US Stamps

By Charles Snee

Almost 9,000 value changes in 2016 Scott Vol. 1

April 06, 2015 08:52 PM

Back in fall 2014, the Scott catalog editorial staff sat down to select a cover theme for the 2016 catalogs. Although a handful of possible subjects were knocked around the table, the theme of New York City gained traction quickly.

Why? Because the next U.S. international stamp exhibition is to be held May 28 to June 4, 2016, in New York. So our 2016 covers, via the stamps shown on them, salute both a great city and what is sure to be a fantastic stamp show.

Now, on to the business at hand. The editors surveyed a rather slow market and found almost 9,000 value changes for Vol. 1 of the 2016 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, which provides listings for the United States, United Nations and countries of the world, A-B.

Activity in the U.S. market is slow and steady

It is fairly quiet in the world of U.S. stamps at present. With the exception of scarce and rare items, which continue to appreciate well, most stamps are holding steady.

In the Postage section, which most catalog users focus on, there are approximately 1,000 value changes. The true scarcity of the 3¢ rose Washington, type II (Scott 25A) in used condition is reflected in a solid value jump: from $950 last year to $1,100 this year. A few early classic stamps see no-gum values decline somewhat. Typical is the 30¢ orange Benjamin Franklin (Scott 71), which moves from $1,000 to $950. Values for several of the Banknote “I” grill stamps have been adjusted, and accompanying footnotes have been updated to reflect new discoveries.

A new color variety of the 1908 2¢ Washington booklet pane — scarlet — has been added to the catalog as Scott 319Fl.

We wish to point out that there appears to be some speculation going on with the 1942 5¢ Chinese Resistance stamp (Scott 906). Accordingly, the $2.75 value for this stamp in mint, never-hinged condition is now italicized.

For many years, the editors have known that some of the listed colors for 3¢ stamps of the 1940s are not correct. Specifically, many stamps described as “violet” or “deep violet” are anything but. A careful analysis of the stamps in question has resulted in a number of changes to listed colors, beginning with Scott 708 and concluding with Scott 965. For example, the 3¢ Mothers of America (Scott 737), formerly described as deep violet, is now called purple. Please take time to acquaint yourself with the new color descriptions.

A color-missing error (due to a misregistration of the blue) of the 1973 8¢ Drummer enters the listings as Scott 1479a.

Two listed errors of the 1976 24¢ Bicentennial souvenir sheet (Scott 1688k and 1688n) are valued for the first time at $12,500 each in mint condition. Neither error is known used.

A handful of modern booklet panes see slight upticks in value. The 1994 29¢ Locomotives pane (Scott 2847a), for example, advances from $3.50 mint to $3.75.

For most modern U.S. issues, the value of a multiple is simply the sum of the values of the individual stamps. In some cases, however, this rule does not work. For instance, the value of the 32¢ Bugs Bunny pane of 10 with the single imperforate stamp (Scott 3138) is $175 (up from $160 last year); the values for the pane of nine (3138b) and the pane of one (3138c) add up to $152.50. The premium for the intact pane of 10 acknowledges the reality that this is the preferred way to collect this item.

A large number of values for recent nondenominated forever stamps have been adjusted upward to $1 in mint, never-hinged condition, to keep the Scott catalog double-face values in line with the stamps’ current face value of 49¢.

In the back of the book, values for the special printings of the 1879 postage due stamps (Scott J8-J14) have softened about 10 percent. The 3¢ deep brown descends from $25,000 last year to $22,500 in the 2016 catalog. On the other hand, values rise for selected newspaper stamps. The $6 ultramarine special printing (Scott PR50) jumps from $80,000 to $85,000.

The value for used personalized postage stamps issued during 2006-11 (Scott 1CVP62-1CVP138) is now 45¢, up from the minimum catalog value of 25¢.

In postal stationery, the cut square of the 1887 2¢ green on blue paper (Scott U308) is now valued at $12,500 unused for the first time.

Finally, there is a new listing for Fort Valley, Ga., in the Confederate States 3¢ 1861 Postmasters’ Provisionals section, Scott 7AXU1.

Substantial review of Belgium highlights A-B listings

Belgium reigns supreme in the value-change category this year, with 2,020. The editors looked closely at the Postage section, beginning with the 1922-27 definitives (Scott 144-161). No distinct patterns emerged, with increases and decreases recorded in roughly equal numbers.

The 1924 International Philatelic Exhibition souvenir sheet (Scott 171) shows a nice jump in value, moving to $225 unused and $200 used, from $140 both ways last year. In never-hinged condition, the sheet rises in value more than 50 percent: from $260 to $400. The footnote for Scott 171 has been expanded to clarify that sheets with wrinkles, toning or excessive gum skips sell for much less than Scott values, which are for very fine sheets with the normal pin holes and a cancellation-like marking in the margin.

From one year to the next, most values can remain stable for some countries. Such was the case for Anguilla. We found just 315 value changes, most of which were declines of 10 percent or so. Values for a fair number of souvenir sheets accompanying sets of four or five stamps were lowered. For example, the 1988 $6 Women’s 200 Meters sheet (Scott 763) drops from $6.50 mint and used in 2015 to $5.75 both ways this year.

Be sure to peruse Australian Antarctic Territory, which is tucked in the back of the book, just after the Australia Official listings. There are slightly more than 250 value changes, with decreases up through the issues of 1999. Beginning with the 2002 Antarctic Base Stations block of four (Scott L119), the value compass shifts sharply to the north, with significant increases dominating. The 2008 International Polar Year souvenir sheet of four (L143b) soars from $6 mint, never hinged and $4.50 used last year to $17 and $12.50, respectively, in 2016.

Now grab your stamp album, pick up your tongs, settle in with your copy of the Scott catalog, and bask in the pleasures of the world’s greatest hobby. Cheers!