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US Circus Themed Sheetlet Only Available In Stamp Yearbook

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Bedrock Of The Community
United States
12128 Posts
Posted 08/22/2014   1:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add wt1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
This is so frustrating to potential collectors it deserves a thread of its own. It seems the USPS marketing people have come up with a new way to milk new issue collectors out of their money.

According to the content of this Linn's Stamp News article, the USPS is to be issuing a "Circus Themed Sheetlet" featuring a $1 denominated stamp using a similar clown poster as featured on the Vintage Clown Posters stamps from earlier this year.

Additionally, there will be a sheetlet featuring two 50-cent denominated "Circus Wagon" stamps, modified from the Transportation Series coil designs.

It goes on to suggest that you can order FDOI cancelled stamps, but the stamps in mint form will only be available to those who purchase a Stamp Yearbook -- at a cost of $60 or $70 (if previous year's rates are typical).

http://linns.com/news/us-stamps/765...-Chamberlain

Isn't that absurd?! What do you think?

Furthermore, even though the stamp sheetlets mentioned are valid for postage, it has been suggested on another site that due to limited stamp availability in this way, the Scott Catalog may render these "souvenir sheets" with only a footnote mention, as they typically will not assign a Scott number to stamps that do not have full nationwide distribution for postal use.
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Edited by wt1 - 08/22/2014 1:25 pm

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United States
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Posted 08/22/2014   1:51 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am more and more happy that I quit collecting modern USA way back!

Peter
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United States
197 Posts
Posted 08/22/2014   1:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add omxfl to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It has been clear to me since the introduction of press sheets without die cuts that USPS does not care about philatelists but only about maximizing sales. Right now, there are certainly quite a few who keep purchasing all these supposedly 'special' issues (me included I have to admit), but I doubt that will be the case 10-20 years from now.
And this is the latest example of a 'don't do' as this disgruntles many collectors, some of which may decide to pack it in altogether as a result of that or to shun USPS and concentrate on other nations. This 'special sheet' follows the long tradition of other postal authorities (e.g. Australia) to include a special sheet with the yearbook (and it's only available with the yearbook) to entice collectors to purchase the whole yearbook. At least they could have the decency to sell the yearbook for a lower mark-up than currently to make it worthwhile.
And I guess the only consolation is that these two issues will be available as (an ugly USPS) FDC... Or will only one of these be available as an FDC? This wasn't quite clear to me.
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Edited by omxfl - 08/22/2014 1:59 pm
Bedrock Of The Community
United States
12128 Posts
Posted 08/22/2014   2:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wt1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I agree. Besides, does anyone really collect USPS Stamp Yearbooks anymore? The markup seems incredible and most collectors I know would take the stamps and place them in their own albums and the Yearbooks wind up sitting on a shelf and collecting dust, or donated, or given away, or otherwise disposed of.

To my knowledge, the USPS doesn't release sales figures on ancillary products such as Stamp Yearbooks, so my guess is that sales are rather dismal right now and this is a last ditch effort to increase those sales with a special "in the Yearbook only" item.

Now if these mint souvenir sheets are very limited in production (i.e. only a few thousand or so) the question is whether the secondary market value demand for these souvenir sheets will skyrocket to the point where the cost of the Yearbook pays for itself.

In any event, I don't intend to play the USPS games on this one. The featured stamps are not that enticing to me that I can't otherwise make do with a used example via a USPS-generated FDC.
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Posted 08/22/2014   2:51 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add JLLebbert to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
For several different reasons, I have been mulling over whether this is the year to pull the plug on collecting modern US stamps. I think the USPS has just supplied the final argument with their "circus" ploy.
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United States
2010 Posts
Posted 08/22/2014   3:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add TheArtfulHinger to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't collect US, but I understand the frustration. That's a pretty underhanded move to drum up sales. I'm guessing the sheetlets will be available in the secondary market at less than the price of the full yearbook, but they'll still be priced high enough where you'll basically be paying the cost of the premium on the yearbook. I'm sure they'll be popping up on eBay within days after the USPS starts shipping them.

Another underhanded possibility is that the USPS will wait until the yearbooks are sold out and at that point decide to sell the sheetlets individually "due to collector demand".
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Posted 08/22/2014   5:38 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I wonder if USPS is making a distinction between 'philatelists' and 'collectors'? It could be that they fully understand the potential to alienate 'old school philatelists' by releasing these kinds of things (aka Invert Jenny issue) but are seeing enough numbers from others who are willing to buy these items as keepsakes?
Don
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Posted 08/23/2014   7:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add acanalizo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I personally don't think this stamp should receive a Scott catalog number. How can calling it a stamp be justified? It seem to be more like a label.
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Albert
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Posted 08/23/2014   8:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Riderontherain to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Isn't that absurd?! What do you think?


