This question of catalogue prices deserves a little more discussion.
First, of course, we must acknowledge that the markets for, say, modern India or Australia are far, far larger than they are for, say, Barwani or Poonch. Far more of the key, or at least expensive, items from modern India or Australia will be sold each year than of Barwani or Poonch. This makes it easier for the editors of Gibbons to establish a market price for the Gandhi 10 Rupees or a 1st Watermark Â£2 'Roo from Australia than for an SG 12 of Barwani, or even this block of SG 50 of Poonch
I just received from eBay.
But as you rightly say, if
you had the money, there wouldn't be any problem about buying that Gandhi 10 Rupees, or a 1st watermark 'Roo. (The former is catalogued at Â£250; the latter is Â£4750.) You could take your pick of specimens ... if you had the money.
I couldn't find a basic Barwani stamp catalogued at Â£250, so an SG 1
at Â£180 will have to do as a comparison. You probably could
find one for sale, eventually. But you wouldn't have much, or any, choice of specimens.
Or take that Â£2 'Roo. You wouldn't have a huge
range to choose from, but the big Australian dealers would be able to find you one if you wanted it. By comparison, there are no
Barwani stamps catalogued as high as Â£4750; this SG 18da
at Â£4000 will have to do. This is the only copy of SG 18da I know of, and I'm not selling
So what do we do about the cheaper items, like the Barwani SG 12? My own experience is just like yours, Mukulgarga. The dealers can offer plenty of the cheapest junk. You can buy it on eBay any day, too. But the Â£10 to Â£100 items just don't appear in the dealers' stockbooks - or what choice there is, is strictly limited. You could go into Gibbons in London with your Want List of Â£10 to Â£100 Uglies, and I think you'd come out with fewer than half of what you'd wanted.
eBay seems to be the place to buy and sell these items. But then we run into all those typical eBay problems: basically, whom can you trust on eBay? To get the identification right in the first place, and then to get the stamp to you? It's a sad fact, but true, that many buyers don't trust Indian dealers. Many buyers don't seem to trust foreign
sellers of any sort.
The market for the Uglies is still very thin when compared with those for modern India or Australia, and these problems of supply don't help. I think the Uglies will always be a marginal collecting area. Collectors do tend to collect their own country first. How many residents of the former Barwani State collect Barwani? The Uglies are difficult, too. The other day, I warned an eBay seller that he'd misidentified a Barwani SG 23b
(at Â£20 each) as an SG 23
(at Â£150 each). I'm sure it was an honest - if optimistic - mistake, and the seller immediately agreed to correct the listing. But how many non-specialists could unerringly pick the sewing machine perforations of SG 23? It's much easier to find that Gandhi 10 Rupees in Gibbons
So, Barwani SG 12 might well receive a useful bump up in the 2014 Part 1, but I don't expect the price to ever reflect its actual scarcity. So much the better for us who collect the Uglies. We
can add rarities to our collections at prices collectors of mainstream India and Australia can only dream of