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dstorm

Wake up Stamp Collectors!

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dstorm    10
dstorm

Hello to all

Maybe my post might go down the wrong way, but I trust that it would be seen in the right spirit!

I have spent this entire Wednesday evening in front of my computer observing (not bidding – as I do not like bidding against my clients) the stamp section of the Crazy Wednesday Auction. I did not list any items, so this post should be seen as truly impartial.

There were bargains to be had galore! A dealer’s dream!

A Twenty Pound BSAC Fiscal went for R510-00. A 5 Mark Marianen (albeit with a short perf –not described as such) went for R205-00, etc, etc. Too many items too numerous to mention went for a song.

When are the Bidders / Buyers on the stamp section going to realise that they are currently living in paradise? Or should I simply ask my daughter to open an account on BidorBuy and then use her name to bid? Some obscure name like dstormjunior?

Most quality items on the Wednesday Crazy Auction were selling below the “normal” wholesale price!

Regards

Jacques

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seahorsefanatic    10
seahorsefanatic

Hi Jacques

 

I agree with you that collectors should "wake up" to the fact that some items are going well below the prices they should. When surfing the net and looking at the prices in Europe and the States it can quickly be seen that the collector will need to dig deeper to get those stamps that are not available locally.

 

I have recently been working on my Austria and Poland collections and have had to pay full catalogue price or more to get some items. If these were available locally I would probably have got away with paying 50% of catalogue or less. For my sins, I have now moved onto France and I will need to bite the bullet to get some of the items as I will not find them here.

 

What one can deduce from the above is that a lot of local collectors who mainly collect Commonwealth countries are under the false impression that prices below 50% are normal because the material is more readily available than say material from Spain or Italy.

 

Once this material has dried up then the provebial pawpaw is going to hit the fan. This can be seen with Homelands material which is far scarcer today than it was 5 years ago. How scarce will it be in another 5 years time ?. One only has to look at the print quatities to know what is going to happen in the future.

 

One could also say the lower prices obtained is due to the world recession which has affected all of us over the last 6 months.

 

What also affects prices realised is the knowledge of collectors when material comes up for sale. The more you know the bigger the chance of getting a bargain that others don't see.

 

At the end of the day, the time invested in your hobby will always bring returns. As Gary Player once said when told he won a tournament with a bit of luck. He said " the more I practice the luckier I get". This statement says a lot and can be applied to any hobby/career or any other endevour one does.

 

Thankfully there will always be collectors who are not awake and miss the boat. It is the ones who are taken for a ride with material that is not worth what they pay that is of concern as this is a blight on our hobby.

 

ce la vie

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RISadler    10
RISadler

Do you not think that perhaps SACC has somewhat "over-valued" stamps - due to the 26th edition coming out when the Rand was at an all-time low - and that most local collectors have now determined the real market value of stamps?

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dstorm    10
dstorm

Hello RISadler

 

There are many stamps in the current SACC that are overcatalogued, but almost all the “commodities", in other words the better class (internationally) sellable stamps are severely undercatalogued.

 

Sit down with a Gibbons catalogue and compare the prices of the higher value items (especially varieties) to the values in the SACC. More than 95% of these items are undercatalogued in the SACC – even at R12-00 to the British Pound.

 

About two months ago I bought an item on BidorBuy for R141-00 postage included. Yesterday, a dealer with international connections visited my shop. I sold the item to him at R1000-00 nett. Why did he pay the price? Firstly because the item was cheaper in the SACC than in Gibbons but actually because the item was not superb used – that meaning that it was a genuinely used Postage Due stamp, and not one with a “perfect” CTO cancellation. Rare as hen’s teeth and actually undercatalogued in both the catalogues.

 

To quote Seahorsefanatic:

What also affects prices realised is the knowledge of collectors when material comes up for sale.

 

 

What is so lovely about this hobby that we all slip sometimes! We just do not know it all.

