Monday, December 01, 2008

High value stamps, new eldorado?

In November, I bought Atout timbres (a monthly philatelic magazine, edited by Yvert and Gervais, 1.90 euro) to see how it has evolved. Even if I will not be a regular reader, the paper has a two strong points: the news pages and the main article (here, about the Sabine series).

A mini-debate is launched in the mail page: a reader regrets the impossibility to frank packets with postage stamps in France since 2005, because La Poste encouraged its Colissimo system: either stationery packets, or adhesive postal papers with bar codes. Answer of the redaction: if the high value stamps are then rarer on mail, they will be more attractive to collectors (I imagine: catalogue prices, resale prices, postal studies more difficult -> more awardable, etc.).

So be it.

I am beginning the high value quest. During the Autum Stampshow in Paris early November, I let my adress to the Boule mail auction house in order to receive their United Kingdom and British Empire October 2008 catalogue.

Plastified envelope resisting to postmen and their machines. The little rectangle on the left says: "Dated mail / Thank to La Poste / Prioritary", meaning I paid the prioritary rate, please transport it prioritarily. It worked: posted on 25, arrived on 26.

With a handstamp cancel, please. You can find it, even in La Poste's modern mail center in Northern Île-de-France, near Paris.

(my apologies for the quality of the scan, I was distracted and in a hurry)

The franking uses the old stock of modern stamps. The one that now old collectors and dealers regret to buy in the good old days, when they believe prices would go through the roof while optimist annual catalogues were published.

The denominations are in new francs (used between 1960 and 2001 on stamps).

3 x 4 francs Wasquehal stamp of 1991
+ 2.30 francs Appel à la résistance - 18 juin 1940 of 1990
= 14,30 francs

1 euro = 6.55957 francs

2.18... euros = 14.30 francs, exactly what is needed to send prioritarily this 100-250 gram catalogue in Metropolitan France.

What will be the future value of this high value franked mail?

Financially, buyers will argue that:
* stamps are too old compared to their date of use, even if they are still valid ;
* the stamps lived a difficult travel. The more automic the mail sorting is, more numerous the gummed stamp teeth are damaged ;
* it is a philatelic mail: who else than us would use such old stamps, when a meter machine can do it faster.

Intellectually, this mail recalls:
* the problem of the postage stamp stocks hold by the philatelic professionals ;
* confronted to other enveloppes, it helped study the evolution of how mail is franked and sorted in the contemporary French postal system.

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