From the Scott Editors — By Donna Houseman
This year celebrates another milestone in the 150-year history of the Scott catalogs. The 2019 volumes are the 175th edition of the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. Vol. 5A includes listings for countries of the world N through the Philippines. Listings for countries of the world Pitcairn Islands through Samoa can be found in Vol. 5B.
Many value changes were made in Vol. 5A for the stamps issued by the Netherlands and its colonies. Most of these changes resulted in increases in values. A thorough review of the Netherlands resulted in more than 2,750 value changes. The booklet pane of six of the 1941 2½¢ dark green Gull stamp (Scott 243Ab) climbs from $10 mint never-hinged to $15. The 1926 Arms set with syncopated perforations (type A), Scott B12a-B15a, rose in value, from $40 both unused and used to $45 unused. The used value slid downward slightly, to $38.75. The 1931 36¢ orange-red and dark blue Queen Wilhelmina airmail stamp (C9) jumps from $10 unused to $13, and from 60¢ used to 75¢.
Netherlands Antilles also received a complete review, resulting in more than 3,100 value changes, the majority of which are increases. The set values for the 1873-79 first-issue King William II stamps (Scott 1-7) increase substantially, from $214.25 unused to $267, and from $197 used to $213.40. The 1996 Capex 96 souvenir sheet of two (768a) rises from $4.75 mint to $7.50, and from $4.75 used to $5.75.
A complete review of Netherlands Indies resulted in more than 1,060 value changes. The 1902 2.50-gulden on 2½g brown lilac surcharged in black (Scott 37) dramatically increases in value, from $45 unused to $70, and from $11 used to $20. The normal stamp is perforated gauge 11½ by 11. The perforated gauge 11 variety (37a) climbs upward in value, from $50 unused to $72.50, and from $12.50 used to $24. The 1948 set of 10 overprinted “INDONESIA” (294-303) increases in value, from $166.45 mint to $223.60, and from $73.95 used to $90.15. The 1949 2½g red orange with the same overprint (304) more than doubles in value for a mint example, from $20 to $52.50. The value for used examples jumps from $7.25 to 9.75. The values for the 1931 1g blue and brown airmail stamp (C13) increase from $11 both unused and used, to $16 unused and $18 used.
Netherlands New Guinea also received a line-by-line examination, resulting in more than 100 value changes; most are increases, with scattered decreases throughout. The 1953 5¢-on-5¢ ultramarine semipostal stamp (Scott B1) moves upward, from $10 unused to $12, and from $8 used to $9.50.
Values for classic Nepal increase significantly. The 1881 1-anna ultramarine stamp (Scott 1) soars in value, from $300 unused to $575, and from $475 used to $650. The value for the 1881 4a green (3) moves upward, from $500 unused to $650, and from $650 used to $2,500. A footnote states that “No. 3 postally used is probably unique.” The value is in italics to designate that this stamp seldom trades and is difficult to value.
A review of early Palestine resulted in almost 90 value changes.
Nepal: The 1898 ½a black with blurry impressions was added as major number 12B.
Netherlands: Several footnotes within the Netherlands listings were expanded and updated. Particularly noteworthy are newly added footnotes for coil stamps that were made from sheet stamps.
Netherlands Antilles: Two new minor listings were added to Netherlands Antilles. Scott 746a and 749a are assigned to the 1995 Flags issue with the colors in the flag of St. Martin reversed. The flag varieties show the blue on top, red on bottom. A new explanatory footnote states: “Both were quickly withdrawn from sale after the error was discovered. …” Also new among the Netherlands Antilles listings is the 2008 Shells 106¢ stamp without the country name. This variety has been assigned minor number 1193a.
Netherlands Indies: Numerous perforation varieties were added to the islands now known as Indonesia.
Nicaragua: For many years, the Scott editors have reserved numbers for a set of six stamps overprinted in red or silver for the Year of Liberation and the 1980 Olympic Games. The stamps with the red overprint are now listed as Scott 1102 and 1102A-1102E. The stamps with silver overprints are assigned minor numbers 1102f-1102k. Nos. 1102f-1102k were not issued without the overprints.
