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...

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Selling a 94% Filled Big Blue: A Report

Great Britain 1840 Two Penny Blue 
From Bud's Big Blue Sale 
Into the Deep Blue
The reader is in for a special treat!

Bud was an earlier encourager of my fledgling stamp blog about Big Blue, and we have exchanged stamps with each other the past five years. Frankly, he has provided more for me than I have provided for him, as his collection is the more advanced. But I feel we have become good friends.

When he decided to sell an almost full Big Blue on eBay in late 2015, I asked and he graciously accepted to write a report about his experiences here.

Bud's Report  follows immediately in this section. The "Big Blue" section will list prices realized for all the country lots. In the "Out of the Blue" section, I will give some comments and opinions.


French Guiana
Bud's Report

Jim's blog provides detailed and useful information for collectors trying to fill the 34,500+ spaces in Scott’s International Album, Volume 1 (aka Big Blue or simply BB). Plunging into BB is a daunting venture, but one made much more enjoyable by having at hand Jim’s insights and data.

Suppose the project succeeds, or nearly so, and BB gets filled up. What then? Give it to a grandchild? Sell it? Let it mold in the basement?
When I acquired an almost complete BB that closely matched my own, the question about what to do with a great many unwanted stamps quickly became less hypothetical. 
Ivory Coast
Here’s the story, a case study of how I disposed of a very big 1940s edition of BB (no USA pages, title page and publishing date missing). Stamps, some mint and some used, were neatly and accurately placed with easily peeled hinges. Almost no tuck-ins – stamps for which BB provides no spaces – were included. The album, I was told, had been assembled by several generations of collectors in a single family.

After a few stamps were transferred to my collection, the recently acquired volume remained 94 percent filled (about 32,900 stamps) with many countries complete. My grandkids are either too young or disinterested, and I’m allergic to mold. So, selling seemed the best option and, in addition, a way to recoup some of the purchase price.

But the decision to sell such a horde presents its own set of puzzlements. Market it on-line or at a local auction? Find a knowledgeable (and affluent) dealer? Pack it off to a stamp specialty auction house? On-line sales, being noticeably robust in the spring and summer of 2015, seemed the best option from the financial point of view. I’m too lazy, though, to hassle through selling it myself, handling the shipping and building my own nest of followers. And I want someone else to deal with cranks. 

So I did a quick survey of eBay consignment sellers to learn their marketing strategies and fees. I chose eBay over other platforms (BidStart, Delcampe, Stamps2Go) because the latter serve principally collector/sellers who offer individual stamps. Craig’s List, another option, is at once too local and too generalized. EBay moves items faster and has greater access to customers than the others do.

Colombian States
Three consignment sellers, all well-established on eBay with 100 percent positive feedback ratings, offered three different marketing strategies and commission rates. Their percentage includes eBay fees as well as handling and shipping costs. All three provide excellent pics, too, a highly important consideration. Given the extensive service such sellers provide, their rates seem reasonable. The three options I chose from are:

1) Sell the whole collection at one time, one listing, at 18.5 percent commission. This option would quickly return proceeds, but wouldn’t allow extended promotion of sales. Moreover, most collectors might be less interested in buying so many stamps at one time.

2) Break the collection into country groups, as nearly as possible given that BB sometimes overlaps countries on the same pages, to be sold over several months, at 25 percent commission. Proceeds would come more slowly, but the total would likely be greater than Option 1. Promotion on various web sites and blogs would be possible.

3) Break the collection into sets and better individual stamps, the remaining less valuable stamps being marketed by pages, sold over the better part of a year, at 40 percent commission. Proceeds would come more slowly, but possibly in greater amounts than for Options 1 and 2. Collectors would be better able to pick and choose, making their bidding more aggressive. Internet promotion beyond eBay could be maximized.

Gold Coast
I chose Option 2, offered by a seller (ebay id: kenr2) with a great deal of experience and a sizeable bevy of followers. He broke the BB into 269 lots and, from September to December 2015, sold 15 or 20 lots each week. Payments came to me every week, two weeks after the sales closed.

