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Are Prices In Catalogue Realistic

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Posted 09/02/2021   9:43 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
most catalogs state something like "the minimum catalogue value of a stamp is XX cents to cover a dealer's costs of purchase and preparation for resale" which sounds a lot like they are trying to set market values


How does this imply they are trying to set market values?

When it comes to minimum value stamps, it is impractical for Joe Collector or Joe Dealer to offer them individually in eBay. The minimum price you can set for Buy It Now is 99c. You can go lower on an auction, but it is way too much work to do to scan a stamp and everything else to sell a stamp on eBay to be offering individual stamps for 25c.
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Posted 09/02/2021   10:01 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
How does this imply they are trying to set market values?...

I doubt that they pulled the minimum value out of their ear but rather got feedback from dealers? A cynic might even say 'collusion'.

But frankly the intention of my posts was to get folks to consider 'follow the money'.
In other words, the objective each year is to sell catalogs. Sell catalogs to dealers (who tend to buy new ones every year). They must be appeased or sales of the catalog would fall off.

And behind that, selling catalogs to hobbyists. Will hobbyists be eager to buy next year's catalog if values bottom dropped out to reflect actual market values? I would think that catalog sales would suffer.

So for me, catalog values are being set to a significant degree due to catalog sales.
Don
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Posted 09/03/2021   07:19 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I believe catalog prices have a strong influence on the market prices especially since there are far fewer dealers these days that publish price sheets, etc.

For example, if Scott dropped their catalog prices by 25% across the board, there would be a lot of complaints by a lot of people. If it was true market based pricing, no one would complain since it should not affect the price.
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Al
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Posted 09/03/2021   07:42 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add WillUK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I know it is dangerous to draw parallels but I do remember a coin dealer talking about a coin and stating that it was getting a bit pricey it was time to get it to a collector. By that he meant that dealers all added a bit to their price so it would need to have it go to a collector so dealers could then buy it back again at a very low price. Old style dealers of quality like Spinks were different as your spread was not that great.

Stamps seem to be variable - some rubbish stamps on eBay listed at silly prices. Recently few B&M German stamp sets were priced very high but I was able to buy an almost complete MNH book for under $20. I know the US is a different market and more "fungible" but I am finding some dealer quality material online at good prices. Then again, some speciality stamps at breifmarke.de can be had very reasonably.

I "watched" a rare German stamp and I was offered it at a discount but missed the email. I wrote the seller back and his reply was: "I no longer give a discount on these stamps because they are already set at 10% Michel and I only sell them at the starting price."

I guess his starting point is 10% but he had offered me a discount off that also. Backs up my 10% guide - probably what he was offered by a dealer to buy it back.

I think the catalogue for most non-rare stamps was a relic designed to keep the market price high for buyers and when the estate went to sell they learned the true value. I think it will all be in flux now with online selling and there will need to be tracking of actual sales to determine "market" value. Oh it was funny yesterday that a SAAR set was bid up to almost $10 and another seller had a "buy it now" for under $4... It pays to look carefully.
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Edited by WillUK - 09/03/2021 07:47 am
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Posted 09/03/2021   08:13 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add funcitypapa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Rodgcam: yes you did misunderstand my comment and frankly it is a little annoying when people start a reply with the "quote box" as if throwing something back in your face when I was just trying to participate. I clearly referred to high value, rare, and graded specimens before referring to Rupp. Like you, and possibly many others on this forum, if I had to name one dealer that was the source of my US collection, it would be Rupp. This would have been in the very late 1980's and early 1990's when Rupp, then with Alan E Cohen, would send out illustrated fliers. Newly back in the game at that time I was impressed that almost all of their material was already certified and their business methods and dealings with the customer were exemplary. It has been a pleasure dealing with them.

