The Stamp Dealer Who Broke the Mold

By all accounts this giant of a stamp dealer should have been serious and dour.   After all, there probably wasn’t anyone stamp collectors could better expect to answer a question or give a good piece of advice.

But Robson Lowe was jovial, genuine with his friendship, and delighted to share his considerable knowledge.   When he passed away at the age of 92 in the fall of 1997 he was generally acclaimed as “the grand old man of philately.”

Robson Lowe Stamp Dealer

Robson Lowe left behind a legion of stamp dealers who learned their trade from him and stamp collectors who valued his ethics,  his ability to find wonderful stamps to sell and the abundance of his information.

Reading Lowe’s work is like reading a history of the 20th century.  In July, 1938 he wrote his customers…

Owing to the depression in Wall Street Messrs. Robson Lowe Ltd. have been able to secure a large number of U.S. items at specially low prices, and now that Uncle Sam is stirring again, early application is advisable before all the best items are snapped up.

A few years later, Lowe’s messages took on a more somber tone…

Our new address from November 1, 1940 will be 50 Pall Mall London.   96 Regent Street has been badly damaged by enemy action and will not be available for use until after the war.

Lowe had a keen interest in postal history.   He blazed trails in terms of helping collectors and dealers establish some internationally respected guidelines on how items should be valued, much of which he wrote in “How To Assess the Value of a Cover.”

The first point to consider is the impressions of the stamps.   The second point to consider is the condition of the cover or entire piece. If badly soiled and dirty or torn, 30 to 80 percent discount may be expected.

In assessing the value of a cover make note of the value of the various stamps. Take the highest value and add 50 percent.

His career as a stamp dealer was peppered with special moments and events.   These included an auction at sea, aboard the Queen Mary en route from Southampton to New York in 1966.

But perhaps the most spectacular material Lowe ever handled was the stamp collection of the Swiss industrialist Maurice Burrus, which featured the famed Mauritius cover with the “Post Office” issues.

Stamp Dealer Robson Lowe Auction Catalogue

Stamp dealers and stamp collectors who were fortunate enough to spend time with Robson Lowe were fortunate in at least two respects.   They made a good friend, and they learned something in the process.

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