2020: What stamps will go up in value?

The Stamp Man

The Stamp Man

2020-01-20 09:57:21

The decade of stamps

I think the 20’s will be a decade where rare stamps (and collectibles in general) flourish as an asset class. Let me explain 3 reasons why…

  1. We have enjoyed a long bull market in stocks. As we know, bull markets do not last forever. The next bear market will, as before in 2008, result in an increased interest in rare stamps as a diversification of wealth away from volatile traditional investments.
  2. Rare tangible assets as a store of wealth become more popular in times of fear. The frightening world we face today includes political instability, economic volatility and global environmental change.
  3. Goldman Sachs predicts by 2030 some 2 billion extra people will be in the middle-class bracket. A proportion of this demographic will get involved in purchasing investment grade stamps.

The simple fact remains, when it comes to rare stamps, supply is finite and dwindling because of damage, loss and gifts to museums, whilst I believe, for the reasons set out above, demand will increase in the decade ahead.

All collectibles are experiencing a better understanding of scarcity and value; and stamps are still hugely undervalued against many other collecting areas.

The extreme high values of art, classic cars etc. now preclude so many collectors, who naturally cascade down to another form of collecting where the barriers to entry are lower. 

Also, with stamps there is a diverse range of subject, in this case by country, which attracts collectors on a global basis.

But, as is always the case, some areas of the stamp market will prove more popular than others in the coming decade.

I have selected 6 key areas of the stamp market which I recommend as my top investment tips for the 20’s. 

British Classic Stamps

I expect to see a return to a bull market for rare British classic stamps in this decade.

Over the past 5 years, rare British stamps have not proved a good investment. Prices have fallen behind many other areas of the market where prices have continued to rise.

However, as I have mentioned in previous articles, we are now seeing clear signs of a momentum shift.

In the past few months, we have recruited a number of serious new collectors of rare British stamps.

At the same time, a few canny investors have used the recent market weakness as an opportunity to pick up some of the finest British stamp rarities in existence at very good prices. 

I have also been doing a lot of work overseas to recruit new buyers of British stamps, particularly in the US and Far East. These endeavours are now clearly beginning to bear fruit.

Based on the classic British stamp rarities we have available at the moment, this would be where I would put my own money:

Great Britain 1840 2d Blue, Plate 1, SG5.

Reasons I recommend it as a hot tip:

  • The two-penny blue was issued at the same time as the penny black and therefore shares the accolade of being one of the world’s first two postage stamps
  • Fine quality mint examples are notoriously difficult to find as they are 10 times rarer than the penny black
  • It has excellent historic investment pedigree. It is listed in the current SG catalogue at a price of £38,000. Two decades ago, it was listed at £6,500, growth of 485% in the past 20 years.
  • This example is very fine and fresh unused, with large part original gum, lettered RE from the first printing plate
  • Despite the thin margin on the bottom right of the stamp, it is very scarce in such fine condition and, in particular, benefits from wonderful colour
  • You can buy this stamp from us today for the price of £30,000 (21% discount)


The Bull in a China Shop

China 1897 Large figure surcharge, 1½mm spacing on 'Small Dragons' set of 3 to 5c on 5ca olive-yellow tied to small piece by part Shanghai 'dollar chops', SG66/68. 

This set of classic rare Chinese Empire stamps were issued with surcharges in 1897 as there was a need for more stamps at the time.

Reasons I recommend as a hot tip:

  • The Chinese market has seen a slight lull in the past couple of years after a long bull run. Yet, the Chinese economy continues to grow and is forecast to grow by 6% in 2020.
  • The Chinese stamp market remains the most vibrant with the Wall Street Journal reporting 20 million active collectors representing a third of the number of stamp collectors in the world
  • These stamps are rarely ever seen used and this is the first time we have handled used examples
  • Prices of Chinese stamps historically have proven they can jump significantly very quickly. These stamps have recorded historic growth of over 300% in the past decade. 
  • This set is available today for the price of £5,500If the historic growth rate continues in the next decade, they could be worth £22,000 by 2030.


An Emerging Market still going cheap

Niger Coast 1894 (1 Jan) provisional issue with 'OIL RIVERS' obliterated, the set of 6 to 1s in imperforate horizontal pairs in unissued colours, part to large part original gum. The ½d in lilac, 1d in red-brown, 2d in deep blue, 2½d in yellow-orange, 5d in lake, 1s in bright green, PROOF SG45/50.

This is a magnificent set from Niger Coast (now Nigeria) and excessively rare in pairs. They are believed to have been printed from trial plates of 9. 

