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Flag Cancels, 1905-1920

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United States
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Posted 02/12/2019   6:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add BFRomeos to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Today, I ventured for the first time into the realm of collectible cancellations. I'm on the learning curve, courtesy of Mr. Google. I happen to have six 1905-1920 vintage picture postcards with flag cancels. Each has an unremarkable stamp (example below).

A quick scan of eBay shows people asking anything from $2.00 to $999.00 for essentially the same item. MANY are asking well over $200. What's up with THAT? Wishful thinking? Any insight about this micro-market is welcome.




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Edited by BFRomeos - 02/12/2019 6:37 pm

Pillar Of The Community
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Posted 02/12/2019   6:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There are approximately 8000 flag cancel varieties documented in Frederick Langford's "Flag Cancel Encyclopedia", 4th ed, 2008. Some flags were used for a few hours, some for well over a decade. Thus some are extremely rare, while many more are reasonably common. Mr Langford rated each flag with a point value depending on length of use, city size, and other factors. They are attractive and thus tend to be the first style of machine cancel to catch ones eye.
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Australia
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Posted 02/12/2019   7:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Would this qualify as an "Flag Cancel" ?

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Posted 02/12/2019   7:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add chasa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Rod yes ! In the USA it is considered a flag cancel if it has a halyard OR stars, if neither then no.
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Australia
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Posted 02/12/2019   8:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Fabulous, thanks Chasa.
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Valued Member
United States
222 Posts
Posted 02/12/2019   10:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BFRomeos to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
There are approximately 8000 flag cancel varieties documented in Frederick Langford's "Flag Cancel Encyclopedia", 4th ed, 2008. Some flags were used for a few hours, some for well over a decade. Thus some are extremely rare, while many more are reasonably common. Mr Langford rated each flag with a point value depending on length of use, city size, and other factors. They are attractive and thus tend to be the first style of machine cancel to catch ones eye.


Mr. Becker 1, Google 0. Thankue!
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Posted 02/12/2019   11:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here are a few other flag cancels:






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Posted 02/12/2019   11:44 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Because there are so many flags, collectors often specialize in a sub-category: probably most often by state/region, but also by streetcars, military, expositions, slogans, territorial, hand-stamped (non-machine), etc. There are also many beautiful foreign flag machine cancels. The International Machine Cancel Society has a large amount of literature available.
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Posted 02/13/2019   12:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BFRomeos to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Why people are willing to pay any more than, say $5.00 for one of these is perplexing. Any comments about the amounts asked?
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Posted 02/13/2019   12:58 pm  Show Profile Check Battlestamps's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Battlestamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Pay more attention to what the covers have sold for instead of what the sellers are asking.
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Posted 02/13/2019   1:13 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Simple answer is supply and demand. While the vast majority of flag cancels can be obtained for under $5 (and several thousand different ones in a typical $1 box at a stamp or postcard show), there are quite a few short-term-use flags with a mere handful of known copies. These can easily command north of $100, and occasionally over $1000. This is a matter of experience and investing time in studying the literature and the market. Second, beyond the basic supply/demand simplicity, prices of postal history are driven by all of the factors of a cover - the stamp, cancel, date, any special services, sender, receiver, rate, origin, route, destination, graphics, overall attractiveness, condition, etc. Pricing postal history is more of an art than a science. Many of the more expensive flag cancels currently on eBay have an asking price driven by the multicolor ads or scarce stamps, but of course the "prices realized" are a better indicator than the current active listings, as was just mentioned. If you are serous about flags, don't skimp on the literature ... get a 3rd or 4th edition of the Flag Cancel Encyclopedia and study it. It will more than repay the modest cost.
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Posted 02/13/2019   1:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BFRomeos to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Excellent answers - thank you!
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Posted 02/14/2019   8:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The flag cancel which many collectors look for is the involuted flag, such as the one I showed with Oleite of Iron corner card. These are less than common, but I don't think of them as scarce.

The cancel is just part of what collectors look for. Here's a rather plain cover, but one which some collectors would readily pay a few dollars for. Why? It was addressed to Mrs. Grover Cleveland, the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms.





The next item would be of interest primarily to someone who collects multicolored advertising covers. While there is a flag cancel used, it is far from the primary consideration.






Similarly, the last cover is also an all-over advertising cover, but it has even more significance to us as collectors. I'll let our community members chime in on the one!




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Edited by Stampman2002 - 02/14/2019 8:46 pm
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Posted 02/15/2019   01:43 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
First, buy the mentioned reference books. Seoond, read the reference books and really learn what they are saying. Third, ignore the eBay auction starting bids and instead go to the advanced search function and click the filter that says "SOLD" and look at those. They are the actual values. There are many eBay sellers who put silly starting bids on their things in hopes of catching unwary buyers. Fourth, pay very close attention to what has actually sold - is it just a plain card or envelope with nothing of interest besides the flag cancel or does it have something extra such as valuable stamps, or interesting images in the corner card, or unusual destinations, or unusual additional markings such as censors or cachets or directions for sending by boat or such. Until you make yourself very knowledgable about flag cancels and what they sell for and how the rest of the cover affects value you might want to think about limiting your buying prices to $1 or less as that is what many of the more common flag cancels on plain cards or envelopes sell for.
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United States
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Posted 02/15/2019   06:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BFRomeos to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
First, buy the mentioned reference books. Seoond, read the reference books and really learn what they are saying. Third, ignore the eBay auction starting bids and instead go to the advanced search function and click the filter that says "SOLD" and look at those. They are the actual values. There are many eBay sellers who put silly starting bids on their things in hopes of catching unwary buyers. Fourth, pay very close attention to what has actually sold - is it just a plain card or envelope with nothing of interest besides the flag cancel or does it have something extra such as valuable stamps, or interesting images in the corner card, or unusual destinations, or unusual additional markings such as censors or cachets or directions for sending by boat or such. Until you make yourself very knowledgable about flag cancels and what they sell for and how the rest of the cover affects value you might want to think about limiting your buying prices to $1 or less as that is what many of the more common flag cancels on plain cards or envelopes sell for.


Another very good response. Again, I'm looking not to buy, but to liquidate in casual fashion. My local philatelic society has an extensive library which, I bet, contains the aforementioned Langford reference text. The ink is still wet on the society's membership letter proffered in response to my application. This Monday is a holiday, but their doors will be open, so...
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Posted 02/15/2019   10:17 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Your last post is the first time you have clarified your desire to sell your examples, rather than buy/keep such.

Selling: let's take your first card as an example. It has a "Cambridge A" dial, the 3rd type used 1913-1919 (or 1920 depending on where you look). Langford rates this variety at 3 points. This is the low end of the value scale. Extremely common. Then deduct for the weak impression, being on a generic holiday card rather than an envelope, common stamp, etc. Your item is not worth the selling fees and postage you would incur. It would languish in a $1 box.
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