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A Pricing Overview

A brief discussion of pricing may be helpful to those collectors who do not have a clear understanding of why an example of a particular Scott number may be priced several times higher than another example of the same Scott number. If, after reading this overview, you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

The first factor to consider is whether or not the stamp is canceled. With only a few exceptions, a canceled stamp sells for less than one that has not been canceled.

Uncanceled stamps with original gum sell for more than stamps with no gum. Stamps with full original gum sell for more than those with part of the gum missing.

Never hinged mint stamps sell for more than hinged mint stamps. The Scott catalogue provides premiums in their pricing guide for never hinged stamps. It has been our experience that the Scott catalog premiums for never hinging are often inadequate, especially when one ventures back into 19th century and back-of-the-book issues. Expect never hinged stamps to have a substantial premium over their hinged "cousins."

If a stamp has a fault expect it to sell at a discount from a sound example. This applies to used, hinged and never hinged stamps.

The size of the margins affects the pricing. Simply stated the larger the size of the stamp, the higher the price. Likewise, the better centered the stamp appears within those margins, the higher the price.

Particularly fresh color and sharpness of impression will add a premium to the price. This is especially true of the issues of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Grading

It is now possible to buy stamps that have been graded by a third party. A word of caution is in order. Not all stamps of a particular Scott number graded the same will sell at the same price. The grading services even admit that this is true. Take all the examples of a particular Scott number and lay them out in a row from the poorest centered stamp to the best centered stamp. If you then drew a line between the "worst" example of a particular grade and the "best" example of the next lower grade you will find the stamps to be virtually identical. Yet the pricing guides will list the stamp to the right of the line to be priced substantially higher than its cousin to the left of that line. Prices in the grading price list are only a starting point. They represent the price at which the "average" example of a particular grade should sell. Higher than average examples should sell for more than that price while lower than average examples should sell below the listed price.

The beauty of our hobby is that each Scott number comes in a wide range of prices dependent on condition. Each one of us can choose the condition parameters that satisfy our tastes and pocketbook.

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Alan E. Cohen

Premium Quality Stamps for Collectors
e-mail alanecohen@mindspring.com
phone (212) 280-7865
P.O.Box 929, Cathedral Station
New York, NY 10025

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