Monday, May 13, 2013

Yet Another Almost Complete Blue Volume One

Dr. Robert Friedman & Son's 102nd Sale in the 27 May 2013 Linn's offers a Volume One as lot 337. Here is the description:

337 Worldwide - A fabulous 1840-1940 valuable collection of some 50,000 stamps with no duplication in three excellent condition bulging Scott albums containing Scott Junior International pages in A-Z format. Approximately 97% of the spaces provided are filled with a mint or used stamp and about 90% of the value is in mint singles and sets. There are literally some thousands of nice condition stamps that catalogue between $20 and $300. The collection was lovingly assembled over some forty years and the stamps were purchased individually or in sets. The collector wrote in pencil the Scott catalogue number under most of the stamps for easy identification. Many of the countries are complete or almost complete for the spaces provided. It is obviously very rare to find such a comprehensive pre 1940 collection these days and the buyer will be thrilled with the price of: NET $29,950.

So, if the 97% is accurate, the collection is missing only about a 1000 stamps for which Scott provided spaces. Since the album appears to contain an additional 15,000 stamps beyond the spaces, it would be interesting to see where the collector found room to put them.

Another way of looking at the collection is that the stamps would fill a little more than 60% of a set of the Browns. I'll leave it to the reader to decide whether the price is right.

When I first began obsessing about the Blues in 2007/2008, it wasn't even obvious if anyone had  completed a Blue Volume 1. Now, a couple of complete or almost complete Blues seem to appear each year. Still very rare, but it is comforting to know that multiple collectors have taken up the challenge that the album presents.


Jim said...

Wow- $30,000. Bob, how does that compare to other heavily laden 1840-1940's ?

Bob said...

One way to look at this is that it works out to 60 cents each for 50 thousand pre-1940 stamps. In my experience, the only way to get this fraction of catalog is through large collections. I don't have any data on similar collections to know how "60 cents" compares.

Or you could start with the recent sale of an almost complete (but perhaps more complete than this) Blue for $18K. This means you are paying $11,950 ($29,950-18,000) for the "extra" 15,000 stamps, or 80 cents per stamp. Again, these are just numbers--I have nothing to compare them against.

Houghton Grandmal said...

Well, I wouldn't say the additional $12000 is going for the 15000 "extra" stamps. (Presumably on interleaved blank/quadrilled pages, at least some of them??)

The description says that 90% of them are mint. That right there means a sizeable premium--if this one had "only" 35,000 it still would be worth more than the one that went for $18,000??? (Or was that one also 90% mint? I don't remember.)

Moreover, if some of the 15,000 for which Big Blue has no space are earlies, are the "betters" that Big Blue editors excluded, then the value rises very quickly.

I would have thought the seller would have given some hint of the nature of the "extra" 15,000. But even not knowing for sure, I'm not inclined to think $30,000 is necessariuly out of line.

Out of my budget, well, yes. Out of line . . . .

Bob said...

Houghton, great points. Especially where I completely glossed over the "about 90% of the value is in mint singles and sets."

Houghton Grandmal said...

I just posted an oops comment but on the preceding post, so I'll rewrite it here.

In rereading the Friedman description, I see that it says that 90% of the value is in mint,not that 90% of the collection is mint rather than used.

So it boils down to whether the 15000 extra are earlies and betters that Big Blue has no spaces for or whether they are post-1940s. If the latter, the describer should have said so.

If the former, then $30,000 might well be very reasonable.

Houghton Grandmal said...

If the 50,000 stamps are truly all pre-1940, then what we have here is actually a Steiner, not a Blue, but a Steiner that never got transferred to Steiner pages.

If the total number of stamps issued to 1940 was something like 80,000 or 90,000,then this should not be viewed as a complete Scott International Part I but as a 50-60% complete 1840-1940 Classics collection. As rare as a nearly complete Big Blue may be, a 60% complete Steiner is even more rare, because it will include the expensive stamps Big Blue edited out.

(Admittedly, some of the 15,000 could be the sorts of less expensive stamps that Jim Jackson has identified with so much precision--stamps that could have been included in Big Blue without violating it's "selection criteria."

But that won't account for all 15,000, I would think.

So the real question is, does this truly stop with 1940 or does it have near completeness for, say 1940-1950? Then $20,000 might be more reasonable.

I'll shut up now.

Jim said...

Good thoughts.

Until proven, I would also take the 50,000 figure with a grain of salt. ;-)