Philatelic Snippets

Back to Philatelic Snippets Index


The Great Montserrat Halley’s Comet Rip Off

Harvey Duncan gives substance to a suspicion we all have had about the exploitation of stamp collectors purchasing issues of doubtful integrity…..

We all know that present day issues contain items aimed at the collector and not for postal purposes such as imperforate stamps, mini-sheets but it was not until recently when I bought some mini-sheets from a dealer that I appreciated what the extent of the problem might be.

Montserrat is not a territory I would have associated with this problem but they issued eight stamps for Halley’s Comet (in 1986) along with the usual imperf. set all of which you can also obtain overprinted “Specimen”. The eight stamps where issued in minisheet format with four stamps per sheet but with different values from the original set just to entice you to purchase them. (See WEEBAU pages 714/715 for full illustration). Each sheet was also printed imperf. with either a blue or pink hue in the border giving four different sheets altogether.

These were also overprinted “Specimen” making eight different sheets to buy if you so desired – a lot for one issue, to be sure.

However, there’s more! The sheets I purchased were overprinted for CAPEX the following year as following:

Printed in black with “CAPEX” and the exhibition logo in red, then the same in black. Not content with this some were then overprinted upside down and some twice to produce a double overprint!!

Therefore, if one was keen to obtain everything that was produced you could end up with with four sets of stamps to start with and eight minisheets. I have not heard of the overprints being printed “Specimen” so leaving out that possibility we have a grad total of FORTY sheets, discounting any varieties that might have occurred in all these printings.