Apfelbaum’s Corner – Volume 84

When the new Scott Catalogs are released, many collectors immediately check each price against the preceding year’s figure and determine the gain or loss for the year. Since, in the majority of cases, this is done with considerable enjoyment it becomes a part of the collector’s philosophy of philatelic pleasure. Let him long continue to do everything that he likes to do in stamp collecting.

My purpose here is to call attention to the ever decreasing meaning of catalog value. It has been replaced by actual selling prices as given in the price lists and catalogs of the more important dealers who both stock and sell stamps. Individual and unique rarities are priced at what the market will bear, often by sale at auction. The catalog can only hint at what will be paid for a distinctively fine gem that is not apt to be available again within the lifetime of interested buyers.

On the other hand, the great mass of stamps are available from stocks in the hands of professionals. With today’s emphasis on condition, prices are based more on that factor than on the general supply available for, with the exception of recent stamps, time, handling, climate and other hazards have taken a toll on many existing specimens.

A dealer offering theU.S.Columbian issue at ½ Scott would only be able to supply stamps below the condition requirements of most buyers. It therefore has become necessary for him to ignore catalog price and establish his net retail price on a basis of cost to him, realized prices at recent auctions, probable sources and cost of replacement and projected future markers. Since you buy from him but not from Scott, his price must ultimately receive more consideration than catalog price.