RIP stamp dealer Ken Baker passes, days short of Birthday104

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RIP stamp dealer Ken Baker passes, days short of Birthday104

Post by GlenStephens »

R.I.P. - stamp dealer Ken Baker - passes away - days short of Birthday 104



January 18, 2016 update. Ken's daughter Margaret just phoned me, to advise her father passed away peacefully last evening in his sleep - just days short of his 104h Birthday.

More details here -

https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=34641&start=85

R.I.P. Ken. A wonderful Gentleman, in every meaning of that word.

Ken at some time, handled essentially every stamp rarity that existed in this country - in this entire region really - some of them several times.

Rather than start a new thread - Ken looked forward for many years to reaching 100, and receiving "The Queen's Telegram", and his great joy of getting that is outlined below, and is something all of us can aspire to, I am sure.

Glen
= = = = = = =

An historic philatelic milestone took place on February 12, 2012, the day I typed this article.

I am typing this from Moss Vale NSW, in the Southern Highlands, after attending the 100th Birthday party Lunch for legendary stamp dealer Ken Baker.

It will have many more photos added later, but this below is a "taste"!

Ken gave me his Birth Certificate to scan for readers, and as can be seen below, he was born on February 8, 1912, entry number 182 of Bromley Kent, UK.

I am unaware of any other stamp dealer – anywhere in the world, reaching the “Century” milestone, and I am sure all readers will join with me in congratulating Ken on his long and fruitful life.

Australian dealers seem to have the longevity gene – Bill Hornadge is mid 90s, and Max Stern is 90. :mrgreen:

I have known Ken for decades, and for the latter part of that time his eye had been firmly focused on reaching 100, and getting “The Queen’s Telegram”.

Well as we all know, telegrams of any kind have not existed for some years now. :D

HOWEVER, Buckingham Palace does write to all Centenarians they are aware of, and a photo is nearby I took today, of Ken holding his cherished letter from the Queen!

There were similar cards and messages from the Governor General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, plus the Prime Minister, Federal Opposition Leader, State Premier etc.

A really fancy folder with photo, sealed with a crested ER “From The Queen” foiled wafer! Ken commented; “very nice stationary that Her Majesty uses.”

The gathering here at Moss Vale was mainly an extended family affair of about 100, but I was delighted to be invited to attend, along with his close dealer friends Kevin Duffy AO, and Max Stern.

Both of whom were literally dealing with Ken before I was born. In Kevin’s case, a decade before.

Max worked out that the 3 of them have 271 years of age between them.

Kevin and Max presented Ken with a special plaque, on behalf of his fellow stamp trade colleagues.

All the table place name cards for all guests, were festooned with Mint Australian stamps, (a photo below) that Ken jokingly said used up the last of his stamp stock. :D

Ken Baker has handled more of the major rarities of Australian philately than any other dealer.

He and wife Mona lived for a few years in the UK, and he is still well known to many of the stamp trade there.

Ken kindly passed onto me a couple of years back, all his stamp related files, so they can be on the public record.

His pivotal involvement in buying the entire and outstanding “T. E. Field” collection in 1948, for major client Jack Kilfoyle, and ensuring the Harmer auction of it was cancelled, still ranks as the “Stamp Coup Of The 20th Century”.

For just £7,500 they secured many of the major rarities of the Australian Commonwealth philately - all in one intact collection.

The cables, telegrams, notes, invoices, sale catalogue and letters etc re that coup, and the subsequent sale in 1961 of the massive Kilfoyle collection, make for fascinating reading, and makes me wish I was born a decade earlier!

Some of them I will share in photos later in the piece.

Ken is in great shape for 100, and told me today he walks 1 kilometre a day “weather permitting” from his front door to front gate and back, in Robertson, NSW where he now lives.

His daughter Margaret told me he daily checks his share prices on a computer, and he surely be the only Centenarian on EARTH who uses a computer.

Wife Mona of 46 years had not been in good health for some time, and very sadly, passed away tragically a week or so short of Ken’s milestone.

Below is Ken's story as told to me.
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Max Stern, Ken Baker, Kevin Duffy, AO.

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Dealer for 90 Years


Ken Baker must be the only person on EARTH to have sold stamps for around 90 years!

Ken who turned 100 this week is as sharp as a tack. His eyesight is not as good as it once was, but neither is mine. :)

I had a long chat with Ken, and with Kevin Duffy AO, before this went to press. Kevin is a Castlecrag neighbour, and was able to add a few more details to the original data I had.

