Thomson Roddick Auctioneers & Valuers

Stamps, Postcards & Ephemera

Here at the stamps, postcards and ephemera department we are busy researching and cataloguing for our upcoming auctions, providing insurance and other types of valuations for single items and collections throughout Scotland and the North of England and helping clients with identifying unknown items held in their own personal collections and assisting in sourcing desired material. 

If you have a collection of stamps, postcards or ephemera that you wish to learn more about, have identified and valued or professionally catalogued and presented for auction then contact our specialist to receive free no-obligation professional advice.

The stamps, postcard and ephemera auctions are held eight to ten times a year at our Edinburgh and Carlisle auction rooms and broadcast worldwide online to an international market. The department record for a single lot is the £5,600 achieved in June 2014 for a comprehensive British stamp collection which included penny blacks, penny reds, tupenny blues and one of the rarest of the GB issues: the 2 shilling brown. Other results of interest include: 

£1,900 in August 2018 for a rare 1988 13p Christmas stamp. 
In the run up to Christmas 1988 the Royal Mail took the decision to inflate the postage price from 13p to 14p. A number of 13p stamps had already been produced and it was decided that these should all be destroyed and replaced with the desired 14p stamp. What better time to inflate postage prices than in the run up to Christmas? Some of the 13p stamps had already been sealed into year packs and escaped destruction. Perhaps you have a 1988 pack sitting in a collection at home with a near £2,000 stamp inside it.

£120 in August 2015 for a penny red plate 225.
Most penny reds across the three types (imperforates, stars and plates), are of a value less than £1 each at auction so it is nice when something rare is unearthed. Lurking in an album a plate 225 was found in 2015. This was the last plate to be used and as such, many less stamps were printed from it than other plates, making it rarer and thus more valuable. However, not as valuable as the plate 77. A plate 77 example sold at auction in 2012 for £550,000 and another was unearthed in 2016 in a lesser condition but still it realised £495,000.

£130 in November 2018 for a Postal Union Congress PUC £1 stamp from 1929 SG438.

GB stamps of particular interest are the £5 orange, £1 green, £1 lilac, £1 PUC Postal Union Congress, early Seahorse series and the penny black to name but a few. With the hobby being in decline now for some years, more and more often we are seeing modern collections coming to auction with many Presentation Packs, First Day Covers and Mint stamps now being of more value than much of the antique material that used to been so keenly sought. 

With regards to postcards, a large percentage of the material offered is Scottish topographical and this always tends to be of particular interest to our buyers and collectors. Other fields of interest and value are postcards of Distilleries and Whisky Advertising, Shopfronts, Real Photographics, Military, War, Regiments, Japan, China, India, Railway, Transport and Vehicles, Boats and Shipping. Recent interesting examples to go through the auctions include:
£90 in November 2019 for four postcards depicting Henry Alexander Jr descending Ben Nevis in a Ford model T in 1911, click here for more information.
£2,200 in March 2019 for a collection of Japanese postcards split into five lots, these were collected by a British gentleman in the early 20th century whilst travelling the Orient, click here for more information.
£17,000 in December 2014 for a single vendor collection of postcards, much of which was Scottish topographical in nature, the stock of a retired postcard dealer. 

With regards to ephemera, such a wide range of fascinating material has featured in the auctions including:
£1,900 in March 2019 for two photographs of Yosemite National Park taken by Ansel Adams (1902-1984), click here for more information.
£800 in November 2019 for a luncheon menu autographed by Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the event was for him receiving the freedom of the burgh of Langholm, click here for more information.
£2,900 in November 2017 for a photograph taken by Herbert Pontin of Captain Oates standing at the stables on board Terra Nova before the ill-faited expedition to the South Pole. 
£5,500 in May 2015 for a collection of photographs taken by A B Gardiner of India in the 1920's. 
Over £10,000 in August 2015 for a collection of autographed Christmas cards from various members of the royal family sent to the game keeper at Sandringham. 
£1,200 in August 2016 for a collection of Scottish rugby programmes amassed by Scottish Rugby legend The Late George Drummond Stevenson 1933-2012 (24 international caps, 3 tries).
At the dinner after the game George collected the signatures of all the players in the two teams on the programme and in some instances on the menu cards too. The top price paid for a single programme was £90 for Scotland vs South Africa Murrayfield 21st January 1961 having 31 signatures. Of his jerseys that were sold, the South Africa number 11 jersey was the highest at £600. The Scottish jerseys realised £200 (home) and £400 (away), the French £480, the Irish £320, the Welsh £320 and the Barbarians £45. For whatever reason, there was no English jersey in the collection. 


You may have heard of Thomson Roddick from advertisements in publications including Stamp & Coin Mart, the Antiques Trade Gazette, The Scotsman or Scottish Field. If you are social media inclined, and don’t follow us yet, then we are on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: you can find our social media icons in the footer of the website to start following us. Perhaps you have seen a member of our team on tv recently? We feature regularly on Bargain Hunt, Antiques Road Trip, Dickinson’s Real Deal, Cash in the Attic and the much missed Flog It, or you may have met one of our valuers presenting a talk on antiques to your local group.

We like jargon, if you do too, then here are some related jargon and terms that you may find in one of our stamp, postcard and ephemera auction catalogues:
Penny Black     De La Rue     1d Red     Waterlow     Seahorse     Tupney Blue     Plate    Stars     Perf     Mint     Used     Imperf     Commonwealth     Phosphor     Watermark     Real Photographic     Topographical     Valentine's     Players     Wills     Churchman     Cavenders     Carreras     Ogdens     Lambert & Butler     Gallaher     Phillips     Photograph     Letter     Ticket


Gavin Durward Tavendale BSc (Hons) is the head of Department and is always happy to conduct free no obligation valuations whether that be in person at the auction room, over email or in the comfort of your own home. 
Gavin can be contacted by telephone on 0131 440 2448 or by email edinburgh@thomsonroddick.com.