Trends in Stamp Collecting Market
As regular buyers and sellers at major stamp auctions as well as full time stamp dealers for many years, we closely watch the market for buying and selling trends. Most of our information comes from watching auctions, from other dealers, and from our buying and selling transactions with our customers. In recent months there has been a significant increase in fees charged by auction houses in both the US and Europe. These increases in fees appear to be having two effects on the auction market – less good material is being offered and auction realizations are declining. Both of these effects appear to be caused by buyer and seller reaction against the higher fees. On the other hand, dealers report better sales, perhaps from collectors shifting away from auctions. We will watch what happens!
Austria – The overall market for Austria has been very steady for the past 5-6 years.The better singles and sets are bringing realizations about 5-10 % lower than in the recent past. The back of the book stamps have been bringing especially strong results at auction and are my best sellers. There have been very few substantial Austrian collections offered in recent auctions and those few have been selling at a high rate with realizations at or close to expectations.
Germany – Early German related issues are doing well at auction and modern issues have declined sharply. Better singles and sets of Germany proper and most German areas have been bringing about 10-15 % lower realizations at auction. Unused German states and never hinged German WWII occupation singles and sets have been bringing significately higher than normal realizations. Collections of Germany proper prior to WWII have been bringing 5-10% less than 5 years ago. Post WWII Germany, Berlin and DDR have declined about 25-30% in realizations and lesser collections have not sold well at all. Collections of German colonies, WWII occupations, and better German states have been bringing realizations 5 – 15% higher than in recent years. Post WWII occupation material also have consistently brought high realizations. There has been a decided upsurge in the market for all better German stamps. Single stamps and sets cataloging $200 and up have been selling at the highest rate we’ve seen in the past 15 years. Whether this will turn into a long term trend remains to be seen.
Liechtenstein – After improving last year, the Liechtenstein market has fallen back to previous levels of the past 5-10 years. and fewer collections are being offered at auctions.
Luxembourg – Surprisingly Luxembourg stamps have been doing very well for us and at auction. We believe one reason for this is that there is not a lot of better Luxembourg material to be found in dealers’ stocks. Older stamps in sound condition are scarce and are sought by serious collectors.