For me, November was a work month and I only took a couple of days off, birding in Norfolk. I was pleased with my turnover at fairs and by post and I got on with more sorting and pricing up of new stock. Perhaps the main work was done on Brazil and Italian Colonies with more Commonwealth too.

It looks like I will be attending less Fairs in 2019 (see the Fairs section below). Thinking positively, that should give me more time for sorting new material!

UPDATES ON STOCK

Australia. They have been producing lots of new issues this autumn. This month the topics treated have included: Repatriation, Lighthouses and of course Christmas. The Lighthouse stamps are particularly attractive.
I also received the last section of stamps from my recent order. This lot covered the 2010s.

Belgium. I gave my Belgian supplier a list of “back of the book” items to find plus normal stamps up to the 1940s. He did pretty well including some of the usual top sellers. Already I have ordered more stamps from the 1940s to 2000 with the intention of trying for the 2000s after that.

Brazil. A lot of time was spent this month on setting up this new stock. I have been neglecting my Latin American range with much of it unsorted and only small parts have been listed. Anyway I put this right with Brazil and it has had an immediate effect as you will see from a large number of N/As in the listing. When I get a good modern collection, I know in advance I will struggle to get another. This has happened with India and Egypt and now Brazil. Still, I would rather have one good lot than none at all!

Commonwealth. More work has ben put in on the two QV-KG5 collections. This month I added:
—Ceylon. I have asked a colleague to sort the first issues for me as he has more knowledge on the very early issues. I did the KE7-KG5 items.
—Cyprus. QV-KG5 but also two lots of modern stamps, taking us into the 2000s. 
—Cook Islands. There were some especially good items in this lot.
—Fiji. I have priced up the KE7-KG5 stamps but my friend is doing the QV period.
—Grenada. I have added all the QV-KG5 stamps except the Chalon designs which are being done by the same friendly expert!
I worked on a decent lot of Cocos/Keeling Islands with many new values for stock. While sorting these, I googled Cocos/Keeling and the info is fascinating with lovely pictures of the clear blue seas and idyllic island views. I just hope they survive any sea level rise we are told to expect.

Crete. I bought a stock book with a variety of eastern Mediterranean stamps. There was a good lot of Crete along with some Epirus, Samos etc to boot.

France. My stock was already strong but I had a big book of commemoratives including the 1960s-90s with lots of duplication. It took longer than I wanted but this has now been merged into my range.
Then I received another lot from my Parisian supplier. A few gaps in earlier stock were filled but the main cost was in the period 2013-6. As you may remember I had stopped taking new issues at the end of 2011 but “due to popular demand” I have decided to develop the recent period slowly. Many of their stamps continue to be jolly nice but I do not like some of the self-adhesive booklet stamps.

Ireland. New issues this month included RMS Leinster, Vote and a variety of Christmas designs. The Christmas stamps themselves are OK but the authorities have made it so complicated, especially with “Elves on a shelf”. Why postal bureaux make things so complicated is beyond me. Gimmicks!

Italian Colonies. Three months ago I bought a big box of this area and have just got around to working on them. Eritrea was very strongly represented with heavy duplication in many areas. There were also more Libya, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Somalia with other bits too. (I had a good lot of Dodecanese a couple of months ago). Included were some post independence Somalia which I added to a range I already had in stock. These are listed in my Africa North section. (I know technically it is not in North Africa but it had to go somewhere!)

Italy. My stock was already strong but I had two more lots to add. They have added odd values all the way up to the 1990s.

Sweden. My regular Swedish supplier has sent me a fabulous lot after receiving my current wants list. Many of the gaps in stock have now been filled, all across the board from the 1920s to date. Sweden is complicated with coil singles, booklet stamps, pairs and complete booklets and I try to keep a stock of all of these.
There were also some new issues: Garden Birds and Christmas.

Trieste. I have “beefed” up this area with new stocks of Zones A + B. Always a good selling area, once again I have the stock to match.

Vatican. A good selection of early Vatican came with one of the Italian lots and I dusted down an old stockbook that had been on my shelf to add more.

POSTAL SALES

Another strong performance this month showing we are definitely back in the collecting season. Interestingly, I had orders from more new customers this month than the previous three months. News of www.robstineextra.com is now spreading.
Sales of Commonwealth were back to totals last seen in May. Very strong sales also came from Australia, France and Spain with honourable mentions for Canada, Greece, Egypt and Brazil.

STAMP FAIRS

I attended two Fairs in November: Wokingham and Sevenoaks. Both were over budget. It is always a pleasure to see my regular customers at Fairs and I appreciate their loyalty.
However, the future for fairs is uncertain. I had decided not to continue with my Oxford and Bromsgrove Solo Fairs for 2019 for a variety of reasons. Now I have been told that the Potters Bar Fair will be stopping. It is possible that a small phoenix may arise from these ashes and I will let everyone know when I know. This is not the first time I have worried about the Wokingham Fair too. The world is changing but some of the changes are not for the best. Essentially not enough customers are attending Fairs with a big drop since 10-15 years ago. This leads inevitably to less dealers making some Fairs uneconomic to run. Once more, I thank my regular customers for sticking with it and hope the other Fairs will keep going.

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