From the outset, the large number of “watchers” on eBay portended a good result. The final total was $34,744.73, a little over $1.07 per stamp. Half of the total was paid by a single enthusiastic bidder. (I hope he, or the one he served as purchasing agent, enjoys his new collection.)

Great Britain
The most expensive lot ($1213.73) was Great Britain. It included a fine Scott #2 and had missing only a few of the British offices. 

Italy was strong at $1177.68, including BOB, Italian offices, and Aegean Islands. 

Canada came in at $1035.00 with an additional $493.88 for Newfoundland and $88.99 for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia combined. 

Competition was strong for all Asian countries, with China (significant gaps) realizing $649.33 and the Philippines (nearly complete) at $714.00. 

St. Christopher, Helena, Kitts, Lucia
Mariana and Marshall Islands together netted a surprising $517.78, while the saints (Christopher, Helena, Kitts, and Lucia) came marching in at $503.00.

Countries with all spaces filled sold at a premium.  (See full listing below in the “Big Blue section).

Korea provided an illustration of why it’s wise to retain an experienced seller. Initially the lot, a single page with some stamps missing, sold for a startling $1100. The high bidder then reported that it was all a mistake, a prank played on him by co-workers, he thought, when he left his computer unattended. When the seller relisted, it sold for $355.00, more in line with expectations.

Another kerfuffle arose when a bidder claimed he had accidentally bid too much on a lot and asked (demanded, even) the seller to reduce his cost by half. The seller relisted, blocked the malcontent from all further bidding, and laughed as the second sale price zoomed past the first.

The seller declined to offer Cuba, given eBay and PayPal prohibitions. PayPal recently was fined stiffly for Cuban transactions (not stamps).

The only other hiccup was eBay’s fault entirely. A few minutes before one week’s lots were ending, eBay’s system crashed, which means that those lots did not benefit from the final kick of snipe bidding. EBay apologized, but probably something over $1000 was lost.

Nevertheless, $34,744.73 for an almost full BB is impressive – more than I expected – thanks to my seller (kenr2). 

Will this result be duplicated when the next nearly full BB sells? Possibly, but mine definitely benefited from the enthusiasms of one very aggressive bidder. May his tribe increase!*

­­­­*Apologies to the 19th century English poet, Leigh Hunt.

