2022: The Year of the stamp
Pandemic leads to resurgence in collecting
A belated Happy New Year to you!
Over the festive break, my family would regularly come find me in my home office to chastise me with:
“You’re not playing with your stamps again are you?”
To which I would reply:
“Yes, I am afraid I am, it is what I do!”
As much as I enjoyed “playing” with my stamps during the break, it was disheartening to read over the opening line in my first e-mail communication back in January 2021.
Sadly, it remains equally pertinent a year on…
“First and foremost, I hope you remain safe and well as the new, more contagious, wave of coronavirus means many of us are back in lockdown.”
Last year it was Delta, this year it's Omicron.
Whilst more lockdowns are less likely than they were a year ago, the pandemic looks certain to dominate our lives for another year.
The collectibles market has, however, proven an oasis of positive news during the pandemic.
Last year was a record year for us
Our total revenues reported in 2021 were up 33% on the prior year.
The key dynamics leading to a record year for us included:
- We saw a big increase in the number of new collectors contacting us for the first time
- Average order values were significantly higher with our clients investing larger sums into their collections
- Realisations from our online auctions were up considerably as the market continues to migrate online
- In particular, we noted an increased interest in the finest quality examples of the rarest of stamps where we have a very active collector base
- We witnessed a marked increase in buyers from Asia, mainly for stamps from India and China
- Our competitors were often big buyers at our online auctions as they share our huge confidence in the market, are also experiencing a big uplift in business and have clients with wants lists they are looking to satisfy
The market indicators in rare stamps are all positive right now and we look forward to another exciting year ahead.
Top auction houses report record growth
The strength of the collectibles market during the pandemic is evident with the top international auction houses all reporting record rates of growth in 2021.
Sotheby’s reported sales of $7.3 billion, 46% up on the previous year and the highest sales in the company’s 277-year history.
Likewise, Christie’s reported sales of $7.1 billion, a jump of 54% on 2020 with Phillips at $1.2 billion exceeding sales of $1 billion for the first time.
The source of the increases in revenues experienced by the “big guns” appears to mirror our own personal experience, namely:
Impact of Asian Buyers
All three firms witnessed an increase in Asian buyers who were bidding in the US and Europe, as well as at home. In the past, most Asian buyers only purchased from auctions held in their own countries.
Illustrating the magnitude of the Asian passion for collectibles, Sotheby’s stated that Asian buyers accounted for one third of all bids by value in their worldwide sales.
All of the big auction houses have invested considerably in their web and mobile platforms because of the shift to the livestream online auction format during lockdowns.
Sotheby’s reported that 39% of buyers and 44% of bidders online since January 2021 were new clients.
A younger audience is becoming increasingly involved in collectibles with new collecting categories, particularly watches, luxury accessories, collectibles and NFTs (non fungible tokens) proving high growth areas.
The new and trendy NFTs seem to be a burgeoning market. Christie’s reported sales of more than 100 NFTs in 2021, totalling nearly $150 million in value.
Sotheby’s stated 78% of NFT buyers were new clients and more than half of them under the age of 40.
We intend to be big buyers in 2022
One thing is for sure…
We want to be big buyers of rare stamps and other collectibles this year. As a business, this makes commercial sense to us because:
- Cash does not generate any return on our balance sheet, whereas our stockholding of rare stamps and other collectibles appreciates in value every year
- Demand looks set to increase further with more people looking at rare stamps as a portable tangible asset to protect and grow their wealth in what can only be extremely volatile economic times ahead of us
- The International Stamp Exhibition is hosted in London next month - a once in a decade event. Historically, interest in British stamps has always shown a major “spike” around this major philatelic event
- We foresee the biggest problem we will face in our market will be our ability to source the finest quality rare stamps in areas of most interest to our clients and, as such, any opportunities to buy we will take
- Rising inflation may well prove the biggest threat to our wealth and we trust in the knowledge rare stamps, historically, have always risen in value the most during times of high inflation
A good time to build a collection
With the market so vibrant and because of the defensive qualities of rare stamps as an asset, right now looks a good time to invest in your stamp collection.
We already know stamp collecting has seen a renaissance during lockdowns.
Certainly, in the 22 years I have been trading in this market, I have never seen such positive market indicators to support future growth as I do today.
To give you some food for thought on what rare stamps you should be buying in 2022, I have compiled for you some sample collections.
The collections I have built for you:
- Consist of premium quality rare stamps (ie. those in most demand and the most challenging to find)
- Are heavily weighted to stamps within the least volatile collecting areas of the market
- Have a long term history of steady price appreciation
- Provide diversification to ensure no excessive dependence on the performance of any one geographical market
- Target those areas of the stamp market, and the kind of rarities, showing the most demand right now
- Include stamps where I feel current catalogue values are below fair market values based on demand comparative to rarity
- Our prices provide, wherever possible, discounts against listed catalogue values, providing you with a margin of safety
I have produced five collections in total.
The quality, rarity and value within each should be self-evident.
All you need to do is click on each link below to find out why…
These are merely illustrative sample collections. We pride ourselves in providing an entirely personal service to help you build your collection.
A good time to talk to us
The beginning of a new year is always a good time to organise a call with us so we may discuss your objectives and collecting needs for the year ahead.
Book a call with us today:
You can also reach us by phone on +44(0)1534 639998.
We look forward to helping you in the year ahead to build a wonderful stamp collection. This can give you a sense of achievement and pride today as well as profit in the future.
All the best for a safe and successful 2022.
PS. As I said, we are interested in buying top quality rare stamps this year with a seven-figure budget available. We would consider the purchase of a dealer stockholding. So, any dealers out there thinking this is the time to hang up your stamp boots, please get in touch with us.