Wednesday 14 November 2018

Shanahan Stamp Auctions

Rory Egan

THE reason we were told fairy tales at our mother's knee was not just to keep us quiet. Our parents chose each story carefully, making sure there was a moral to every tale. It's a pity we don't heed them more often.

Take, for example, the unfortunate affair of Shanahan Stamp Auctions. Once upon a time, back in 1954, a man named Paul Singer decided to make his fortune in Ireland after his business collapsed in the UK. He approached a reputable family auction house run by the Shanahan family and persuaded them to join him in a new venture: buying and selling stamp collections.

On the face of it, Singer's plan was sound. His idea was to buy up a number of eclectic stamp collections, sort the various stamps into countries or 'First Day of Issue' albums and sell these specialist collections at a profit. He appealed to the 'Money in Grandma's Attic' in all of us by telling the Irish public that there was an insatiable appetite for the old Irish Free State stamps. But the smoke and mirrors really began when he encouraged the general public to invest as little as £10 in one of his syndicates, which he practically guaranteed would make huge returns.

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