The brands that make up the 288 Group Collectables Division are leading distributors of collectable coins and stamps, collaborating with Postal Administrations, Mints, Charities and Ministries of Finance across the globe.
Originally founded in 1945 by Harry Allen, the business first operated as an import / export stamp wholesaler. For several decades our customers were stamp shops around the world, which were supplied with new postage stamps whenever they were issued from more than 200 international postal administrations.
In 1987 Harry’s son, Stephen Allen, the current Chairman, created The Westminster Collection. This new brand aimed to use direct marketing to sell both coin and stamp collections direct to individual collectors through national newspapers and TV advertising.
The Westminster Collection saw early success selling continuity programmes for key events such as the World Cup, the Olympic Games, Royal Weddings, jubilees and historic anniversaries. Coin and stamp collections on popular themes such as vintage planes, trains, dinosaurs, Disney films and more sold in volume. Between 1987 and 1998 sales grew rapidly from £2m to £20m.
Today coins are the major product focus for The Westminster Collection. Working with state treasury departments, the company operates as the official design, production, marketing and distribution agency for new coins from Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. The company also acts as UK distributor for major international Mints including The Royal Canadian Mint, Royal Australian Mint and Monnaie de Paris.
The company has a longstanding partnership with the Royal British Legion and produces their official annual Poppy Coin. This project alone has raised approaching £1m to help veterans, ex-servicemen and their families.
In 2011 Coin Portfolio Management was launched as a complementary brand to help affluent individuals build valuable collections of premium coins.
2013 saw the launch of Change Checker as a free online web app and blog. ChangeChecker.org is now the go-to website for information and guidance for hundreds of thousands of casual collectors wanting to identify, swap and collect the British coins they find in their change.
With over 1 million collectors on the database and record trading results in recent years – The Westminster Collection, Coin Portfolio Management and Change Checker together comprise the principle businesses within 288 Group Collectables Division.