Duffy told me his sole dream as a schoolboy was to emulate those stamp dealers in the Royal Arcade in Sydney - like Ken Baker.

Kevin Duffy became Federal President of ASDA on 3 separate occasions, spaced a decade apart - being 1964, 1974 and 1984.

He later received the second highest award conferred in the country, an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) - broadly equivalent to a Knighthood in the old system.

Selling his Seven Seas Stamps business in 1980 to Reader's Digest for $4 million, Kevin would have made ALL those Royal Arcade dealers gasp in wonderment I imagine!

Seven Seas Stamps changed hands many years later, for a fraction of that sum.

Ken Baker is a wonderful gentleman - in the true meaning of that word, and there is not much that has occurred in this business since 1930 that he was not a part of in some way.

Ken and late wife Mona have attended many industry dinners, and they attended many of my dealer Melbourne Cup lunches here at Castlecrag. Ken's long Rolls Royce poked out a full metre from my garage!

So here we go - a remarkable story - in Ken Baker's own words from here on:

==================


Selling stamps for about 90 Years



I was born in London on February 8, 1912 during the reign of KEVII, in Shoe Lane off Fleet Street - literally within the sound of the Bow Bells.

I helped my father in his part time packet-making business.

Father used to supply newsagents with cheap stamp packets, a business he commenced before I was born.

So from a very early age I was very involved with the stamp business there.

It is true to say: "I was never without stamps".

When the family migrated to Melbourne in 1923 on a £10 a family new migrant package deal, my father continued in the same line in Australia until his death in 1951.

My brother and I took over £400 of debts from this business, and soon learnt there was no profit in stamp packet-making.

My First Stamp Shop - 1928



In 1928 I got a job in a rare book shop in Little Collins Street near the Stanley Gibbons present Melbourne premises. After a while I was allowed to put some stamps in the window.

Most other dealers at the time had upstairs shops.

The business grew and I later bought the book business. Though I had little knowledge, I needed to make a quick turnover and knew all the stamp collectors of the day who used to meet in my shop.

One day in 1930 I was tipped off by veteran dealer Alf Campe senior that one of my customers was a thief.

I then spread the word, and promptly received a writ for slander demanding £500 (about $5 million today, I suppose). Imagine being an 18 year old about to lose his business.

Fortunately for me, the legendary collector and legal man, Bill Purves sent me to the best barrister in Melbourne. King's Counsel Eugene Gorman (later Sir Eugene) was his name.

I was terrified of the money this would cost, but later learnt that Purves' firm had taken care of it as they retained him on many other briefs.

Fortunately that matter was settled out of court the day before it was to go before the judge, for £15 damages and £20 costs.

That was my one and only brush with the law in my lifetime.

In 1930 I also took ads in the very first year of publication of the venerable "Australian Stamp Monthly".

I am proud of my Member Number "1" plaque from the Australasian Stamp Dealers' Association - now known as APTA.

I formed that Association in 1948 with Phil Downie and Max Cohen.


Saved By Peanut Butter



In 1933 I drifted away from stamps, but by 1936 was back in Sydney at the back of another bookshop in Bathurst Street - and once again with little money.

Luckily it happened to be the year of the ETA Peanut Butter promotion - free stamps with their product.

The album with the Spanish galleon on the cover was available for sale at all newsagents for 6d.

Millions of stamps were given away. This started a boom here that lasted a year or two. Battered childhood ETA albums still turn up all the time, even today. I made annual trips to the UK via the USA buying and selling.

In 1937 I moved to the (old) Royal Arcade in Sydney and was the first stamp dealer there. Others soon followed including Max Cohen, John Shaiak, Otto Kugel and A.W.Townsend.

Alf Campe senior was then operating in the Sydney Arcade and was one of the biggest dealers in Australia (and I don't only mean weight-wise!) Campe followed us into the Royal Arcade in 1941.

A Mr. Moore followed as did others. The Royal Arcade in those days was truly the "Nassau Street" of Australian stamp dealing with 6 well stocked dealers all located in one small arcade.

The Sydney Hilton Hotel now occupies this once famous site that ran from Pitt to George Streets.

Alf Campe Senior used to accuse me of price cutting which I'm sure was true. One day he said that he'd put me out of business in three weeks. Alf then promptly took a shop in the Royal Arcade.

