Antiques/collecting: Golden Rules for Christmas Present-Buying

Article excerpt

Byline: Harry Hawkes

Why is it that collectors with a specific hobby are often the most difficult people to buy presents for?

On the face of it, once you are aware of the recipient's particular interest it should be easy then -no danger of a stamp collector getting a Royal Doulton figurine or a coin enthusiast finding Santa has left him a set of rare theatre programmes.

Frankly, not many couples have such a detailed interest in each other's hobbies that they can buy confidently without guidance.

So, can I suggest the golden rule should be: Never buy at random.

If you cannot get help straight from the horse's (or hubby's) mouth, how about taking a leaf out of the kids' books.

Remember what you did years ago? A letter to Santa given to mom or dad to post, enclosing your Christmas wants list usually brought a favourable response.

It could still work -as thousands of grandchildren this Christmas will find out. For their wants lists will earn them a really attractive Christmas card from Santa with a message from the great man himself.

Just stamp the envelope and address it to: Santa Claus, Reindeerland, SAN TA1.

However, do make sure your partner, or mom and dad read your list -just to make sure the spelling is all right.

For those too self-conscious to write to Santa however, here are a few suggestions for possible collectors' Christmas presents.

The Royal Mint has a wide price range for some really attractive British collectible coins dated 2003, the year marking the 50th anniversary of the Queen's Coronation.

These range from a boxed set of all ten new 2003 coins including the DNA pounds 2 coin, the pounds 2 advancement of industry coin, the suffragettes 50p and the Royal Arms pounds 1, plus each of the six other coins issued during the year. These have been packaged in a special 2003 wedding souvenir set and also in a 2003 new baby pack. Each is priced at pounds 17.50p.

For details of these and other coins ring the Royal Mint on 0845 60 88 222.

Stamp collectors have a wide range of literature according to their particular interest and Stanley Gibbons, Britain's number one philatelic publisher, has perked up its excellent catalogues immensely with the ongoing transition process from black and white to colour printing.

Apart from enabling easier identificationof varieties to be made the reproduction of stamp images in colour brings a whole new attraction to those delicate designs of floral, avian, butterfly and other wild life subjects. Without doubt the excellent colour rendering in Gibbon's catalogues and handbooks has done much to enhance their usefulness. Certainly Mr David Aggersberg, of Stanley Gibbons who has had the task of overseeing the production of these superb reference works deserves a special pat on the back.

Stamps of the World now published in four parts -countries A-D, E-J, K-R and S-Z -each costing pounds 29.95p is particularly useful.

Collect British Stamps (pounds 8.95p) is an excellent inexpensive check list for GB collectors. A stock of Gibbons's catalogues and albums can be seen at Cofton Collections, Bristol Road South, Northfield, Birmingham (0121 475 4124) or enquire from Stanley Gibbons Publications, Parkside, Christchurch Road, Ringwood, Hants.

BH24 3SH (01425 470247).

Two of the Midlands' best known postcard fair organisers have decided to take life easier and retire from the arduous event management scene.

The two, both Black Country men, have given stalwart service to the hobby of postcard collecting in the region for a considerable time.

'At 71 years old I feel that I need to lessen the worries and cares of fair management and it seems sensible to call it a day now,' explained Mr Eric Woolley from Bilston, Wolverhampton.

'Yes, I feel the same way' agreed his fellow organiser, Mr George Sawyer from Kingswinford, Dudley, who has just celebrated his 72nd birthday. …