Reasons I recommend as a hot tip:

  • In comparison to most other areas of the world, stamps from African countries remain cheap, with many rarities still selling for under £1,000
  • In recent years, most auction sales of African rare stamps have resulted in higher prices being realised. An uptrend now appears to be in full swing in this emerging market.
  • This specialised set of stamps of the utmost rarity appears a steal at the current price of £3,750, when compared to similar type rarities from other countries


A passionate base of collectors

Australia 1929-30 £2 black and rose, watermark 7, very fresh and well-centred, large part original gum. A most attractive example of this key high value. Mint. SG 114.  

A lovely quality example of Australia’s most famous stamp in mint condition and of fresh appearance with most of its original gum retained.

Reasons I recommend it as a hot tip:

  • Australia’s first stamp, the “Kangaroo and Map” has captured the minds and hearts of collectors worldwide and is considered one of the world’s most sought-after stamps
  • Australia benefits from a passionate base of stamp collectors. It is only my opinion but, from having spent some time in Australia, I think this is because of an innate national pride of heritage prevalent in the Ozzie culture.
  • This “Kangaroo and Map” stamp has proved a stable and reliable long term investment, rising in value at a steady pace over time. It is currently priced at £4,500 in the SG catalogue compared to a price of £2,000 in their 2004 catalogue, (up 125% in the past 15 years). 
  • It is available for you to own today at a 12% discount for the price of £3,950


Exhibition Pieces winning awards

Provenance: G Francis (Cawardine)

This is an incredible collection tracking the entire printings from the first three printing plates (1a) through to (1c). The collection showcases the evolution of the world’s first postage stamp, which would be very difficult to reassemble.

The matched printings track the early state 1a, showing the wear of the printing plate until regeneration to plate 1b and later printings in red. Plate 1c was the same printing plate used for the penny black, reconditioned and used for the penny red. 

The collection has been assembled so that each set has matching plate initials and would have taken considerable time to build.

All the stamps included in the collection are of fine or very fine quality with four clear margins and are fresh with some excellent examples of Maltese Cross cancellations.

The penny red replaced the penny black as it was believed a black cancel would be readily visible on a red stamp. It was also known that penny blacks were being reused fraudulently by removing the cancellations.

Reasons I recommend as my TOP tip:

  • A stunning showpiece collection tracking the printing history of the world’s first stamp
  • This exhibition piece was previously part of a London Grand Prix Gold Medal winning collection providing exceptional provenance and recognition
  • With the International Stamp Exhibition being hosted in London in May this year, there will be a heightened interest in British stamps, which historically has always provided a boost for the GB stamp market
  • This exhibit of the first printings of the penny black is available for you to purchase today for the price of £15,000

E-MAIL OR CALL US ON +44(0)1534 639998 TO BUY NOW

 The momentum stamp investment

In recent years, the Indian stamp market has proved a most lucrative investment. 

There is a clear desire amongst the emerging market consumers to seek and secure rare collectibles and repatriate items held overseas belonging to their heritage.

With the Indian population of 1.3 billion, 101 billionaires and c.242,000 millionaires, the upward momentum certainly has the platform to continue.

In 2017, a unique strip of four ten-rupee stamps of 1948 picturing Mahatma Gandhi was sold for a record price of $598,000.

There are two problems with investing in rare Indian stamps:

  1. The humid climate of India means a lower survival rate for old stamps with most stamps suffering from condition issues and not suitable for investment 
  2. Collections in the right quality rarely become available in the market and are very difficult to source

Because of this, we currently don’t have any Indian stamps we can offer you. If you are interested in getting into this lucrative investment market in stamps, please let me know and we will give you first refusal when we next have suitable items available.

Please provide me with your expression of interest in rare Indian stamps and your budget. Simply reply to this blog to let me know. 

Summary Predictions for the decade ahead

In summary:

  1. I believe the macro case for investing in rare stamps and other fine quality collectibles will become stronger this decade than ever before
  2. The polarisation of wealth witnessed over the past decade will continue resulting in a large increase in the global middle classes, bringing increased demand for trophy assets and aspirational purchases
  3. Scarcity of the finest quality stamps will rise because of this increased demand and more items being tied up in long term collections or donated to institutions and not available to purchase
  4. The internet, particularly online auctions, will continue to take a larger role, opening up the rare stamp market to a global audience creating a liquidity boost
  5. The prices of rare stamps will rise at above the rate of inflation as they always have throughout history

All predictions of course include the caveat that no one can reliably predict the future but, as CEO, it is my job to try!

We look forward to helping you profit from the rare stamp market in the decade ahead and to build your collection to be a legacy you can take great pride in.

Kind regards, 

Mike Hall.

CEO Just Collecting 

PS. Don’t forget, we are able to offer you secure storage and professional specialist insurance to look after your collection, together with annual valuations, as part of our service.

Enjoyed this blog? You may also like:

December 31, 2019: A happy new year 

December 30, 2019: The 10 weirdest auction lots of 2019 

December 27, 2019: Some like it hot, do you? 

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