Well, Alf Campe Senior died 55 years ago, and I'm still here!


Amy Vickery



I remember Miss Amy Vickery who formed the finest collection existing of NSW "Sydney Views" - now residing in the Powerhouse Museum. The Vickery family had immense wealth.

I acquired a large selection of "Views" from a dealer one day, rang her and was cordially invited to her grand family mansion in Strathfield.

Miss Vickery looked at them for a time then said politely that she could not buy them as they were her rejects and "lesser copies" that she had recently given to Campe to sell!

I departed from there very downhearted, and got "stuck" with that collection for quite a time.

Later I found out that she only dealt with Alf Campe. Alf Campe junior, a well known Sydney dealer to this day, says Miss Vickery always believed he had been named in her honour and this greatly pleased her.

I first met Kevin Duffy when he was a schoolboy at Christian Brothers College, Waverley. He had a stall in the playground after school and he knew then he was always destined to be a stamp dealer.

Kevin later moved to a kiosk in the Dalwood Arcade and afterwards purchased Seven Seas Stamps from Bill Hornadge in 1971. At one time Kevin and I ran a stamp auction in Sydney in the late 1960s.

This was styled "Baker and Duffy Auctions" and was located in Castlereagh Street opposite the present location of the Piccadilly Arcade. We later sold this to Phil Downie for a nice profit.

Kevin went on to run large stamp Auctions through the local magazines.

His later sale of ‘Seven Seas Stamps’ to Reader's Digest in 1980 for around $4 million was the biggest transaction in Australian stamp dealing history. Then or now.

We still keep in regular touch, and had lunch only last week.


Dubious Bulolo Airmails


I would source material from all over the globe. Melbourne dealer Rodney Perry recently showed me an envelope with my handwriting I posted to the PO at Gilbert and Ellice Islands, ordering £4 of current stamps in 1940.

The boat carrying that cover was the "Triona". She was sunk by the German Navy. A few pieces of sodden mail were recovered and marked with: "sunk by raider and recovered".

Rod tells me he sells these pieces today for $1000's. That is a lot more than the face value of £4 of Gilberts new issues I was ordering!

By the way, many months later my order for those New Issues was filled by the PO, as the mail was forwarded on, even in the midst of World War 2.

I served three years in the Army (two years in the Torres Strait) during which time my shop was managed by Elsie Bell. I was discharged bearing the rank of Staff Sargeant.

I returned in 1944 and married her in 1945. At this time there was a large quantity of mint £1, £2 and £5 New Guinea Bulolo airmail stamps in the Australian market.

It transpired that they had never been near New Guinea, but emanated from stocks which were supposed to be destroyed in Melbourne. A prosecution was launched but it fizzled out.

These are very valuable stamps today, but could be obtained in the trade around that time for below face value.

Stamps were really booming at this time. One Saturday morning the cash register rang up 400 sales! In fact we sometimes had to close the door while we served customers already in the shop.

In 1948 I took on Sydney solicitor Bernie Moloney as a partner, forming the Baker & Moloney dealership that flourished for 20 years.

Bernie, Leo Rose and I also ran an auction, "DKL King & Co" for some years. We later sold this to Harmers. They wanted us off the auction scene!

In the early 1970s I moved to Norfolk Island for a few years to take advantage of the attractive tax concessions it offered back then.


Best Australian Collection.


I dealt with most of the major collectors as clients, one of whom was wealthy grazier Jack Kilfoyle - who put together arguably the best collection of Australian Commonwealth ever formed. I first met Jack in 1947.

Kilfoyle didn't think much of the £50 collection I initially showed him, but I knew John Shaiak next door had a far better one for £4,000 on consignment. This was the wonderful Kitson collection.

The owner Kitson was a Victorian MLC, the Parliamentary member for Ballarat as I recall. When the sale was clinched Shaiak insisted on cash, so I accompanied Jack to the bank to seal the deal.

This was a truly vast sum 60 years ago, especially being all in cash! This transaction started a long and successful client/dealer relationship with Kilfoyle.

In 1948 Harmers of London offered the “T.E. Field” collection at auction and I promptly showed Kilfoyle the thick sale catalogue.

There were pages of high value mint Kangaroos in blocks of 4 (or often much larger) including blocks of the £2 in every watermark, and many more £1 Kangaroo bi-colours in blocks, imprints, and monograms etc, etc.

