If you’re the kind of reader who usually comes here for the pretty pictures and naughty words, be warned: I am hitting max geek with this one. Street cred be damned.
So a few weekends ago I popped into the Melbourne FIAP Stamp Exhibition, held in my hometown. It led to a rather unexpected journey of personal discovery that may affect the very blog you are reading. More on that later.
I can’t pretend a stamp exhibition is anything but exactly what it sounds like on the lid, but let me talk you through it so that if you ever accidentally find yourself at one, you won’t panic.
In my last post, I had a laugh at well-heeled collectors of Australia’s King George V stamps who were eyeing off a rare one-penny red rusted cliché block that was up for auction at the Arthur Gray KGV sale held at Mossgreen Auctions in Melbourne last Friday (it’s all explained at the link).
The error on the item is believed to have been caused when a rat urinated on the printing plate while it was in storage. That didn’t stop the block having an estimated hammer price of $85,000.
Well, there were red faces at Punk HQ this week Continue reading
I love a good auction. Whether it’s watching my dream home being fought over by people who can actually afford to buy it, or watching Beryl make five pounds for her Edwardian comb on Bargain Hunt, it’s supply and demand at their purest. It’s especially fun when you’re the vendor. Which eBay seller doesn’t love it when a surprise bidding war breaks out over a stash of old Nancy Drew novels?
There’s a doozie of an auction at Mossgreen Auctions in Melbourne this Friday, and while I’m not the vendor, at least no one has to pretend to be excited about Beryl’s comb.
Australia lost one of its greatest philatelists this year when Arthur Gray passed away in May. From the accounts of those who knew him, it seems that when Arthur decided to collect something, he had both the foresight to choose the best pieces – often before their rarity was recognised – and pockets deep enough to make sure he got them.
Arthur’s magnificent collection of ‘Kangaroo and Map’ stamps (the first issued under the new ‘Australia’ brand after Federation) was auctioned in New York in 2007. It made $5,584,000 US (over 7 million AUD). But don’t let me stop you pasting cloth samples into your scrapbook, I’m sure YOUR hobby will pay off someday too.
In recent years, Kangaroo prices bounded out of range for many collectors (downturn? What downturn?), so Australia’s second stamp issue, the ‘King George V’ (KGV) series, already a collector favourite, became even more popular. But Arthur had been quietly forming an amazing collection of KGVs long before they came into fashion. His KGV collection goes under the hammer on Friday, and lots of people will be very excited.
Last week I posted a thank you stamp featuring an art by Degas of a ballet dancer. It reminded me of this 1973 Chinese issue that I saw recently in a club book. (That’s philatelist talk. Best not to ask.) Continue reading
Lately, Steve Carell has been creeping out moviegoers with his portrayal of John E. Du Pont in the film Foxcatcher. Academy voters even gave him a Best Actor nomination, hoping it would make him go away and stop haunting their nightmares.
John E. Du Pont was an heir to the fortune of the American chemical company. Foxcatcher traces his obsession with the sport of wrestling, which so saw him go so far as to build a live-in training facility for some of the USA’s top wrestlers.
“Do you mean to tell me you haven’t RSS’d the Punk Philatelist?”
I don’t want to spoil the film’s twists, so let’s just say yada yada yada things didn’t quite work out and Du Pont died in 2010. I won’t even tell you where he died. It would give too much away.
You may not know that Du Pont’s death was met with barely concealed boners among serious stamp collectors, because Continue reading