Are Fine Used GB Stamps Undervalued?
Of course I respect a fine collection of mint issues covering a particular era in history but, for me, the challenge of collecting has to involve more than setting up a standing order and waiting for the post to arrive. There are some stamps you wont get delivered direct from Royal Mail and I get a greater feeling of reward - both in terms of profit and satisfaction - acquiring these stamps precisely because they are that much more difficult to find.
By way of example, regular readers will know I'm already keen on Royal Mail's machine vended Post & Go faststamps and I recently wrote how I believe collecting blank Post & Go stamps could prove a better value way to collect these issues although you can't buy Post & Go blanks direct from Royal Mail. I also believe a good display of fine used Post & Go stamps will deserve greater credit in time compared to a comparable mint collection.
Genuinely fine used GB stamps are not so easy to find as regular sorters of GB kiloware will confirm. If it weren't for the volume of first day covers produced, collecting properly fine used examples of Royal Mail's special stamp issues would be a huge headache. The modern high volume cancellations in use on commercial mail today are designed to obliterate stamps without regard to the hopes of collectors. Examine your incoming post and you're more likely to see just a bunch of wavy lines applied to the stamps with, sometimes, an unreadable smudge that was supposed to detail the location, date and time of cancellation. Given this, there are some stamps that are used in remarkably small volumes and, if you can find these in genuinely fine used condition, you're likely to have a stamp that is much scarcer than the mint version being mailed out to standing order dealers and collectors. In time I can see a hefty premium being justified for such stamps.
The widespread production and use of self-adhesive stamps has also caused some collectors to question their future plans. Personally I'm very happy to see used stamps collected and displayed on piece or entire cover as the postmarks and addresses add value in my opinion. I like being able to see both the stamp and the evidence of a journey it enabled.
If you view your collecting as a pleasurable way to invest time and money then I believe you should aim to build a collection that will at least hold, if not grow in value over time. The value of a collection is largely dictated by the FUTURE supply and demand for the stamps included so, while I do believe many fine used GB stamps are currently undervalued, this is precisely the scenario I look out for when investing my time, effort and cash in stamps.
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