By Charles Snee
Almost 12,000 value changes are recorded in the 2016 Vol. 3 of the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, which spans countries of the world G-I. We continue to see a general softening in the market for stamps from the 1960s through the 1980s. Collectors have filled most of their album spaces, and dealers are well-stocked with these issues. Values for modern issues, particularly from the past decade or so, are on the rise.
A mixture of increases and decreases characterize the almost 700 value changes for Gabon. Scattered declines are noted for stamps of the 1960s and 1970s. Values for later issues through the mid-2000s are up, and some of the increases are quite large. A case in point is the set of two souvenir sheets printed on wood veneer that were issued in 2004 to recognize the 30th anniversary of cooperation between Gabon and the People’s Republic of China (Scott 1056-1057). In 2015, the set was valued at $8.50 mint. This year, a value of $120 was assigned — a huge jump that reflects how scarce the sheets are in the marketplace.
The Gambia received a detailed, line-by-line review that resulted in almost 2,250 value changes.
For stamps issued up to the 1940s, values are trending up for the most part. A representative example is the 1922 10-shilling yellow green King George V (Scott 120), which moves from $145 used last year to $150 this year. Small scattered decreases are seen for stamps from the 1950s and 1960s.
A solid mix of increases and decreases characterize stamps of the next three decades. The 1995 Elvis Presley sheet of nine (Scott 1604) advances to $13 mint, never hinged and used, from $10.50 both ways in the 2015 catalog. Value increases dominated among stamps from about mid-2000 to the present. In some cases, the jumps for these more modern stamps are substantial. Values for the various Orchids sheets of 2001 (Scott 2579-2590) soar dramatically from their 2015 levels. The five 25-dalasy sheets (Scott 2586-2590) now sit at $41 mint and used — more than 300 percent above the 2015 combined value of $12.50 both ways.
Close examination was paid to the occupation issues of Germany, which yielded a little more than 1,000 value changes. For the most part, values were lowered, particularly for the modern issues. Notable increases are seen for the overprinted Eupen and Malmedy issues of 1920-21 (Scott 1N25-1N41 and 1N42-1N58), respectively. The 10-franc brown of each set (1N41 and 1N58) rises from $45 unused in 2015 to $60 this year.
The bailiwick of Guernsey came under close scrutiny this year, with more than 2,100 value changes recorded. Almost without exception, values are down. Many dealers are well-stocked, and collector demand is low. A few modern items did rise somewhat over their 2015 values. The booklet panes of the 2003 issue celebrating the 21st birthday of Prince William with perforations measuring 13½ by 14 (Scott 808u-808y) move up to $7.50 each, an increase of $1.50 over the $6 value last year. Similar increases are seen for the 2004 Clematis Flower booklet stamps. A complete booklet of the stamps inscribed “GY” (Scott 817-821) jumps $10, from $85 in 2015 to $95 this year. The booklet containing stamps inscribed “UK” (Scott 822-826) now sits at $125, a $15 increase from the $110 value last year.
We notched almost 150 value changes for Gold Coast, the former British Crown Colony nestled between Dahomey and Ivory Coast in West Africa. Modest increases of five to 10 percent or so are concentrated among the classic-period issues. The 15-shilling dull violet and green King George V of 1921 (Scott 94) sits at $200 unused and $550 used, up from $190 and $500, respectively, in the 2015 catalog.
The almost 650 value changes for Greece are concentrated in the back of the book, beginning with the Air Post section and concluding with the various occupation issues. Note that the values for Nos. B1-B15 and CB1-CB10 have been adjusted to reflect never-hinged condition. As such, the previous set, never-hinged totals have been removed.
Just a scattering of value changes for Grenada were made, almost all concentrated in the classic period. A standout is the imperforate-between error pair of the 1873 1-penny deep green Queen Victoria (Scott 5Bj), which advances from $13,000 last year to $14,000 in the 2016 catalog.
Slightly more than 1,000 value changes are recorded for Iran. For the most part, values are up, with notable increases seen among selected postage issues of the 1960s and 1970s. The 1966 5-rial Farmers jumps from $3.50 mint in 2015 to $7 this year. In the back of the book, take a peek at the postal tax stamps, which show some healthy gains in unused condition.
Loads of new listings in Greece back of the book
Herewith is a quick overview of some of the more significant editorial improvements.
Great Britain: We have added a helpful illustration that highlights the difference between the thick and thin lines that appear above and below Queen Victoria’s head on selected 2-penny blue stamps. Such images reinforce the catalog listings and make it easier for users to visualize what we say about stamps in listing headlines, editorial notes, footnotes and elsewhere. In addition, a handful of Machin listings have been updated to make it easier to distinguish between different printing methods on some of these stamps. And there are some new illustrations in the Postage, Air Post and Machin sections that provide handy cross-references for stamps that look like they belong in one section or another, but do not.
Greece: Collectors of Greece postal tax and occupation stamps will want to spend time reviewing the dozens of listings that appear for the first time in this 2016 edition. Look for new errors, including double and inverted overprints, double and inverted surcharges, and imperforates. In the occupation and annexation issues, a significant New Greece (occupied Turkey) overprint variety has been added as Scott 150e. This stamp, much sought after among Greece collectors and specialists, shows the carmine overprint reading down. It is valued at $1,650 unused and $2,500 never hinged.
Iceland: A light violet color variety of the 1876 20-aurar dark violet enters the catalog for the first time as Scott 13a. Adding this stamp also clarifies the values assigned to each, because the dark violet (Scott 13) is rather common unused and rare used, whereas the light violet is very scarce unused and uncommon used. The footnote dealing with Nos. 13 and 13a now warns catalog users to beware of unused color-faded examples of No. 13 described as No. 13a.
Iran: Some errors are listed for the first time, including an eye-catching center-inverted example of the 1929 2-centime Reza Shah Pahlavi, Scott 745, which is valued at $45,000 unused and $7,500 used. A few modern imperforate errors are newly footnoted and valued this year.
Ireland: The controversial Irish Citizen Army stamp issued Jan. 23 (Scott 2021) is now valued at $900 mint and used. The stamp was quickly withdrawn from sale on the day of issue after questions were raised as to whether the correct image of Captain Jack White was depicted.