Modern Elizabethan hot heading into 2021

By Jesse Robitaille

This is the final story in a three-part philatelic year in review.

Along with some dealer sales – mostly for sellers with a strong online presence – auction results have also held their own during the pandemic.

In 2020, the hobby’s natural ebb and flow continued, with certain collecting areas outperforming others in terms of general interest if not outright value. Among the major trends – a continuation from previous years – is the increased interest in the Elizabethan period, including modern errors and varieties.

“I think collectors are just starting to notice there are some bargains to be had, and they are picking up some of those things they need in the modern era,” said auctioneer Gary Lyon, the owner of Gary Lyon (Philatelist) Ltd. and its sister company Eastern Auctions, who added prices for modern material were previously “depressed a bit.”

Once unpopular, Elizabethan collecting has come into its own in recent years, added Yohann Tanguay, the chief describer with Eastern Auctions and a member of the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation expert committee.

“Modern definitive issues are great examples,” said Tanguay. “Interesting material from varieties to covers can be added to a collection for a fraction of the price of what classic stamps and postal history sell for nowadays. Someone can build an interesting and vast collection on a particular series from the 1960s to 1980s without really breaking the bank.”

To learn more about modern material, he recently read the nearly 500-page second edition of Robin Harris’ Environment Definitive Series 1977-1987.

“After a quick perusal, it certainly gives you the aspiration to start collecting it,” said Tanguay, who added overall, interest in collecting and philately have remained strong throughout the pandemic.

“Since traditional stamp shows are being cancelled for the foreseeable future, collectors seem to be anticipating auctions more than ever as a source for building their collections,” Tanguay said.

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