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Rare Stamps and Coins, Stamps, Coins, COINS, STAMPS, Stamp Collecting, Coin Collecting, Stamp and Coin Appraisals


  1. Jay Tell has 46 years experience as a rare stamp and coin dealer. He has also handled large quantities of gold, silver, rare autographs, documents, antiques. He’s a former newspaper editor and publisher and lifelong writer, born 1944, No. Bergen NJ. Jay is President of Americana Stamp & Coin Galleries Inc, 16060 Ventura Bl, PMB105A Encino, CA 91436 Ph: 818.905.1111, 818.515.1222; Fax 818.905.1114; or

  2. Since age 21 in 1965 Jay has owned and operated five LA retail stamp and coin stores. He has handled perhaps 75,000 transactions for $100 million. Same bank, problem-free, since 1970. A booth holder at major shows since age 14, his first, in 1958, was also the very first New York Interpex Stamp Expo. As a licensed, bonded California auctioneer Jay has never been the subject of a complaint.

  3. In 1975 at 31 Jay was the first dealer in history to buy and sell a coveted Nobel Prize. It had been rejected by major dealers in England, Europe and the U.S. It is believed the only Nobel treasure to ever leave the recipient’s or his family’s possession. This Nobel gold medal, awarded to Sir Cyril N. Hinshelwood for chemistry in 1956, reportedly is now offered by Tiffany & Co, London for $50,000.

  4. Jay made philatelic history in 1999 when he bought and sold the ONLY UNIQUE United States stamp, Scott #164, the 24c 1875 Winfield Scott printed by Continental Bank Note Co. Jay dubbed it the ‘Lost Continental.’ The original discoverer was unable to sell it for 31 frustrating years, 1968- 1999. His highest offer was only $2,000. It was rejected, belittled and blackballed by the nation’s top auction houses and dealers who disparaged its legitimacy, convincing major players to ‘stay away.’

    When approached by the disheartened owner in Oct 1999, Jay was immediately certain the purple adhesive was authentic. He did extensive research into its amazing history, consulted 20 experts, and launched a major editorial, PR, advertising campaign at his own expense. He boldly took on powerful interests protecting another stamp, the 1c 1868 ‘Z Grill’ which for 31 years was widely but ‘incorrectly’ touted as America’s rarest stamp. There are two known examples of the ‘Z Grill,’ #85A. If Jay’s #164 with only one known to exist was validated with a meaningful sale, the world-famous ‘Z Grill’ would drop to second place. Despite millions spent for thousands of ads and many articles for three decades ‘erroneously’ claiming the ‘Z Grill’ to be the ‘rarest’ U.S. stamp, it’s lofty perch was about to topple.

    Jay’s ground-breaking #164 research was featured in stories, ads and a hard-hitting four-page Tell Tales column Dec 17, 1999 in America's oldest stamp weekly, Mekeel’s & Stamps Magazine, est 1891. His media campaign blitz made an unprecedented, compelling case for authenticity of the 1875 ribbed paper classic. The romance and excitement of Jay’s Lost Continental expose earned impressive full-page editorials and comprehensive news coverage in all three top stamp publications. After 31years of ridicule by so-called ‘experts’ with brazen ulterior motives, in just eight weeks in a special one-lot Internet auction (Dec 21, 1999), Jay sold #164 for $397,838, the philatelic Internet world-record.

    Early researchers and legendary philatelic authors Luff, Brookman, Chase, Ashbrook, Perry etc were the pioneer stamp experts of the late 19th and early 20th century. But they could only surmise that #164 should exist, since no one had ever found one. Undiscovered since 1875, lost to the sands of time until 1968, #164 was not truly acknowledged for 124 years until Jay’s 1999 landmark sale. News of the historic event rocked the stamp world. It is by far the rarest, most valuable philatelic showpiece ever exclusively marketed on the Internet. It was front-page news in the philatelic press, banner stories in daily newspapers. Jay was interviewed on three major TV news shows. In Jan 2000 amid armed guards #164 was the top exhibit for three days at San Diego’s 28th annual SANDICAL Stamp Expo.