Of course this was before the days of grading and both of these gentleman's price lists and offerings have changed to reflect this. Most, but not all of their offerings are now certifiedand graded. Frankly, I don't know for sure, how happy either of them are that the grading revolution occurred, but they are smart businessmen, readers of the market, and have gone with the flow. In my opinion, to their credit, it has not affected their means of serving the customer one iota.

But if you tell Chris Rupp that you are interested in one of the items on his list, he will send you an email with a blown up photo of the stamp in question along with any provenance, the most recent Scott catalog value and often the SMQ for the stamp in question and then the Rupp price. To me this is only logical. The SMQ is an easily obtainable market sheet tied to grade. It's only logical that Rupp would include this among other sources in his analysis of price.

But we are talking Rupp here and Rupp and the material he sells are in my opinion in the higher stratosphere of the hobby and at least in my opinion not applicable to Don's "Joe Collector" appellation.

Personally as much as I dislike the grading game ( and let's be honest, it is a game) I have to admit it was a brilliant innovation that magnified the investor component of the collector/investor equation.

By the way, my feelings about grading are not limited to stamps but extend to all collectibles.
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Edited by funcitypapa - 09/03/2021 08:28 am
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Posted 09/03/2021   10:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Funcitypapa - Sorry that I annoyed you. I use the quote boxes a lot so that if there is an interim post between my reply and the comment I am replying to it is easier to follow the conversation.

I agree with your comments above (not in quotes now).

I have had the pleasure of conversing at length with Christopher and my sense is that he is just fine with grading. It has created more value and thus more profit. Rupp advertises on the PSE grading website as does Century. It has also brought more collectors into the hobby. It has provided a comfort level as to what they are buying for many whether or not everyone agrees with that perception or not.

It is not often mentioned that items with an SMQ value consistently trade for a higher percentage of published values then do non-graded items.

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Posted 09/03/2021   11:03 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Quote box are meant to direct a reply towards a specific person (as opposed to a general comment to all).
Don
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Posted 09/03/2021   11:19 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add widglo46 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I think that for graded US stamps, the SMQ is definitely contributing to setting prices.

I made an effort once to collect data on auction prices for mint Columbians. I picked this issue because there are generally enough sales that I thought I would be able to draw some valid conclusions. Without being a statistician, it was evident to me that realized prices tended to cluster around grade levels. Graphing price vs. grade, there were distinct modes around each grade level. If this clustering is true of auction sales, I'd assume it even more true with dealer prices.

If the SMQ wasn't having an influence on prices, one would expect a smooth curve because collectors would decide for themselves where on the scale of quality a stamp was, and pay accordingly. The point I'm trying to make may say more about how grading is affecting the price rather than catalogs themselves, but for rare stamps, small differences in quality can make such a huge difference in value that catalogs values should be viewed very cautiously.
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Posted 09/03/2021   11:37 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add shermae to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'll have to change how I use the quote box. I've been using it the exact same way as Rog- to help other readers know which previous comment I was addressing in the general conversation.

In 1988, Scott pricing was completely out of whack due to Scott's "freezing" their perspective on values at around 1980. Stamp pricing in the market had dropped quite significantly from 1980 to 1988, but Scott's was very slow to reflect that pricing. Retail prices for common MNH material was often at around 40% of Scott. In mail bid sales, the " eBay" of pre-internet philately, material could often be found at about 30-32%.

Finally, in 1989, Scott realized they were quite behind the times with pricing so they adjusted pricing to be closer to, but not identical to, market pricing. To me, the only change this made was the % of catalog a collector paid. Scott was NOT making the market, and thus I do not think they make the market now. The market set the pricing whether at 40% of Scott or 66% of Scott for the same stamps. The only thing that changes is how Scott decides to reflect the current market.

Of course, one well-known dealer in Pennsylvania used the 1988 Scott for "catalog" price into at least the mid-1990's because of the bloated, ancient pricing. Comical.

Today, we all know that Scott needs to make certain kinds of adjustments to better reflect the market. I cannot speak to US material as I don't collect it, but I can say that Scott needs to undertake a change similar to what they did after 1988. Things have changed a lot due to eBay, the internet, and collector interests.

