The number of stamps available is not necessarily reflected by catalog/retail value. Price is as we now dictated by availability and demand. As an example the 'Penny black' is very popular. So even though millions were printed - and maybe even millions still survive to this day (?) - the retail price is still significant.
On the opposite side of the scale are stamps that were not produced in many numbers - but seems to not be appreciated by the market for any reason - so the catalog/retail price does not seem to reflect the relative scarcity of the stamp.
I found a Hungarian stamps yesterday that previous owner had misidentified. It turned out to have an overprint for Hungary Szeged, a temporary stamp-issuing entity at the town of Szeged following WW1.
Hungary 3 kr issued 1917 (Mi. #233) - overprinted for Hungary Szeged - Michel #35
By curiosity I checked Michels note regarding number of stamps issued. It says only 800 stamps were overprinted for this 3 kr value. If the 'survival rate' is estimated to 50% (?), one can presume only about 400 copies still exists on owners hands. Going by this relative scarcity one could think the catalog value would be significant? Think again - it is listed at only 30€, at least in my cat. In other words a stamp that is hundreds of times more scarce than the Penny black is still at just a fraction of the market value. So relative scarcity and price really does not go hand in hand!
Please feel free to share your thoughts or other examples
I think blaamand your "survival" rate is quiet generous; the number I have always heard being bantered is about ten percent, which would make the availability of the Hungarian stamp you referenced less than one hundred.
By no means common especially given the initial printing, but as your Hungarian example illustrates, there is no correlation between scarcity and catalogue value.
For value, one also has to consider at least one other factor - "demand" in addition to "condition" and maybe others.
Good discussion though and it brings to mind the concept of scarcity or rarity. I have seen various presentations and examples on this and here is my summary:
Unique: self-examplanatory, there is only one (rarity factor of 100)
Rare: 1 - 3 examples (rarity factor of 80)
Scarce: 4 - 10 items recorded (rarity factor of 40)
Premium 11-25 items documented (rarity factor of 20)
Uncommon - less than one hundred known examples (rarity factor - nice to have)
Very interesting thread, Jon (blaamand )! Thanks for starting it!
In your post, I think you have already identified the key influencing factor aside from just scarcity: market demand. Your example of the Penny Black is perfect to illustrate your point. Even when lots of copies exist, market demand remains high for the Penny Black, because almost every stamp collector wants one.
The Hungarian local overprint you show, while scarce, may not have much market demand, hence the relatively modest CV given how few copies exist. In the case of the Hungarian stamp, I should also point out that the underlying stamp does not have a high CV, so it could also be that these overprints have been extensively forged, which would also tend to depress the CV. In that case, why would anyone want to pay for expertizing a stamp with a CV of only 30 Euros? Not that many people, I would imagine, as the expertizing fees can end up being more than the CV.
Just my opinion....
P.S. I really like the stamp, in any case. It is a very interesting find. I have never come across one before, as far as I can recall.
stanley64 - your categorization of rarity is interesting, thanks for sharing. I for one surely don't have many stamps that will fit in any of those categories - probably none at all Ref survival rate - yes I know 10% is often considered a normal rate. My thinking was that these particular issues might be more of a 'philatelic' nature in the first place, aimed at collectors and not necessarily so much for postal use - hence a much higher survival rate would be expected. But that is pure speculation from my side, I know hardly nothing about Szeged stamps anyway.
byw - Your mis-perfed Canada block is quite cool!
Chris Beryllium Guy - thanks, valid point concerning potential for forgeries and the cost for those that want them certified. That might very well be a contributing factor. I would not be surprised if the overprint on my copy is a forgery to - and for sure I don't mind to get it certified! (Doesn't matter, I only used it as an example subject) Overprints are easy to forge on any stamp though, not only those of Hungary. As an experiment of thought: let's say for example a stamp from a more popular collecting area were overprinted in only 800 copies, I am quite sure they would have been very popular - and that forgeries would be produced as well because the market would not satisfy the demand. Collectors that wanted certification would pay for it. So I believe it is prudent to say the main driver for high prices is that the collecting area is popular - and Szeged doesn't seem to be one
Blaamand got me thinking. Does catalogue value relate to anything concrete? Bah, humbug. My favorite examples are the high value U.S. Columbian and Graf Zeppelins. Certainly not scarce—Scott says 227,260 of the latter were sold—but they still can be eye-watering pricey, despite the fact they’re exclusively philatelic. Cynics say it’s the last residue of the insanity of the 1970s stamp bubble. Probably, but not quite an explanation, either. Personally, I wish catalogues would stop listing 'value'. Come on; value is whatever the little scraps will get.
I have followed survival statistics/guesses for a while . Ignoring unique items and stamps that were not normally issued--like the US Inverted Jenny--it seems the only stamp we are reasonably certain how many were saved is the Canada 1851 12d black, SG4: 54,000 printed, 1,450 sold, and so valuable the auction houses track survival - 120 to 130. Sadly, not in my collection. If someone has one they don't like, let me know!
That could be the source the 10 percent ratio. But, it probably exaggerates. Survival seems to be higher for high value stamps. For the US Zeppelins survival is estimated at one-third. For more ordinary but still costly American Nineteenth Century stamps, survival has been estimated at 0.25 to 3 percent, depending.
Thanks for interesting and valid inputs to the discussion kasvik kasvik . (Sorry, I cannot help you with the 'Black Empress' )
Another good example for both survival rate and 'catalog value', is the stamp considered as the 'Holy grail' of GB stamps, namely the £5 orange of 1882. (Link) It was sold 246,759 copies, of which about 8,000 are expected to survive, which equals a survival rate at about 3%. And that for a stamp that cost more than most people could easily afford at that time, still most did not make it.
So, 8.000 surviving copies - that is 20 times (or even more) than a guestimate of surviviors of the Szeged stamp in my original post. Still this £5 orange will drain your wallet - SG (2014) list the value at staggering 4.750£ ! (for the least valuable). So in comparison it exists 20 times more copies of the £5 orange, but the price is still not less - but about 150 times more than the poor Szeged stamp. Following logics this is (20x150=) 3000 times "out of proportions". Reason? As Beryllium Guy nicely put it: "because almost every stamp collector wants one" - at least GB collectors. And at the same time hardly any are looking for the Szeged stamp, even tough it is the scarcer one.
So what are catalog values really? Certainly not a good measure for scarcity, that seems established. A reflection of what traders hope to get for their stamp? Not even that... I believe catalog values still have a function, indicating for example that the uncommon Szeged stamp will not pay your lunch - while the £5 orange can make your day.
Then there are stamps valued relatively low - but wanting collectors still cannot find them to fill their empty holes. Example given Elobey stamps. Not very easy to find, are they? Valuable? no....