A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Tattered Big Blue goes for $8700 on the Bay

First page of Canada
Note all the large Queens
Happy New Year!
Of interest to Big Blue collectors, an extremely ragged Big Blue album circa 1947 or earlier went for $8700 on E-Bay today. Lots of competition with 21 bidders. The top two bidders, presumably dealers with many transactions, swooped in at the last second and took the lot away from a probable collector (with 12 recent ebay transactions) who topped out at $8000.

Look on Ebay for....

Bulging - VALUABLE - US and Worldwide 1841-1940 Collection in Album

I was curious about the high price, as the album was "stuffed", but by no means full. In addition, the album was "clean" with no clearly additional expensive stamps mounted around the edges of the page. No estimate of numbers were given, but it appears to be in the neighborhood of 14,000-20,000 stamps. Since Bob Skinner of "Filling Spaces" blog fame has managed to collect 18,000 stamps recently for little more than $3000, did Ebay hysteria cause this lot to be sold for way too much? Possibly.

But a close look reveals a loaded U.S. collection ($1800 CV on first page alone with a nice Scott 1), and a look at the first page of the Canada collection ( illustrated above) shows Large Queens etc for >$500 CV. No doubt the reason for the buying frenzy.  ;-)

For myself, I don't have the means to be spending funds like this at one go. And doesn't it take a bit of fun away if one obtains everything at once?  ;-)

Comments appreciated on this subject.

Note: Pic is from the Ebay auction

(Note: I will be in China this month, so be patient with replies from me. )


  1. Wow, talk about serious cash burning... I've spent roughly 60€ of my stamp budget this year to buy few mixed lots, and I'm already feeling guilty of overspending. LOL.

    Hope you do make some nice finds while visiting China.

  2. I completely forgot about this, primarily because the images would never load in Firefox. I just tried in Chrome and had no problem bringing them up, and, in fact, saving all 700+ images for reference. I thought I would compare my album with these to get an idea of what the size was. I agree with keijo's comment, an album already at this level of completion wouldn't be as much fun, I think. On the other hand, if you were transferring the stamp to the Brown Internationals or the Steiner pages, there would still be lots of fun, if that is the right word.

  3. @ Keijo

    What is admirable is you have a modest budget, yet you have accumulated- and catalogued- 70,000 world wide stamps. !

  4. Bob

    I saved most of the images also. I would be interested in your estimated count.

    I was probably unclear, but what was amazing to me was the album in fact had no additional stamps in it ( ok, a few laid along the margins), other than in the spaces already provided by Big Blue. Other albums I have seen that go for high prices have expensive stamps mounted along the edges of the page- not so here.

  5. I'm enjoying going through the images for the eBay album page by page comparing it with my own and my current guesstimate is that it contained somewhere between 20-25,000 stamps, probably in the middle of that range. It is by far the most expensive International I've seen on eBay. I was thinking there was one at $3K but the highest sales price I've found in a quick search is $2300. It will be interesting to see if it stays sold. I'm surprised at how often an album like this gets relisted (I assume because the bidder said, sorry, changed my mind).

  6. I studied this one pretty closely. In a lot of countries, its earlies were more complete than its late 1930s holdings. For a number of countries it was virtually complete (BigBlueComplete) for the earlies from the 1850s up to 1920 or so.

    Now, admittedly, BB excludes the high ticket earlies, so even having completely filled first one, two, three pages for a country doesn't mean huge bucks but 8700.00 for 20,000 (and I'm guessing, with all the duplicates and triplicates, that it was much closer to 20,000 than 14,000) comes out at 43 cents a stamp. Since it trails off already in the mid-late 1930s, that means a high percentage of betters in the $.50-2.50 range. Even allowing for a lot of minimals, an average of .43 is not out of line.

    Especially because, from a dealer's perspective, it was loaded with duplicates and triplicates and more, often with mint/used doubled sets. And I didn't see a lot of obvious badly flawed fillers either.

    Yes, $8700.00 was a bit on the high side. My initial estimate was more like $3,000 or $4,000 max. But I have to say, going through all the scans (about 750-800 of them, though that includes enlargements of parts of some scans) I became more and more impressed. It was a unique kind of Big Blue collection, front-loaded in a way one doesn't usually see.

    To a BB-filling collector, it probably isn't worth more than $4000 or $5000. But to a dealer, with all those duplicates . . .

  7. Thanks for the recent comments from Bob and "Anonymous". Clearly this BB had a lot going for it.

    Note: I'm in China for a visit, so sorry about the delay with your comments. I should have fairly good internet access though for the next two weeks- so additional thoughts are welcome.