Mike began his business career as a chartered accountant and worked as a manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers until 1999, when his innate love of collecting drew him to Stanley Gibbons as Finance Director. Mike was appointed CEO of Stanley Gibbons in 2003 and led the business from a market capitalisation of $5m to a peak of $200m.
During his time at Stanley Gibbons, Mike managed the purchase and sale of some of the world’s largest and most renowned collections, including the most famous British stamp collection ever assembled (worth in excess of $10m) and sales from the British Postal Museum Archives. In 2013, Mike successfully completed the acquisition of the world-famous coin dealer Baldwin’s into the Stanley Gibbons Group. Mike left Stanley Gibbons in 2016 and re-united with Paul to set up Just Collecting, where he continues to specialise in advising high net worth clients on building their investment portfolios.
Mike’s Collecting Background
Mike started collecting when he was 6 years old back in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Living next door to a pub, he would trawl through their bins for bottle tops. No health and safety back then! Mike ended up with hundreds of bottle tops of all types, sizes and smells cluttering his bedroom. Until one day Mike’s mum tidied his room and decided the bottle tops were not welcome anymore.
Guarding future collections much more closely, Mike went after beer mats next. This collection made it to university, escaping the clutches of his mum. The collection adorned his student flat from floor to ceiling. He has moved on a lot since those early collecting days, but the concept remains the same. Mike collects things he likes and which make him happy.
Mike’s primary collection is stamps, seeing them as genuine miniature works of art. He loves the fact they are representative artefacts of modern history (1840-date). However, it is safe to say that Mike is a far more accomplished trader in stamps than a collector,
After stamps, his second biggest area of interest both as a trader and collector is historical documents and rare signatures. For example, Mike owns a sea shanty written by Lord Nelson’s crew in 1797 honouring their beloved Captain. With it is a handwritten letter signed by Nelson shortly before he lost his right arm in battle. It amazes Mike that you can own such personal pieces from legendary historical figures.