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#8 - What's More Important, Size Of The Breaks Or Grade?

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Posted 08/20/2022   05:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add widglo46 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Trying to decide on the value of various #8's has always been difficult for me. Some examples are from plate positions that are always regarded as #8's, and others are transitional types, i.e. either #8A or #8 depending upon plate wear.

Although the size of the breaks and whether or not the example is a transitional type is touted as very important by many writers, it is my impression from watching multiple auctions over the past few years, that these factors are largely ignored by the market. The grade, which for both the PF and PSE seems to be determined chiefly by centering, has been a much more important determinant of prices realized.

A good example is lot No. 3038 (#8 73R4, 98J) in the upcoming Schuyler Rumsey sale 105. It was certified by the PSE in 2008 as a #8 98J with specific mention of, "...with a 0.5mm break in the bottom line...". Note that Neinken called the 73R4 position a type IIIa, and the PF certified this example as a #8A (PF #178084 for the pair it originated). Regardless, it is promoted on the basis of the PSE cert and as, "THE HIGHEST GRADE AWARDED AND ONE OF ONLY TWO TO ACHIEVE IT." The stamp hammered at a Siegel auction in 2008 for $26,000. It will open in the Schuyler Rumsey auction for $12,000, and I suspect it will ultimately hammer much higher.

Has the market changed so much that this example of a #8 (#8A?) is valued more highly than only slightly less centered examples with huge breaks? Compare even the price recently realized for a 99R2.

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Posted 08/20/2022   08:15 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
IMO it has a lot to do with whether the buyer is a specialist or is building a traditional US collection and has set a standard for appearance. It drives many collectors crazy, myself included, to pursue a certain centering and then have to settle for a stamp that sticks out like a chicken in a pig pen.

PS: I find that many sales values from 2008 can be very skewed to the aggressive side. At the time the market was in an intense high across the board. Of course, shortly after that everything dropped.
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Posted 08/20/2022   10:36 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add dudley to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Position 99R2 is an entity unto itself and will always be valued highly on that basis alone ("the finest example of Type III" etc). For other positions, especially the so-called "swing" or "transitional" positions (a concept with which I am not comfortable) I believe you are correct, widglo: the centering trumps the features of the type. This is, IMO, a direct result of the advent of numerical grading.
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Posted 08/20/2022   12:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Caper123 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A well centered stamp is certainly more pleasing (with an exception of some EFO's). But one that is 'created' via trimming to include neighboring stamps is just plain disgusting.
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