A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar


A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. Interested? So into the Blues...

Monday, June 19, 2017

China - Bud's Big Blue

China Cinderella
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations
BB’s crowd of collectors ordinarily need not worry about asset-class stamp market trends.  We have a hobby, not a speculative investment portfolio. China is the exception.

While over the past decade or so CV for most stamps changed minimally, prices for China’s sky-rocketed. Some dealers say China sales have kept them in business while demand for the rest, except luxury stamps, declined. The Chinese now have more money than they used to, and fewer empty rice bowls. And they like collecting.

So, when’s the right time to fill BB’s blank China spaces? Today? Forty years ago? A hundred? Ten years from now?

 The following Table traces the rapid inflation of Chinese stamp prices.

Catalog Values ($s, used examples) for Selected BB China Spaces
Scott # / Year
10
11
16
18
28
78
79
total
1911
$0.36
$0.36
$0.12
$0.12
$0.08
$0.08
$0.08
$1.20
1933
0.50
0.35
0.75
0.60
0.20
0.25
0.50
3.15
1970
1.75
2.00
1.35
0.75
0.40
0.60
3.50
10.35
1993
10.00
10.00
6.00
3.00
5.75
50.00
70.00
154.75
2011
30.00
40.00
32.50
25.00
30.00
250.00
375.00   
782.50
2013
100.00    
140.00
47.50
37.50
32.50
300.00
450.00
1107.50
2016
100.00    
140.00
47.50
37.50
32.50
300.00
450.00
1107.50
2017
90.00
120.00
47.50
37.50
32.50
275.00
400.00
1002.50
                   Source: Scott catalogs

Depending on whether we’re retail shoppers or scavengers, speculators or compromisers, or just patient waiters, we require some plan of attack. Scavenging feeder albums worked for me but, in the 1970s, retail shopping would have been a better strategy. The recent slowdown in prices might suggest waiting a few years. But prices might boom rather than bust. Maybe it’s better to settle for damaged space fillers, or even fakes. My guess: old feeder albums are still the best shot at getting a bargain.

At some point I placed J25 on top of J7 so that the latter is not visible; that is now corrected.

Census: 214 in BB spaces, 29 tipped in, 64 in supplement

Jim's Observations
I really like classical era Chinese stamp issues.* I recall, as a young collector, the Chinese "Junk" stamps; a window into an exotic world not known by a provincial Minnesota boy. Even now, this "sophisticated" world wise collector finds them in the top ten of all time best designs.

But if one wants to be successful evaluating the Chinese issues, better plan on using all of one's philatelic tools and skill.**  Challenging, to say the least. It is true that Big Blue generally requires very little of the collector as long as the space "fits". No problem- this is a hobby after all.  But if one would like to identify which stamp one has out of several possibilities, then the use of the magnifying glass for all the secret marks and the re-engraving, the watermark tray, and the perforation gauge is necessary. 

* I am a member of the China Stamp Society

** And having a daughter-in-law who is a native speaker is helpful too. !

China Blog Post and Checklist

Page 1 (click and enlarge for examination)

1a

1b

1c

1d

Page 2

2a

2b



2c

2d

Page 3

3a

3b

3c

Page 4

4a

4b

4c

Page 5

5a

5b

5c

Page 6

6a

6b

6c

6d

Supplements
Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Comments Appreciated!

5 comments:

  1. Interesting analysis regarding the impact of the "China boom" on the Big Blue collector. I would wager that other recent "boom economies" over the past couple decades will show similar results. Right now I bet the recent "India boom" in stamp collecting there might be having a similar effect.

    I know for certain there was a "Malaya boom" in the late 1990s-early 2000s, as my father was a collector of the region in the 60s and 70s when it was cheap as chips to collect, (I helped him write up the collection when I was a teen in the 1980s) and when he went to sell items in the early 2000s he was amazed at just how much values had appreciated compared to when he was actively buying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gene - appreciate you mentioning other "booms" that have occurred. The "booms" stand out, because, for many countries, there has been lack of same.

      Delete
  2. In addition to an influx of new wealth, a "boom" depends on whether or not a country's stamp collectors care to remember their history, especially if there was a nasty colonial period to be remembered. Geography may have something to do with it, too, since the humid tropics are not conducive to collecting paper of any kind.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am living in China since 2005, and I've seen the stamp market booming. In 2005 I could buy whole uncut sheets of the commonest stamps (especially the 1940-1948 issues), at second-hand bookstores, or bric-a-brac markets. However, now the prices are prohibitive and these things are now found only in specialized stamp shops. I am using Taobao (a sort of Chinese Amazon/ebay), but it's flooded with fakes, and prices for genuine are quite overrated.
    Speaking of fakes, recently there have surfaced many, especially on Taobao or other Chinese platforms. For a non-expert, they might be really tricky, especially when it comes to surcharged stamps with traditional chinese characters (mainly local army issues from the civil war era).
    Not only China, but all China-related areas (Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan) have gone up in prices. China has had a dragging effect.
    I am using different chinese catalogues. Some come with very basic (and badly done translations), some others, especially for local/specialized issues, in Chinese only. Catalogue prices do not reflect the current market prices. In China it's the seller that makes the price, and not the catalogue. For a set not particularly rare, but that shows up only few times on Taobao, and it's in very excellent conditions (perforations, paper, gum, colors, etc.) prices may go up 10 times the normal catalog prices.
    This said, China is a collecting area as immense as its land area. There are thousands of local issues which are nearly impossible to find also in China, even if the price is modest. But local issues reserve many surprises, and they are less tedious than the official State-issues (sorry to say that, but official State issue well up to 1948 are very monotonous and repetitive in design).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Filippo - appreciate the insightful analysis from an experienced collector from China.

      Delete