Collector takes along stamp worth £25,000 to Sheringham charity event

A rare1844 penny red stamp owned by retired prison nurse Robin Barr-Thomson. Photo: Karen Bethell

A rare1844 penny red stamp owned by retired prison nurse Robin Barr-Thomson. Photo: Karen Bethell - Credit: Archant

Philately fans had a chance to see a rare stamp printed shortly after the introduction of the penny post in 1840 and worth an estimated £25,000 at a craft and stamp fair held at Sheringham at the weekend.

A rare1844 penny red stamp owned by retired prison nurse Robin Barr-Thomson. Photo: Karen Bethell

A rare1844 penny red stamp owned by retired prison nurse Robin Barr-Thomson. Photo: Karen Bethell - Credit: Archant

The Victorian penny black is part of a collection owned by former prison nurse Robin Barr-Thomson of Northrepps, who also brought along 1843 and 1844 penny reds, as well as a set of four first day covers commemorating the 1935 silver jubilee of King George V and valued at £600.

Mr Barr-Thomson, who revived his childhood interest in stamp collecting after retiring from Norwich Prison, had a chance to meet members of Sheringham and District Philatelic Society at Saturday's event, which was organised by club chairman Gerry Smith and his wife Dawn.

Held at the Lighthouse Church on Cromer Road, the fair included stalls selling crafts ranging from knitted dog coats and jewellery, to decorated ostrich eggs made by Mrs Smith.

Philately experts were on hand to offer valuations and advice, with Sheringham Break charity shop manager Tim Harvey selling single stamps and albums donated to the charity by members of the public.

A rare1844 penny red stamp owned by retired prison nurse Robin Barr-Thomson. Photo: Karen Bethell

A rare1844 penny red stamp owned by retired prison nurse Robin Barr-Thomson. Photo: Karen Bethell - Credit: Archant


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Lifelong collector Mr Harvey said Mr Barr-Thomson's collection was by far the most valuable he had seen.

And, while he hadn't had any 'Antiques Roadshow moments' - where people had been unaware of the value of their stamps - he had seen some interesting finds turn up at previous fairs he has run in aid of Break.

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'Stamps can be worth anything from a few pennies to thousands, depending on their condition and plate number, so they really are fascinating,' Mr Harvey said.

Mr Barr-Thomson, who owns 'several thousand' stamps, said he planned to hang on to his collection for the foreseeable future.

'Because they hold and increase their value, stamps really are a good investment,' he added. 'But they also commemorate important events and convey a lot of information about history, geography and culture, so you can get great pleasure from owning and looking at them.'

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