Tuesday, 5 February 2013

205. Philatelic Collector Inc. Takes Over Samoa.

One of the New York-based philatelic agencies, Philatelic Collector Inc., has established itself as the "exclusive agent, advisor and distributor for all philatelic Material" for Samoa. This is the third philatelic service of a Commonwealth country of the Pacific region to be taken over by this company since it took over control of the stamp issues of the Cook Islands in 2010. At the end of 2011, Tonga too fell under its control and during 2012 a large number of stamp issues, frequently of very high face value, were released with the names of Tonga and one of its constituent islands, Niuafo'ou, printed on them. Cook Islands, too, has had a large number of stamps issued for it in the last two or three years and the numbers of such issues have been increased by stamps released with the names of Penrhyn, Aitutaki and Rarotonga, all constituent islands of the state of Cook Islands, printed on them.
  A feature of the takeover of stamp issues by this company so far has been the release of a new definitive series for its client territories soon after it has taken over the release of new issues and these seem to be invariably accompanied by sheetlets which contain all the values of the definitive stamps which have been produced in ordinary sheets and, recently in the case of Penrhyn, additional miniature small sheets which also contain all the stamps of the set and so make up a third version of the complete set (hence completeist collectors are faced with buying not one set of definitives but three). I suppose we must expect a new definitive series which has been produced for Samoa to appear on the market in the near future. Meanwhile, a Christmas set was rushed out for release on 21 December 2012, which was a little late for use on Christmas mail; Philatelic Collector Inc. having been appointed agents for Samoa only on 26 November 2012.
 The Christmas item was actually not a set but a sheetlet of 10 stamps, admittedly each modestly priced at 50c, but of lazy design - a photograph of a religious painting with 10 stamp-sized perforated shapes in it - look at the illustration above, some of the designs of the individual stamps within the sheetlet are ridiculous, the top right design for instance depicted nothing more than a small piece of an arch - if you received that on Christmas post you would wonder what was going on.
  So, just as we did with Tonga last year, we collectors of Commonwealth Pacific area stamps must have our anxieties about what this agency will produce during 2013 in the name of the Samoa Post Office. By the end of 2012, Tonga, following what had happened in The Cook Islands, had fully realised our worst fears and had produced a highly expensive range of new issues during the year. I fear that the Pacific area is becoming close to uncollectible what with another New York-based agency continuing to produce stamps frequently with highly irrelevant subject matter for its client territory, Tuvalu, and the excessive new issues being produced in the name of The Solomon Islands by a Lithuania-based agency. A pity but that's stamp collecting in 2013. It is up to the individual collector to decide what he or she wants to spend their money on and to avoid being exploited. Catalogue editors have a role to play too if they have the backbone to decide that they will not list exploitative issues - their influential position means that they have a duty to the collector and to the hobby but sadly there has been little evidence to suggest that editors are prepared to do much to help collectors fight back. Let us hope that the Samoan Post Office is able to restrict issues more than the post offices of some of their neighbours have been able to do.


  1. A Philatelic Bureau taken over by a stamp dealer namely associated with Henry Gitner and Satas of IGPC (both U.S. based) should not be considered a valid philatelic bureau as they simply are producing massive quantities of overpriced stamps most of which will never be used in the country of origin.
    The integrity of countries who's philatelic bureau's have been taken over by this company is now non-existent. The stamps will never retain value. Serious collectors avoid the issues.
    Until the major catalogs delete these issues and the U.P.U. enforces rules set to fine and basically shut down operations such as this one the collecting of modern issues from many countries has been devastated and will never recover.
    The major catalogs themselves have been infiltrated with management with ties to these same dealers and is one of the main reasons that the enforcement of not listing these kind of stamp issues has become so lax. Thus the integrity of the major catalogs themselves is now in question.
    The major stamp societies have been infiltrated with board members with ties to these same dealers and owners. Thus the integrity of the major stamp societies themselves is now in jeopardy.
    A new society needs to be created that is a worldwide society which will publish these antics fully to the world and never allow these type of entities to join nor influence the integrity of the society nor its publications. Until this happens collecting of a major portion of modern issues and legitimate valuation of semi-modern issues not produced in these massive productions can never be fully implimented.

  2. I don’t know who’s reviews/ opinions are more atrocious the “ White Knight” or “The Collector”. Both of these are so far off from the truth it is amazing that others are not speaking up (I guess that just shows no one is entertained by their views). I have done quite a bit of research about the company that is now representing The Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa and have found out quite a few positive points. First and more importantly I have verified with the local post offices that all of the new issues produced and distributed by the company are used as actual postage on the islands and not just in a small quantity but in quantities of 10’s of thousands per year. I think that says quite a bit as there is only 15,000 +/- people in the Cook Islands (obviously Tonga and Samoa are much large populations and there stamp use I imagine is comparably scaled).

    Also, I know many are upset with costly stamps but seriously as collectors I would expect you to use the post office as well. Meaning, when was the last time you have sent a package that was under $20 in postage. I know for myself if there aren’t high value stamps at the counter I am going to use the tacky looking label printed from the register. Perhaps I have a unique view on this but it is very simple, if there are no high values made their won’t be a need for stamps in general in the future as everything is becoming more expensive to send. I guess perhaps I might be trying to explain something simple to a few “stuck in their way” people who are adverse to all change even if it is the entire world.

    I will give you some acknowledgement that there are some stamp producing companies out there that over issue and produce stamps that are not relevant to the countries themselves but I think you are completely off base with your opinions about these south pacific islands. I have been a long time collector and I greatly appreciate the wave of new creativity. After all isn’t a stamp supposed to teach you about the country it comes from?

    I think the most important thing that could happen to the stamp hobby would the creation of a society that is geared toward educating individuals such as your selves as to the importance of postal changes as the world evolves. Or I guess we could all take you advice and give the post offices a hand in closing their doors, since that is where it appears you would like the hobby and the postal service to go.