A long, long time ago, in a country far, far away (well, actually it was October 24, 2018 at 10:30 in the morning at my desk at work), I happened to open up my web browser and dig into the new stamp offerings at the ol' 'bay, as I am wont to do.
Amid all of the typical detritus and flotsam that perpetually floats around the U. S. revenue section, there were brand new listings of what appeared to be entire pages from a huge revenue collection.
These pages specifically included the Documentary "reds" and the Stock Transfer "greens," two revenue stamp areas that are very difficult to complete in any reasonable way.
A great many of these particular stamps are extremely scarce or rare, with some being known in only one or two copies.
Basically, unless you're quite wealthy, there is very little chance of getting close to 90 per cent completeness in these two areas, let alone completing them.
I opened the first lot that I saw that looked interesting, and I was at first speechless.
I reached for an older copy of the Scott Specialized catalog that I keep by my desk, and began to look up the stamps shown in the listing. As the catalog value rapidly surpassed the "buy it now" price by many hundreds of dollars, I happily punched the buy button.
I wasn't sure if I already had one or more of the stamps, but I can recognize a good deal when I see one.
"We're sorry but that item is no longer available." Arrgh! Someone else was also finding these lots!
So I nudged my office door closed, and I decided that I guess that Jim isn't taking any calls for a while.
Very, very quickly I opened every lot that was being listed by this particular seller.
The seller was clearly a long-time stamp and coin dealer, but for some inexplicable reason he had decided to sell each page from this huge revenue collection for a certain amount per page, despite what stamps were included on the page.
Whether he was too busy to look up the stamps or he just didn't care about revenues, I don't know.
Some pages of course came nowhere near his "buy it now" price as far as their cumulative catalog values.
But other pages far, far exceeded the buy price. And that's what I focused on.
After a spectacular, although mostly breathless, ten minutes, I would up having won just four of these pages.
The rest were either bought by some other lucky collector or dealer just before I got to them, or the stamps were just not worth what the seller was asking for the page.
The following is a summary of what I won, along with the stamps' current Scott catalog value, and some highlights from each lot.
RD159 (cut cancel) catalog $850
RD162 (cut cancel) catalog $500
The total catalog value for the rest of the stamps on this page is $171.50.
RD256 (cut cancel) Catalog $400
RD258 (cut cancel) catalog $400
RD259 (cut cancel, crease) catalog $600
The total catalog value for the rest of the stamps on this page is $379.55.
RD306 (cut cancel) catalog $175
RD311 (cut cancel) catalog $675 (in italics)
The total catalog value for the rest of the stamps on this page is $566.20.
RD334 (cut cancel, crease, thin) catalog $160
RD337 (cut cancel, thin) catalog $900
RD338 (cut cancel) catalog $125
The total catalog value for the rest of the stamps on this page is $421.55.
In the end, I picked up four lots of a large number of scarce Stock Transfer stamps, whose grand total catalog value is $4,802.30.
Not every stamp was fault-free of course, and I'm not normally overly fond of cut or perfin cancels, but these particular stamps are almost always only
known as being canceled by these two methods.
For those that are awaiting the punchline of this posting, scroll down to see what I paid for each of the four lots (this amount included shipping).