 

Regards

 

Jacques

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RISadler    10
RISadler

dstorm, the trouble of comparing SACC with SG is the exchange rate. Yes, if you do a straight conversion then SACC is currently less than SG, because when the 26th edition came out the Rand was very low to the Pound. And now it is not so low.

 

Basically what I'm saying is that I have a suspicion that the editor(s) of SACC use SG directly to determine the value of stamps. What they should be doing is taking local availability into account and, if they want to use SG as a baseline, at least put it through the Big Mac equation.

 

What you have described (the R141 to R1000 stamp) is the effect of the global village and of normal economy at work. At point A there are heaps of product X, but at point B there is a shortage of X's. Therefore product X is cheap at point A and expensive at point B. But since we're talking stamps, why not buy directly from someone at point A and post it to me at point B? See the situation?

 

The obvious solution would be if catalogues stopped valuing stamps, but rather indicated the rarity of the item on, for example, a scale of one to 5000. Now a collector would be able to see very easily how difficult it would be to find a particular stamp and determine the actual value, irrespective of the SACC or SG value.

 

In certain situations price regulation is good, but SACC is, in my opinion, doing it wrong.

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dstorm    10
dstorm

Hello RISadler

Thanks for the debate.

However, I am a bit in the dark.

You refer to

the effect of the global village
,

but then you contradict yourself in the very next sentence! The internet got rid of distance and isolated trading areas. Also, in your previous paragraph you refer to “local availability”. Once again, because of the internet, this is a thing of the past.

Also, the rarity of a stamp is only part of the equation. The issue about demand is so much bigger. In my opinion an UNMOUNTED MINT 10/- Union Kings Head is scarcer than an UM Pound. Yet, which one is more in demand and will therefore attract the higher price?

And both supply and demand changes!

Maybe I am taking your words out of context, but a catalogue cannot be called a catalogue if it does not quote prices (in whatever currency).

This is once again my side of the story. Hoping to hear yours!

Thanks and regards

Jacques

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RISadler    10
RISadler

I don't think I contradicted myself, but rather I needed to have asked the question if catalogues have caught up to the effect of the Global Village? Does SG value stamps according to pre-Internet availability in Great Britain, or does it take into account the effect of eBay (and BoB)? Does SACC?

 

On the subject of availability and price... Look at the prices of Homeland stamps in SACC. I have all the Homeland stamps in MNH condition (and a set can be put together for a fraction of cat. value.) But I only have three genuine postally used Homeland stamps (from Transkei and still on covers.) Would it be possible to actually compile a used collection? I seriously doubt this, and yet mint stamps are valued more than used Homeland stamps in SACC.

 

Another problem I have with SACC, SG and the exchange rate is how new collectors are duped into thinking certain stamps (like 1970's & 1980's RSA) are investments. Prices in the catalogues are going up, but when you try to convert your collection to cash... it's sometimes more profitable to use the stamps for postage.

 

I cannot really comment on the early Union stamps, as I've limited my collection to post-1952 Southern African Commonwealth, i.e. the Elizabeth II-era and independence. But yes, I am having a ball acquiring "valuable" stamps at "bargain" prices, especially in MH condition.

 

I also abhor varieties and faults, for personal reasons and because I think it creates frenzies that distract from the essence of the hobby. So I cannot comment on these either.

 

Oh, nearly forgot. The stamp you sold... You bought it for R141 and sold for R1000. If the international dealer sells the stamp to someone in the USA for, say, R1500, then the buyer pays $200 for it. In terms of local currency value, one Rand is (roughly) equal to one Dollar. Therefore the Yank (or Cornfed) bought your R141 stamp for R200.

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dstorm    10
dstorm

Hello RISadler

Thanks for your reply. I just came back from my shop – where I sold NO stamps today! It seems as if a stamp (even a scarce one) is not an item that a wise husband will buy his loving wife as a Christmas present.

