Tuesday 30 May 2017

350 years of Distance Selling ?

What we and so many other businesses large and small do, when selling on line, is governed by the EU and UK Distance Selling regulations.  Distance Selling is a term that few of us will have encountered until twenty years ago but basically it provides consumer protection for mail-order and, more particularly these days, internet business-to-consumer sales.

Now Royal Mail is marking 350 years of Distance Selling with an online gallery of mail-order catalogues.  Apart from the very oldest, this is limited to just a few companies and is of minor interest to philatelists although postal historians - and especially thematic collectors - could build up a collection of advertising and logo'd envelopes.  More relevant are the many mail order stamp catalogues, not only from the bigger names like Stanley Gibbons and Urch Harris in the UK, Scott and Mystic in the US, but others who produced catalogues primarily for selling their stamps, such as Whitfield King of Ipswich.

I don't have any old catalogues, but I do have the 1939 version of the GPO's London Yellow Pages telephone directory which lists a number of stamp dealers whose names will ring bells with some readers!

Update 31 May
I'm glad I posted the above pictures as I had this email from a reader:
Dear Ian,
Wow! Your blog certainly aroused my childhood memories of visiting "Dibben and son" stamp shop in Kingston from around 1953, having been pointed in their direction by our primary school teacher who had just started up a school stamp club. This was a real treat for 8 year old boys, as we were treated like kings by Mrs Dibben and her staff, even if we only had six(old)pence to spend! Apart from the stamps, I remember buying my first reduced price stamp catalogue, "The Two Reigns GB". What joyful memories of the early days of my 63 years stamp collecting hobby.
I was too young to go up to the city from Wood Green (N22) when we lived in London, but when we moved to Chelmsford I spent a lot of time in a stamp shop in a side street near the Corn Exchange (I think).  It was having that sort of access, instead of Woolworth's 6d packets, which helped foster my 61 years with the hobby!  I still have my first album, though now stripped of most of its stamps.

1 comment:

  1. Ian

    I have a couple of old Whitfield King British Empire catalogues, and the one from 1949 (which is only a few years before my time) lists a mint QV £5 at £32, and a mint 1929 PUC £1 at £10. Happy days, although I think allowing for inflation, that's not a great deal different from today's prices. Will today's new issues stand up so well, I wonder?


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