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How many stamp collectors are there left in Barbados?

Barbados SG 1066-69 | Centenary of Barbados Philatelic Society

I’ve been collecting and specialising in the stamps and postal history of Barbados for over a decade now and it strikes me that there are not many Barbados collectors about.

Sure, there are people here in the UK with an interest in Barbados Stamps, and a few are members of the British West Indies Study Circle, but how many collectors globally, I’m not sure. And I’m definitely not sure about collectors who actually live in Barbados.

I try and get to the island every couple of years or so and would have been there in a couple of months, had it not been for a global pandemic. So this year I’m afraid I can’t come and next year, although booked, is still in doubt.

But the good news about collecting stamps is you don’t need to be in a certain location to collect the stamps of that area. Right now I can go to a number of online platforms and buy a wide range of material from Barbados and many of the other Caribbean islands. But what I can’t find is the sort of stuff a fellow collector would have.

As an example, I’m sat this morning looking at my used Barbados collection and whilst much of it is complete, there are still gaps I can’t fill. And they’re not expensive. Like this stamp, SG1251, the 5c value from the 2004 FIFA Centenary set. It’s a football stamp, so collected by thematic collectors worldwide, it had lots of use on mail around the island, but can I find a used copy for sale? No, I can’t. And it’s precisely because it’s not an expensive stamp that it’s hard to find.

Barbados SG1251
Barbados SG1251

There were lots of them printed, plenty were used and I’m sure that there are thousands sat in spares boxes around the globe. But because it’s catalogue value is just 40p, most dealers won’t touch it.

Dealers work on the basis that if they sell a stamp for 40p or £400 it’s still the same amount of time and effort to process the sale and dispatch the stamp. If they make 30% on the sale its the difference between 12p and £120. I know which I’d rather do if I had to make a living out of it.

Right now, I’m missing a dozen 5c and 10c stamps from the early 2000’s which will, I am sure, be sitting as spares in stock books of any Barbados collector on the island. Currently, I’m sure, they get thousands of 65c stamps (local rate) and they probably don’t know what to do with them. Anyone outside the island, however, trying to put together a usage display will need covers with 65c stamps on them. One man’s throw away is another man’s treasure.

And I’m struck by the fact that in ten years of owning this website, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a fellow collector living on the island.

I used to visit Keith Bayley, who was the last remaining stamp dealer in Barbados, but with his passing a few years ago, no one was left to continue the tradition.

I’m also conscious that the Barbados Philatelic Society, once so strong it had its own commemorative set, seems to have disappeared as older members pass away.

So, if there are any fellow collectors of Barbados stamps still living on the island and who would like to correspond with another Barbados stamp-collector here in the UK, feel free to get in touch!

5 thoughts on “How many stamp collectors are there left in Barbados?

  1. Hi,

    I still collect Barbados, but I don’t know another person that ‘collects the country’ at any of the clubs I am a member of here in Melbourne, Victoria.

    In fact, I can’t remember a Barbados only country collection ever coming up for auction in the past twenty years or so since I’ve been a member of those clubs. Maybe the stamps were at an auction I missed………….If there had been one I would have bid on it.

    You can find some Barbados in the various BC collections or the A – C type collections, but those are the typical simple collections with nothing really special or even high cat value. I do recall seeing ONE, yes, ONE specimen overprint from the country in that time period. So not much from the country is around.

    The various circuit books also have very few stamps from Barbados and the ones that do show up are basically junk.

    I’ve put some stamps for sale into the circuit books as well and my SWAG is that over 90% came back unsold.

    So slim pickings here. Maybe something will show up from a deceased estate in the future. one can only hope.

    1. Hi Lee,

      Indeed, there are slim pickings generally, though typically there’s a lot more here in the UK, as a great many British people make it a regular holiday destination.

      Also, as Commonwealth is widely collected in the UK, dealers often have good stocks, so we do tend to find a fair amount of material, though fine used modern stamps are much rarer. Most dealers tend to stop at 1970 as Stanley Gibbons Part 1 runs out at that date, meaning collectors stop there.

  2. Hi Mr. Lee
    I am a Barbadian, living on the island , collecting stamps. Although my collection include stamps worldwide, I have decided to concentrate mainly on Barbadian stamps . I hope to complete my collection from 1966 to current. Including FDC. No where close in the league of Mr. Bayley but willing to learn .
    Anne

    1. Hi Anne,

      Great to hear you are on the island and collecting the stamps of Barbados! Let’s hope that being local you can find material more readily than we can in other parts of the world!

  3. Hi Admin and Anne,

    Well it has been a couple of months since I posted and here in Melbourne, Victoria things are pretty much back to “normal”.

    Australia still has a few cases, but we have locked ourselves off from the rest of the world with few people coming in or out of the country. Flights from India into the country have been suspended recently.

    Some countries are still having a lot of problems.

    How about where you are?

    I finally managed to get to a Tuesday night auction at the Brighton Stamp Club. Last time I went was over a year ago (could have been longer – I can’t remember!!) as a result of health problems and the numerous lock downs that we had here in Victoria.

    These lock downs were quite severe and lasted a long time with numerous restrictions on our activity such as 5 kilometer travel distance limits, curfews, and the such.

    Numerous people at the auction, over 500 lots in the auction, but again nothing more than a few stamps from Barbados scattered in a couple of stock books.

    Will see what there is in upcoming auctions, but not holding my breath.

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