Big Blue

Results for the 269 BB lots

Abyssinia                                        $102.50

Aden, Afghanistan, 
Alexandretta, Armenia                    $142.50

Aitutaki & Alaouites                       $102.50

Albania & Azerbaijan                      $102.50

Algeria                                            $202.50

Allenstein, Angra, Andorra              $61.00

Angola                                             $42.00

Angola BOB and Antigua               $32.00

Argentina and some Antigua           $56.55

Ascension                                       $47.99

Australia                                         $34.33

Austria                                           $50.77

Austria BOB                                  $49.77

Austria Occupation                       $57.78

Azores and Lombardy                  $56.67

Baden Bremen and Bergdorf        $48.25

Bahamas Bahrain 
and Basutoland                            $56.55

Batum and Benin                         $32.00

Bavaria                                        $61.00

Bechuanaland and 
Belgian East Africa                      $21.50

Belgian Congo, Cook Island        $76.25

Belgium                                       $52.77

Belgium BOB                             $18.27

Belgium parcel post                    $27.99

Belgium Semipostals                  $63.51

Bermuda                                     $61.00

Bohemia and Moravia                $47.00

Bolivia                                        $76.55

Bosnia and Herz.                        $41.00

Brazil and Bosnia                      $129.50

Brit East Africa 
Solomon Islands                         $57.99

British Guiana, Br. Honduras 
and Brunei                                 $46.00

Bulgaria                                      $66.55 

Cameroon                                   $76.00

Canada                                  $1,035.00

Canal Zone                              $242.49

Cape Juby                                 $24.50

Cape Verde                               $57.53

Carinthia, Cape of Good Hope $87.00

Caroline and Castellorizo         $49.25

Cayman                                    $52.00

Central Lithuania                     $42.00

Ceylon                                   $175.84

Chad                                        $16.52

Chile                                        $83.43

China                                    $416.00

China BOB                           $233.33

Cilcilia, Crete                          $76.00

Colombia                                $89.88

Colombia Antioquia                $52.15

Colombia Cundinamarca
-Bolivar                                   $54.00

Colombia E1                            $29.28

Colombia Santander               $125.50

Cyprus, Dalmatia,
 Diego Suarez                       $102.50

Cyrenaica                                 $74.99

Czechoslovakia                        $56.55

Dahomey                                  $81.00

Danish W Indies, Danzig        $130.88

Denmark                                  $88.99

Dominica & Ethiopia               $39.50

Dominican Republic                $74.00

Dutch Indies                          $255.00

E. Africa, Elobey, Curacao     $66.99

Eastern Silesia & Epirius        $54.00

Ecuador                                  $86.50

Egypt                                    $129.49 

El Salvador                           $183.05

El Salvador BOB                 $102.50

Eritrea                                   $231.50

Estonia                                  $202.50

Fernando Po                           $17.50

Fiji & Falkland Islands          $88.84

Finland                                   $52.75

Fiume & Funchal                   $49.55

France                                   $226.01

France BOB                            $84.83

France China Canton 
Hoi Hao                                $103.50

France China 
Kwanochowan Crete             $228.50

France Egypt,
 Zanzibar, Morocco               $112.50

France Turkey, 
Congo, Colonies                      $58.87

French Equatorial                  $129.50

French Guiana                       $201.50

French Guinea                         $59.58

French India                             $66.65

French Oceania                        $69.58

French Sudan                           $73.32

Gabon                                    $125.49

Gambia, Turkish Germany,
 Georgia                                   $43.55

German East Africa, 
Thurn, Taxis                            $91.50

Germany                                $155.60

Germany BOB                      $152.50

Germany China offices          $128.50

Gibraltar and Greenland        $226.12

Gilbert & Ellis, Gold Coast   $418.21

Great Britain                      $1,213.73

Greece                                  $167.50

Greece bob                           $102.50

Grenada                               $223.83

Guadeloupe                         $128.50

Guatemala                            $202.50

Guinea (Portuguese)              $78.25

German South West Africa    $73.87

Haiti                                     $103.01

Hamburg Hanover
 Heligoland                           $74.50

Hatay                                   $152.50

Hawaii                                 $107.50

Hejaz Horta Honduras        $202.50

Hong Kong                        $255.00

Hungary                               $72.00

Hungary BOB                    $126.00

Iceland                                $272.84

India                                      $82.00

India States                            $42.25

Indo China                          $190.42

Inhambane                             $73.00

Inini                                       $76.00

Ireland and Iraq                      $76.00

Italian Colonies                       $35.00

Italian East Africa                   $47.14

Italian Somaliland                   $95.00

Italy                                       $897.63

Italy Aegean Is. & Rhodes      $94.00

Italy BOB                             $188.06

Italy in China                          $88.00

Ivory Coast                           $693.68

Jamaica                                    $63.31

Japan                                      $173.50

Kenya-Uganda-Tanganyika   $105.82

Kiauchau                                 $37.87

Koinga                                    $52.00

Korea, Costa Rica                 $355.00

Kuwait & Leeward Islands     $57.00

