Russian stamps 10 kopecks imperforate, strip of five, largest multiple known. Ex Fabergé

Russian stamps 10 kopecks imperforate, strip of five, largest multiple known. Ex Fabergé

August 23, 2013

Russian Stamps Market - On The Decline?

It is obvious to all of us that the philatelic market (like any market) is ruled by the law of offer & demand, and that this law is greatly influenced by the global economy. On the other hand, internet has also radically changed the market since 10 years and - good or bad - has allowed a stabilization of the pricing of the average material. Today, with one click, you can find hundreds of similar lots and compare the prices. If you are smart enough, there is no way for you to pay 300 $ to a dealer for a set that at least three of four others are selling for only 150 $. This is the good aspect of it for the collectors.

Observing regularly the market, it seems to me that since a few years there has been an important decrease in the general philatelic market. Regarding Russian stamps, collectors worlwide are definitely bidding/buying less aggressively now than 5 years ago.

There are some exceptions of course (just have a look at the crazy results of Dr Casey´ Russian Post in China collection) but overall I notice a weakened Russian stamp market, especially for average and both low & medium price material.

The growing accessibility for average material has made the prices more affordable and, in many cases, more realistic. As an example, in 2009 there was around 150 lots Zemstvo offered weekly on Ebay. Today there are more than 1000 ... 6 times more! For sure, this has calmed down the mind of many collectors, who can take their time to choose the best for their collection, at the more affordable price. With 1000 Zemstvo lots (most of them not scarce) at the same time, there is no need (perceived or real) and no envy to push the bidding.

Some stamps that I bought 100 $ on Ebay in 2009 are now selling around half of that price only. I don´t believe that the so-called "weakened global economy" holds all the responsability for it. There are other factors, like the huge internet accessibility - worldwide access in one click only. 

It is also good to ponder the fact that the Russian fever has cooled down, and that the hot countries at the moment I write those lines are China, Australia (the famous "Roos"), Classic India (in good quality) and growing slowly but surely the Indian "Uglies".

Finally, as always, nice quality and scarce material will normally sell at a good price: more buyers than sellers, and attractive quality/scarcity boosting the collector´emotions. That last recipe, at least, has not changed since the inception of philately in the early 1860s!

Maxime Citerne