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Stanley Gibbons to launch collectors’ network

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Stamp collectors will soon be able to tap into knowhow from the “largest source of available philatelic knowledge and real-time pricing information,” with the launch of Stanley Gibbons’ online philatelic trading community.

The launch of the new platform, due later this year, will allow the world’s 60m collectors to source items from the what Stanley Gibbons says is the world’s widest range of stamps and philatelic accessories. It will give them the ability to network with collectors while building and managing their own personal collections online.

The company also said its “extensive stockholding” of lower-value stamps would be available online for the first time.

The update came as Stanley Gibbons today announced its first half results. In the six months to June 30 turnover rose by more than 25% to £15m while pre-tax profits rose by 5% to £1.7m. Growth came from trade sales and from the sale of rare Chinese stamps, currently seeing growth in popularity.

Currently some 4% of Stanley Gibbons’ turnover comes from ecommerce, and the first stage of the company’s development plans for the channel has already launched, in the form of a new stanleygibbons.com website which went live at the end of May. It is expected to boost online sales through the “better management of regular special offers, email campaigns and search engine optimisation to drive increased traffic to the site.”

Elsewhere the company is diversifying. A move into new international markets will see it opening an office in Hong Kong in September to answer the growing demand for rare Chinese stamps, and planning a move into the US market. Stanley Gibbons is also moving into the rare coins and medals market. “Our aim,” said the company in its statement to the stock exchange today, “is to become the world’s leading provider of investment services in collectibles as an alternative asset class.” It believes this will be attractive in a time of economic instability and its plans include launching a rare stamp investment fund.

Martin Bralsford, non-executive chairman, said: “Prevailing economic instability, together with inflationary concerns and low interest rates globally, is expected to result in continued demand for our investment services in top quality rare collectibles as a means of diversifying, protecting and growing wealth.”

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