US Stamps

By Donna Houseman

New U.S. stamp market report makes debut: Editor’s Insights

April 29, 2016 02:31 PM

  • Linn’s introduces a new market feature this month, Linn’s U.S. Graded Stamp Report.

By Donna Houseman

Making its debut in the May 16 issue is Linn’s U.S. Graded Stamp Report. The report will be featured quarterly in the Linn’s Stamp News monthly issue and replaces Linn’s U.S. Stamp Market Index.

Linn’s Stamp Market Index was introduced in the Jan. 3, 1983, issue of Linn’s and replaced the previously published Trendex. At the time, Linn’s U.S. Stamp Market Index was designed to provide an easy-to-understand picture of how stamp prices were moving, much in the way the Dow-Jones Industrial Average, based on the prices of 30 popular stocks, expresses the movement of stock prices. The Stamp Market Index was an average of three different components, each of which was itself an average, reflecting price movements of selected U.S. stamps in three broad categories: 19th century, 20th century, and airmails.

The index served its purpose for many years, but in recent years, it seemed the stamps in each category no longer reflected the U.S. stamp market as accurately as one might hope. For lack of a better description, it seemed to Linn’s editors that the selection of stamps had grown stale.

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We approached Scott editor emeritus Jim Kloetzel for a solution. Kloetzel is a former editor of the Scott catalogs and continues as the lead editor of the behemoth Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers. He enlisted the help of top experts in the field of U.S. stamps and created Linn’s U.S. Graded Stamp Report, a quarterly feature that will provide “updated and expanded retail values for selected United States stamps.”

The stamps chosen by Kloetzel and his colleagues represent “a meaningfiul cross section of U.S. issues and conditions that mirrors stamps most often seen in the marketplace.” The charts indicate what the value of each stamp is in the grade of very fine, which is the Scott catalog benchmark grade. The eight grades shown in the chart indicate what collectors might pay for stamps that are in higher grades or lower grades than the grade of very fine. The new feature includes grading illustrations that represent grades from Superb-98 to Very Good-50. These illustrations are provided to show the margin size and centering of the grades.

The “basket” of stamps selected for the Linn’s U.S. Graded Stamp Report will allow us to track gains and losses quarterly. We believe the report will be a more accurate reflection of the U.S. stamp market.

Our thanks to Kloetzel and his advisors for their efforts in creating and maintaining this report. We believe it will be a welcome addition to the pages of Linn’s Stamp News monthly edition.

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