US Stamps

More than just sales data found on websites of stamp auction firms

Dec 17, 2015, 8 AM

By William F. Sharpe

I recently visited the websites of two stamp auction firms, Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries and Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions, and discovered that they offer a lot of information in addition to listing their auctions and prices realized online.

The Siegel site lists upcoming auctions on the front page. You can browse an e-catalog online, order a printed catalog, download a PDF version of a catalog, or participate in live Internet bidding.

The Power Search menu choice, located on the left on the home page, just under the top banner, allows you to search all Siegel catalogs from 1930 to date for sales of any particular stamp or stamps of interest.

My search for United States Scott 834, the 1938 $5 Calvin Coolidge Presidential stamp, gave me 12 results.

Among these was the jumbo-margin single stamp shown nearby, which realized $1,200 in the 2009 sale of the Beverly Hills collection of U.S. stamps.

The middle menu choice, Tools and Resources, offers an amazing amount of information. If you hover your mouse over this menu choice, you will see a drop-down menu with 10 categories.

I suggest you click on the last one, All Resources, because it takes you to a page with explanations of each of the other choices, as well as additional links.

The page headed “Exhibits and Mounted Collections” provides many online exhibits, including the Natalee Grace collection of used U.S. stamps issued in the 19th century.

Even with a fast Internet connection, it took several minutes for this 43-page PDF (Portable Document Format) exhibit to appear on my computer.

The Arthur White Postal History Archive contains PDF files showing thousands of covers to destinations around the world. Rates and routes are explained.

The Siegel Encyclopedia gives historical background and context for the use of different stamps, designs and denominations.

The site includes a link to a currency converter that will allow you to convert between any two currencies at today’s exchange rate.

The Today in History page lists important historical events, birthdays and deaths for any day of the year. This tool can be handy if you want to create album pages associated with your birthday, as Janet Klug suggested in the Stamp Collecting Basics column in the Dec. 7 issue of Linn’s.

The Kelleher site lists auctions on its home page. Also, you can view, print or download the first two issues of Kelleher’s Collectors Connections from this page.

The November-December issue features a lengthy article about Franklin D. Roosevelt’s stamp collection.

Online catalogs of Kelleher sales going back to 2009 can be viewed on the site.

For active auctions, you can see the opening bids or log in to bid. Prices realized are provided for past auctions.

You can search any or all of these auctions for a specific word or phrase, a specific lot number, or a variety of other options.

The Top Realizations choice from the Auctions drop-down menu offers a special search that shows top realized prices for specific categories of stamps. A top realization for the 1847 10¢ black is shown nearby.

If you scroll down on the home page to Collector Resources, you can find out what’s new at Kelleher, information about the firm’s owners, links to philatelic libraries, and how to consign stamps to Kelleher to sell. The What’s New page was not up to date when I visited it in early December; it listed three 2014 auctions.

I expect that other auction websites offer similar information.