Before I agree with you, let me first disagree with you on the issue of the R1000-00 stamp. This item (or rather block) is catalogued at R1 600-00 (SACC 32 – Postage Due Block of 6 COMMERCIALLY USED) in the SACC and 150 British Pounds in Gibbons. A Pound is a Pound and a Dollar is a Dollar. And a Rand is a Rand. The buyer bought the stamp for a R1000-00 and I do not know how you work out that he only paid me R200-00. He gave me 10 R100-00 notes.

Perhaps it cost him about 80 Pounds (roughly half Gibbons catalogue value). The item in question is so scarce that the catalogue value is in anyway of little consequence. The only reason why I brought this up in the first place was to show that there is a wealth of bargains to be had on BidorBuy as a lot of buyers on BidorBuy are spoilt. And that there is money to be made if you know where or when to resell.

On the question of the Homelands I cannot agree with you more. The very dealer in question agreed with me on my cliché that a complete COMMERCIALLY USED Homelands collection must be the scarcest in the whole world. As far as I (and everybody in my circle) know, not a single one exists.

I can sell you mint Homelands in boxes – R10 000-00 catalogue value at R1 000-00 (duplicated of course). I will not sell commercially fine used Homelands at below catalogue value (that is why I have never sold a used set in my life!).

I am also (reluctantly) forced to agree with you on the Gibbons and the Internet statement / question. In my opinion Gibbons is not stuck in the pre-internet era, they are still stuck in the pre-fax era. But who am I to disagree with them? I operate from a small shop and they have massive offices.

Your statement:

new collectors are duped into thinking certain stamps (like 1970's & 1980's RSA) are investments

 

 

This is an issue that I have to confront at least 2 twice a week / 100 time a year / 2 000 times in the last 20 years. I myself use the stamps for postage, thus obviously buying in at below face value (I hope to have a large face value lot up on Wednesday Crazy Auctions – which will obviously fetch little because of this post).

So often I have to face the venom from so many collectors or rather speculators who “invested” in the 1970-1988 material. In a way I cannot blame them, hearing that I am only prepared to pay R1500-00 for their R20 000-00 portfolio.

Time for a whisky!

Thanks and regards

Jacques

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RISadler    10
RISadler

I will concede that as a dealer you have a lot more experience and understanding of the monetary value of stamps. I, as a collector and not an investor, am more interested in the enjoyment of stamps as a hobby. For me one expensive stamp equates to many sets of "common" stamps. Only the current slump is a great opportunity to purchase those "missing" from my collection.

 

SACC is a great reference as to what stamps are available, but I do feel it has, as the de facto catalogue, too much power to artificially fix prices. It would be nice if an explanation of the value of a particular stamp were included, e.g. why the price difference between Bechuanaland 163, 163a & 163b?

 

Another reason, according to my observation, for the current low in "normal" stamp values, is the frenzy in varieties, errors and faults. People are spending, in my opinion, way too much money on apparent "investment" stamps. As a consequence they do not look at anything else.

 

As an example, some years ago I showed an used SWA 206 with a major red shift to a dealer and the response was it was worthless. A few weeks back I received a catalogue from another dealer and in it is advertised just such a stamp for R40,00! Now when this fad is over, like with the SA 6.3c FDC, these people are going to sit with stamps (not collections) for which they over-paid. (Well, now is obviously the time to sell them if you have them.)

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dstorm    10
dstorm

Hello RISadler

Thanks for another reply.

I reread my posts and perhaps I sometimes sound patronizing. However, in my very first post on the BidorBuy Forum I said that we all have a lot to learn. I pride myself on my knowledge on Southern African stamps, yet, when it comes to the rest of the world (99,99% of all stamps?), I am still a beginner.

 

We have a standard joke in the stamp trade: When someone asks you what a variety is worth, the first thing that you ask is: “Are you buying or selling?”.