With respect to Rogdcam's comments on Russia, I feel the same issue holds true for Netherlands and Colonies. Real-world pricing for this area is much higher than Scott's. Alternatively, many blue-chip countries of Western Europe no longer sell anywhere close to where Scott has them due to waning interest. There are some individual set/stamp prices that won't follow the rule, however countries like Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy/Colonies, Austria, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and some others no longer have the same vigorous market as they once did. Perhaps it's time for Scott to adjust to the Internet era in philately?
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Edited by shermae - 09/03/2021 11:40 am
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Posted 09/03/2021   12:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add danstamps54 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Perhaps it's time for Scott to adjust to the Internet era in philately?


I would be pleased if they just adjusted to the latter decades of the 20th century.

I think Don has a point. Catalog sales may drive their decisions. I'm sure they have some method to price stamps. Perhaps they look at some key issues and algorithmically adjust their prices. I would be surprised if they checked the pricing on that new-fangled "Intery-Net."

I've been collecting over 50 years and got my price shock about catalog pricing my first year of collecting. Scott catalog prices are not accurate for most stamps. How many people still come to the board here thinking their stamps are worth a fortune only to find out that their stamps may (if the condition is OK) be worth 10% of CV?

I don't actively collect beyond 1990 so I seldom pick up a newer catalog. The only things I find the catalog useful for are to check for changes in catalog numbers and to compare the *relative* prices among stamps.

Dan
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Posted 09/03/2021   1:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gmot to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There certainly is large variation among Scott CV vs. various collecting areas. To a new collector or casual seller, this makes trying to use CV as a reliable guide to market prices hard indeed.

I track my sales by category and to take just one example of the variation - Latin America (47%) listings sell at a considerably higher average of Scott CV than Italy & Colonies (29%). And much more quickly too, even at that higher % of CV.

(Each category has 800+ listings sold, and the listed items are from the same period (19th century to 1950s) so feel data is good enough that comparisons are valid and aren't thrown askew by outliers).

Why the difference? Supply & demand is one factor - the supply of Latin American classic issues on online platforms is much less than for Italy, and Latin America seems to be a popular area to collect - both in NA and Europe (not to mention in its own continent). Not sure what else - perhaps historical popularity of collecting areas that is perpetuated in new editions.

Would provide more clarity to all if Scott prices better reflected a situation like this - of which the above is just one small example - but not expecting much - the differences between Scott classic 2021 and the 2016 prices for both Italy & Latin America are minimal, from what I can see.

~Greg
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Posted 09/09/2021   01:17 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tadas to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Having read this discussion in it's entirety, the following comes to mind:

Anyone asking Mystic catalog prices - I don't want your stamps, I want whatever you were smoking ( and it's a shame, because the Mystic Heirloom album is a true bargain).

If you're asking Scott catalog prices, have you read the intro to the catalog where they talk about condition ? In the classic era, probably 98% of stamps don't meet catalog price level.

In my club, we have a world-class expert in the stamps of a specific European colony, and he prices their stamps for Scott. They pay him with a free copy of the volume his work appears in.

An example of crazy pricing was the set of Romanian Hotel stamps from the early '90s - $40-50 catalog for a $1 set.

Absent other considerations, transactions within our club go for 33% of Scott.
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Posted 09/09/2021   06:27 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I did this analysis of Scott prices a while back for the graded stamps.

http://goscf.com/t/69229&SearchTerms=catalog

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Al
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Posted 09/18/2021   09:53 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PapaBear to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have all of my US listed on a spreadsheet and list Mystic Stamp's price as replacement value for insurance purposes. I've been collecting for 61 years and will check both eBay and APS before purchasing online.
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Posted 09/19/2021   07:15 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If I may ask, who is your insurance carrier? I am sure they will do some independent assessment since you have an inventory.
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Al
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