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Collapse In Stamp Prices On Better Worldwide Stamps .

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Posted 09/21/2021   6:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Another thing to start watching for ......is items up for auction that don't sell or the opening price is too high to attach bidding


This happens all of the time regardless of the market. Golden Oak's latest auction is a case in point. Lots of passed lots. Ridiculous openings in many cases. Just poor management, describing and estimating.
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Posted 09/22/2021   07:25 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I doubt Scott is off revising catalog prices.
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Posted 09/22/2021   11:32 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Angore --- Have to believe Scott has no way to research and develop prices without dealer's price list . Can anybody figure out what is being used ,other than public auction prices which only works on high price items .
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Posted 09/22/2021   2:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There is definetley a disconnect now between traditional auction house realizations and sites such as eBay. I just watched a bunch of single lots go for prices on eBay that exceed, in some cases far exceed, what recent auction house sales realized for the same material. This was all Russia/Soviet and I am comparing Raritan/Cherrystone sales to a quality eBay seller of strictly Russia/Soviet material. Where and how people are buying has changed and gauging the market utilizing traditional venues as your measure does not accurately reflect conditions.
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Posted 09/22/2021   5:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rismoney to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This is the problem as I see it. Scott US Specialized catalog is 1000 pages. They want to sell new catalogs every year for profit. But they cannot possibly review every stamp's price each year. So they do their best, which is really subpar for a publication that costs $100. My guess is they don't have significant compute (data lakes, AI, and analysis) in place to maintain this, and rather rely on a modicum of dealer input.

So their business interests are competing with their accuracy. They have a determined amount of updates they can handle per year, and try to handle the errata as it comes. If you read the descriptions of how they determine their prices, it's almost always dealers, that are more than likely sitting on the stock of the very entries in the catalog. So contributing editors and in general stamp vendors have a vested interest in NOT reducing the prices.

How can they possibly handle all the data points? My belief here is they need to remove a lot of pricing data. My belief is every stamp under $1 USD at this point should be consider de minimis. No price listing, just a dm. This should equate to a value ascribed to stocking, storage and or delivery. At the beginning of the catalog this should be detailed formulaically. This removes the nonsense bumping of mid 20th century commemorative stamps from $0.40 to $0.45. It's moot, and not helpful. When people look at a catalog they should not get the idea in their head if they have 10000 .40 cent value listed stamps they now have $4000 in stamp value. They have a de minimis valued quantity collection of stamps, probably worth AT or LESS than Face Value.

On the subject of higher priced stamps, auction houses play games. Much of the fees of auction are hidden under terms and conditions. So when a stamp sells for 50% of cat at auction hammer, a buyer is paying way more, as they have premiums, shipping, other fees, handling, and tax (the last which I don't agree with). The catalog is clear that the price is for the perfect specimen (or close). The auction house/dealers loves this model because they can sell an imperfect stamp, and it becomes marketing where they are seemingly providing discounted offerings below cat. $500 catalog, opening at $150. That should entice bidders up to at least $300, right? Then the fees. Then the buyers total all in is closer to $400. Now you are at 80% cat to take possession. If the catalog prices go down, then the perception in the well established marketplace of the last many years, is that so will opening prices. Now I don't think opening prices should go down, especially if they result in bidding and ultimately the hammer. I believe if you got at least one bidder, you have set the opening properly in a well attended auction.

But the fear is real, if cat prices drop 50% then people obviously expect openings to do so accordingly.

But this vested interest of auction houses AND dealers (who are really one in the same - aka a money making business enterprise) is that catalog prices stay or go up only.

On watchcount type sites you can view the historic sale prices. This, like historic SAN closed lot/sold searches gives you an idea on what things sell for. It's very hard to compare apples to apples as stamps of the same. What I will say is this:

Now-My belief
Catalogs (and maybe there should be more competition in this space to take on Scott and be a better product), should represent the market price of the 80 grade stamp. Then the bulk of the people know what their stamp is really worth relatively, and the well heeled jumbo gem collectors can fight over how many times over that price they are willing to pay. Not the perfect stamp, and everything else seen as a reduction. This is why you rarely see stamps (except for truly hard to obtain rarities) spike past cat.



Lastly, in my latest area of collecting, modern US errors, we are at a serious point of discount against catalog, particularly historically. Quantities of stamps where under 50 specimens are available are dirt cheap relative to catalog. Weak demand is an understatement. a 1502a (black omitted in 2006 was catalog at $1350). I saw one last week at Kelleher sell for $325, with a catalog of $850. A dealer is listing one at $450 stating cat is $900 on eBay. So 2 right there. 5 more unique sold in Feb 2021 (4 part of a block). Houston sold one in 2017. 3 others sold at Siegel. I have one. As things thin out and get stuck in collections, that rarity can become worth a lot more if any demand shows up. It hasn't yet, but it's been good for me as a collector swooping in and assembling quite a unique error collection.










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Posted 09/22/2021   6:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
That annually produced catalog values be reflective of real world market conditions should be a given but it is not. It is no small thing to have an entire hobby trade based upon your prices and yet that is where we live and it is seriously broken. Everything that philatelists buy, sell and trade has it's baseline value established, rightly or wrongly, by catalog. You negotiate percentages, set bid limits, create hobby budgets, estimate sales revenue and communicate in terms of catalog value. It is where we live and we all know that something is wrong. Higher catalog value items sell for small percentages of catalog and although priced as scarce or even rare they can be found with ease. Lowly valued items sell for full catalog or more and are near impossible to find. And then there is the sticky issue of what state the valued item is the catalog standard. VF? What exactly does VF mean to two different people? Is VF the same for every Country and every issue? Faults. Are allowances made for faults in the catalog value? Supposedly not but what is a fault? Ask two different collectors. Is it fair for publishers to rely upon dealer price lists or should it be eBay or a mix of both? Who decides?

