Superb Sarawak

To me there is always a special appeal to a block of stamps which features an error or variety in one of the stamps. One friend who exhibits internationally says “you need the ‘big chunks’ to impress the Judges.”

In 1892 there was a shortage of one cent stamps in Sarawak and the three cent stamps were overprinted to meet the demand. A recent weSuperb Sarawakekly feature showed this lovely marginal block of six fresh never hinged stamps. The middle stamp in the right column has no period after cent; and Stanley Gibbons lists this variety in single hinged condition at 200 Pounds (about $450 CDN). We offered this Exhibition quality block at CDN $275. Even though it hasn’t sold, I keep thinking that maybe the price is too low and our customers don’t appreciate the scarcity. It often happens that when a dealer raises the price of something it then sells quickly.


Often dealers will write about some exciting new purchase. One reason is that being able to offer something exciting to one’s customers is often newsworthy. The great majority of collections I see have nothing or very little that even starts to get the heart beating. Recently I did an appraisal of a fairly large collection. The closet in the study had a built in bookcase which showed shelf after shelf of binders. One large binder was labelled “Fruit Stamps.”

I had never seen a fruit topical collection which was this large. Perhaps it would prove to be quite an advanced collection, I thought. I had started with several of the Schaubek albums on the shelf above when the widow asked if I purchased fruit stamps. “Certainly,” I replied, “We make an offer on everything.”

So, I pulled out the thick binder. Hundreds of loose-leaf pages were filled with the sticky labels attached by produce stores to bananas, apples, and other fruit!

Not everything is exciting. Most is mundane. And sometimes the “fruit stamps” have no interest whatsoever.