    Scott #164 is now recognized by the renowned Scott Stamp Catalogue, est.1868, as the only UNIQUE United States postage stamp. It is certified as the only authentic #164 by the respected NY Philatelic Foundation, est.1945. It is celebrated in the Court of Honor as AMERICA’S RAREST STAMP by the American Philatelic Society, est.1886, the world’s oldest, most respected and largest stamp organization, 50,000 members. No museum has one, not even the Smithsonian. No one can complete a U.S. stamp collection without #164. Even the famous $8 million Zoellner collection, largest U.S. collection in history, did not have #164. In 1998, Zoellner was incorrectly advertised as the “only complete U.S. collection.” Jay’s 1999 purchase of the ‘Lost Continental’ and its historic sale for nearly $400,000 is the crowning achievement of Jay’s career, begun at age 14 in his NJ attic.

  5. In 1962-1963 at age 18-19 Jay was the first stamp editor of the Las Vegas Sun daily newspaper. He created a weekly double-page Sunday magazine spread. Some of his columns were reprinted in Linn’s Stamp News, world’s largest stamp newspaper. He attended Nevada Southern University, later UNLV, and was editor of the college newspaper. He worked nights as busboy and waiter at the Sands Hotel, during the legendary ‘Rat Pack’ era of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

  6. In 1962, Jay helped manage his first political campaign, the stunning victory of unknown Ted Marshall for District Attorney. It is still regarded as one of the biggest upsets in Nevada political history. Only to be topped later when Jay’s newspaper the Las Vegas Free Press ran a 10-week expose preventing a 20-1 ‘cinch’ favorite, powerful but corrupt columnist Paul Price from being elected to City Council.

  7. In 1964 at 19 Jay’s first LA stamp-coin office was downtown. He soon opened a store on Spring St, the first of five LA retail stores generating perhaps $100 million in career sales. In 1965 at 21 Jay was the first stamp-coin editor of the Los Angeles Times creating ‘Stamp & Coin Corner’ a popular column which ran for 30 years. In 1965 he moved to the penthouse of the Lesser Bldg on Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills where Jay installed the first nationwide coin teletype system. In 1965-1969 his Fairfax store near LA’s Farmer’s Market pioneered the coin bullion business in the U.S.

  8. His next three retail stores were in LA's San Fernando Valley: Sherman Oaks 1973-74, Studio City 1974-83, Tarzana 1984-92 his largest, a beautiful 2,000 Sq Ft retail showroom and gallery featuring rare stamps, coins, gold, silver, jewelry, antiques, supplies, mail order, floor-mail auctions.

  9. Jay’s complaint-free memberships: Life Member American Philatelic Society (APS since 1963); American Numismatic Association (ANA since 1964); National Stamp Dealers Assn NSDA; United States Stamp Society-Bureau Issues Assn USSS-BIA; American Airmail Society, AAMS; American First Day Cover Society, AFDCS; American Topical Assn, ATA etc NY Philatelic Foundation. Jay was on the Board of Directors of Sandical Stamp Expo, San Diego’s oldest and largest show.

  10. Jay is a former newspaper publisher and editor. In 1971, Federal Judge Roger Foley admitted Jay's Las Vegas Free Press as evidence in the famous Howard Hughes proxy case, saying, from the bench, ‘The Free Press is the only paper in the nation to get the story straight.’ Jay exposed Sun publisher Hank Greenspun and Hughes CEO Robert Maheu who fleeced billionaire Hughes of $20 million. Jay’s paper created stunning election upsets. He opposed the Vietnam War, but supported our valiant troops and mourned his fiancé’s brother and 58,000 American soldiers who tragically died.

  11. Since the ‘60s Jay’s fearless investigative reporting championed women's rights, civil liberties, labor, Legal Aid Society, environment, natural foods; Public Defenders Office so each accused must now get a Constitutionally-required attorney. He backed stronger Medicare and helped pass Nevada’s first Equal Housing Law. Long before the Supreme Court agreed, Jay was pro-choice; he backed Ali’s quest to regain a license. In the ‘70s Jay owned Nevada’s first health restaurant, Food For Thought.

  12. Bobby Darin was Jay’s close friend and business partner. Bobby recorded 200 songs, ‘Mack the Knife,’ ‘Dream Lover,’ ‘Beyond the Sea’ etc. In 13 films, Oscar-nominated in 1964, in 1970 his career was quiet. Jay negotiated the entertainer’s highest-ever salary, $40,000-a-week at three top Las Vegas Strip resorts. This revived Bobby’s career and led to two prime time NBC-TV shows, before his tragic 1973 passing at 37. In Dec 2003 Jay wrote the Bobby Darin 30th Anniversary Tribute, on 25 websites.

