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United Nation Stamps Pre-Cancels Or Cancelled To Order

 
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Author Replies: 6 / Views: 290Next Topic  
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39 Posts
Posted 09/12/2021   6:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add chris s to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
As I am rather new to philately, I have a question regarding UN stamps.

THe UNPA sote offers buyers stamps cancelled to order -- would this be classified as a type of pre-cancel? Would their be any desirability in the stamp community to acquire such stamps?

I really like some of the designs of the definitives and have purchased some. I have only purchased one of such stamps with a cancel on it. I liked the idea of getting one mint and one cancelled of a stamp that really has limited use (while attractive the big downside is one could end up with a bunch of stamps that may have no interest to buyers and completely useless to my inheritors!).
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United Kingdom
5836 Posts
Posted 09/12/2021   6:27 pm  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello. In general, UN stamps are a drug on the market, with little resale value. That doesn't mean you shouldn't collect and enjoy them, but pay accordingly. A precancel is used by businesses for correspondence that gies through the mails. A CTO is applied without the stamp having seen genuine postal service, and is ordinarily seen as less desirable than one that has.

As an example, this lot went for 160. The Lighthouse albums alone would have cost 300+.

https://www.warwickandwarwick.com/a...hived/272650
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Edited by GeoffHa - 09/12/2021 6:31 pm
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Posted 09/13/2021   04:22 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I collect mint UN, among many other collections, and have for many decades. I would never buy CTO stamps from any stamp issuer since the cancellations don't add any value and they would duplicate the mint stamps. That doesn't mean you shouldn't. Always collect what appeals to you. A somewhat more difficult way to collect UN, or any country, would be to collect one mint and one postally used of each issue. For some countries that would be very hard to do, but for UN stamps it wouldn't be so difficult.

The reason stamp agencies sell cancelled to order stamps is to provide packet material to stamp sellers at a cheaper price than mint stamps. And since they can't ever be used for postage, the stamp issuer is not ever going to be out any money in the future, unlike with mint stamps which might be used. Another reason is to accommodate collectors who can't afford to buy new stamps mint but who would buy "used" stamps at a lower price. So they cancel them and they become "used" stamps even though they still have the gum on the back and were never actually used. It's a kind of fiction that seems silly to me. I suppose you could buy CTO stamps, then soak them to wash off the gum, and pretend they were used. Not likely to work, though, since most CTO's are cancelled in that predictable way at the corner of every four stamps.

As for future value of UN stamps, there probably isn't much. What I put into my U.S. collection and most other collections might someday be worth more than I've spent on it. With UN, so many collectors went into collecting it at one time and so many dealers added UN stamps to their inventory and bought sheets of them, there are now enormous stocks of almost all the older UN stamps available. That drives the price way down, especially as UN collecting has declined greatly in recent years. And UN stamps can only be used in one place -- in the UN offices, so that hurts their practical value for many people who can't even use them for postage. Sort of like all the endless 3, 4, 5, and 6c commemoratives the U.S. once issued except you can still use those for mailing a letter anywhere in the U.S. The UN's own choice to issue its endless "flag series" of stamps some years ago became so overwhelmingly repetitive (and tiresome) it may also have driven away many collectors of UN stamps. I don't know whose idea that was, but it was not a good one. Today, it's still possible to buy every single UN stamp ever issued at a pretty modest price. You can also buy entire UN collections at less than their face value. So it's not any kind of investment.

But I do not collect stamps as an investment, but only because I like them. I've always liked the modern quality and hopefulness of UN stamps and most of their designs are excellent by some of the finest stamp designers around. So I collect them without hesitation "just for the fun of it". You know, like stamp collecting is supposed to be.

Enjoy.
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Edited by DrewM - 09/13/2021 04:35 am
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United Kingdom
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Posted 09/13/2021   06:08 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Triangle to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have had few cheap lots on eBay which have not sold, so I agree they have limited value.
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Posted 09/13/2021   7:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add chris s to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for all the insight. Yeah so now I understand that the UN simply offers Mint or CTOs (Cancelled is the word shown on their online shop).

