US Stamps

By Charles Snee

Editing, valuing for the 2016 Scott catalogs is well underway; market generally stable

November 20, 2014 04:00 PM

Vol.1 of the 2016 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue will not be published until next April, about five months from now as I write in early November.

Nonetheless, the Scott editors are already well into their editing and valuing duties for Vol. 1 of the Scott Standard catalog, which comprises simplified listings for the United States and countries of the world A-B.

Scott catalog editor emeritus Jim Kloetzel handles editing and valuing of the U.S. listings from his home in Washington state.

Our cadre of U.S. advisors have received instructions for their areas of expertise, and they will send their recommendations to Jim in due course.

In similar fashion, Scott senior valuing analyst Steve Myers oversees editing and valuing for the A-B countries.

Steve also relies on a dedicated group of advisors to supply editorial changes, additions, etc., along with recommended value changes, based on what they are seeing in the stamp hobby marketplace.

Our challenges are many with a small in-house staff of editors to coordinate the updating of listings of all current or former stamp-issuing entities each year.

These challenges would be orders of magnitude more difficult were it not for the support of our collector, dealer and specialist advisors.

It’s too early to draw firm conclusions about market performance for the 2016 catalog season.

However, the Scott editors are noticing a possible repeat of trends that have played out during the past five years or so.

Tracking of auction realizations shows that demand for the rare and exceptional continues with vigor.

There are a good number of collectors out there who are more than willing to pay substantial sums to add that coveted stamp or cover to their holdings.

Thus values for scarce classic-era stamps continue to advance each year. The same may be said for errors in this same time period.

Most of the rest of the market shows stability, characterized by modest changes in value, up or down.

A strengthening of the dollar against other major currencies during the past three years has resulted in some value decreases for stamps issued during the 1960s to the present.

On the other hand, topical issues of the past decade or so have seen their values rise. Flora and fauna issues, in particular, are doing well.

Overseeing both Scott and Linn’s does not afford me much time to assist with many of the nuts-and-bolts tasks, such as updating values for a country.

But I like to keep my hand in the game, so to speak, and Steve’s market experience is a great guide when going over a country’s listings.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve assisted with a few smaller British Commonwealth countries that have not seen much market activity during the past few years.

As of this writing, I am about halfway through the listings for the West Indies island of Barbados.

Of the almost 350 value changes recorded thus far, the vast majority are small increases.

About 120 of these changes are concentrated among the classic issues, beginning with the 1852-55 Britannia stamps, and continuing through the Victory issue of 1920.

It will be interesting to see if values for the remaining listings follow the trends that are emerging.