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Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Sauve Qui Peut

When the euro was introduced, I decided to dual-price my stock. I still occasionally come across an old label reading £10 / 16 €. Today the second figure would be 11.4 € and already Brexit has undermined part of my business model: I bought in euroland and sold in the UK which was profitable when the rate was 1.4 even 1.3. But now it’s not. Right now I am trying to buy in the UK and sell in euroland, mostly through European auctions since I am not so keen now on long-distance travelling to stamp shows and so on.

At the age of 69, my thinking cannot exactly be long term but it has now become decidedly short-term. Enjoy the Single Market while you can! is my guiding thought. That basically means trying to sell up in the next two years ending March 2019 so that I am not stuck with stock which is a nightmare to export, whether by post or by physical travel to mainland Europe from my base on England’s south coast where France is much nearer than Wales or Scotland, let alone Northern Ireland.

There is a major international stamp show coming up LONDON 2020 which may turn into a catastrophe for the organisers if the UK has fallen off the cliff into some nightmare of red-tape bureaucracy, the UK a country hard to get into and hard to get out of. I was going to allow my stock to drift up specifically for that show, but now my thinking is to sell everything by 2019 and if LONDON 2020 turns out to be viable, then to re-stock rapidly in 2019 – 2020. Any other course of action effectively assumes there are not huge risks to small businesses coming up. Some small businesses will fail well before 2019. EU staff are quitting London, for example, making some companies non-viable; and British will become a brand to avoid when you cannot guarantee the robustness of the supply chain.

Well, it was good while it lasted. In my twenty-odd years as a single market dealer, I have stood behind tables selling my wares in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Slovakia. Sometimes only once, it’s true. But I drove a lot of miles in my Skodas. One or two more trips hopefully still to come before the curtain comes down and the lights go out. Less money for Her Majesty's Revenues and Customs then, I'm afraid.

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