Many auction houses
produce catalogues which have separate sections for “Single Lots” and “Collections”.
I think the general idea is to point collectors towards the single lots and
dealers to the collections. In Germany, the distinction is also marked by
different colour paper: single lots [Einzellosen]
are listed on white pages and collections [Sammlungen]
on yellow pages - Gelbeseiten.
In the past, material on yellow pages would be sold on the same day, convenient for dealers who wanted to (and in the past, did) bid in person.
My advice now to both
collectors and dealers is to ignore the Single Lot/ Collections system. It is never used consistently
- you can find “Single Lots” containing ten items and “Collections” containing
two. And it often involves putting “collector” material into dealer sections,
though perhaps less so vice versa.
I was reminded of this
today when I received my latest and very interesting Heinrich Koehler Hauptkatalog [Main Catalogue]. Most of
the white pages describe lots in English, though Austria, Switzerland and
the very big Germany section are in German. All
of the yellow pages describe lots using German, as if they might only be of
interest to German dealers who will all turn up on the appointed day as they always have done ....
Collectors will easily miss out if they ignore the Yellow Pages. I will pick a couple of examples where I am
familiar with the material because I am the vendor J
For Russia and the
Soviet Union, there are over eighty yellow page lots (Los Nr 4281 - 4308). Most
are indeed album collections and quite big cover lots and many will not
interest a collector who already has a collection and a clear collecting theme.
But then look at Los Nr 4307:
1920 2 Paketkarten und eine Zahlunsanweisung im
neuen sowjetischen Druck, selten aus dieser fruehen Periode Ausruf 100€
Well, this is accurate
and translates as follows:
2 Parcel Cards and one Money Transfer Form in new Soviet printings, scarce from
this early period. Start price 100€
BUT this small lot is
unlikely to excite a Yellow Page-focussed dealer; it is very specialised and
will I think only excite a collector who understands a bit about Russian formulars and
maybe guesses that these post-Imperial formulars will (for example) not show the Imperial coat of
arms. Three examples of new post-revolutionary designs is not going to be too many for a serous
collector to want to see or own.
Here’s another example.
There are two lots for Iran. The first (4408) is a duplicated collection for
the whole period 1876-1956. Good yellow page stuff. But the second item (
4409) is rather different:
1886 18 Ganzsachenauschnitte 5 Ch auf Briefstuecken
mit Stempeln von 14 verschiedenen Orten auf Beschrifteter Albumseite Ausruf 200€
18 Postal Stationery cut outs of 5 Ch on pieces with postmarks of 14 different
places, on a written-up album page
Start price 200 €
Now this might interest
a dealer who thinks they can sell these 18 items one-by-one. After all, they are catalogued as an issue. Equally, what is
being described is really just one specialist item: its evidence that the
officially-authorised stationery cut outs - used as provisionals during a stamp
shortage - can be found used from at least these 14 places. If I was a classic Persia
collector and did not already have a similar album page I would jump at this lot.
So take my advice, if
you are a collector don’t ignore the yellow pages even if you need a dictionary
to help you out. There are many more interesting items where I found these two .... Happy hunting!