Also featured were very extensive die proofs and essays, including all the key Kangaroo issues, and even complete sheets of KGV proofs.

Field also owned most of the known printing errors and rarities of Australian stamps as well. I said: "there are some rather nice pieces in here Jack, some of which may interest you".

He simply replied: "Yes Ken, but I'd actually like to own the entire auction book - just buy them for me please". Kilfoyle was a very wealthy man!

It was then decided that we should make an immediate offer by telegram of £7,500 for the entire auction sale - which was accepted.

When I made the offer Harmers were holding almost no postal bids, and were more than a trifle nervous the sale would not be a success.

This was the only stamp auction ever cancelled by Harmers of London, and this caused quite a stir at the time.

The bid forms came flooding in by the hundreds from keen collectors after I had secured the lot by telegram.

There were no faxes or email then, and phone calls were horrendously expensive to Europe.

The rudimentary "air mail" on the 10,000 mile journey to England was rather slow by today's standards.

We beat the wad of Australian based collector bid sheets by several days. Had the auction proceeded, Harmers said it would have grossed a great deal more than £7,500.

That same collection today would sell for many millions. I would describe Kilfoyle as a stamp collector rather than a philatelist, but his collection was worth seeing nevertheless.

I still have all the letters from Harmers confirming the sale, and the printed leaflet they sent to very irate collectors advising we had purchased the entire auction intact. I have left them all with Glen Stephens for safe keeping.


Tête-Bêche Pair for £250


I bought other choice pieces for Kilfoyle such as the 1928 Kookaburra mini sheet imperforate. Today this is catalogued by the ACSC at $200,000. However, it fetched only £105 at the Kilfoyle sale in 1961. I bought it.

I also sold on two separate occasions the unique KGV head 2d tête-bêche pair for £250 each time.

I really should have kept it .... today the ACSC lists it at $A250,000. Who says there is no money in stamps?!

The same comment applies to items such as the 1920 Ross Smith vignette sheets which I have sold for a minute fraction of today's retail levels.

For instance, a Mint block 4 of the First Watermark 1913 £2 Kangaroo sold for only £185 on an estimate of £200 in the 1961 Harmers sale of the Kilfoyle material.

A single MUH example of that stamp sold for $A22,500 at the Arthur Gray auction in 2007.

In the late 1940s I bought a large collection of Kangaroos, exclusively values 5/- and up. There were about 400 of the £2 values alone, many mint, with imprints and monograms.

It cost me £3,000, a great deal of money in the early post war years. Today it easily would fill an entire major auction catalogue broken down into suitable lots.

Jack Kilfoyle purchased it intact off me. When Kilfoyle retired to London his collection comprised some 300 stamp albums.

Kilfoyle's collection was offered by Robson Lowe in early 1961 by private treaty, via a Deluxe colour brochure for £35,000, but did not sell.

Glen has my original copy of that brochure, and the photo highlights of the collection are mind-boggling.

The offered collection was in 130 volumes plus 149 full sheets and 85 panes. 27 volumes were strictly Kangaroos with Essays, Proofs and Blamire Young’s Die Proofs etc.

There were over 500 x £2 Kangaroos alone – many mint and imprint and monograms and blocks.

The KGV heads were in 54 volumes. This included Plate proofs, die proofs, essays and original drawings.

Value today of that unsold £35,000 collection would be very many millions – possibly way over $10 million. Who said there is no money in stamps?

It was then offered at Public Auction on 16/17 October 1961 by Harmers London, lotted up normally, and I was able to buy back many of the items at less than what he paid.

Glen now has my 561 lot sale catalogue, and all original invoices, and prices have certainly increased substantially in 50 years.

Kilfoyle had owned a large property called "Rosewood" of nearly one million acres in Western Australia. We do things big in Australia.

Many years later my wife and I were on holidays in the Northern Territory and W.A. and drove out to this property, but there was nothing left of the homestead.


Pane of £2 Kangaroos


From 1958 to 1970 I dealt in stamps from Sydney. I lived first at Doonside and later at Darling Point.

I met many collectors there, including the young Stewart Wright from Ballarat, now owner of Status International Auctions, and a national string of large numismatic outlets.

I also had a shop at the top of King Street near Queen's Square for some years.

