When I first started the draft for this month’s report, I was going to proudly announce that I had caught up with my monthly eBay reports. However the start of 2021 had been a worrisome one for me for purely selfish and philatelic reasons and I had put off finishing it. I had little personally to worry about the Covid situation. Switzerland has now followed the UK in going into a stricter lockdown, with bars and restaurants continuing to stay shut until at least the end of February (after being open for only 2 weeks since the beginning of November); non-essential shops have shut again; working from home has been made mandatory unless unavoidable; but schools (and ski slopes!) continue to remain open. Funnily enough, vaccine roll out has been slow here in spite of the small population, excellent health care and being home to two of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Whilst in the UK there seems to have been only good news about the vaccination programme, and I was thankful that both of my Grandparents received their first jab over 2 weeks ago.
So apart from the pubs being shut, I should have had little to worry about personally…except I was waiting for some valuable purchases on eBay from a seller in Spain which were sent on December 16th, which thankfully arrived today; a full seven weeks later!
The seller had listed a range of different ½d vermilion controls for sale, and I realised that some of them were rare. My collection was still rather lacking in controls, with really only singles to speak of (although I do have at least one of each letter, from A to Q). So I was planning on bidding aggressively and as late as possible, and picked the ones I wanted to focus on and even planned a budget! Thankfully, they were finishing one after the other with enough time in between to make any necessary adjustments to my budget if I bought an item for less than I was planning.
First on my hit list was a nice warm up. Ideally I’d like to collect all the controls in blocks of six. For P and Q controls this is certainly possible and not very expensive. This block cost me £14.37.
Buoyed by getting target 1, next up was this matching pair of A and B controls from the first setting without marginal lines. I’ve seen a few pairs of the A and a strip of three of the B come up on eBay in the past. However the fabulous “Aureum” collection had a block of six of both, but both were sold before the sales brochure was even put to press! So not expecting to see blocks of six of these come up anytime soon, I was very happy to pick the pair up for only £54. I forget what my top bid was but it was probably around double that.
So now I was happy to increase my bid on my next target; this pair of G controls with one showing an imperforate margin and one perforated through. Referring back to the “Aureum” collection again, it featured a strip of three of the perforated (again which had sold before publication) and only a single of the imperf. which was priced at £250 (which is also the catalogue value in the specalised catalogue, compared to only £14 for the perf.). So I was even happier to buy the two for only £41! Next in my sights was a handsome block of 8 of the J control. I did my usual trick of submitting my bid seven seconds from the finishing time, but disaster struck as the “wheel of death” kept spinning and spinning until it was too late. I had missed it. Luckily it had happened on an item I wasn’t too fussed about, and just before the item I really wanted.
Although catalogued by SG at £170 which is less than the imperf. G, I remember a specialist telling me once that he had never seen an imperforate F before. “Aureum” didn’t have one. So after my previous cheap purchases, I was excited that the above imperforate F pair would be another bargain. This time I switched to bidding through my computer instead of the app on my iPad to avoid any further problems to bid. Thankfully my bid went through without a problem, as unfortunately did the underbidder’s… The price jumped from £22 to £255!
But I was too delighted to have bought it care too much about the strong price. Hence why I’ve been biting my nails for nearly two months waiting for these items to arrive. The seller had sent it registered so I was checking on its status every other day, but from December 18th until February 2nd when it landed at Heathrow, the tracking simply stated that it had left Spain. I had basically lost hope of it turning up and was deliberating reporting it as missing until it arrived today. Phew!