And thanks for letting me know about the health of the market --- I thought the resale value would be weaker than even some US stamps because of their limited use. On the other hand, I find some of the best designs in the UN issues and especially from after 2008. Seems the quality of the designs shot up tremendously and peaked just a few years ago. What I see now while still nice doesn't stand out from other governments' issues. As for earlier issues from decades ago - don't know them too well.

I have bought from the UN several definitive issues - one or two definitives from 2009 due to the brilliant artwork, those from 2013 - 2015 for again the excellent and creative artwork, plus some from a few other years that I found quite attractive. I also bought their Crypto stamps as the amounts produced are quite modest 90,000 in total, 30,000 for each office. I figure that despite the rather simple but sleek design, their uniqueness and reflection of the current times makes them attractive to future stamp collectors as well as myself.

It looks like I will have a stamp collection of not much value over face due to my interest in stamps' designs over their potential appreciation. I do collect some of the high value defins if I enjoy their design so who knows how they will appreciate and the Forever US stamps at least they have a strong chance of being used in the future.

I find that some coins dealers and many older stamp dealers use stamps from the 40's through early 2000's for postage. To me that is a great sign that at least the population of mint stamps will dwindle --- it may still take a few more generations. Maybe one of the best things for philately is to get those old stamps and use them. They can really entice people to collect and some do make great gifts. For example, in 1973 the USPS issued a great set of stamps depicting the various postal jobs required to get your mail delivered and a thank you to postal workers (recall that in 1970 postal employees went on strike and the military took over operations to disastrous results - https://aflcio.org/about/history/la...stal-strike) . eBay has some of these being sold in full press sheets. The back of the stamps describes the job. These would make a great gift if framed for a postal employee, collector, or into 1970's popular art.

Pardon the digression and again thanks for the insight. I will continue to collect UN stamps but with greater selectivity.
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Edited by chris s - 09/13/2021 7:34 pm
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United States
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Posted 09/13/2021   8:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
A somewhat more difficult way to collect UN, or any country, would be to collect one mint and one postally used of each issue. For some countries that would be very hard to do, but for UN stamps it wouldn't be so difficult.

Really? That's not true at all. Intermediate and high values from the Geneva and Vienna offices are quite difficult to find postally used, especially sound stamps contemporaneously used. I prefer not to have first day cancels on UN, but CTOs certainly work for me. Your mileage may vary.

Plus, how do you know that a stamp off-cover is actually postally used? It could have been favor cancelled, pretty much the same thing as a CTO sold at face.


Quote:
The reason stamp agencies sell cancelled to order stamps is to provide packet material to stamp sellers at a cheaper price than mint stamps.

But this is not the case for the UN; they sell CTO/cancelled stamps at face. So do Germany and Switzerland, for that matter. And for the two latter countries, it is more the cancel style (SOTN or a corner quarter CDS) that makes it desirable.

See the Swiss forerunner UN issues and see if you can find postally used ones. It's not easy. And CTOs are often preferred on the earlier Swiss officials back to the League of Nations issues because the postal cancels tend to be very heavy or sloppy.

To agree with Drew, do not collect stamps with any eye to invest. There's too many factors that are out of our control. I will also agree that the resale value of UN will probably be low, but that has been true of a lot of countries due to a shrinking serious collector base in the US and Europe. But there will still be some kind of residual value left, unlike if you spent that money all on eating, drinking, going to sporting events, etc.

And be careful of what you wish for. Suppose you are able to leave a chunk of money to your heirs via your stamp collection. Years ago I was a buyer who, upon presenting a check for some thousands of dollars for stamp collection, saw in a fair number of times where extremely angry heirs resented that that {deceased) collector had spent money on stamps and not on them.
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Edited by hy-brasil - 09/13/2021 8:04 pm
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Posted 09/15/2021   3:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add chris s to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
hy-brasil

Good points about the potential pros of purchasing CTOs. My thinking of getting one is that it is hard to find used UN stamps unless you do go to collectors and dealers where you may face a significant premium at times. Still I am going to be careful and take you suggestion to consider in the future purchasing a few CTOS of the high value UN stamps.

And great point about leaving a stamp collection to your inheritors. I would prefer seeing whom among my friends and family may desire some of my stamps. People do like to have a nicely designed, foreign stamp but few want to bother actively collecting them consistently and for the long-term. Also finding a stamp club with members who may purchase some is a good bet.
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