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Monday 14 March 2011


There should be an International Convention outlawing Bundleware.

A few years ago, I bought in America (unseen and for very little) a vast (45 kilo!) packet maker's stock of Turkey.

The previous owner, during his lifetime, had acquired tens of thousands of mint stamps in sheets and had simply broken them up into singles and bundled them up into hundreds. By the time I got them, the edges were curled, the perforations blunted and many of the stamps stuck together. That's what bundles do.

This dealer obviously wanted to reduce the value of his stock: when I bought it I paid about 0.0001 of a cent per stamp (or less). If he had wanted to preserve the value of his stock - he had some nice stamps - he would have kept the sheets in folders or, at worst, in small piles, only breaking up the sheets as and when needed for his packet making. Instead, he had created thousands of bundles - and there were thousands more which looked as if they were made for him.

As for used stamps, some low paid worker takes thousands of covers, cuts off the stamps, washes them off paper, dries them and then bundles them into 100s. Once again, corners and perforations get damaged. If the bundles are made before the stamps are completely dry, then rust spots (foxing) appears.

Since only single stamps can be bundled, multiples are broken up and postmarks lost.

This is another reason why bundleware in auctions sells very cheaply. So cheaply it's sometimes hard to say NO to it.

Not so long ago, in an English auction, I had the chance to buy bundles of 19th century used Romania - maybe 50 000 catalogue value for 250 auction payment. Really that cheap, but of course, hard to sell without a lot of work and hard to sell with a lot of work.

Luckily, I was able to sell part of the lot to a specialist just as I had bought it. The remainder went into a box. I pulled the box out today and thought, time to do something. I thought that I would open some of the bundles and transfer the stamps to stockbooks ...

Imagine my surprise when I opened a bundle of the 10 Bani blue of 1876 and out drops a clean used copy of the cliché error which produces a 5 Bani blue (Michel 44F, 450€ in the catalogue). It looks fine, but I will send it off for expertising.

The problem is this: next time I see really, really cheap Bundleware in an auction, I will want to buy it!

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