Labuan & Lagos                     $82.00

Latvia & Latakia                    $231.38

Lebanon                                   $76.00

Liberia                                    $292.00

Libya                                       $122.50

Liechtenstein                           $510.00

Lithuania                                 $530.00 

Lourenco Marques & Lubeck   $73.00

Luxembourg                            $231.38

& Luxembourg official           $179.00

Madagascar                             $231.38

Maldives                                   $27.00

Malta & Madeira                     $116.50

Manchukuo                             $162.50

Mariana & Marshall Island    $517.78

Marienwerder                          $33.25

Mauritania                             $241.38

Mauritius                              $116.50

Mayotte & Martinique            $91.00

Memel                                   $152.50

Mexico                                  $208.50

Mexico BOB                         $113.50

Middle Congo                          $89.88

Modena & Moheli                    $55.66

Monaco                                  $120.11

Mongolia & Mesopotamia       $29.50

Monserrat & Natal                   $44.00

Montenegro                            $141.38

Mozambique                           $241.38

Mozambique Company           $122.50

Nauru Nepal Nejd                     $73.00

Netherlands                                $33.00

Netherlands BOB                     $110.25

New Brunswick 
& Nova Scotia                           $89.99

New Caledonia                        $192.01

New Guinea                              $78.77

New Hebrides                           $80.25

New South Wales                     $32.88

New Zealand                          $172.50

Newfoundland                       $493.88

Nicaragua                               $152.50

Nicaragua BOB                        $22.50

Niger                                        $32.00

& Nicaragua Provinces            $62.00

Niue                                         $10.50

North Borneo                          $92.00

North Nigeria 
Rhodesia Ingermanland          $38.00

Norway                                  $62.00

Nossi Be                                 $26.77

Nyassa and Nyasaland Prot.   $34.00

Obock                                     $19.00

Oltre Giuba                             $17.50

Orange River                          $15.50

Palestine                                  $11.50

Panama                                  $109.23

Papua                                      $86.77

Paraguay                              $177.00

Paraguay BOB                       $68.50

Persia                                   $124.50

Persia BOB                            $53.00

Peru                                      $215.38

Peru BOB                               $49.00

Philippines                            $714.00

Poland                                   $265.00

Poland BOB                          $100.00

Portugal                                 $207.50

Portugal BOB
 & Port. Africa & Congo         $48.00

Portuguese India 
& Pont Delgada                     $104.00

& Price Edward Island           $24.29

Puerto Rico                          $221.50

Queensland                            $66.00

Quelimane & Rio de Oro       $91.00

Reunion                               $152.50

Rhodesia                                $33.00

Romania                               $208.50

Romania BOB                      $148.00

Rouad & Roman States          $38.89

Russia                                  $438.00

Russia BOB                         $165.00

Saar & Russia in China       $212.50

Samoa                                 $159.63

San Marino                         $104.00

Sarawak                                $81.00

Senegal                                 $75.00

Senegambia & Niger             $46.50

Serbia                                    $55.58

Shanghai                              $127.50

 Siam                                    $160.00

Siberia & Seychelles              $51.00

Sierra Leone & Somaliland    $28.72

Somali Coast                          $87.00

Southern Nigeria 
& South Australia                   $26.55

Southern Rhodesia 
and South West Africa            $45.44

Spain                                     $147.75

Spain Airmail                          $76.99

Spain in Morocco                    $68.55

Spain Semi Postal                    $48.03

Spanish Guinea                     $132.50

St. Helena Kitts Lucia            $503.00

St. Pierre & Miquelon            $333.88

St. Thomas & Prince               $87.00

St. Vincent                              $38.00

Straits Settlements                $204.00

Surinam                                  $82.00

Swaziland                               $29.00

Sweden                                   $63.00

Switzerland                             $57.00

Switzerland BOB                    $66.00

Syria                                      $165.27

Tannu Tuva & Tasmania         $26.00

Thrace, Tibet, Tete +               $61.00

Timor                                     $142.50

Togo                                        $55.00

Tonga & Trans-Jordan            $46.25

Transvaal & Tanganyika         $46.25

Trinidad, Turks & Caicos     $166.50

Tripolitania                             $75.60

Tunisia                                   $76.29

Turkey                                  $160.00

Turkey BOB                         $123.05

Tuscany & Two Sicilies         $18.00

Ubangi                                 $150.00

Ukraine and 
Un. South Africa                    $16.01

Upper Senegal                       $16.50

Upper Silesia                          $68.25

Upper Volta                         $135.50

Uruguay                               $223.50

Vatican City                          $308.62

Venezuela                              $112.75

Victoria                                   $26.00

Virgin Islands                          $29.10

Wallis & Futuna Islands        $210.26

Western Australia                    $30.00

Wurttemberg                          $130.00

Yugoslavia                             $511.00

Yugoslavia BOB                      $92.25

Zambesi & Zululand               $135.50

(Apologies to those who are bothered by wavy columns ;-)

Canal Zone
Out of the Blue
Thanks Bud- absolutely wonderful report!

