Prices for United States stamps in the grade of fine-very fine, the general grade used with this index, remained fairly steady over the last three months, with a minimal decrease noted.
The Linn’s U.S. Stamp Market Composite Index decreased to 687.6 from its 689.5 level in April. Some of the changes continue to reflect value updates that were made in Vol. 1 of the 2015 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue.
Stamp condition continues to remain key.
The index is down 0.7 percent from the July 2013 level. These indexes are primarily based on the values of fine-very fine stamps, while Scott catalog values are based on VF stamps. When you buy, use the illustrated guide to stamp grading included in the introduction to the Scott catalog.
Prices for 19th-century U.S. stamps decreased by 0.3 percent. Nineteenth-century stamp prices have decreased by 1.8 percent from the level of July 2013.
Twentieth-century stamp prices decreased very slightly, by 0.1 percent. Twentieth-century stamps have shown a 0.3 percent increase over the past 12 months.
Interest in early airmail issues continues, though airmail stamp values posted a slight decrease of 0.6 percent in July. Airmail prices are still up 2 percent from last year.
Any collector satisfied with average centering or slightly faulty stamps should be able to buy them at substantial reductions from Scott catalog levels for sound VF stamps. For accurately described and graded stamps, collectors should expect to pay a substantial percentage of Scott value for F-VF centering, about 70 percent to 85 percent of Scott value (less for most modern issues), and full Scott retail value for VF centering. Collectors desiring superbly centered stamps in sound condition — mint or used — should expect to pay, in some cases, a substantial multiple of Scott value. The Scott Stamp Values U.S. Specialized by Grade,which is published in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers, provides guidance.
The specific movement of prices in the component index groups in July was as follows: 19th-century stamps decreased 0.3 percent, moving from 952.3 to 949.7; 20th-century stamps decreased 0.8 percent, from 597.2 to 596.7; and airmails decreased 0.6 percent, from 347.3 to 345.3.
The three component charts have separate scales.
These averages are based on current retail prices for component stamps (shown by Scott numbers in the inset for each chart) in the condition in which they are most commonly bought and sold.
Collectors should always remember that average or defective stamps will invariably sell for less, and extremely fine or better stamps will sell for more. The trend line for these stamps might vary greatly from that shown in Linn’s U.S. Stamp Market Index.
Linn’s U.S. Stamp Market Index is normally published quarterly and represents a weighted average of three different component groups.
Each group reflects the average change in prices for each of its component stamps or sets. The component stamps in each group — 19th century, 20th century and airmails — were chosen based on their popularity and available pricing information. Some singles and sets not represented in each group invariably perform better or poorer on average.
October 09, 2015 02:00 PMLinn’s managing editor Charles Snee reported the recovery of a block of three of the 1845 5¢ New York postmaster’s provisional stamp, once part of a block of 10 that was stolen from the Benjamin K. Miller collection in 1977. Read More ›
blogThis month marks my fifth anniversary writing the monthly auction report for Linn’s Stamp News. That’s 60 columns, totaling more than 100,000 words (enough for a decent-sized novel), all about our favorite hobby. Read More ›
blogWhen this cover was listed on eBay in mid-September, it didn't take long for some knowledgeable collectors to recognize this piece of postal history for the gem that it is: an early trans-oceanic survey cover for a Pacific route that included Midway Island, which would become famous as the location of a pivotal 1942 naval battle during World War II. Read More ›
blogIn mid-September I traveled to London, England, to attend Autumn Stampex, one of two British national stamp shows sponsored by the Philatelic Traders’ Society, Great Britain’s national stamp dealers association. The show took place Sept. 16-19 at the Business Design Centre in Islington (central north London), a comfortable and attractive venue for a stamp show. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses current events that relate to the stamp hobby, including the relocation of a stamp show in Sweden due to the Syrian refugee crises, and new stamps honoring Pope Francis and the British monarchy.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke talks about a record fifth win for wildlife artist Joseph Hautman in the federal duck stamp art contest, and see the painting that will appear on next year’s federal duck stamp
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz questions Bolivia’s choice for the design of a 2013 stamp honoring the country’s efforts to protect its migrants in foreign lands.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses the discovery of the upright Jenny Invert pane received in an order from Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City, Mo., and also reports on the Confederate Stamp Alliance.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.