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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : How to collect blocks?

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tuscany4me
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30 Aug 2012
12:53:44pm
Buying stamps in blocks of 4... Should they be left and stored as a block or separated into singles?

Thanks, Clayton
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DaSaintFan
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30 Aug 2012
01:06:49pm
re: How to collect blocks?

look at it this way Clayton...

value of stamp by itself = $x.xx
value of stamp in a block of 4 = $x.xx * 4 + if it's a good block, its a usually extra in terms of value.

Just don't (IMO) do something I used to do.. I'd keep every pair, block, strip, single in a book.. and they were the same stamp (no variations).. I realized how much "space" i was wasting doing that when I went through one country and freed up a couple of pages.

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Poodle_Mum
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30 Aug 2012
01:12:04pm
re: How to collect blocks?

Hi Clayton,

If you buy a block, keep it as a block, especially if there is selvedge (extra paper) around the block. Sometimes the block will be a "plate block" which will have writing on the selvedge such as numbers or the printer's name. These are often found on corner blocks.

Although I have some blocks, I'm not a block collector so no doubt others here can answer your question better but I'd definitely say don't separate them.

Also, sometimes a number of stamp designs are printed on one sheet in various combination so you could collect a block that actually has four different stamps.

Kelly

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tuscany4me
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30 Aug 2012
01:23:02pm
re: How to collect blocks?

better example? - just bought some NEW stamps from USPS, but min. buy is block of 4 (same stamp) So keep them as they are or separate? Oh... couple are strips as well

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michael78651
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30 Aug 2012
01:29:16pm
re: How to collect blocks?

First, they are your stamps, so do with as you please. There is no rule about keeping stamps in a block, pane, sheet or coil strip. If you only want to collect one of each stamp issued, then you only need one stamp from the block. If the block consists of stamps of different designs, then it is best to keep those together.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
30 Aug 2012
01:31:37pm

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re: How to collect blocks?

Mark and Kelly are perfectly correct. If you buy a block, keep a block....UNLESS you have a specific reason to break it up. There is often no premium for blocks, but sometimes there is. More importantly, a block with selvege, as Kelly notes, will information on it that either makes IDing easier or, sometimes, possible. A PB/4 of many WFs is immediately identifiable by the PN, so one doesn't need to look at WMk, perfs, color, etc. Durland tells you it is Scott #XXXX.

On the other hand, if you don't want to save blocks, don't buy blocks, unless there's some incredible deal available on blocks not available on singles.

David

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tuscany4me
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30 Aug 2012
01:42:03pm
re: How to collect blocks?

Thanx everybody for the info. I currently don't lean either way, that's why I just wanted to get opinions and general ROT.

Thanx, Clayton

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michael78651
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30 Aug 2012
03:24:38pm
re: How to collect blocks?

It's a matter of personal preference whether one wants to collect singles, plate blocks, sheets, etc. It is hard to buy single stamps from the post office, and often one has to buy the entire sheet of 20. I only collect singles, so I am not going to keep the entire sheet intact just because that is how I bought it. To be a purest, one will have to purchase stamps in sheets of four attached panes, since that is how they are produced.


One observational note...there recently have been a few people posting here who are new to the hobby. Sometimes we seasoned folk forget that our alphabet soup of abbreviations of terms may not be known to them. We should try to refrain from using such unless we identify the term first, such as, "I don't collect plate blocks (PB)". That way the terminology in the posts will be understood by the current newcomers and by the newcomers who read the posts in the future.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
30 Aug 2012
05:04:04pm

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re: How to collect blocks?

Good final point, Michael, said the great offender. This won't solve all, but will help, will serve as a reminder that we have FAQs on some of the acronyms, and perhaps spur a member or two to generate some that are missing. http://stamporama.com/faq/faq.php?faq=descriptive-terms

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cdj1122
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30 Aug 2012
05:08:58pm
re: How to collect blocks?

" .... They are your stamps, so do with as you please....."
" .... It's a matter of personal preference whether one wants to collect singles, plate blocks, sheets, etc

I could not have said it better.

But I will add that the mania for blocks, especially with indica in the selvedge started over a hundred years ago. Postal Administrations simply printed and issued stamps as needed and only sometimes saved data for collectors. Often the plates wore out and were replaced, or were damaged and the engraving re-entered.
This created minor anomalies between what initially seemed like identical stamps from the same plate and same printing run.
However, collectors became suspicious that two or more plates had been used over time or a main plate had been repaired.
To investigate this possibility and prove the solution one way or another collectors sought examples and tried to arrange the stamps as they had originally been laid out on the printed sheet.
A pair of blocks of four where the stamp in the upper right quadrant of one had the identical minor variations as the stamp in the lower left quadrant of the other proved an overlap and identified the seven stamp's relationship to one another.
If one of the blocks happened to have some identifying marking in, or on, the selvedge, that would help to determine what column and row the seven stamps were originally in. Perhaps another strip of three stamps also over lapped and could be seen as to where it lay as well, and in that way more and more stamp's plate's positions were identified.
So it was a challenge to acquire blocks, especially plate number blocks (PNB) and many advanced studies of the two or three plates used for one of these classic stamps won admiration and awards at stamp exhibitions. That kind of research kept some famous philatelists busy for years and years.

However, in recent years, most ( not all. ) postal administrations announce when a new printing is being released and the plates usually have numbers or identifying letters so much of that mystery is gone. But old habits die hard and collectors like to display the PNBs, especially a matched set of four, although there is not really any real philatelic necessity for doing so.

But, referring to Michael's sage advice copied above, your collection is supposed to be fun and make YOU happy, not someone else.

So if you like the way a block of four or six looks, enjoy yourself. There are times when I come across a block that bears a clear cancellation more of less centered and I may like keeping it that way. But when I buy a block at our local post office they are used on my mail and some are returned to me by my recipients to be added to my postally used collections.

Of course the foregoing mostly is aimed at blocks of identical stamps, not where there are mixed pairs, triptychs or quadritychs, which sometimes would lose meaning if separated.

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sponthetrona2
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30 Aug 2012
06:11:14pm
re: How to collect blocks?

I really enjoy collecting plate blocks, their harder to acquire and come in many forms as to what constitute a plate block. Blocks of 4 are interesting but normally do not add much, if any, value. Plate blocks add value and make hunting them down more fun, especially pre-1930. Perry

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
30 Aug 2012
09:55:34pm
re: How to collect blocks?

The key, as always, Ken, is that you enjoy what you collect.

I am petty sure that the great search for plate blocks to tie down the corners of a plate for certain identification that I was describing came in the "Roaring Twenties" so that can have two effects.
Collectors searching out examples from earlier eras might have the effect of preserving what material there was at that time and at the same time increasing the demand for something in limited supply can drive the up listed values, especially for classic printings.


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