By Charles Snee
Vol. 4 of the 2016 edition of the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue contains almost 7,500 value changes. Almost all countries in this volume — Jamaica through Mozambique Company — show some value changes. Macao tops the leaderboard, with more than 1,800.
The majority of the almost 750 value changes recorded for Kazakhstan are decreases. Drops of 20 percent or more are typical, with scattered larger declines. There are some bright spots, particularly among souvenir sheets. The 2001 Lake Markakol sheet (Scott 334) moves up to $12 mint and used, from $7.50 both ways in 2015. The sheet celebrating the 10th anniversary of Kazakh Railways (Scott 336) rises $3 in mint and used condition, from $12 to $15.
In South Korea, the roughly 450 value changes are concentrated in the issues of the 1940s through the early 1960s. For the most part, values drop about 10 percent to 15 percent due to a slower market and a stronger dollar against both the won and the euro.
Laos received a line-by-line examination this year, which produced more than 800 value changes. Increases predominate, and you will want to pay particular attention to postage issues from 1998 to the present. Among earlier issues, the 1982 surcharges (Scott 426A-426W) show substantial gains. The 250-kip World Telecommunications Day with black surcharge (Scott 426W) soars almost fourfold in value: from $120 mint and used in 2015 to $450 both ways this year. The editors have italicized the values for these stamps because market data is rather limited. Healthy increases also are seen for postage issues for 1999 to the present. In many cases, values for unused stamps more than double. There are a number of popular topical sets in this period, and their values are up significantly. Typical is the 2000 Year of the Dragon set (Scott 1433-1434), which advances to $5.50 mint from just $1.25 last year. Values for modern souvenir sheets are up as well. The 2000 Summer Olympics sheet of four (Scott 1454a) jumps to $10 mint and used, a 267 percent increase over its $3.75 value in 2015.
Almost 800 value changes were recorded in Libya. Market activity for this country has been rather sluggish, and the downward trend in values reflects this. A large number of changes are seen for the postage issues of 1912 through 1941 (Scott 1-101). Values for stamps from the 1950s to the present held steady, but there are a few scattered increases. Among the more notable increases is the 1986 Khadafy set of 12 (Scott 1286-1297), which moves from $480 mint and used last year to $605 both ways in the 2016 catalog.
Macao comes out on top this year, with more than 1,800 value changes, a mix of increases and decreases. Changes were tempered somewhat to reflect the sometimes wide range of prices seen in the marketplace. Values for stamps from the Portuguese territory period are generally down, while increases are noted for stamps issued since late 1999, when Macao became a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China. Among these later issues, values rise around 10 percent. A few issues rise between 15 percent and 20 percent. The 2007 Seng Yu Proverbs booklet pane (Scott 1223) increases $3 — from $13 in 2015 to $16 this year.
A partial examination of Malaya and its associated states produced almost 450 value changes. Increases are seen across the board, with noticeable jumps for occupation issues. The 1942 Malaya postage due stamps issued under Japanese occupation (Scott NJ1-NJ7) move up as much as 25 percent.
A careful review of Morocco yielded almost 750 value changes. Increases dominate over decreases, but the changes in either direction are modest. There are noticeable jumps for a handful of topical issues: the 1978 1-dirham National Folklore Festival (Scott 420), rises in mint condition from 65¢ to $2, and the 1980 40-centime Hunting With Falcons (Scott 458), advances to $1.75 mint, from 60¢ last year.
In general, increases are more robust for stamps issued in the 1980s to the present. The souvenir sheet issued in 1989 to celebrate the 60th birthday of King Hassan II (Scott 675b) soars from $1.75 mint and used in 2015 to $15 both ways this year. A small number of stamps that were previously dashed in the value columns, such as the 2005 King Mohammed VI issues of 2005 (Scott 1007A-1007B) and 2007 (Scott 1054A-1054B), are now valued for the first time. Be sure to review the Northern Zone issues that are valued in footnotes accompanying the main listings.
New errors from Jordan, Mexico
A good number of the editorial additions this year are new error listings.
For Jordan, almost a dozen new errors have been added. Most are color-omitted errors scattered among a handful of sets of the 1960s and 1970s. Of these, perhaps the most striking is Scott 429a, which is missing the black used to print the English and Arabic script across the top and the portraits of Pope Paul VI and King Hussein at left and right, respectively.
In Macao, new errors expand the listings for the 1898-1903 King Carlos set. Scott 75b, 76b and 77a show the black “Macau” and denomination inscriptions inverted. A footnote added to the listings for Scott 159-161 explains that the stamps were bisected before being placed on sale. One double overprint and six inverted overprint errors have been added to the overprinted King Carlos stamps of 1913. The double overprint, Scott 195a, is valued at $175 unused and used, and each of the six inverted overprints (Scott 195b/204a) is valued at $95 unused.
Collectors of Malaysia stamps will no doubt be pleased to see that the stamps of the Malaysia state of Sarawak, formerly tucked at the end of the Postage section for Sarawak in Vol. 6 of the Standard catalog, are now included with the rest of the Malaysia states in this volume. Specifically, we have moved the listings for the State of Malaysia issues for Sarawak after Sabah in the Malaysian States listings. Previously these stamps were listed with the other Sarawak stamps that were issued before Sarawak became a part of Malaysia.
Three new errors have been added to Mexico’s 1914 Coat of Arms stamps overprinted “Victoria de Torreon Abril 2 1914” (Scott 362-368). On each of the errors, the year date in the overprint mistakenly reads “1912.” The new errors are Scott 362a, 366a and 367a. An explanatory footnote has been added to the Tlacotalpan provisional, based on research suggesting that the stamp was part of a postal fraud perpetrated by the Tlacotalpan postmaster and his assistant.
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