One of the major collections I bought was the Holbeach collection, except for his blocks of specimen Kangaroos - Arthur Gray later secured most of them, and they sold for a fortune earlier in recent years.

Holbeach had probably the third best collection of Australia ever formed, and was later the basis of the Abramovich, Nette and Stuart Hardy collections.

Stuart Hardy is still alive and well in Adelaide and I imagine still has the record part sheet of 36 x mint £2 Roos I sold him.

If so it would almost certainly be the most valuable Australian individual stamp piece in existence.

My elderly mother bid on my behalf for the complete MUH pane of sixty £2 stamps at Robson Lowe Auctions for me in 1961.

She told me afterwards Robbie Lowe was: "very courteous, and even arranged for me a nice cup of tea and a front row seat in the sale room."

I paid £1,200 for this pane of 60, which at £20 per MUH small multiple watermark £2 Roo was a good buy I have always thought.

I urged Mother not to exceed £1,500 so was very pleased with her novice bidding skills.

Today these stamps nice uncounted mint sell for about $A9,000 apiece. In fact an imprint block of 4 sold for $A142,500 in the Arthur Gray auction.

Stuart Hardy chose not to buy the complete pane, but offered me £30 each for the lower portion of the multiple. I recall him saying a block of 36 (6x6) fitted very neatly on to his album page.

He was clever enough to select the lower block, bearing the Ash imprint on the selvedge. I feel sure he now wishes he'd spent the other £720 and bought them all!

To tell the truth, selling the balance at £30 each was not easy in the early 1960s. How prices have changed. I do recall selling a block of 12 to Dr. Les Abramovich.

I moved to Norfolk Island in 1970 and stayed there for about 2 years, still dealing in many things including stamps.

Unfortunately my wife's health deteriorated, and she died soon after we moved back to Cooma in 1974.


The “Boom” Years


I married my wife Mona in 1976 and lived in London during the "boom" years of the late 1970s. These were very busy times, there were sometimes two large auctions on the same day - luckily there were two of us to bid!

I remember some of the big deals I did in those times - sheets of each value of the Great Britain "Seahorses" for £52,000 including the only complete sheet of £1 in existence.

A few months later those sheets were worth about five times that sum. Even Royal Mail tried to obtain the £1 as they did not have a full sheet in their archives.

John Curtin of Royale Stamps in London rang me one day to say that an Iranian had sent him a cheque for £250,000 but they were almost out of good stock.

Needless to say I helped them out with an array of choice Pacific region material. That was a VERY large sale.

In 1981 I returned to Sydney and I sold much of my stock through Status and Downie Auctions, but kept trading actively.

Until a few years back I took out buying ads every day in the Sydney Morning Herald "Stamps and Coins" classified section.

I also enjoyed inspecting many of the lots on offer at the Gibbons and Status Sydney auctions, and located the odd modest bargain.

At one point in this period I purchased Alan Jones' entire stock (who bought the famous M.C.Cohen business and premises) and I traded from his former shop for some months.

During my dealing lifetime I must have bought out dozens of dealers, and many very important complete collections.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my stamp dealing career spanning over 90 years, and the good relationships formed with collectors and dealers around the world.

We are all involved in what is truly the "King Of Hobbies".

Ken Baker

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by Lakatoi 4 »

A really great story and historically very important not only for Australia but for world philately as well :!:
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by fromdownunder »

Congratuations to Ken on turning 100, born a year before our own Kangaroo on Map, and growing up and being involved in stamps for virtually the entire history of Australian Commonwealth stamps.

Great story, thanks for sharing Ken, and thanks for reporting it here Glen.

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by lakatoi lover »

What a remarkable man and an amazing story. :D
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by ivqii »

Absolutely bloody brilliant tribute Glen - well told and put together

Congratulations to Ken :D
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by GeeIdontKnow »

An amazing life. Congratulations on your 100th Ken
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by Safi »

Wow, most amazing! Congrats on the Big 100 Ken, way to go!
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by iomoon »

Fantastic account and life.

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by gavin-h »

Congratulations to Ken from me. :D

I smiled at his mention of Royale in London - I remember buying a few lots from them in London as a young collector / student at the start of the '80s.

