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WW1 military service envelope [Alamy image ref: B127FB]

Buying and selling stamps is generally as unprofitable as buying and selling photographic equipment. Philatelic dealers usually sell their stock at 50% of catalog value (which seems like a nice discount at the time – even though those catalog prices are hyped and subjective) but they only buy back at 10-20% if you return to sell your collection.

Of course that generalization is for the ordinary stuff – if you want to invest in stamps or camera equipment it helps to specialize in scarcer pieces… and for the item illustrated here, postal history is the an important clue. An envelope illustrated with a Red Cross theme by the famous British artist John Singer Sargent, used during the Great War in 1916 and posted from France by a British serviceman attached to an ambulance unit to a branch of Lloyds Bank (perhaps containing his pay).

Items like this can be researched and written about at length, such is the interest in military history. This envelope was mailed at the height of the Battle of Verdun, during which there were almost 1,000,000 casualties on both sides, and with the centenary of the declaration of World War One only a few years away images such as this will be in greater demand from all sections of the media.

Another stock shot taken with my trusty, old manual focusing 55mm macro Nikkor (I must have owned this lens for at least 25 years from when I was using Nikon F3 cameras) which was licensed through Alamy for a 1/4 page use in the UK’s “The Times” national newspaper.

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