Stamp collecting blog: Thematics and the new issues stamp market

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07 November 2014
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imports_CCGB_sapoaworldcup2012stam_80699.png SAPOA World Cup 2012 stamp sheet
In our latest blog on collecting stamps by theme, stamp dealer, experts and Stamp & Coin Mart Advisory Panel member Frank Spencer explains how thematics affects the new issues market ...

New issues these days is increasingly about thematics, the buying of single issues from lots of different countries. Topical collectors, as they are known in the USA, have a disproportionate effect on the new issue market, as theirs is ‘supplemental’ demand for selected issues only.

A case in point is the 2004 inaugural ‘SAPOA’ omnibus sheetlet from Malawi, featuring Birds (SG MS1031) – apart from the terrible hassle for dealers of persuading the Malawi Post Office and their agents to send supplies, dealers had the thematic demand to cope with, some have never delivered this issue, catalogued by Gibbons at an absurdly low £3.50.

The latest 2010 SAPOA omnibus (South Africa 2010 Football World Cup) is causing similar problems. Some stamps also arrive unheralded and very late – dealers are only now receiving the Panama COPA Airline sheet dated 2008.

So how should collectors keep up with new stamps that fit their theme?

Traditionally, efficient philatelic bureaux would mail out both press announcements about new stamps and a pictorial bulletin. Most philatelic bureaux now major on web-site publicity.

Such announcements are often prone to errors and mistakes. As an example of the pitfalls, a new ‘Lifetime of Service’ British Royalty omnibus is appearing, with stamps in both sheets (in a strange layout) and in sheetlets (with a strange shape). Stamps in some of the se-tenant sheetlets are turning out to have different colours to stamps in the ‘normal’ sheets, only apparent when a delivery of stamps is made.

There is so much information out there, of varying quality, so many stamps, so many variables.But between the entire philatelic fraternity, the information generally eventually will out. And your first port of call? The pages of Stamp & Coin Mart.