My path may have crossed there with Ken's without my knowing it - it would be nice to think I may have spent a few minutes in the presence of a legend. :wink:
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by ToivoK »

Completely unique man and a very interesting story.
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by bathurst stamper »

Wonderful stuff and happy 100th Ken :D

That brought back a lot of memories. I remember Cohen & Jones and Alf Campe Jnr of course. I see Robert Kennedy in one of the photos too, who occupies the shop once held by Cohen & Jones.

And there's money in stamps. Ken would have to be the ONLY person EVER to move from Doonside to Darling Point :lol:

Cheers Glen,

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by mrboggler »

Fantastic story, I have only got another 30 years to go,I wonder if I can have even 5% as much fun,and excitement as Ken has had,
Great story,Congratulations Ken.
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by PGphilat »

Congratulations, Ken, and thanks to Glen for putting the story here.

It brings back memories of growing up in Sydney, and as a 14 year old in 1955, haunting the old Royal Arcade. I had no money, being still at school, but I wanted to understand philately. Baker and Moloney seemed too terrifying, and I bought my occasional Australian Stamp Monthly at A.C.Campe; less frequently, I bought a few stamps from them.

Now I wish I had asked either of them for a job in the back room!

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by GlenStephens »

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All the table place name cards for all guests at the lunch, were festooned with Mint Australian stamps, that Ken jokingly said had used up the last of his stamp stock. :D
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by Rod Perry »

Dear Ken

Congratulations upon your wonderful milestone. You don't look a day older than when we last met, and that was at Pacific Explorer 2005.

Your career has inspired several generations of Philatelic Traders, and your achievements will continue to do so.

Best wishes,
The Perrys: Rod, Madel, Alana (that gorgeous then teenager who kissed you on the cheek at Pacific Explorer 2005), and Nick
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by revenuecollector »

Think of all the philatelic gems (with many no longer existing) that his eyes have gazed upon...
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by David Benson »

Regarding Ken moving from Doonside to Darling Point has an interesting history.

He was advised by his doctor to change his profession into something with less stress and he acquired a chicken farm in Doonside when it was a rural area. However within a couple of years the area change from semi rural to residential and chicken farms were worth immense amounts of money. Guess who sold his farm and moved back to the city,

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by aethelwulf »

Congratulations! A dealer born before the first stamps he deals in were even issued. 8)

Hopefully we can all reach that milestone, so we'll be around to share advice and knowledge here. :D
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Luckily he sold it instead of betting the farm in the 1980 stamp boom like all the manic traders did. :mrgreen:
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by waroff49 »

Congratulations Ken, an amazing story.

May you have many more birthdays before being posted to that great stampshop in the sky.
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by David Benson »

I remember at the time when Ken sold the farm (must have been around 1970) that it was commented that he made multi millions. He didn't even retire after that,

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by aethelwulf »

Do stamp dealers ever truly retire? :D Trying to get a philatelist totally away from stamps reminds me of Charlton Heston's line at the NRA convention. :)
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by fromdownunder »

aethelwulf wrote:Do stamp dealers ever truly retire? :D Trying to get a philatelist totally away from stamps reminds me of Charlton Heston's line at the NRA convention. :)
Or Robert A Heinlein... writers never retire, they just stop selling saleable material. But they still write.

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by Brummie »

Many happy returns Mr.Baker! If the incentive to get to 100 years was a letter from the Queen, what will you look forward to when you reach 110 years?

Funny there was mention of the ETA albums when just last week Glen offered one for sale, so they are still floating around.

As you are computer literate it would absolutely fantastic if you could pop in every now and again to share some of your knowledge, please think on it. :idea:
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by aethelwulf »

Brummie wrote:If the incentive to get to 100 years was a letter from the Queen, what will you look forward to when you reach 110 years?
Tea with HM?

Or in our case, it would be a peek at the Royal Collection. :D
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by Wucky100 »

Happy 100th Birthday Ken, What a great milestone and to be shared with such people as Max Stern and Glen

I've just turned 50 myself and hope I fare as well as you 50 from now!

Regards

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by Morgan »

Great story. Happy 100th.

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by jumet »

Happy 100th Birthday, Sir!!
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by amfhf1 »

Congratulations on your 100th birthday, your story in the stamp world was very interesting as well thanks for sharing it with us.
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by gmw39 »

A fascinating story. Thanks for posting it!
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by GlenStephens »

aethelwulf wrote:Do stamp dealers ever truly retire?
I was sitting next to Max Stern at the lunch - who is a mere 90 years old.

He still plays soccer each week - the oldest registered player in Australia.

