Alternative Investments : the Philatelic !
Last week we present the Numismatics investment in old currency coins. For who interested in History, a similar alternative investment is the Philatelic ! Postage Stamps appears more and more as a credible investment in a tangible assets. However, it requires an high degree of knowledge on Stamps Market to identify the items with the better probability to see an increase of it value. In addition, storage condition are extremely important ! Stamps should be store carefully to protect it from humidity, sun, oxidation, dust, tears, destruction by pests, physical damages, etc …
Investment in stamps are very risky for novice or people with no knowledge on the market as it is a confident market mainly composed by private collectors or some philatelic institutions. In this case, a long term view is required as buy and sell is a lasting task and a quick buy/sell operation, as common in financial assets, is impossible with stamps. Such investments are then profitable for specialist in philatelic having access in a specific networking of collectors, dealers, philatelic clubs etc … to participate in auction or to expertise the items.
How to assess the value of stamps ?
The value of stamps is very difficult to appreciate as it depend multiple factors. Noting that the intrinsic value of a stamp is very low contrary to investment in coins. Primary, the general condition of the Stamp is essential to evaluate the value. For similar items, significant price differences may arise depending on discolorations, perforations (natural or not), obliteration, overprinting, printing defect, etc. The advice of experts are also very important to gauge the value and identify counterfeiting stamps or artificial alterations (to increase the value). Furthemore, experts or specialised institutions quantify the available quantity and the scarcity of stamp related to historial signifiations, or gauge the current appeal for a particular thematic. In addition, the value differs according to the countries as tastes varies and a specific event could attract the Demand.
The Stamps Market
The size of the Market is not well know as the vast majority of transactions are informal. The Stanley Gibbons group specialized in stamps transactiosn services, estimate that market size is around $ 10 Billion per year in 2007 with 50 million collectors around the world. However, the increasing demand from China is a factor supporting the market.
Stamps Prices Records
In 2014, the British Guiana 1c Magenta of 1856 is adjuged in auction by Sotheby’s New York at $9,480,000. The most expensive Stamp. The most expensive block of four stamps is the Chinese Stamps Red Revenue of 1878, buyed at $17,400,000 in 2009 by private chinese collectors.