A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. Interested? So into the Blues...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Price categories for Big Blue's stamps

Big Blue's "Mascot" stamp: Austria Offices in Turkey
1908 1pi  Deep Blue on Blue

I have binned the prices for stamps in Big Blue into broad "ball park" categories. Here is the caveat warning and the price guideline as now published in each post:

Note: You will need to consult a Scott catalogue for specific pricing. I only give a very "ball park" price, and never the actual catalogue value.
<$1= less than a Dollar
$1+= more than a Dollar
$2+= more than two Dollars
$5+= more than five Dollars
$10+= more than ten Dollars
$20+..and so on.

Why did I do this?
The Scott catalogue has copyright prices. They ask if you are using Scott values that you buy and sell by consulting one of their catalogues for pricing. A lot of human toil has gone into their pricing, and they should reap the benefits of such effort.

I, on the other hand would like to give some indication on this blog if a stamp we are discussing, for instance, is a less than a one dollar stamp, or a more than a five dollar stamp. But not enough of a clue, so it can serve as a catalogue substitute.  ;-)  So I have binned the prices into very rough categories.

A less than one dollar stamp could be 20 cents retail or 90 cents retail.
A more than a dollar stamp could be $1.10 or $1.90.
A more than two dollar stamp could be $2.50, $4, or $5.
A more than five dollar stamp could be $6 or $9+.
A more than $10 stamp could be $11, or $19.
And so on...

If you are purchasing, selling, or examining your own collection, you clearly will need to consult a Scott catalogue for the REAL valuation.

I will make an exception for the "most expensive stamps in Big Blue" lists, as there we are using the catalogue value to rank expensive stamps in Big Blue. But the number of stamps discussed in these lists is a very small part of the overall catalogue.

I've enjoyed publishing this blog, but I would like to hear from more Readers.  For bloggers, that is the only "secondary gain" we  receive. :-)  So, if you enjoy or get some benefit from the posts, please drop me a line in the "comments" section. Or if you have some information to share, that would be great! Constructive criticism is good also!


  1. Note: This was posted by Bud, but somehow, it wasn't published- so here are his thoughts.

    Scott Catalog prices have always perplexed me principally because they seem to bear little resemblance to market prices. Plentiful stamps (those cataloged at $5, sometimes more, sometimes less) can usually be picked up for pennies, especially if purchased in collections. Very rare stamps soar far beyond catalog estimates. I noticed recently some French stamps that catalog for over $50 failing to garner an opening 1 cent bid on ebay. Highly cataloged cancelled German States stamps usually bring very low prices, too.

    A stamp dealer friend of mine commonly buys better stamps at 90% off catalog value and sells at 75% off. I don’t buy many from him, but he seems to make a living from his business.

    I have no idea how catalog makers research the prices they list, but someone might compile ebay and other auction prices in an on-line catalog that would be kept up-to-date daily (or monthly), listing the actual prices realized.

    For example, I’ve recently been hunting for a Denmark 110 that would complete a page for me. “Buy it now prices” are in the pie-in-sky hopeful $40-50 range, while real auction prices are under $10 and sometimes as low as $4.

    So, what I would find helpful is a catalog that reports Denmark 110 has actually sold over the past six months in the range of, say, $3 to $12 cancelled and $8 to $23 mint. Then I could determine how much I would bid for any given example, depending on my reading of the stamp’s condition and my appetite for it. I suppose I could actually chart a few stamps in this way myself, but not a great many. Allowance for condition in this sort of on-line catalog system would become irrelevant, assuming that condition is taken roughly into account by the buyer and seller. I’d gladly pay for such a service.

    I don’t know what Denmark 110 lists for in recent catalogs, but in my 1970 edition of Scott’s ( the only one I have and use) its price is give as $6 mint and $7 cancelled, probably about what I will eventually pay. Incidentally, I used to cheer for below-catalog selling prices and I enjoyed the feeling of getting a “bargain.” Now that my collection has grown larger, I’m more apt to cheer when a stamp sells for more than catalog value. Greed clouds my vision.

    Your project is most important for us Big Blue collectors, not so much for the prices you list (a general hint is fine, as you are providing) but for a clear listing of what’s in Blue, the identification of errors, and your insightful comments about stamp issuing authorities.


  2. Hi Bud

    You are clearly right that there is often little correlation between actual prices and the catalogue. I believe most collectors with some experience would agree. Your comments in the last paragraph about the true goals of the project are spot on. I will strive to do just that.
    Thanks Bud!