I actually love the 206 with the shifted red. It normally shows two pairs of legs to the bird and is very often referred to as a “Double Legs”. But then again, even the normal stamp retails at about R40-00, being a bird thematic.

the current low in "normal" stamp values

 

This is a very real problem to most dealers. The so-called “mediocre” items are more and more difficult to sell. The dealer is very much to blame for this state of affairs. I was at a Stamp Auction once where the auctioneer referred to a Bophuthatswana Collection as JUNK (previously someone else’s pride and joy!). The so-called philatelists (obviously not “just”collectors) and the snotty dealers present were to ashamed to show that they were after all just collectors and were too embarrassed to bid. As the sole bidder I picked up a bargain and later made a profit.

Let us all collect and be proud of our collections. Be it Mafeking Siege stamps on Cover or post-2008 RSA.

Thanks and regards

Jacques

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seahorsefanatic    10
seahorsefanatic

Hi Jacques & RISadler

 

I agree with what both of you say. When one sits back and looks at our hobby regarding who collects what, what the dealers sell for, what the catalogue prices are, etc it all comes down to 1 factor - demand and supply

 

The demand is created from many different sides. Everyone has a different idea on how they want to form their collections - in blocks of 4, mint singles, used, covers thematic etc. Who is right ? The answer must be everyone as your collection is a reflection of you. Demand can be skewed by investors ( as happened on the 80's ) Demand can also be artificial and last for a short period - World Cup 2010, President Motlanthe stamps etc. As a seller you would need to be able to read the market correctly to make a profit.

 

The supply of stamps also needs to be taken into account. The early homelands sets from Transkei and Bophuthatswana were printed in very small quantities. As the quantity of all stamps is limited once printed, this quantity can only get smaller as time goes by where those postally used are destroyed, lost or damaged, etc

 

Collections that have become specialised with varieties have their place in our hobby as much as a straight forward collection of a country or a thematic collection of flower stamps. When one thinks they are superior becuase they collect something regarded as better this is a big mistake. Mafeking seige material may be worth far more but are no less interesting than a straight collection of whatever country even Mongolia

 

At the end of the day let us all collect what we enjoy and hopefully when it comes time to sell then what we collected is hopefully in demand. What one needs to first get out of collecting is enjoyment and thereafter hope for a reasonable return

 

At the moment, I'm having a lot of fun with France and have learnt a lot in the last 2 months that I did'nt know about this part of the world. Therein lies the enjoyment.

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seahorsefanatic    10
seahorsefanatic

Hi to Jacques and to everyone else. We are fast approaching the end of the year and what a year it has been.

 

On the subject of " wake up stamp collectors " I could'nt believe my luck on the last Crazy Wednesday auction when I was the winning bidder on the Canada $5 jubilee used ( SG 140 ) which is catalogued at 600 pounds. This stamp on ebay goes for between $300 - $400 ( R2,000 - R3,000 ). I paid about 10% of its value !!!! That left me with a big :) on my face !!!!. The bargains are there and I hope they keep on coming. I certainly got my christmas present early.

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dstorm    10
dstorm

Hello Seahorsefanatic

YES. YES.

I know all about the Canada stamp – followed it religiously for some time.

Will take on a partner next year, make him register on BidorBuy and then the party will be over for a lot of buyers (sorry, really very sorry, but that will include you as well). This was your last Christmas present.

Anyway, enjoy the Canada stamp (do you want to sell it at 20% profit?).

Regards

Jacques

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gabriel 1    10
gabriel 1

Hi Dave, Jacques

 

Did you have to compare the Mafikeng stamps to Mongolia?, and as far as your stamp collection is a reflection of ones self is concerned you should see all the tatty Boer War material I have.

 

Have a good day

 

Gabriel1

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shoron    10
shoron

Hi All

 

Good material should be timeless, however Seahorsefanatic is quite correct as it all comes down to supply and demand. But I also realised that also timing plays an important factor. Sometimes items get sold for very low amounts and the next week someone just made a small fortune ! Whats really sad is that items quite often go for below face value - so the seller after taking time spent and Bob fees and commissions into account is actually making a loss.

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gabriel 1    10
gabriel 1

Hi

 

You will notice that certain sellers have stopped listing items on BoB because they just do not get the prices they should.

 

Regards

Gabriel1

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