Bud had the good fortune to purchase an almost completely filled Big Blue.  He removed some stamps for his own collection, and then sold the 94% Big Blue (~32,900 stamps) on eBay through a hosting dealer. 

As noted, he achieved a $34,000 gross yield by selling the album by country.

That $34,000 figure puts his BB virtually at the top of recent sales.

(The following is extracted from information about recent BB sales from Bob Skinner's excellent "Filling Spaces" web site.)

- An estimated 97% completed Big Blue (with 15,000 more stamps in the album) was offered for $30,000 by Dr. Robert Friedman & Son's for the 102nd sale- Lot 337- May 27, 2013.

- Kelleher Auction Sale 628 Jan 25-27, 2012, 1840-1940 3 volume International (many duplicates and additions) BB sold for $21,240.

- The Harmer-Schau auction of Jan 11-13, 2013 offered a "nearly complete" BB- sold for $18,100.

Bud’s collection is more comprehensive than mine, so I was quite interested in bidding on these BB country lots. Consequently, I followed every lot, and bid on some of them.

Here are my observations and opinions about the sale.....

     Bud’s  BB country lots on eBay were wildly popular, and he received many bids. This certainly is good news, as it appears that WW classical era collecting is alive and well.

     The lots attracted a few bidders that bid on many of the lots- and seemed to be not afraid to bid high. In fact, my impression is some of the bids exhibited “irrational exuberance” with little regard for actual CV.  As I had put together a BB checklist- which is available here-, I generally was aware which/how many stamps in a lot had a CV over $10. And, I was aware that BB tends to provide spaces for inexpensive stamps, while not providing many spaces for more expensive stamps. But, it appears, that some bidders were unaware of this, or perhaps, that didn’t matter to them.

      One should not underestimate the psychological power on a stamp collector when viewing a full page of stamps in a BB album!
I suspect a more comprehensive album, but with more empty spaces might not have done as well.  This is a clear argument to house a WW collection in a "filled" BB album, as the financial yield, I believe, will be higher. (I may need to rethink my Steiner album approach. ;-)

     Selling by country lots is a good strategy. It permits many more bidders to get in on the action at an acceptable price for them. Selling a full BB in total would allow only the well- financed (dealers?) to purchase, and the overall price yield, in my view, would have been less. Selling individual stamps or small issue lots would have been more labor intensive, and, as BB tends to not have many stamps (1%?) above CV $35, not all that useful.

 * As I have some 28,000+ stamps in my virtual BB. I couldn't bid on country lots with the same level of  vigor as someone who could use more of the stamps for their own collection. 

     Because of the generally high prices the country lots were yielding, I found I bid on fewer lots than I would have preferred. But bid I did…and aggressively! With that strategy, I was successful about 1/3 of the time.

Colombia 1917 Scott E1
   What about the lots I did receive?  I was very pleased with the stamps, as they were as they appeared, with very few faults.
    I did pick up the 1917 Colombia Scott E1 Special Delivery stamp. It has a reputation of being difficult to acquire. There is a space for it in the BB 40s editions, but it was dropped in the '69 edition.

The "Filling Spaces" blog from (2009 post) discusses this stamp.

Congratulations to Bud on this outstanding sale!

   Note: All the scan images of BB country pages were originally posted on eBay, and were part of Bud's collection that he was marketing.

   Comments appreciated!



  1. Awesome report... Possibly the only thing that I would have loved to see added would have been the percentage of mint/used on separate lots (because it will affect on the prices realized).

    But I guess I'll have to dig into eBay to see the specific lots.


    1. Yes, one would need to review the collection scans to get an idea about mint/used for each country collection.

  2. Jim,

    This is great information! Thanks to you and Bud for this post.

    So, not sure if Bud wants to provide this info, but it would be nice to know how much Bud originally paid for the collection, which would give us a good idea of the difference between buying/selling an entire BB vs. the country lot approach for the exact same collection. Presumably Bud's own collection is now more than 94% complete since he only took "a few" stamp out of this collection?

