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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : Thoughts about blocks

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Baronation
04 Feb 2019
04:05:23pm
So as a new collector I've started my collection by buying some cheap kiloware, keeping the countries I like and trading the rest. In this kiloware I often find blocks of 4, 6 or even more stamps.

So far I have been splitting these blocks, keeping one and putting the rest in the trade pile. Is this sacrilege? Is There collectors who like and collect blocks? Should I keep the blocks for those collectors?

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ikeyPikey
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04 Feb 2019
04:56:43pm
re: Thoughts about blocks

.
Seriously? You missed this thread?

Worldwide Blocks

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey (who begins every visit at Last 30 By Time)

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"I collect stamps today precisely the way I collected stamps when I was ten years old."
musicman
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04 Feb 2019
08:27:30pm

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re: Thoughts about blocks

Don't let Ikey-Pikey scare you (shame shame, Michael);

you can collect any way you wish - there is NO wrong way to collect stamps!

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Baronation
05 Feb 2019
08:07:22am
re: Thoughts about blocks

Cheers musicman, I'll start keeping the blocks together, somebody might appreciate them someday.

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51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
05 Feb 2019
08:51:44am
re: Thoughts about blocks

While I agree with the sentiment that there is no ‘right’ way to collect, there are things that everyone should be aware of before making permanent changes to the material we possess. We should be good stewards of our material.

Doing things like removing stamp from cover or breaking up multiples can destroy postal history, not unlike removing artifacts from their original locations. That said, keeping stamps on cover, especially if the cover is made from poor quality paper, can lead to additional conservation time and costs. It also leads to more storage challenges. Same for multiples, they are more difficult to mount and store and many times you do not want to mount a multiple on an album page with other single stamps. But a multiple can have a postmark that makes it important and/or are critically important in understanding plate positions (for older stamps).

I view this topic a bit like owning an antique desk. If it is really ratty looking, so bad that you refuse to display it in your house. Do you refinish the desk? If the desk is rare, then you would never consider refinishing it; obviously refinishing it will change the value of the desk. But if the desk is common, is it not better to refinish it and get some use out of it?
Don

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
05 Feb 2019
08:55:12am
re: Thoughts about blocks

I think Don provides excellent context for an answer to complement..... they're yours.

there are things I did as a young collector that make me sad to this day. Some things, once done, can't be undone, and often knowing if it's the right thing is really a matter of experience (gained, as you are doing, by owning and asking).


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larsdog
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APS #220693 ATA#57179
06 Feb 2019
09:39:33pm
re: Thoughts about blocks

I still do things INTENTIONALLY that horrify some folks. I will rip apart a perfectly good plate block to get a plate number single, and if the excess selvage will throw off the visual balance of the page, I will trim it with an Exacto knife. I don't care. I paid for the stuff. Having said that, there are a few plate singles I would not alter at all, given their value, since that would be like throwing money away.

I rarely soak anything off cover, but if that's the cheapest option, I have no problem with that. I know that I did that at least once for my topical collection - bought a First Day Cover and soaked off the stamp. If the postal history of the item was THAT rare, it wouldn't have sold for that little.

The gold standard for philosophical discussion of philately is this:

Say that someone owns the only two examples of a specific stamp, worth $1 million each. He (or she) determines that by burning one of the stamps, the other would be worth at least $3 million as a sole survivor. Unethical, or just a shrewd business decision?

Lars

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51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
07 Feb 2019
03:19:16am
re: Thoughts about blocks

Quote:

"…Say that someone owns the only two examples of a specific stamp, worth $1 million each. He (or she) determines that by burning one of the stamps, the other would be worth at least $3 million as a sole survivor. Unethical, or just a shrewd business decision?."


It is clearly unethical; destroying historical artifacts is always unethical.

Of course ‘ethics’ and ‘right to’ are two different things. Obviously we all understand personal property rights; people can use stamps for toilet paper if they own them. But I think that 'ethics' come into play when an item is meaningful to society.

Here is an example. I live in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. The mountains here are true natural resource and one of the primary reasons people want to live here. But if I buy the land on top of a forested mountain can I ‘clear cut’ all the trees on the mountain and build a house? I have a ‘right’, it is my property. Who cares about all the people down in the valley and the fact that I am destroying the very thing that makes living here so popular. Is it ethical to take a ‘I’ll do whatever I want to do and the hell with everyone else’ position? Or do I have an ethical responsibility for being a good steward of what I own?

My opinion is that the ‘line in the sand’ here is if something is considered important to the greater good. So breaking up a common plate block with millions printed is not comparable to a rare stamp that has only two known. Each of us has to make decisions about the material we currently own.
Don

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
07 Feb 2019
06:37:03pm
re: Thoughts about blocks

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I like unusual blocks. I think they add interest to your collection and your album. In this instance I wound up with the plate block of 20 stamps. I could just break out the plate block of 4 and sell the rest as singles, but I think it's nice this way. And it will only be this way once!

Same with the cover. A block of 8 that pays the Registered mail rate. Pages like this in my album make me happy!

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1938324
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08 Feb 2019
04:00:52pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Thoughts about blocks

When I Trade 1 stamp for 1 stamp, and come across a Block, I count it as 1 stamp. I was criticized a while back for providing duplicates!! Some days, you just can't win.

Regards,

Bob Armstrong

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
09 Feb 2019
02:03:43pm
re: Thoughts about blocks

lovely page, Tom, and yes, a multiple paying a valid rate is a thing of beauty

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