Saturday, May 11, 2013

Stamp Catalogue Prices Are Misleading

Britain's Guardian reports, "Stamps valued in professional catalogues at hundreds of pounds are fetching just a few quid on auction sites. But local philately clubs are still thriving."

Reporter Patrick Collinson quotes airline pilot Paul Sanderson who back in the 1960s "amassed a sizeable collection of mint or near-perfect British stamps" as saying...
"We are told that postage stamps are a good investment, and this may well be true for very old rare stamps. However, when it comes to less rare stamps we should treat Stanley Gibbons' catalogue values with a large pinch of salt, as in many cases they appear to be absurdly high. I have been selling some of my stamps and the prices raised have been a fraction of their catalogue values."
John Baron, chair of the Association of British Philatelic Societies is also quoted in the piece.

He advises collectors to regard the Gibbons catalogue as a guide to what is available rather than the real market price. "I had a text just this morning from a major collector. He says he takes the Stanley Gibbons price and divides it by between three and 10 so he knows what to expect. It's only if you go over £1,000 or so that the prices become more reliable."

According to a spokeswoman for Stanley Gibbons, "The catalogue is a guide to values at the higher end of the market. What your stamps fetch is all about the quality of the items – whether they're mint, the quality of the colour, the perforations, the condition of the gum, to how clearly and centrally a postmark has been stamped. It is a common fallacy that the prices in our catalogues show what a stamp is 'worth' should you wish to sell it. They are, instead, the price at which Stanley Gibbons will sell a fine example of the stamp in question."

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 8:22 AM