August 08, 2006

Definitively crazy

It's not as if I haven't got other things to do but, well, there's something about a stamp collection that is terribly relaxing and it's something you can do in a cool spot while it's burining hot outside. Yes, I admit it, I collect stamps. I have done since I was 11. After that many years you tend to get quite knowledgeable about a topic and my speciality is the Machin definitive issues from Great Britain that look like the picture here.

They started in 1967 and the face values run from 1/2p to 20 1/2p without missing a beat and, with a few exceptions, on to strange vales like 68p, 72p and, of course £5. There's a host of colours, shades, head varieties, phosphor bands, gum types, paper types, perforation changes which can mean that what may look like a boring old stamp may actually have the right combination of features to make it worth £100 or more. Which isn't so boring.

I have had an on-line listing on a web site since the late 90s but it got hopelessly out of date over the last few years. So I have just spent n days, where n is quite a large integer, bringing it all up to date. Of course knowing me, that meant a whole new site as I'd grown tired of the old design! I'd also done the old one with some NetObjects Fusion software with frames and things which I've since gone off. The main problem, though, was the fact that I hadn't paid any attention to the mailings I get from the British Philatelic Bureau and others. These included not just all the details of most new issues but also the stamps themselves. Must have had over £200 in face value never mind dealer value bundled up in envelopes!

I slowly managed to find them all in various boxes that had survived a couple of moves in the meantime. It was then a task of reading through all the bulletins and spotting the changes, new issues and checking that I had what I need to stay complete (by my definition). All was going reasonably well until I reached 2003. More about that in another posting as readers will want to know the detail without ploughing through this intro. Suffice it to say that a lot of complicated changes happened from 2003 to 2005 and it was clear that some print runs must have been pretty short and so prices could be high - and some would be items that I'd have to buy as they weren't in the standard new issue lists. That gave me a sense of urgency and helped me complete the task of creating a brand new list and publishing the new site to go with it.

Lastly, today, I realised that I'd have to update it regularly and it would be a good idea to use a web log with the titles of postings appearing on a news page. This is possible with Blogger and a free newsfeed converter so whatever goes in here will turn up there. So, here I go.

By the way, the title refers to a Scottish Machin regional stamp that came out in 1985 and now retails for £100+. Quite a return on 31p. It's not the one illustrated but I will add that in due course.