Before phosphor lines were printed on the front, the GPO experimented with graphite lines on the back of stamps. At one stage stamps were produced with graphite lines on the back and phosphor lines on the front.
If you are a serious UK "Elizabethan" philatelist, you need your full set of phosphor-graphites. The GPO even sold a pack of two sets, front-on for phosphor and back view for graphite lines.
The half penny sideband would cost you £50 today.
The double set of phosphor-graphites a mere £345.
Anything and everything is collectable. Chum Peter, for example, collects bus ticket machines for which there is, of course, a society ...
It turns out that he is not alone!!
Stove enamelled signs are much more expensive to make, so fakes are less common and can be as expensive as the genuine article.
Those of us who can extend our lunch hour may be tempted to watch "Bargain Hunt" where even the "experts" have been known to slaver over an antique thrumble-nangler only for the auction house to reveal that it was made in Taiwan in the late 1990s!
But the real "biggies" (both physically and financially) tend to be authentic name plates from famous steam locomotives.
Here, for example, is a preserved Southern Railway West Country class locomotive - known to the train spotting fraternity as a "Spam Can"!
fbb gave up collecting stamps a good few years ago as the Royal Mail started commemorating manhole covers, breeds of louse and the anniversary of the invention of Marmite. (a jest, but some of the "Special" issues have been equally esoteric!)
You noble blogger does have a small collection of railway signs, to most notable of which is this one ...
What, you may ask, has prompted this rambling on about collecting. Two factors, really. fbb is awaiting yet another tank wagon for his collection which, as might be expected, hides an interesting tale or marketing mayhem.
One happy memory of youthful years was the arrival in the shops of the annual Triang catalogue. In the days before the interwebnet and social media, this, plus adverts in the modelling magazines, were your ONLY source of news about the company's plans.
Chum Mike Lovett saved up and bought a class L1 ...
The bogie on Mike's L1 kept derailing; too light for his bumpy track! fbb was seethingly jealous because the model looked so good even if it tended to fall off the track at pointwork.
So it was that, a couple of weeks ago, fbb bought a Bachmann model railway catalogue (£8.95 post free from Rails of Sheffield). Immediately, even for a newcomer to the subject, it revealed how much the hobby has changes over fbb's lifetime.
The Bachmann catalogue is 182 pages (plus 16 pages of additional "announcements") all printed in full colour "on fine art paper". It is luxuriously lavish but contains no prices; presumably modewrn-day modellers don't care how much these intricate marvels will cost.
So, over the next few days, fbb will share some of the mind boggling product range from Bachmann. Although there is plenty of promotional material on line, only the catalogue tells the full story - and what a classy (and expensive) story it is!
Next Variety blog : Saturday 6th March