Displaying items by tag: Rarest covers

Monday, 06 January 2020 04:54

Catalogs and Your Stamp Collection's Value

It goes without saying that stamp collectors could not do without their catalogs.

Catalogs should be recognized for what they are--guides, not the final word on the value of stamps. Unless, like Stanley Gibbons Ltd. catalogs, the publisher is also a stamp retailer. It's great for collectors who quote high catalog value of their stamp collections to non-collectors--the value impresses, while the collection's owner knows that he spent significantly less than the figure from the catalog he bandies about.

Sometimes catalogs are overtaken by events. Imagine catalog publishers trying to keep pace with the rocketing values of the stamps of China and India, two current stars of the stamp collecting world, thanks to ever-increasing demand.

A casual look at asking prices (eBay is a good casual barometer of stamp value) will show that there is a very large discrepancy between catalog value and realizations.

Sentiment Affects Stamps' Values

There are many factors impacting a stamp's value. One of those that the catalogs can't gauge until the market sets the tone, is sentiment. The values based on sentiment can be a mercurial thing. Think of the Princess Diana stamps and how they reacted to the attention cast on them by the tragedy of Lady Di's death. Prices of the Charles and Diana wedding stamps took a jump and then settled back into a more reasonable price range.

More recently, there was the blip of interest for the 50th anniversary of John Glenn's space flight in the Friendship 7, an event commemorated on a 4¢ stamp issued upon Glenn's return to earth in 1962.

As regards the Glenn stamp, there is an aspect that catalogs do not record--the impact of first day covers on a stamp's valuation. In a strict sense, considering the small number of first-day covers in relation to the entire stamp issue there shouldn't be a correlation.

Value of Stamps on Cover

While many catalogs, including the Scott Specialized Catalog of United States Stamps and Covers list a number of first-day covers issued, what it cannot gauge is how the FDC interest impacts the value of mint stamps. Scott's Specialized will also give you a value for stamps used on cover up to 1940. These listings are, of course, beloved by collectors of postal history, as it gives them a guide for the value of their collections. The selling prices of these items are often closer to catalog value than the stamps themselves.

Today's Potential Cover Rarities

This should be a warning for those who think the collection of modern postal history is a dead end. Collecting current mail is a useless activity; it may turn out to be just the opposite. In fact, collectors may someday find themselves looking at rare items that are today just mail. After all, stamps are seldom used on mail: when they are it is almost an anomaly.

Some enterprising philatelic publisher could do well by producing a catalog showing the number of stamps used on the cover and offering their values--only as a guide of course. It is beginning to look, in 2012 as if these will be as rare--perhaps even rarer--than classic stamps that were issued in much fewer numbers than current stamps used on covers. Interestingly, stamp collection seems to have come full circle, and with rarities being created right under our noses.

Source: thesprucecrafts.com

Published in News
Thursday, 07 March 2019 06:08

The most rare philatelic covers ever

In late 2000 Stanley Gibbons agreed to sell the famous Kirkcudbright cover of May 6, 1840 featuring a block of 10 Penny Blacks, to the Royal Philatelic Collection for £250,000. Considering that’s the price which a single on first day cover would fetch on the open market The Queen got a bargain. The Mauritius cover of January 4, 1850, known as ‘the Thomas Jerrom cover’ – from the name of the addressee – featured two immense rarities. Jerrom had the happy accident of being on the receiving end of this cover. Its Twopenny rate from Mauritius to India was denoted by two examples of the ‘Post Office’ penny stamp. These stamps were printed one-at-a-time directly from the engraver’s die. Barely a dozen of the Penny stamp now exist out of about 500 printed. Of these two are unused, six are used off cover, three are used on cover and two appear side-by-side on the Jerrom cover. Gibbons quotes a price of £450,000 for the penny used off cover and suggests at least twice that for a stamp on cover.

So what is the Jerrom cover worth? The late Norman Williams chronicled the history of this cover in his Encyclopedia of Rare and Famous Stamps, from 1897 when Charles Howard paid £50 for the letter and some others in an Indian bazaar. Howard sold it to London dealer W.H. Peckitt a year later for £1,600 – Peckitt sold it for £1,800 in 1898, bought it back in 1905 for £2,000, and sold it again for £2,200. At a Harmer sale in 1968 it fetched £158,333. When it next turned up in the saleroom (November 1989) at Christie’s Robson Lowe in Zurich it was bought in at SFr 2,600,000. Thereafter it was bought and sold privately, passing from Dr C.C. Cheung to Guido Craveri, head of Harmer’s Auctions SA of Switzerland, who has exhibited it from time to time and even depicts it in his advertising with the justifiable caption of ‘The World’s Most Valuable Cover’.