  13. Jay's late father Jack Tell was a New York Times assistant editor. A relative was stamp editor of the New York Post. Jay grew up in the journalism and philatelic communities. He attended University of Nevada Reno. In ‘61 the Tells owned Mark Twain's world-famous Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. At 17 Jay cut his journalistic teeth writing, editing, setting hand-carved wooden headline fonts. He ran a century-old flat-bed press and historic line-o-type, melting lead ‘pigs’ for hot type galley proofs. Since 1965 the Tell family has continuously published the respected Las Vegas Israelite newspaper.

  14. Jay's first major ‘find’ was in 1958, an 8c Liberty plate # block of four with only one plate number instead of two. It was rejected as a ‘fake’ by major NY stamp dealers. The owner disagreed since he’d bought it at the post office. Veteran dealers referred him to an error specialist in N.J. He was shocked, amused when ‘Mr. Tell’ was only 14, with three attic rooms of elaborate Lionel trains, planes, soldiers, stamps and coins. The man’s asking price was only $3.75. After inspection Jay purchased the widely scorned item and was thrilled to get a Philatelic Foundation Certificate of Authenticity. He soon sold it for $250, a fortune for a ninth grader in 1958. It was the first of only five 8c Liberty (#1041) one-number errors ever discovered; Jay has handled three. (Full story in Tell Tales, gratis via email)

  15. In 1959 at 15 Jay published a 16-page illustrated price list, the first-ever solely devoted to stamp errors, now a classic in the field. A dealer consigned a Jenny invert C3a to Jay; he sold it for $4,500, a $500 profit. Today Jenny’s are the world’s most famous stamps, selling for $100,000-$500,000 each (Tell Tales, gratis). Jay has announced major finds of rarities and errors, many not in catalogs.

  16. In 1966 at 22 Jay helped list $1,000 silver dollar bags on the NY Mercantile Exchange, on which Jay owned a seat which he later sold for a profit. Silver dollars became America’s newest commodity. The landmark event earned a big spread in Fortune Magazine. Jay was interviewed on TV and radio, such as the Joe Pyne Show on 200 stations nationwide. Jay urged listeners to invest in choice, rare stamps, coins, un-circulated silver dollars, which have since appreciated several thousand percent.

  17. In1967 at 23 Jay purchased the famous Whitney-Green coin and stamp collection for $350,000, a celebrated event. The landmark acquisition was banner national news. Weekly multi-full-page color spreads in Coin World, world’s largest numismatic newspaper, brought 200-400 mail orders a day for a year. Jay is an advertiser since 1958. In his early 20's his firm of 26 employees grossed millions.

  18. In 1979 Jay outbid major dealers, purchasing for $15,500 an un-circulated 1913S key date U.S. $10 Indian gold MS64, the highest grade ever discovered. He soon sold it for $35,000 a $19,500 profit.

  19. In 1983 Jay ran the largest advertisement in philatelic history, 10 pages in Linn’s Stamp News, the world's largest philatelic publication. This landmark mail auction was first ever to top $1 million. It featured 1,639 lots of U.S., worldwide classics, rarities, errors, gems, showpieces. In this lavishly photographed sale were four world-famous inverted centers, 15c & 24c 1869 Pictorials, 1901 Pan American, 1959 Canada Seaway, each a coveted treasure never before sold together in the west.

  20. In 1987 Jay was philatelic consultant and exclusive buyer for John D. Rockefeller’s grandson, handling all of his acquisitions of fabulous philatelic rarities. (Recounted in Tell Tales, gratis via email)

  21. Jay's 1991 Elvis Presley driver's license promotion earned priceless newspaper, TV, radio publicity plus an entire Liz Smith column internationally syndicated in 600 papers. He has written hundreds of stories on current events, philately, politics, show reviews etc. His Open Letter to Osama bin Ladin two days after the 9/11attacks was published in two newspapers and on 20 web sites. (gratis via email)

  22. Jay has been the author of popular Tell Tales columns featured in America’s oldest stamp weekly, Mekeel’s and Stamps Magazine, est. 1891, permanently archived in philatelic libraries worldwide.

