Penny blacks, penny reds and unissued Edward VII stamps have not flown off Stanley Gibbons’ shelves in recent months, forcing it to issue a profits warning yesterday.
It said “a number of anticipated high-value sales” were not completed by its March year-end, although it “expects a number of them” to go through in this half.
Rare stamps can command prices well into six figures – a block of 12 penny blacks went for £444,000 in April 2014. Even relatively young stamps can fetch a tidy sum – a block of four green 22p stamps in mint condition from 1984 is in Stanley Gibbons’ catalogue for £5,000.
The company said that last year’s takeover of the antique dealer Mallett had already produced cost savings.
It also allowed it to win some major auction commissions, including the historic model locomotives collected by the record producer Pete Waterman, which go under the hammer on 16 April.
The launch of its new collectables website had been put back to May, but it should add “material growth” to the firm’s merchandise value.
Its house broker, Peel Hunt, slashed its profits forecast for the year just ended from £11.2m to £7.5m. But it pointed out that Stanley Gibbons has stock of £57m at book value, which it is worth about £150m at retail value.
Its shares fell 16.5p, or 6.2 per cent, to 249.5p.