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The sad demise of Plate Block collecting  
 

 
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Pillar Of The Community

Canada
1206 Posts
Posted 11/06/2018   4:41 pm  Show Profile Check CanadaStamp's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add CanadaStamp to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Personally I really like plate blocks and collected them for many years. They are IMHO a little rarer, more attractive, and we always assumed they would retain some value. But that latter bit is why I shed a tear. I've sold zillions of them over the last decade and am lucky to get postage rate. But now I'm especially depressed. Holding $1000 in high values up from the $2 Quebec and it kills me to break the block and use them for postage. But alas........better for postage than get less than postage. And BTW using those gorgeous high values for mere postage is sacrilege. Oh. And I feel that same way about booklets - which used to be a terrific collecting area - and which has now fallen onto miserable times.
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Edited by CanadaStamp - 11/06/2018 4:43 pm

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Posted 11/06/2018   5:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wert to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
CanadaStamp...I do not have the same emotions about using blocks for postage or selling blocks..Because I collect stamps and would never sell them...Weird maybe but that is the type of stamp collector I am...

Robert
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United States
1971 Posts
Posted 11/06/2018   5:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
But they have high catalog value!
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Al
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United States
3204 Posts
Posted 11/06/2018   6:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I did not leave plate block collecting; plate block collecting left me.

If memory serves, it was the US ?1969 Xmas stamp that came with nine plate numbers - necessitating a decision to collect either plate number strips of ten, or plate number strips of twenty, or whole sheets - that sent me packing.

Things have only gotten worse since, what with plate number series being assigned for each stamp, so that they all begin with '1' ... and plate numbers for some colors and not others ... and ...

But what really crashed the plate number market, IMHO, were those hoards of sheets, purchased as an 'investment', each of which would yield yet another pristine plate block when they transitioned from 'collectible' to 'postage'.

The moral of the story? It is hard to live thru the Tulip Mania when you kinda like tulips.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania ... The Tulip Mania

http://goscf.com/t/38527 ... THE INVESTMENT MEME MUST DIE

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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Valued Member
393 Posts
Posted 11/08/2018   12:34 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Other than not making money on your plate block collection which, in my opinion, should be a pretty minor concern in any hobby, I can't really see what the problem is here? If you collect plate blocks, what's making you separate them and use them for postage? Just collect them and enjoy them. Why is this even an issue? If plate block collecting is out of fashion, prices go down and you can purchase items you could previously not afford. The same thing has happened with First Day Covers. I'm not bothered by that area. I still buy some FDC's when they're cheap, and I enjoy them even if I don't actively collect them. But that's mainly because of their bulk, not their value. If stamps prices in general fell dramatically would you stick all your mint stamps onto envelopes and mail them and then get out of stamp collecting? I wouldn't. I'd start buying all the stamps I never could afford before. It's a hobby, not an investment, and it's always been that way.
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241 Posts
Posted 11/08/2018   09:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wheelman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I can fully sympathize with the original post comments. I currently have two separate lots of plate blocks on eBay with a starting price that is 25% lower than face value. Forget about catalog value and there are a few better Scott numbers on one of the lots. There are zero bids and this is the second go a round.
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Posted 11/08/2018   11:25 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Similar to what ikeyPikey said, I do not consider modern plate blocks legitimate. I have a collection of plate blocks but I only care about engraved era.
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Al
Edited by angore - 11/08/2018 11:26 am
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Canada
107 Posts
Posted 11/08/2018   12:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gmot to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Personally I find classic plate blocks interesting, but generally hesitate to purchase them - knowing that I could spend that same amount on other, unique stamps instead. So obtaining several different stamps instead of blocks of the same stamp. I also find them hard to present as attractively - aesthetics is very important to me, and I've yet to find a way to present plate blocks that appeals to me. Would be interested to hear what others do.
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United States
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Posted 11/08/2018   2:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Classic Coins to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have a modest collection of about 100 U.S. plate blocks from 1945 to 1973. I only collected plate blocks of four, and only of engraved designs that I considered to be the most attractive, and that exhibited superior engraving workmanship.

ikeyPikey, You were right on with your comment about the plate block market crashing with hoards of sheets coming out of storage and onto the under-face postage market, flooding the market with plate blocks when the rest of the stamps on the sheet were separated for postage.

The multiple plate numbers per sheet printings were obviously intended to bilk collectors out of their money for cheaply-printed stamps that would presumably never be postally used. Below is a 6-plate-number example (US Scott #1444) necessitating a 12-stamp plate block that is the exact opposite of the attractiveness/workmanship that I sought when building my plate block collection.

Without factoring in inflation, post office revenue has been impacted in the recent decades with people like me using their stamp collection for postage instead of buying new issues. I also collected sheets to a lesser extent than plate blocks, but I may be dead before I postally use all the sheets I bought.

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5601 Posts
Posted 11/08/2018   3:11 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

A case could be made that US plate blocks got more complex in the 1920s.


Don
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1067 Posts
Posted 11/08/2018   8:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Classic Coins to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Right on, Don! Collecting a set of #651 positions is quite a challenge these days.
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