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Author:  Wilding Mad [ Wed May 20, 2020 10:05 am ]

I was fortunate enough a couple of years ago in obtaining a calculator that gave you what the £ was worth in the past in comparison to it's worth today and as a stamp collector of many British periods, I thought it would be nice to know just how much people had paid for a particular stamp or set of stamps when they were on issue at post office counters in the past, taking into consideration inflation and as to what the face value would be today for comparison.

The calculator was created by Kate Rose Morley and is free to download for anyone wanting to obtain it. The site for this device can be found on the following :-

All you have to do is to enter a specific amount in the top column that the stamp or article was originally purchased for. If the stamp purchased was prior to 1971, and the amount of less than a £ be required you will have to convert the old money into decimal as there was 240 pennies to the old £. The calculation is as follows .....
Say it was 5/6d, the 5/- would be 5 x by 12= 60+the 6 odd pennies, giving a total of 66 you then ÷ the amount by 240 to give •275, it's only worth taking the amount to 4 decimal places. It's a pity that Kate didn't include the conversion as an optional input for these amounts other than the complete £.

We all know that over the years the £ has depreciated due to inflation, and with this little gadget you can seek out bargains that you never thought existed. Take for instance a 1/3d common definitive stamp purchased in 1963, once converted the amount comes to •0625,when you enter this amount into the calculator you will find that it's now worth £1•27 at 2018's valuation, the same stamp purchased from a dealer (dependent on where you go) is being offered for sale of between 15 to 20p. A stamp with a current face value of £1.27 based on inflation that is now being sold for around 15 p ! That's a laugh :lol:

One of the best bargains of the earlier Queen Elizabeth commemoratives would be the 1961 C E PT set with a face value of one shilling and 4 pence, the equivalent now being worth approximately £1•46 based on its original face value in 1961 taking inflation into consideration which is currently being sold for around 15 to 20p ! That's a whopping 88½% off the original face value to take into account, add to the equation that less than 5½ million were issued/sold of the 10d value, much less than most commemoratives of that period. The very fine used of this set are also worth snapping up if you can find them around that price
By the way did you know that in 1840 68,158,080 1d blacks were sold, comprising of 283,992 sheets (just for the record) and comparison.
CEPT : Quantities sold/issued :-
2d 47,530,920 : 4d 7,614,480 : 10d 5,427,780
(954.8 KiB)

You will also notice on the u/m 4d there's a definite blue upper shift above the bird and Queen's portrait as with the insignia giving a ghost-like image, another interesting feature is the pink to the upper right of the " T " in the insignia has also shifted, but not listed as a flaw, I would still classify it as a variety though as this would have affected the whole sheet during printing, here is a close-up of the occurrence :-
(1.3 MiB)

The last scan depicts the set very fine used
(1.02 MiB)

Now that's what I call the bargain of the century if purchased for 15p, and all due to inflation, this period however unlike the later 60s was not overly speculated on, but unfortunately have been tarred with the same brush, it would appear that the property market has gone in the opposite direction, therefore, I would never recommend stamps to be an investment, as the hobby relating to collecting in general should be on a "purely for pleasure" basis.

Back in 1961 Viv & Keith Nicholson won £152,319 on Littlewoods pools, a fortune in purchasing power then, but by 2018 (due to inflation) would only be worth £6955•21 in purchasing power, so do you spend spend spend or invest wisley ? It would appear that stamps with a face value are depreciating on a yearly basis whilst the NVI stamps are increasing in postal validity in retrospect !

Hope you enjoy your new toy (I'm a poet and didn't know it). TTFN,WM.

Author:  Winston W [ Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:23 pm ]

Wilding Mad

Thanks. Useful warning comparator for a GBPS member to give when he/she gets asked "Should I invest in stamps?"

Also of use to be able to give an example from the 1960s of a poor 'investment' when a non-GBPS member is surprised by the worth of their 1970's/1980's stamps/covers.

Author:  Wilding Mad [ Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:22 pm ]

Yes indeed Winston W,
Investing in stamps is for the specialist and not for the foolhardy who knows little of Philatelic matters.