And flies to China many times a year on business, and can still tie me in knots on ANY kind of stamp deal!

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by stampmogul »

Glen,

May I reproduce a photo & abbreviated story in my monthly club newsletter ?

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by Global Administrator »

David .. yes by all means, and that applies to all other Club Secretaries etc., and those who produce newsletters.

As long as the source is attributed that is fine, and the short link to this thread to use is

www.tinyurl.com/BakerK

Then any reader who knew Ken can pop by and add their Best Wishes in due course.

Ken is looking in on this thread I am advised, so will be pleased to see the stamp world adding their Congratulations on his milestone. :)

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by David Benson »

Glen,

while reminiscing about Ken, I remember Ken at a London Auction in the 70's when he bought complete sheets of the re-engraved Seahorses, presume they are all either blocks of 4 or singles by now,

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by Tassie_Stamps »

Happy 100th Birthday to Ken. :D

Great article above Glen, thanks for putting in the time to write it... Many 1000's of people will enjoy reading it in the years to come. :)
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by m3006 »

Congratulations Ken! A remarkable milestone and an amazing life story!

and...I often enjoy dropping in to Max Sterns shop in the Port Phillip Arcade in Melbourne and it is a thrill to be served by the man himself!

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by KRAZZY »

Congratulations on your 100th birthday Mr.Ken
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by rolcora »

Heartiest congratulations to centenarian Mr. Ken.

Super story... super man... makes me feel proud to be a stamp collector. Now all I have to do is turn stamp dealer :D and join the elite group of people who share Mr. Ken's passion.

Thanks Glen for sharing this wonderful story with us mortals. Feels like I have just been handed over a large collection of "classics".

Here's wishing Mr. Ken many more birthdays to come, with peace and happiness always.

Warm regards
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by vijayvenkat »

Wish you a great year ahead and many more to follow.

Fantastic journey and captured very well.

Inspiring to beginners like me.
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by Global Administrator »

Ken kindly gave me all his files and invoices etc from his major stamp coups of the 1940s, 50s and 60s etc, so they stay in good hands in the future.

I was looking over his actual Harmer invoices from the 1961 Kilfoyle auction.

Two lots that cost Ken £345 together at that sale are today in the ACSC at $A450,000.

Some collectors dismiss such enormous increases as "old timer boasting". :)

Well here just one page of Ken's invoice from that 1961 sale for Lot 470 - the Tete Beche KGV pair for £240, and Lot 518 - the Kookaburra Imperforate mini sheet for just £105 - that one is cat $A200,000 today.

AND remember back then there were zero stamp Auction house "Buyer Fees" - that are often 20% today, PLUS vendor fees of near that sum too.

I bet Harmers got along financially just FINE, with no Buyer Fee. :idea:


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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by pertinax »

Is there anyone else out there who read this topic title and thought "Ken doesn't look that old!" ?

........not to be confused with the Ken Baker who works for Cavendish Auctions in the UK !!


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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by Catweazle »

They all look in jolly fine shape. Fancy playing soccer, playing with stamps and flying around the place at that age! It must mean one thing for all of us; Keep the cream, bugger the diets, turn to philately!

Happy Birthday!
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by Didge »

Folks,

What a great story. Sounds like Ken has lived and continues to live a remarkable life.

Congratulations Ken.

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by brian31stamps »

Wow ! What an interesting article and great celebration. A great centurion indeed!

I too remember the many lunchtime breaks spent browsing the windows of the Royal Arcade.

Thanks Glen for posting this tribute to a fellow stamp enthusiast.

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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by GlenStephens »

Image
"The Stamp Coup Of The Century"

Material worth literally MILLIONS today .. who said there was no money in stamps!
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by passport_collect »

Fascinating story. Looks like stamps keep you young!
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by HalfpennyYellow »

Great story and happy 100th birthday Ken :D
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by Huckles888 »

a great milestone Ken - hope you have an excellent day and keep on stamping
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by zsiddiki »

Happy 100th Birthday to Ken ; I wish you see many more Happy returns of the day .
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by GlenStephens »

Detailed 12 page article - with a lot more pix of Ken etc is here -

http://www.glenstephens.com/snmarch12.html

Glen
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Re: Ken Baker, stamp dealer, turned 100 years of age TODAY!

Post by tooler »

Happy birthday Ken. I'm sure many more to come.
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