Absolutely not. In fact, the only surprising thing is that it has taken the USPS this long to embrace a practice that has been utilized by a number of other countries for quite some time. In addition to Australia (as has already been noted by omxfl), Hong Kong is another example where a special pane was issued recently to go with a 4-volume set of books on the history of postal offices and cancels.

As much as I hated the practice (because it makes my life as a collector more difficult), I don't begrudge it. Given its current dire financial situation, why shouldn't the USPS employ whatever legitimate commercial means to enhance its revenue? The USPS exists to provide a service to the general public (albeit with a declining demand due to technological shifts), not to the collector community.
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Bedrock Of The Community
United States
12128 Posts
Posted 08/23/2014   8:41 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wt1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I emphatically disagree. The USPS should not be put in the position of limiting certain issues to just those who choose to buy a high priced Stamp Yearbook. (Just because other countries do it doesn't make it right.)

Besides, the purported "dire financial situation" of the USPS can be challenged, as they actually have rung in a profit in the past several Quarters, depending on how you wish to analyze their figures:

http://www.linns.com/news/postal-ne...small-profit

No matter what political view you take on the USPS profit/loss, the bottom line is that stamp collectors are free to collect whatever they choose. Whether you agree or disagree with the concept of a limited edition sheetlet only available in a high priced Stamp Yearbook, I'm not participating in their marketing scheme. I have no desire to purchase any "limited edition" products that require me to pay extra for a product I would otherwise have no desire to own.

Remember about a year ago when the USPS came out with their Inverted Jenny "Collectors Edition" Book with proofs? They touted the outrageously expensive product as "limited to 5000" and when the bottom line figures were released, they sold little more than 1500! I predict the same failure for the Stamp Yearbook sheetlet.
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Posted 08/23/2014   8:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"The USPS exists to provide a service to the general public".
I fully agree with that. So where does a stamp yearbook come in, let alone a sheetlet? This sort of junk is clearly directed at the collector!

Peter
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Posted 08/23/2014   9:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Glenn Estus to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Of course, it's directed at the collector; just like many other items produced by the postal service. What's the problem with that? If you don't want it, you don't acquire it. But it you feel an overwhelming need to be "complete", you'll have to have it.

Glenn Estus
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Bedrock Of The Community
United States
12128 Posts
Posted 08/23/2014   9:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wt1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
But it you feel an overwhelming need to be "complete", you'll have to have it.


If, as the stamp journals suggest, the FDCs are going to be readily available without a Yearbook purchase, I'll settle for a used example ... at least I'll "complete" the 2014 issues without a deep dent in my wallet, even if it is just used.

On the other hand, the 2013 "completist" can only wish for the "Right Side Up Jenny" Reprint, unless, of course, they have a bank account that can support the tens of thousands of dollars that example commands.
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Posted 08/23/2014   11:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Riderontherain to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
(Just because other countries do it doesn't make it right.)


I don't think it is about being right or wrong; rather, it is about profits and losses.


Quote:
the bottom line is that stamp collectors are free to collect whatever they choose.


This is precisely the point. The USPS does not force anyone to buy its products, whose success or failure is entirely determined by the market place. If a particular product turns a profit, from the USPS's perspective the product would be a success regardless of the feelings of some collectors. If the product does not pan out, well, the USPS could move on to something new. As long as the USPS don't start putting out products aimed at benefitting selected groups of its own choosing (such as Farley's follies), I can live with it.


Quote:
So where does a stamp yearbook come in, let alone a sheetlet? This sort of junk is clearly directed at the collector!


Yes, some will buy them and some won't. One collector's junk is another's treasure. Let the chips fall as they may!

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Guatemala
1500 Posts
Posted 08/24/2014   9:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add quigngt to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I rarely buy US stamps but I might consider buying the yearbook just to get the special stamps. It might be tempting to call them labels but since they will be postage stamps, they will be valid for postage and I'd think that should make it eligible for a Scott number. If I were to buy them and could get them in my hot little hands quickly, I would also be tempted to postally use them.
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Bedrock Of The Community
United States
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Posted 08/24/2014   10:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wt1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
If I were to buy them and could get them in my hot little hands quickly, I would also be tempted to postally use them.


I since learned that the sheetlet featuring a $1 Circus Poster Stamp and two (2) 50c Circus Wagon stamps will all be contained on a single sheetlet (not two).

Further, as explained in the Linn's Stamp News article posted earlier, the USPS is supposed to be making the "mint sheetlet" only available with Yearbook purchase; they are supposed to be offering uncacheted first day covers of the stamps avialable without buying the Yearbook. This being the case, any attempt to "postally use" a mint sheetlet that comes in the Yearbook would reduce its value back to that of a cancelled stamp as could be obtained on the FDC. In other words, the "premium value" is in retaining the sheetlet in mint condition.

Obviously, anyone can do what they want with their mint sheetlet, but from a value perspective, I would venture to guess in this situation a mint example would be worth many times that of a used example.
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Edited by wt1 - 08/24/2014 10:49 pm
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