When a hobby such as stamp collecting starts to be treated like the stock market it's time to back off ! As hobbies and investors do not mix as many a potential investor will have found out, these people (the get rich quick brigade) were after making a quick buck on seeing stamps like the 1966 "winners" overprint changing hands for 10/- each after the first few days of issue, this included some dealers egging people on to invest giving guarantees of a no lose situation back in the mid 60s.
I think people will have learnt by now it was a wild goose chase and this left a bad taste for many years thereafter for the hobby of stamp collecting ! Collecting in general is purely for pleasure, but if you can pick up a bargain then by all means do so. Why pay £11•40 for a set and a miniature sheet of the silly Gruffalo stamps when you can buy these golden oldies for just a few pence.

I have nothing against new issues, but once it starts to be around 12 sets a year with unneeded/unwanted duplicated high values it's time to look elsewhere, and I think that the early QE2 pre-decimal period is one of the first places that you should be paying attention to, and by using the calculator provided it will be advantageous to you in your search when looking for a bargain.

It would appear that you need 'deep pockets' for the latest pop group Queen stamps when purchasing, as a set + m/s will cost you £15.10 which includes 4 X £1.63 values, this has lead to many youngsters thinking of starting a stamp collection being deterred due to such exorbitant prices and dare I say some older collectors also, with an adverse effect on dealers to holding stocks of these pricy sets that could lie dormant for many years due to the lack of punters.

As most British stamp collectors already know the first official commemorative was issued in 1924 with the Empire exhibition set, and for the next 36 years up to the 1960 Europa stamps 18 sets was issued in total, based on those statistics, that's one set issued every 2 years on average with a total face value of £2/17/6 (£2•88 in today's money), and included in this amount was two stamps of £1 each !

Please ! Royal mail stop being so greedy, you're killing the hobby of stamp collecting by releasing all of these so-called commemoratives with multiple high face values that is really unnecessary, especially for the young who in turn will eventuallyl be the future of our hobby ! WM.

Author:  Wilding Mad [ Mon Aug 24, 2020 1:33 pm ]

Once upon a time you could purchase a miniature sheet and all of the stamps in the set was included, a typical example would be the Roland Hill mini-sheet of 1979, with miniature sheets being the exception rather than the rule as against today's policies.
Not only does every issue now appear to have a mini-sheet but the Royal Mail has been a bit sneaky by creating additional stamps in their makeup, therefore in order to obtain the 'complete' set you need to purchase the sheetlet also, creating an additional financial burden on the collector to give another source of revenue for the Royal mail.
This seems to be the case with the latest batch of so-called commemoratives such as the Sherlock Holmes set issued on 18th of August 2020, consequently, the set comprises of 10 different stamps and not 6 as originally specified that includes 4 £1•68 values, therefore the complete set will set you back £12•60.

What will they get up to next ?

Not only are the values overly duplicated and unnecessary and with recollection didn't we have a Sherlock Holmes set back in 1993 costing £1•20. Can't they think of anything new to fleece the GB collector with ?

The Royal mail appear to be very interested in our money, perhaps they might issue a set of "coins of the realm", not only would they be of interest to the philatelist but also with the numismatist.
It wouldn't surprise me.
What a rip-off !

P S I believe that Kate has recently updated her calculator and it now gives the value of the £ up to 2020 instead of the previous 2018 calculation, thanks Kate.

That reminds me ! By using Kate's calculator and on looking at the face value of the 1960/7 basic set of the Wilding phosphor definitives comprising of 17 values, the set could have been purchased from the post office for the princely sum of 9s/1d in 1967, which equates to today's price of £8-54 (taking inflation into account), and if you shop around this set can be purchased for as little as £2.75, a complete unmounted mint set that is over 50 years old being sold for only 32•2% of its face value must be a bargain, and the chances of finding either phosphor or unlisted paper variations could also apply.

But it just doesn't stop there, look at these commonwealth stamps when comparing the face value of an older stamp with today's value based on inflation, just compare the following as an example.

The average wage as per result via Google search engine.

And in 1935 ..................

Both are available at well below their inflation rate face value and can be considered a bargain unlike the next stamp.

Is it any wonder that the £5 orange of 1882 is so expensive, as it had a face value equivalent to £615 in today's currency, used mainly as a revenue stamp rather than for postal use during the reign of Queen Victoria.
A true classic of renown ↓


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