  23. Leather-bound, gilt-edged Roosevelt Albums (complete US proofs, 1847-1903) were made in 1904 by Pres. Teddy Roosevelt, a lifelong stamp collector. The original 85 embossed albums were gifts to statesmen, Supreme Court justices, kings, queens, renowned industry icons Astor, Mellon, Vanderbilt, JP Morgan and other luminaries. In time most were broken up for sets or singles. Perhaps 10 remain intact outside museums (Smithsonian, Sagamore Hill, Hyde Park etc), Jay may be the only dealer in 101 years to buy and sell two complete, coveted Roosevelt Albums, for a record $75,000 ea.

  24. In March 1999 a major discovery of Jay’s was again banner news. The 20c 1982 ‘Love’ stamp plate # block of four with the only two copies known to exist with purple 100% omitted, a unique treasure. His major publicity promotion yielded front page news stories. The one-of-a-kind showpiece sold for a record $22,000, and is now listed in the Scott Catalogue as a major error.

  25. Jay is a former consultant-contributor to the prestigious Scott Postage Stamp Catalogue, est. 1868, the stamp collector’s ‘bible.’ Scott is the ‘standard’ found in nearly every library in 180 nations, the premier annual philatelic reference source for virtually all stamp collectors and dealers worldwide.

  26. He’s handled some of the most valuable stamps, world-class rarities, 19th and 20th century classics, famous errors, proofs, essays, covers etc. A unique 1968 Disney error, a one-of-a-kind showpiece, is available for a fortunate investor. Jay has bought / sold perhaps 300 inverted centers, probably more than any other dealer. Most collectors and dealers never see even one invert in their entire lifetime.

  27. Since 1958 Jay has bought/sold valuable autographs/documents such as US Presidential Patents, ribbon-bound 1825-1833-1846 signed Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan; signed Einstein handwritten letter, signed 1932 Einstein photo; JFK, FDR, Ty Cobb letters etc An investor-grade official baseball is in inventory, signed by the ‘57 NY Yankee team, Ford, Mantle, Berra etc A four-page 1834 Jose Figueroa (Mexico Calif Governor) letter was rejected by top autograph dealers. Jay’s research revealed historical importance, substantiating a surmised but never proven plot to return California to Spain as described in the UC-Berkeley Bancroft Library (2.8 million volume) world-renowned History of California master work. Jay sold the letter for a record $20,000.

  28. Jay is a polished expert witness, consultant, incorruptible strategist, available for advice, preparation, and courtroom testimony. His entire career is a wealth of front line experience in sales, purchasing, marketing, writing, publishing, editing, public relations, advertising, mail order, retail stores, auctions.

  29. Jay has always been a devoted family man, an example of high ethics and values for his children. His close-knit family includes three daughters who live in LA. Robyn (b.1970), a UCSB grad with a CSUN Masters, is married to Will Reinhart, UCLA grad with Pepperdine Masters, both dedicated educators. Jay is a proud first-time grandfather. Jennifer (b.1976), a UC Berkeley graduate, manages a dynamic law firm, attends law school, is a gymnastics, certified yoga instructor. Jackie (b.1982) is a student.

  30. Emphasis is always on buying. ‘You make a profit when you buy, collect it when you sell.’ Jay prefers rarities but also buys hoards; one acquisition was 33 cartons! Buying is sometimes ‘selling’ a hesitant owner to part with material. LA and Southern California is the west's largest and most lucrative collector market with a huge population and seasoned, century-old collector base. A daily, never-ending stream of people needs to sell for cash. Liquidity equals buying power, assuring profitable purchases, sales and profits in ANY economy. This recession-proof business also thrives during inflation or any crisis. Our proven Evaluation Agreement has pre-agreed fee payable only if the offer is not accepted, so most evaluated collections and lots are purchased. Resale options are quick-turn, internet, auctions, shows, mail order etc. After five LA stores since 1965, Jay is a veteran buyer, marketing pro and polished deal-maker. Impressive documentation is available. More than four decades of solid accomplishments await the saga’s next chapter, the best is yet to come. ###

Americana Stamp & Coin Galleries Inc, 16060 Ventura Bl, PMB105A Encino, CA 91436 Ph: 818.905.1111, 818.515.1222; Fax 818.905.1114; or



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