US Stamps

By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

2012 Scenic Landscapes postal card booklet is a good buy

July 27, 2015 12:00 PM

  • The 2012 United States booklet of 20 Scenic American Landscapes postal cards is a good buy in mint condition in the $20-to-$30 price range.
  • The 1974 People’s Republic of China Industrial Products set (Scott 1211-1214) has held its value well, while many other Chinese sets have seen a significant decline in value.

By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

United States — Modern postal stationery is a collecting area often overlooked by many collectors, and U.S. postal stationery is underrated and occasionally undervalued.

Print quantities are usually fairly low, and dealers are not stocking new postal stationery items in depth as they are issued.

Once a postal stationery item sells out or is taken off sale by the U.S. Postal Service, it usually only turns up one or two at a time as collections are liquidated.

On June 23, 2012, the Postal Service issued 10 nondenominated (32¢) Scenic American Landscapes forever postal cards (Scott UX634-UX643) in booklets of 20 (UX643a). The booklets sold for $15.95 against a postage value of $6.40.

The stamp designs printed on the postal cards reprise those of the popular Scenic American Landscapes airmail stamps of 1999-2012 (Scott C133-150).

The 2015 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the mint booklet of 20 postal cards at $36.

Few dealers have one in stock. You should be able to find the mint booklet for $20 to $30, and with the beautiful and popular airmail stamp designs, it is well worth having.

Tip of the week

People’s Republic of China — The market for stamp issues of the People’s Republic of China has generally been weaker because many investors seeking a great return have pulled their money out of stamps and put it into the Chinese stock market.

Many stamp sets are selling for about 50 percent of their 2015 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue value.

But what is generally true of most sets is not true of all sets. Some have held their value quite well.

The 1974 Industrial Products set (Scott 1211-1214) is valued at $450 in mint never-hinged condition, and that is about what it is selling for.

If you already have this set, and you paid that much or less for it, you did well.

The Chinese stock market was experiencing a bubble as investors poured money into stocks, far above the rate warranted by economic growth and profits of the companies whose stock they were buying.

On June 12, the Chinese stock market began a major correction — in fact, you might say it was a crash.

The value of A-rated shares on the Shanghai stock exchange lost more than a third of their value in about a month. The Chinese government stepped in to July to halt the collapse with an infusion of cash.

Initial public offerings of new stocks were halted, and investors who sold short were threatened with arrest.

With the recent collapse of the Chinese stock market, it is not unreasonable to expect to see investor money flowing back into the stamp market.

While other sets could regain their previous high values, the 1974 Industrial Products set might be positioned to go even higher.