A new customer for my approval business requested early US stamps before 1923. He has most of the stamps since then. In his request, he wrote, “I’m not very fond of portrait stamps.”
Are you kidding me? Have you looked at what stamps were issued before 1923? Almost every stamp is a portrait issue, usually a picture of Washington or Franklin.
Before 1900, the choices are even more limited. There are the 1869 pictorials, the 1893 Columbians, and the 1898 Trans-Mississippi issues. From 1900-1923, there are the 1901 Pan Am stamps, the Alaska-Yukon stamps, and a few other commemorative issues.
You are looking at about 80% of the issues in this timeframe being portrait stamps. Only about 100 commemorative issues are listed. That is only about 20% of the total number of issues.
He is also looking for stamps in the $5 and under range. There are a few used issues like Scott #114 and #231 that fall into that category. But most of the other stamps, even in used condition, are well above that range unless you settle for damaged copies. And I prefer not to build a business around moderately damaged stamps, or worse.
He has a few options. He can stick to his budget which means he’ll acquire about a half dozen non-portrait stamps for the given time period. Or he can increase his budgeted dollars to bring in sound copies of those $10, $20, and $50 stamps.
Otherwise, it’s going to be very difficult finding material for him given his parameters. His choices will be very limited.