Grading is the closest thing to a real standard that philately has and many push back on it. It becomes very emotional. And for material under a couple of hundred dollars it is impractical. WW certs are a tough nut to crack.

Lest no one kid themselves when they talk about the value of their holdings in catalog value terms. It is a phantom.

And that XF-Superb stamp for sale by a dealer was actually a F-VF stamp with a gum skip and bent perf tip when he bought it.
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Posted 09/22/2021   6:52 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GMC89 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I bought that stamp Rogdcam.
m
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Posted 09/22/2021   7:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
That's the big joke - buy F-VF and sell XF (the ACTUAL TRUE grade is probably closer to VF). Truth of the matter is that it is hardly a joke.

Close to 35 or 40 years ago, Scott announced that they were re-vamping all their valuations in order to bring them closer to the 'real world'. Everybody was buying F-VF at close to 30% SCV. They dropped their valuations, in many cases by about 1/2 and (I was working for a dealer at the time) collectors were STILL expecting to pay 30%-35% of the new SCV. Although I agree that Scott's job of reviewing every valuation in all their catalogs is impossible, and the stamp market varies on a near-daily basis, many (most???) collectors still use SCV as their yardstick. Scott is in an impossible position - produce a HUGE 'price list' annually, for a market that varies on a much shorter timescale than that. But what are you gonna do? If I am considering a purchase, I try to look for recent sales online for what I am looking at. Sometimes it helps, but quite often it isn't much help. I can see Scott's dilemma.
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Posted 09/22/2021   7:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tsmatx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't think Scott is moving to data lakes, AI, and analysis anytime soon, from what I have heard they don't even have a database for their catalog and don't use proper publishing software but just kind of paste it together by hand. I don't think it should be such an impossible problem to provide real prices for stamps. How many different stamp issues are in the catalog nowadays? I think it's around 1 million. In the sports card market, PSA/SMR provide real data based on actual transactions (database connected to eBay and other auctions, updates data immediately) and I think the total number of different stamp issues is smaller than number of different sports cards. Also USA is most important market--they can at least start by getting real data for USA issues (only what, maybe 10,000 different issues?). Very active market with tons of data available on hipstamp, SAN, eBay, etc. All conveniently listed with Scott catalog number.
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Posted 09/22/2021   8:55 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"Can anybody figure out what is being used [by Scott] ,other than public auction prices which only works on high price items ."

Look in the front of their catalogs - there is a long list of names they use as input - some dealers and some collectors.

"So contributing editors and in general stamp vendors have a vested interest in NOT reducing the prices."

" I don't think it should be such an impossible problem to provide real prices for stamps ... they can at least start by getting real data for USA issues (only what, maybe 10,000 different issues?). Very active market with tons of data available on hipstamp, SAN, eBay, etc. All conveniently listed with Scott catalog number."

And all of minimal use without centering and condition.

While Scott has been slow to reduce catalog values, tjey have done so. US #1 would be a good poster child for this.
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Posted 09/22/2021   9:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rismoney to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
tsmatx spot on, though I can't imagine they paste together so many and such big catalogs by hand. Seems super arcane.
That PSA/SMR site kind of hints at what's possible with good data ingestion sources and aggregation. Thanks for sharing that.

I believe if you wanted to displace Scott catalogs, the approach is a definitive online catalog with dynamic pricing, based on queryable APIs around available data sets. This requires incentivizing dealers, auction houses and the like with linking their online stores, along with places like delcampe, eBay, and hipstamp. I very much like the idea of seeing what stamps sold for what prices based on date, versus a single price listed as its value. The SAN provides some of that, but their data is scoped to their auction site.








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Posted 09/22/2021   9:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I said this before on this board -----I think Scott needs to only track to 1960's or to 1970 and quit this new issue circus . Collectors can't keep up with a 12 part worldwide catalog which cost are rising each year ,where is it now $600.00 or $700.00 . Somewhere the music needs to stop .Everybody I know is using a catalog 5 or 7 years old already .
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Posted 09/22/2021   10:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Most of the new editions of the catalogs are bought by dealers, auction houses, expertising groups, philatelic libraries, etc. Some are bought by collectors. Eventually a point of diminishing returns will be reached, and the entire catalog will be downloadable. At that point everyone will be able to buy any section they want for a pro-rated fee. Just expect the most popular areas to be the most expensive.
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Posted 09/22/2021   10:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
floortrader, they have their Classic Catalogue which cover WW stamps up to 1940. It is roughly the size of the other volumes (but only 1). Perhaps they could do what they have done with their International Albums - Volume I = 1840-1940, Volume II = 1940-1945-ish, etc. Having 2 different 'types' of catalogues (1=alphabetical, 1=date-based) would get expensive for Scott (read: expensive for us).

Somebody alluded to Scott not using current tech to update their catalogues. If this is true, that should be Job #1 there. They need to bite the bullet and go to a database-driven format. Unless, of course, they are simply planning on going out of business in the next 5-10 years. Seriously, the amount of data that goes into their product is best handled with easily updated (and interactive, as also stated above) datasets. They cannot afford to NOT embrace the 21st century!!
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Posted 09/23/2021   12:15 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Now an APS YouTube chat with the Scott Editor would be very interesting. So many questions.
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