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I Thought Surcharges Enhanced Value

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Posted 02/02/2023   9:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add papa0802 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message


This is my first surcharge. I acquired 660 covers in 2007 and they have been in a box since then. Now that I am retired, I'm cataloging them chronologically by PM order from 1853. Since I found this great forum this week, I'm sure I'll have more questions from the ones I've already cataloged.

I made the assumption surcharges were rarer than the original and therefore more valuable, but in this case the reverse is true by 20% in value. I believe it results from an increase in the domestic letter rate from 2 to 3 in 1917 due to WWI, with many 3 envelopes produced. With the war's end, in July 1919 the rate was returned to 2 and the 3 envelopes surcharged to 2.

So the quantity of surcharged envelopes was greater than the original envelopes, making the surcharge less valuable. Am I correct that this will normally be the case with surcharges?

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Posted 02/02/2023   10:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Each revalued item (whether US or foreign and whether stamps, stationery, or whatever), has it's own back-story and thus may be worth more or less that the original version, as you have found out. I would suggest there is no trend or "general rule" to these.
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Edited by John Becker - 02/03/2023 09:38 am
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Posted 02/03/2023   07:26 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Redsfan11 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Most of the surcharges were for a lower amount. The reason was that a surcharge was easy to fake and would result in much lost revenue if it was a larger value.
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Posted 02/03/2023   07:27 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jobi01 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Supply and demand and condition, condition, condition determine the value of any collectible. Some surcharged items are scarce and in demand thus leading to a higher price. Other items are a "dime a dozen". (Maybe 15c with inflation.javascript:insertsmilie('')) The T2 surcharge (shown) appears to be worth more than those items without surcharge while many of the T3 and T4 surcharges are of similar value to the un-surcharged items. See sentence one for the only rule determining value.

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Bill Lehr
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Posted 02/03/2023   08:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ThomasGalloway to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The overprint in the OP is a "revaluation", not a surcharge. When the envelope (in the OP) was sold to a customer, the POD took in 2 cents. If it had been an actual surcharge, the POD would have collected 5 cents.

Later in 1958, the excess 3 cent circular die envelopes were sold with a surcharge so as collect 4 cents, the then going rate.
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Posted 02/04/2023   11:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add papa0802 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the input. The Scott Specialized lists it as a surcharge, hence my use of the term. This Type 3 surcharge has vertical "dashes" over the 3, I presume to strike that value and replace it with the 2 surcharge.

I notice a Type 1 surcharge does not have the dashes over the original amount, so in that case it would be the revaluation you refer to (see below).

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Posted 02/04/2023   11:45 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add papa0802 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here's the Type 3 in Scott:

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Posted 02/04/2023   11:47 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add papa0802 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Sorry, mine is actually a Type 2:
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Posted 02/05/2023   12:39 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Part of the problem is the use of the word "surcharge" as it has a different meaning philatelically vs. colloquially.

In normal conversation, if something is "surcharged" or "has a surcharge", it is is an ADDITIONAL charge or fee, whereas in philately the term is used to mean "replaced by" or changing the value, meaning it could be a lower amount rather than higher.
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Posted 02/05/2023   12:53 pm  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Unless you're French, in which case it means an overprint. And it's their word.
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Posted 02/05/2023   2:13 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The Scott Specialized lists it as a surcharge, hence my use of the term.


As revenuecollector wrote, philatelically it is not always used in the correct way. Scott is not the only big name that does this. Stanley Gibbons is even worse. It refers to two 1883 British stamps as 'surcharged' when thet are neither surcharged, nor truly overprinted.
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Edited by NSK - 02/05/2023 2:24 pm
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Posted 02/05/2023   3:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Cjd to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If the French own the word, let's see what they do.

Yvert Canada #199 is the 1926 2c (overprint) on 3c carmine Type I of 1918-1925. Yvert says it is surcharged, though the value went down.

Well, what do they know?

How about Merriam Webster?

Quote:
4a(1) : an overprint on a stamp
specifically : one that alters the denomination
(2) : a stamp bearing such an overprint

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dic...ry/surcharge

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition?

Quote:
3. A new value or denomination overprinted on a postage or revenue stamp.


If we trust them to define philatelic terms, there is no requirement that the face value is increased. So they're consistent with the catalogues.

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Posted 02/05/2023   3:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I do not recall ever seeing anything in philatelic literature that specifically states that a surcharge can only increase the value.
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Posted 02/05/2023   3:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Cjd to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Nor do I.
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Posted 02/05/2023   3:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I see no consensus forming in the rabbit hole of either the definition or use of the word "surcharge". That said, the prefix "sur-", means "over, "above", or "in addition", which would make a reduction in value inconsistent with the term surcharge.

That is why my own original reply used the term "revalued".
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Edited by John Becker - 02/05/2023 3:25 pm
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Posted 02/05/2023   3:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
If we trust them to define philatelic terms, there is no requirement that the face value is increased. So they're consistent with the catalogues.


As this states, it is not the catalogue that is consistent with the dictionary. It is the dictionary adopting the meaning from the catalogues.
When a word is used incorrectly by sufficient independent entities within a language area, it becomes language and a dictionary will adopt that meaning.
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Edited by NSK - 02/05/2023 3:30 pm
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