Back in 2000, An Post made life extremely difficult for collectors. There were sets such as Hurling Team of the Millenium, fifteen stamps in sheet form (with the same stamps available in self-adhesive form in a series of booklets). In 1999, there had been the Gaelic Football Team of the Millennium…same formats.
In 2000, An Post commemorated the Millennium proper with a series of six sheets…each sheet contained twelve stamps (six different stamps). See one of the sheets below.
This series of stamps…or more precisely the fifth and sixth series….was the reason I gave up stamp collecting. There has to be mutual respect between An Post and the Collector and I think that broke down when I felt…with some justification …that I and other collectors were being exploited and even held in contempt.
Coming back to collecting in March 2012, I discovered that Dealers charge a lot of money for these Millennium Sheets. Just last week, I was quoted €30 for each of the two sheets I did not have.
Worse…I really did not want the “sheets”. I just wanted half of one sheet and half of the other one…ie twelve mint stamps. And I wanted twelve used stamps.
Genuine “postally used” stamps are impossible to find. Nobody really used these stamps for postage. Nobody ever went into a post office and asked for twelve stamps and were given a sheet of these stamps. The only people who actually posted one of these stamps were collectors….to themselves. As I had done with the first four sheets.
Over the weekend, I was lucky to find a dealer (mail order) who could help me and the stamps arrived today. Six mint stamps and six used from the fifth set and six mint stamps and six used from the sixth set.
Actually the total price of €38 is not too bad.
Of course the two neat blocks of six used stamps have not been used commercially.
But thats the bizarre world of Stamp Collecting.