Investing in Covers or Stamps
What do We Recommend?
1. Basic first day covers from 1924 to 1966 in excellent condition. They are very undervalued. All older covers will have some sort of address. Typed addresses are fine though the best is when the address is printed on the cover. Beware of labels as they can be hiding nasty marks, holes and even handwriting. If the label is original, it can fall off leaving a nasty stain. The older the cover the more tolerant you need to be and with George V covers hand-addressed are fine but still ensure condition is good.
2. Great autographs on relevant covers. We believe that Buckingham covers will be a winner there but time will tell. If the subject has a wide appeal beyond cover collectors, the chances are it will do even better. Things like Concorde, The Snowman, railway etc are good in this respect.
3. GB internal first flight covers.. We think this theme is a sleeper and worth learning about. Zeppelins are also a great area along with very early pioneer first flights of the world.
4. As far as stamps are concerned, we like the Silver Wedding set and KGVI generally. We do not offer these ourselves but can recommend stamp dealers. Our company specialises in first day and commemorative covers only. We do of course offer our own stamp sheets which currently are looking to be a good investment with a high level of interest - but because they are a relatively new collectable, we would prefer to see what the market does long term before pushing their investment potential to you. Stamp sheets with themes that appeal to lots of people, not just stamp collectors, are a fairly safe bet (Concorde is a good example).
With postal history and early first day covers, condition is very important and pretty covers are good long term bets. Avoid tat. It will rarely do well except for the dealer who is so grateful you bought it. So remember, collect because you like what you are buying and enjoy your hobby!
The best advice is to get to know your subject and to find dealers you can trust.
For more information or advice, feel free to email us or call us on +44(0)1303 278 137. We'll always help if we can - and our advice costs nothing.
Wise Words from Tony Buckingham
Well, I am not really wise (only old) but I do have 40 years experience in my world and people do often ask my advice about investing in stamps and covers. Firstly, alternative investments by nature are not guaranteed. The word investment means risk. How much risk depends on the rate of return. If an offer looks too good to be true, the best advice is: avoid it like bird flu! Also fashions change. It is particularly obvious in antiques and art but the same rule applies in the stamp world. Avoid short-term booms. They often end up in long-term slumps. Gutter pairs are an obvious example. A once £1000 collection turned into £100 very quickly.
In the 1970s, we had an investment boom in the stamp world. While I was at an exhibition around this time, I noticed a very flashy dealer offering everything at roughly double my prices. When I pointed it out, he told me he specialised in investors! My advice: if you do not know anything about the investment, avoid it. You wouldn't buy a house in a remote mining village without checking the local market, would you?!
I have always said the only way to invest is to collect. Learn about your hobby and have some fun. If it's a cold investment the chances are you will be disappointed.
Remember whatever you buy has to appeal to collectors in the future. Now, this is where I might upset people. An obscure slogan, a badly printed limited edition cover or an autograph of someone who won Big Brother is unlikely to hold much appeal for collectors in years to come. So if you want it and you like it, then buy it - but just be aware that if it only appeals to you, it is unlikely to be valuable later.
Buckingham Covers Limited, registered in England No. 03877048 is part of Internet Stamps Group Limited, registered in England No. 03497867. Registered office for both: Warren House, Shearway Rd, Folkestone, Kent CT19 4BF, UK.