Mauritius double

The Ducau & Lurguie cover bearing examples of the Penny and Twopenny ‘Post Office’ Mauritius stamps, prepaying the 3d rate to Bordeaux in December 1848. It was discovered in 1902 by a schoolboy while going through the correspondence of the Bordeaux wine merchants. The 2d stamp is marginally scarcer than the 1d of which there are five unused, three used, a single on cover and another on a large piece of an envelope, plus the specimen on the Ducau cover.

Franked with two rare 1847 1-penny “Post Office” Mauritius stamps, the 1850 Bombay cover was auctioned Dec. 1 by David Feldman in Geneva, Switzerland, for more than $2.5 million.
Franked with two rare 1847 1-penny “Post Office” Mauritius stamps, the 1850 Bombay cover was auctioned Dec. 1 by David Feldman in Geneva, Switzerland, for more than $2.5 million.
The Ducau cover might not have been unique had Madame Borchard (the finder of most of the Bordeaux covers in 1864) not soaked a similar pair of stamps off another cover. In both covers the rectangular PAID handstamp was applied once across the two stamps without tying either of them to the envelope. Madame Borchard disposed of both stamps to Albert Couture in exchange for two Montevideo ‘Suns’. Gibbons quotes used 1d and 2d stamps at £450,000 and £550,000 respectively so theoretically this pair should be worth £1,000,000. The pair which has fortuitously remained on its original cover was sold by David Feldman at his Zurich saleroom in November 1993 for SFr. 5,750,000 (£2,640,000) – a world record for a single philatelic item.

The Hawaiian/US tie-up

By comparison with Mauritius ‘Post Office’ stamps, Hawaiian ‘Missionaries’ are plentiful and cheap in a relative sense. Of the 15 known examples of the 2c, 13 are used singles off paper. The other two are known on cover or part cover. The part cover only shows the San Francisco datestamp which was applied to the corner of one of the stamps on arrival in the US, bears a 2c and a 13c. Both stamps were heavily cancelled at Honolulu and bear marks of staining as well as major defects which detract from the value of the piece. When last at auction (November 1995) it was purchased by the US Postal Museum for $99,000.

The 2c on entire letter belongs truly in the super league. Although the stamp lacks a small chunk from the upper left-hand corner it’s otherwise of fine appearance. Alongside is a good example of the 5c, defective along the bottom but otherwise very attractive. Both stamps have barred obliterators but to the left is a clear impression of the Honolulu datestamp of October 4 (1852) inscribed ‘U.S. Postage Paid’. What lifts it into a super rarity is the pair of US 3c stamps affixed to the upper left-hand corner of the wrapper and cancelled at San Francisco on October 23 or 28 (1852). The Hawaiian 13c stamp was designed to consolidate both the Hawaiian external rate (7c) and the US trans-continental rate (6c) in a single stamp, but exceptionally the postage in this instance was denoted by the stamps of both countries.

British Guiana ‘Cottonreels’

The world’s most valuable covers wouldn’t be complete without a reference to the British Guiana ‘Cottonreels’ of 1851. They were so-called on account of their unusual appearance, having been typeset in a circle by the Royal Gazette of Georgetown, with BRITISH GUIANA round the circle and the value across the centre. The stamps were struck in black on various coloured papers. Most examples were cut round the circle, so that those cut square command a high premium. Of the four denominations (two, four, eight and 12 cents) the 2c is by far the rarest and is not known cut square. Of the 10 recorded examples, four are used singles but the others consist of three covers, each bearing a pair. Gibbons prices the 2c rose at £70,000 which bears no relation to the ‘Post Office’ Mauritius by comparison. Of the three covers, one is in the Royal Philatelic Collection.

Vertical pair used on entire letter addressed to “Miss Rose, Blankenburg”, postmarked Demerara AU 5 1851. The stamps are cut around the outside so that part of the frame lines are missing. Initialled “E.T.E.D.”
A ‘Cottonreels’ cover addressed to Miss Rose of Blankenberg was sold in May 1990 for £161,000 the cover addressed to Edward Gordon fetched SFr 520,000 (£206,350) at a Christie’s Robson Lowe sale in Zurich a year earlier. The reason for the disparity is that the stamps on the Rose cover were partially cut round the circle so that a portion of the frame is missing, whereas the stamps on the Gordon cover are of better shape, even if not quite cut square.

Source: mystampworld.com

Published in Rarest stamps
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