Stamp collector is in for a penny

A PENSIONER who has been stamp collecting for more than 60 years is still chasing one very rare stamp – Canada s 12d Black, which is worth about £28,000. Derrick Scoot, 74, of Jackmans Place in Letchworth GC, is a member of the Canadian Philatelic Society

A PENSIONER who has been stamp collecting for more than 60 years is still chasing one very rare stamp - Canada's 12d Black, which is worth about £28,000.

Derrick Scoot, 74, of Jackmans Place in Letchworth GC, is a member of the Canadian Philatelic Society of Great Britain and was elected the society's president at its annual convention last month.

He has been interested in philately since he was a youngster, saying: "Every schoolboy started with a sixpenny album from Woolworths in those days and our pocket money was spent on stamps.

"We'd come home and swap with each other. We'd lick them and stick them in the pages, which is not what you should do.


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"Now all my stamps are in little black plastic strips. You mustn't have the gum disturbed if you want them in mint condition.

"Some say it's not a stamp unless it's been used, but I prefer them in mint condition. I have both used and mint because I can't afford only mint."

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Mr Scoot has up to 300 albums filled with thousands of stamps and they are all from Canada.

He said: "I have to stick to one country otherwise I would have to remortgage the house!

"I have got quite a few of the early issues and my collection is worth a lot to me."

He explained how he was drawn to a Canadian stamp on display in a shop in The Arcade in Letchworth GC many years ago and his collection of stamps from that country "escalated from there".

Mr Scoot joined the Canadian Philatelic Society of Great Britain about 30 years ago and said he is "very pleased" about becoming president because there were so many applications.

"You do have to work your way up," he said.

"It took a long while but I eventually got there."

He is also a member of the North Herts Stamp Club, whose members meet once a week to exchange stamps and listen to people from other societies who come to give talks.

Asked what he enjoys most about his hobby, he said: "I love the company the most. The club has got professors, lawyers and architects all collecting and they are only too glad to share their knowledge."

Mr Scoot buys stamps from auction houses, dealers, and from contacts he has in Canada.

He said: "I go to two or three auctions a year and usually get enough to last a year."

He added: "The 12d Black eludes me. That's a very, very rare stamp and would set me back about £28,000."

Of 51,000 originally printed, only 130 are thought to exist with only five attached pairs in mint condition.

He is keen to encourage young people to take up stamp collecting. "A little hard work and concentration and you will be surprised how satisfying it can be," he said.

Anyone interested in joining the club, or displaying their old postcards, call the club's secretary, Mike Humphrey, on 01462 768190.

Factfile

* The first postage stamp, the Penny Black, was issued in Britain in 1840.

* One of the best known rare American stamps is the one cent Z grill stamp, with just two existing.

* Other rare and famous stamps include the Treskilling Yellow, Mauritius Post Office and British Guiana 1c Magenta.

* Stamp collectors are an important source of revenue for some small countries, which create limited runs of elaborate stamps designed mainly to be bought by collectors.

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