the region of 15•7%, as this is currently retailing around £1•40 for an unmounted mint set .

The bargain of the decade goes to the 1961 C.E.P.T. set with the face value of 1/4d (that's one and fourpence), this set is currently retailing around 15p per set, giving a whopping discount from face value of 88½% based on inflation since 1961, as its face value equates to £1•46 in today's money, there was less than 5½ million of the 10d value issued/sold, much less than most top values for commemoratives of that period .

I'm not saying that there should be a " gold Rush " for stamps of this period, but they certainly rate a 'buy' in my estimation at these prices, especially when you see current sets like The Gruffalo with duplicated higher values currently on issue for the price of £6•90 .

All the more reason to stick to pre-decimal issues rather than some of the rubbish being issued today .

❌ Information via the Great Britain Philatelic Society on letter rates .



Edited By Fred Sellars on 22/10/2019 11:47:33

Edited By Fred Sellars on 22/10/2019 11:48:40

Edited By Fred Sellars on 22/10/2019 11:50:03

Neil Barrett 322/10/2019 15:34:09
35 forum posts

I haven't got the time to work it out right now but I wonder what the comparison is between Face Value in 1960, Current Value of that (as calculated by Fred) and Current Price of the same rate band.

Over in the chaos of eBay; it's often possible to buy booklets, minisheets or packs from recent (last 10 to 15 years) issues at below face value (ranging from 10% to 30% below). If you are buying for postage use and don't care what the issue is it's a good deal. If you are buying to complete a collection, you might have to hunt further but good deals can be found.

Fred Sellars22/10/2019 19:09:19
540 forum posts
218 photos

Hi Neil,

To enable one to calculate any historical UK inflation, you will first need a relevant calculator, I use the one created by Kate Rose Morley and it can be found on the following site .

In order to calculate pre-decimal amounts you must first convert the shillings and pence into pennies, taking into consideration 12 pennies to the shilling .

Hence an amount of 5 shillings and 11 pence halfpenny would then be 71½d (5*12+11½ , you then divide this by 240 which should give you £•2979166, enter the first four digits into to the preferred year and the answer will be given as to what that money would be worth in 2018 .

Example: 5 shillings and 11 pence halfpenny in 1929 had the purchasing power of £17•81 in today's money .

This calculation can be used for any individual or set of unmounted mint stamps that are for sale, but remember, pre-decimal stamps are not postally valid, but this after all is irrelevant to a philatelist .

Please note I have tried to remove the emoji from this posting 3 times without success .

Edited By Fred Sellars on 22/10/2019 19:11:41

Edited By Fred Sellars on 22/10/2019 19:12:53

Edited By Fred Sellars on 22/10/2019 19:16:58

Edited By Fred Sellars on 22/10/2019 19:22:30

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