    Another big question of mine relates to how much difference the outcome would be if one had one of the "newer" BB with less coverage compared to the 1940s edition Bud sold?


    1. If I was Bud, i wouldn't say. ;-) I do know he was a bit worried about recouping his costs. But it worked out very well. :-)

      I actually don't think there would have been much difference in selling price between a 40s edition (which this was), or a "69 or later edition. The actual similarities are >90%.

  3. Also, another question, do we think it is better not to have "extra" stamps in the margins, mounted under other stamps, etc? Were there any additional blank pages in this collection? What to do with all those "extra" stamps that don't fit in the spaces?

    1. There is both good and bad with adding stamps in the margins, in my opinion.

      It does detract from the aesthetics- look at how nice the full pages look!

      OTOH, a collector realizes that extra stamps on a page is extra value! ;-)

    2. Yes, I agree with you there. Perhaps best to just place any and all extra stamps aesthetically on blank pages at the end of the country, which provides the "extra value" while maintaining the aesthetics of the pages.

  4. Good questions, all. It will take me a while to put together cogent answers, but I will answer as completely as I can. Here are a couple of answers now: There were no extra pages with stamps that did not fit into BB and very few tip-ins. I have no idea about the ratio of mint to used stamps. If you search eBay, look for "Great Scott International Vol. I Album." Sadly the full compliment is on longer available. My own BB Vol I collection exceeds 99.5 % complete. About the ratio of purchase price to the sales price, I'll say my wife is not longer threatening to move out.

    1. Bud,
      Thanks, I think you did a good job of answering all the questions so far. So, I'd like a add another one for you! I would like to hear your take on putting the extra stamps in margins and/or on additional blank pages in a BB collection. Is this something you do for your own collection or not? How do you handle all the 'extra' stamps?

      Congrats again to you and thanks for telling your story!

  5. Very interesting post and congrats Bud on the fantastic sales. It's something every WW collector needs to deal with - what to do with the "feeder" albums you buy, sometimes for too much. At the moment I'm trying to figure out what to do with 2 very rough albums with just a smattering of stamps. I enjoy the challenge of trying to market stamps on ebay, but there's always that page of say, Belgium, with 8 really common stamps. Do I try and sell that as a country collection or just dump the stamps into a Classic Era lot?
    By the way, I collect in 2 Browns(19th C 1919 version and 1900-1920 1920 version) and so have no need for anything from '20-'40.

    1. Nice to see some Brown collectors - thanks for the comments Mason.

      I have way too many feeder albums that do not have much of interest at all now. ;-)

    2. I sell the feeder albums on Ebay as a whole. If I have some dupes lying around I put them in to sweeten the pot. I don't expect a lot, but there are people who will bid. I don't need extra albums hanging around, and I figure I've made my money back already with the additions to my collection. But I'm not 90% complete, so I know this'll get more difficult.

  6. Very interesting read Jim. I have two questions. First, I found this post through TSF. I have not found a direct link on your site. Maybe I missed something? Second, in your posts you suggest options to fill Big Blue at a cost that is affordable for collectors with a limited budget. How does this compare to the collection Bud sold? Were there possibly more expensive issues part of the pages he sold?

    1. Hi Gerben,
      Just to chime in on your second question...I think buying whole BB collections is the most economical way to build up a BB collection. Bud sold his collection by country lots, which brought in higher $$. Presumedly he purchased that collection for a lot less than he got for it selling by country lots (plus he was able to add a few stamps he needed for his own collection for free!) Way to go!


    2. Chris, as an aside: nice to meet you on this venue. What I am interested in is, whether the pages sold by Bud contain the higher values. Well, let's give Jim the time to settle down in hotel and asnwer the question.

  7. Even I was caught up in the bidding. I found myself bidding on things I didn't even collect. Had I won any I guess I would have started collecting them. The full looking pages certainly appealed to the eye, making it a good reason to try to win them.

    1. I agree that full country pages set off a bit of a bidding war for many lots, as they (the pages) looked highly attractive.