Philippines: Many editorial changes have been instituted, including minor number listings for a watermark variety that has been added to the catalog.
Almost 2,400 value changes, across all listing sections, are recorded for Poland this year. Among the postage issues, activity is most noticeable for the issues of 1860-1959, and for stamps issued from the late 1990s to early 2010. Market activity is flat for stamps issued from 1960 through the mid-1990s and from 2010 to the present.
The 1860 10-kopeck Coat of Arms with added blue frame for the inner oval, Scott 1c, advances from $6,000 unused and $850 used in 2018, to $10,000 and $1,400, respectively, in the 2019 catalog.
Careful attention will reveal a small number of issues whose values jumped substantially in the face of apparent market volatility. A standout is the imperforate 1958 50-zloty Stagecoach souvenir sheet of one (Scott 830), which soars to $135 mint never-hinged and $52.50 used, from $20 both ways last year. The new values are italicized to indicate the editors had limited market data for this item.
In the back of the book, semipostal stamps show some healthy gains. The 3-zloty+7z stamp celebrating the 1947 opening of the Polish Parliament (Scott B53) rises from $1.75 unused and $15 used to $3.50 and $22.50, respectively. In mint condition, the stamp doubles in value, from $3.50 to $7.
Going against the trend of upward momentum are the 1919 Cracow postage dues (J1-J10), which see noticeable declines. On the other hand, collectors of German occupation and Polish offices abroad will be pleased to see gains in value almost across the board. Fairly typical is the 1933 Danzig 1z black (1K24), which soars from $52.50 to $70 unused, and from $120 to $140 mint. The used value ratchets up from $110 to $140.
Finally, don’t overlook the numerous stamps, such as imperforate varieties, described and valued in footnotes. Many of these see substantial gains in value.
Fresh market data and currency exchange rate fluctuations translated into more than 3,400 value changes for Portugal. Values for early and mid-20th- century stamps generally have held steady, while many later issues show small decreases. Very fine examples of pre-1940 issues are not commonly offered, while later material, especially issues of the past 50 to 60 years, is plentiful. These market realities, coupled with the roughly 15-percent decline in the value of the euro versus the dollar since our last comprehensive update, account for most of this year’s downward adjustments in values.
The unused set value for the 1931 set of six stamps honoring the seventh death centenary of St. Anthony of Padua and Lisbon decreases from $103.50 to $93.80, while the never-hinged set value rises slightly, from $190 to $210.
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Stamps of the West Indies nation of St. Kitts are, for the most part, readily available. When coupled with lackluster demand, the result is predictable: a decline in values. This is seen throughout the more than 450 value changes recorded. Going against this falling market tide are stamps in used condition from 1980 through the late 1990s, which see modest gains in value. It is important to keep in mind that values for such stamps are for postally used examples with contemporaneous postmarks, not for stamps canceled-to-order.
Poland: A few new listings appear among the modern postage issues. Single stamps for the 2009 Wladyslaw Hasior issue are Scott 3930A-3930D. These additions required renumbering the Hasior souvenir sheet from 3931 to 3930De. Scott 4146a is assigned to the 2014 Fish souvenir sheet of eight 4139-4146) with four labels.
Images have been added to the editor’s note regarding Poland’s 1946-50 issues surcharged “GROSZY.” The note explains: “To provide denominations needed as a result of the currency revaluation of Oct. 28, 1950, each post office was authorized to surcharge stamps of its current stock with the word ‘GROSZY’. …” Collectors are cautioned that counterfeits exist of these surcharged stamps.
Portugal: New overprint varieties have been added to the listings for the surcharged 1911 Vasco da Gama stamps (Scott 185-192 and 199-206). Minor numbers have been assigned for year dates among the Buildings definitive stamps of 1972-73 and 1974. Five inverted overprint errors of the 1910 postage due set enter the 2019 catalog as Scott J14a, J15a, and J17a-J19a.