US Stamps

Langs’ holdings of errors, essays and more hit market

Oct 7, 2020, 10 AM
Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions will offer the holdings of the late William S. Langs in upcoming auctions. Three of the items to be offered are pictured here: a used United States 90¢ Shield, Eagle and Flags invert error (Scott 121b); a pane of 20 of the $2.4

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

In mid-September, Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions in Danbury, Conn., revealed that it will auction the holdings of the late William S. Langs, a dealer in errors, essays, proofs, classic U.S. stamps, and much more. The first of the Kelleher auctions of this material will take place Oct. 19-22 (Editor's Note: now Oct. 28-30).

Langs, who died July 7 at age 61, owned the online retail site William Langs Stamps and was a prominent stamp dealer on the eBay and HipStamp online marketplaces. His obituary was published in the Linn’s Aug. 15 issue, page 15.

Langs’ holdings are quite large and include more than the items that were available for purchase from his online store. Kelleher said that the sale of the material should realize more than $10 million and noted that Langs’ retail prices added up to around $30 million (not including his private holdings that weren’t in the main stock).

I asked David M. Coogle, Kelleher auctions co-chairman, a few questions about the Langs’ holdings, and I share his replies below:

What is it that is most energizing to you about auctioning off this holding?

“It is by-and-far the largest in scope, depth and value that we have had the pleasure to offer. And the largest U.S. dealer holding that we can recall coming to the auction marketplace.”

How do you see these sales impacting the stamp market?

“This holding coming to market is perfect mix that will satisfy the stamp shortage caused by the pandemic and will reach all phases of collecting.

“From beginners in our weekly online sales, intermediate collectors looking to fill their album needs to the most sophisticated advanced specialist in U.S. philately, there will be something for everyone. I think it will further excite an already hot marketplace and we will see some record prices as well as some excellent values to be had.

“Experience has taught us that extensive holdings coming to a strong market should further extend the market, it will be most interesting to see how it plays out.”

What should collectors be watching for as the different sales take place?

“The first three flagship type sales will contain the very best single items, multiples and plate blocks, postal history and related items from Bill’s inventory and private stash.

“We plan specialized sales in early 2021 of essays, proofs, trial colors and errors, probably three sales: U.S. front of the book, essays, proofs and trial colors; revenue essays, proofs and trial colors, noted that there are many hundreds of revenue and private die proprietary revenue proofs still on the original Joyce pages!

“And lastly an error sale that is unquestionably the largest and most valuable holding of this area to be offered at public auction sale.”

Many collectors might know Langs from his large presence on the eBay and HipStamp marketplaces. Are those listings coming down and being auctioned off by Kelleher?

“Yes that is correct. We are currently inventorying the extensive listings and identifying those items no longer available and items that will be listed in auction being removed from sale on eBay and HipStamp, in addition to his extensive private holdings.”

Are there quite a few items beyond the online store stock to be auctioned by Kelleher?

“I would say the store again in number of items, maybe not as much in value but especially in his areas. There are literally hundreds of every USA type of items from Zeppelin Sets, 1847s, Dollar Value Columbians, etc. The EFOs and Proofs are also mind boggling.”

The first auction of the Langs holdings will be available in the weeks prior to the sale on the Kelleher website, with online bidding options available.

For additional information, contact Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions, 22 Shelter Rock Lane, Unit 53, Danbury, CT 06810.

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