  8. Glad you found the post interesting Gerben.
    The latest post is found on the "home" page- if one taps the blue bigblue1840-1940 logo on the header, you will be taken to the most recent post. Also, the archive section - first section along the left hand side lists all the posts by month and year. For these "special " posts that do not involve a country review, I do not link the post to the country list. Sorry if it is confusing. ;-)

  9. Replies
    1. Gerben- you are too quick for me. I was checking into a hotel, and waiting to get internet service before responding to your second question, which is a good one. ;-)

      Because this was a full Big Blue, I think the prices were higher for many lots.

    2. Gerben- yes, the BB sold included the higher values within the contex of what is included in BB. But BB does not include a lot of higher value stamps- by design, as it is a representative, not complete, album. So why were the auction prices high? For the reasons I cited in the post ( nice complete pages, "irrational exuberance", and many people bidding, with one individual not afraid to bid about anything. ;-)

  10. Such a wonderful experience Bud had, turning what could potentially have been a liability into a very profitable exercise. Hopefully some of the proceeds go to helping him fill the remaining holes in his own BB now. Plus going through this experience gives him an idea now of how to handle his own collection if and when he does decide to sell. Congrats Bud and thanks Jim for sharing this story!

    1. Gene- I have no doubt Bud is indeed filling some holes with the proceeds. :-)

  11. Jim is right about the holes; some 148 left. Thanks for you wishes, Gene.

  12. Jim refers to the "psychological power" with regards to completeness. My one question for Bud: are your spaces filled without regards to things like watermarks? I've been kicking around the idea of simply filling my spaces as opposed to having a blank page filled with "Watermark 4" while some open spaces sit there. I wish you the best of luck with the remaining 148 stamps, and look forward to Jim's announcement that you've finished it!

  13. Jim,

    Just an idea...I think we would all be interested in perhaps a guest post from Bud regarding some specifics of his own BB collection.

    Remember there was a guy on SCF who posted back in 2012 about his BB collection that was 99.9% complete? There was a lot of interests in the path taken to get to that level of completion.

    Just a thought for a future post, if Bud (and you) are interested and willing, of course.

    1. It might be a possibility in the future, and, of course, be up to Bud also.

  14. A response to ChrisW re: extraneous tip-ins. See above.

    As BB fills up, tipped in values for which the album does not provide spaces begin to look messy; worse stamps can get lost. Desirable tip-ins, for me, include not only the omitted values, but also interesting cancels, local issues, Cinderellas, etiquettes, even the occasional small cover. I have about 20,000 such and, if they were all included, there would be more than one tip-in for every two permitted spaces. Not a pretty sight. So what to do?

    Jim’s solution, Steiner, appeals to me so far as omitted values are concerned, but that would leave out the locals, et al. I’ve opted for inserting blank supplementary pages with the standard BB border. These blanks allow for creative arrangements and philatelic essays as well as for expansion to whatever extent is necessary, yet preserving the original album’s integrity. A minor annoyance in doing this is that the punched holes in the blank pages never seem to match exactly those in the original album, so some trimming becomes necessary.

    About four years ago I removed all extraneous tip-ins from my BB. Only recently have I started filling blank pages with them, currently up to the Cs. A few tip-ins have crept back in, however, especially where the immediate comparison is interesting.
    It goes without saying that, in the future, more and more of the 1840-1940 stamps I acquire will not fit spaces provided in BB. So some of the pages I’m inserting are filled only with anticipations and expectations.

  15. A response to Joe Lill. See above.

    Joe asked: are your spaces filled without regards to things like watermarks?

    I have no idea about the collection I sold, although as far as I could see the folks who built it were very careful. I did, however, find a very few instances where a stamp in the album did not fit exactly Scott’s strictures. The guide for my own album is none other than this blog. Jim has done us WW collectors a tremendous service by providing country checklists. So I try to conform them. There are a few instances in BB where watermark detection is necessary, but not many. Sometimes even these can be worked around. See, for example, Jim’s discussion titled “Brazil Watermarking 1918-41” indexed in the blog’s left margin.

