Monthly Archives: November 2013
- Posted November 29, 2013Read more »It is always interesting to speculate on future winners and losers in the stamp market. Philatelic popularity is ever changing. In 1900, foreign postal stationery cut squares were a serious specialty that looked likely to continue in popularity. Today, almost no one collects them. In 1950, US precancels were avidly collected; today there are few fans. In 2000, numerically graded "perfect quality" common stamps were the rage. Now, after serious losses, collectors see them as the marketing sham that they were. Decades from now I think the biggest loser will be US First Day Covers. FDC's are a relic of the 1950s when they first gained popularity. They were a nice adjunct to a regular US collection largely because the United States issued so few new stamps (In 1953, the USPS new issue total was three).Collectors looked for ways to expand their appreciation of new
- Posted November 27, 2013Read more »As you sit around this Thanksgiving with family and friends waiting for the turkey dinner, no doubt you have been wondering which American holidays are collected thematically and which aren't. There are five main work holidays in the United States
- Posted November 25, 2013Read more »Most philatelists soon exhaust the specialty that they have chosen. Virtually any country can be 95% completed for between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars. Most collectors never spend more than a hundred dollars for a single stamp, and so the problem with our hobby is that collectors soon paint themselves into a corner and either move on to another country to specialize in or add covers or other specialty items to their collections. Another way to jazz up a collection for not a lot of money is to add non-philatelic, collateral items. Some collectors add maps or personal pictures relating to visits or to the stamps themselves. Some add autographs
- Posted November 24, 2013
- Posted November 22, 2013Read more »Prices and the value of money are difficult to evaluate over time. Readers of Victorian novels know that in the late Nineteenth Century an income of about 150 Pounds a year was the minimum needed to live as a gentleman (Trollope says tartly "an embarrassed gentleman, yes, but a gentleman").
- Posted November 20, 2013Read more »
- Posted November 19, 2013
- Posted November 18, 2013Read more »Forty years ago, when I started in the stamp business, there were twenty stamp auction houses in the United States holding several hundred auctions per year. Today there are only ten holding not many more than fifty auctions. Even before the Internet and the sales platform of Ebay (where everyone can participate in auctions all of the time), there was a dramatic falloff in mainstream stamp auctions.There are several reasons why this has occurred. First, over the last thirty years stamp prices, like most commodity prices, have not kept pace with inflation. My estimate is that a general basket of fine collectible postage stamps can today be bought with about half as much real money as that basket could have been purchased for thirty years ago. Sure, prices of most
- Posted November 17, 2013
- Posted November 15, 2013Read more »It's a bit of a toss up over which ex-empire, the British or the Austro-Hungarian, has produced the most number of stamps. Certainly up to WWII the British Empire and its derivatives would be the winner. But in the years since WWII, the countries that made up the former Austro-Hungarian Empire have laid a strong claim to dominance on the strength of 5,000 plus stamp issuing performances from places like Czechoslovakia (and successor states), Yugoslavia (and successor states), Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and, of course, Hungary and Austria themselves. In terms of interest, the Austrian-Hungarians are winners too. British colonial stamps are largely an amalgam of common design types
- Posted November 14, 2013Read more »
This week this stamp blog reached its 1000th post yesterday. Most of these articles are about philatelic history and the vastness of our hobby. And because they are not timely (after all little changes in philately, which is probably the reason so many people enjoy stamps) most of the earlier articles are just as useful (and I hope enjoyable) as they were when they were first written. Please go back and read them if you have liked what you see here.
- Posted November 13, 2013Read more »Most collectors are honest with their families about their philatelic holdings. They inform them of how much they really spent and how much they really feel their stamps are worth. When misunderstandings arise
- Posted November 11, 2013Read more »Among the most interesting issues in philately are the classic first issues of Japan called the Dragons. Japan was a closed society for about three hundred years before 1854. Japanese leaders had made the decision that they wanted no contact with outsiders (as they saw what foreigners were doing to China), and the penalty for attempting to enter Japan could be death. Admiral Perry forcibly "opened " Japan (primarily to obtain a new trading partner for American goods), and Japanese leaders soon realized that their feudal social structure needed rapid modernization if the the Japanese were to compete in the modern world. Feudalism ended
- Posted November 08, 2013Read more »Seigniorage is the profit that governments make on securities that they issue, on which they don't pay interest, and that are retained unused by the public. Cash in mattresses represents a form of seigniorage, and, more than anything else, old face value postage stamps held by collectors do as well. The money that collectors have tied up in mint stamps represents an interest free loan to our post office. And because most mint stamps held by collectors will never be used, the profit to the post office is the value of those stamps held by collectors (Private companies issue gift cards, and they are required by accounting rules to bring the unused portion of these cards into income
- Posted November 06, 2013Read more »
- Posted November 04, 2013Read more »Most collectors collect what they like for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with the popularity of the area or the potential for financial growth in what they collect. Others collect whatever is the "hot" area hoping to ride the train of popularity to make their collecting not only fun but profitable. Both are fine ways to go about your hobby. But many want to collect an area that is fun, challenging, and currently inexpensive, and that has the potential for price growth greater than the hobby as a whole.
- Posted November 01, 2013Read more »
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
(January 30, 1882