  16. Thanks for keeping me from taking the easy (well, easier) way out! I'll stay with Jim's blog as my guide, too.
    Joe - 34% completed

  17. I'm a little late to the commenting, but want to chime in about the overall awesomeness of this article. :)

    What really grabbed me was how it was more profitable to break down the collection. Less romantic, perhaps, but way more practical. I could bid on the country lots but could only dream of bidding on the entire collection.

    I also really appreciated the information on eBay consignors and how that all worked. It sounds like the partnership worked for both parties.

    Congratulations and thank you for sharing your experience!


    1. I appreciate your kind words and glad you found the article useful. The seller I used often breaks BB albums into country lots, and they do very well.

  18. I think the issue of stamp condition can't be overlooked here. From briefly looking over the scans, most of these stamps look to be in pretty good condition. Many BB collections I've seen before have been pretty "ratty." I suspect these kinds of collections would not bring nearly the amount of $$ that Bud's collection did.

    Also makes me wonder if there would be a different (better) outcome if say the majority of countries had several additional blank pages added for stamps not in the album, varieties, color shades, etc. Would that make a difference to most WW collectors?

    1. One would think additional stamps on blank pages would bring a higher bid. But I note the 97% complete BB with 15,000 additional stamps in the album- sold for $30,000 in 2013- less than Bud's.

  19. Bud and Jim, a question about something I don't think has been mentioned. There were no US pages offered on eBay, correct? Were they in the original collection and offered through another venue, or were missing in action from the album?

    1. Bob- I don't think the U.S. section was utilized in the album. Bud can chime in if my memory isn't correct.

    2. Jim's right. No US stamps or pages were included when I acquired the album. Were the albums mentioned in your blog including USA sections?

  20. It is, at very best, an incomplete comparison, because any two BBs, even if the examples included have similarity, are wildly different from each other in condition, quality and completeness. That said, however, inserted pages full of stamps that have no spaces in BB would have increased the bottom line, I think, because the dealer would have sold them as separate lots. In some instances he did seperate the BOB pages.

  21. It would be cool to know the 'need list' for the last 5% and the last 1%. I bet the list is common between a lot of BB collectors at this completion level. It would be funny if there was a stamp that Scott has priced at $0.25 that is actually unique or does not exist.

    1. You bring up an interesting- and, in my view, a not yet answered question. Are the last 100 stamps a "random" assortment, or are they actually "rare' and difficult to find for all BB collectors?

      My own speculation is a little of both. ;-)

    2. I'll be in a position, after a while, to answer that question from the perspective of one collector. I suspect, however, that other collectors at the 5% and 1% levels will, for the most part, have widely varying want lists. The stamps I kept from the collection I sold tended to have fairly high CVs. The holes I had remaining after making the transfers to my album had a CV of $8267; they range from $0.25 to $375.00 and average $22.69 per stamp. Since then, I've acquired a little over half of these at 32% of CV. How typical that may be is difficult to estimate.

  22. I wonder if a 94% filled Minkus Supreme sold in the same manner by the same seller would have brought near as much? Even though it has more stamps my guess is that it would have been at least 10% less as there are more Scott collectors than Minkus.

    1. You may be right. I recall a dealer mentioning that Minkus sells for about a 20% discount compared to a Scott album.

    2. Jim, I have heard that too. I guess the reasoning is that many collector would prefer to buy a lot that can be incorporated directly into their collection rather than having to remount everything?

    3. Not sure. It might be harder to value a Minkus album for many collectors.

    4. At auctions (the local, country type that I frequent) I've found Minkus albums to be much cheaper than Scott and, similarly, more difficult to sell after I've pilfered through them. So, I've bought them only when there is some clear incentive (rarer stamps, for example).

  23. I have been following kenr2's recent BB auctions. Recent returns are even more astounding for the relatively cheap stamps that the album houses.

    1. I have mixed feelings about this. Clearly, bidders are overpaying. But there is something about seeing a full BB page where the collector needs some of the stamps to fill their own BB that seems to be difficult to resist.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Update: Summer 2018: Another BB - broken down into countries for sale - sold for ~ $31,000.