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Author: Subject: High Price ?!
Beutlin
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[*] posted on 2/7/2012 at 13:16
High Price ?!


Hello,

the following letter achieved a price of over 1400 Euros ( ~ 1800 Dollar) at a auction last week in Germany.
Its in fine condition and early use.
Why this extreme price ? Has anybody an idea ?

letter no5.jpg - 261kB
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[*] posted on 2/7/2012 at 21:20


So, not a postal history expert, but if this is Russia #2 on cover, I would think this is quite rare.

Some observations:
1. stamp cancellation is sharp and perfect
2. St Petersburg stomp (departure mark?) is interesting. Is the '1' in the date upside down? It ain't round. Railroad cancel? I'm clueless.
3. There is a number on the bottom left. Registration mark?
4. Helsingfors = Helsinki maybe?
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Beutlin
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[*] posted on 2/8/2012 at 14:01


Thank you for the reply.

In the auction catalogue it was defined as Michel No 5 - I think this is equivalent to Scott No 8 (my Scott is very old, from 1949)
No 2 is Perf. 14 1/2, 15
No 8 (Scott) is perf. 12 1/2
Im not shure, but it seems to be the wide perforation.

Yes, the '1' in the red postmark is upside down.
Helsingfors means Helsinki in Finland.
The number on the bottom left a registration mark ? Interesting idea. But shouldn't there another indicators for this ?
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Maxime Citerne
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[*] posted on 2/9/2012 at 05:27


Russia #2 are scarce on covers but unless there is a specific feature, they can not fetch such a price. I have several #2 covers, according the cover 's feature (cancel, multiple, etc.) they can range from 200$ to 400$.

This stamp on cover is Russia #5 (Michel). The cancel is NOT the experimental St Petersburg dotted cancel, which could have explined the price. A closer examination -maybe- could light up a new type of the "1" dotted pmk. Anyone on this?

This is quite an early cover for a Russia #5, but there are other earlier covers known in September and October, at least 3 of them (there is another recent thread on the forum about this).

The inverted '1' in the postmark, although an interesting feature, doesn't seem enough to boost the price.

I may be missing a point though, but I do not understand either this price...

Those who, like me, regularly follow some auctions, discover that there are some crazy prices sometimes. You can have a cover/stamp fetching 3 times the market price, and some others can -sometimes- be bought at half price.

Maxime
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verny
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[*] posted on 2/12/2012 at 08:10
prices realised at auction


A while back there was an article by M.A.Sherwood-Jenkins published in Rossica that studied the pricing of Russian material and reasons for price variations. This was quite extensive and analysed a lot of the factors that can contibute to seemingly out of kilter prices, including localised scarcity. In respect of this cover the only obvious things other than the intrinsic scarcity of the particular stamp on cover I can see are the inverted 1 in the SPB postmark, the cleanliness of the cover and clarity of the dotted cancellation. Other things that sometimes come into play are:content of the letter, addresee, fit with a collectors particular needs etc. Sometimes these are not actually related to 'normal' philatelic considerations. For example someone who is buidling a collection of mail from a particular small town. There may be dozens of a particular stamp on cover available but if that is the only one he has seen from the town he collects he will pay a premium not understood by someone who just wants an example on cover and is not excercised by where it came from. maybe in this case there were simply two bidders both concentrating on superb quality and in need of this cover for their collections. There are collectors out there to whom money is not a limiting factor and in this case strength of desire will drive up the price.
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[*] posted on 2/12/2012 at 08:22
another thought


having just made a post I had a couple more thoughts on this cover.
Your references are in dollars - are you comparing what this type of cover sells for in the US with a German auction price or are you comparing with similar items sold recently in Germany?

There is a very strong market for Russian material in Germany which is in part fuelled by the strong trade links built up between Russia and Germany. This has resulted in the German government being more ready than most other european countries to grant visas to Russians which in turn means more wealthy Russian collectors now attend auctions and shows in Germany than for example the UK. Add to this the number of Russians now living in Germany and it creates a very strong local market. In addition the same conditions make it easier for Russians to sell in Germany which is within easy reach of Russia and thus a circle of high local supply and demand is created. The same may not be true in say the US or UK despite there being strong immigrant populations.
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[*] posted on 2/12/2012 at 13:14


This is clearly Sc #8 (Mi #5) -- just count the perfs. It is very clean and nicely cancelled. It is not registered, as such a procedure was not in existence then (in the modern form anyway), and 10k would only have paid regular postage.
The number was probably put there by the sender, as a way of numbering his correspondence, which was likely commercial.
Unless there is something very special about the receiver on the back (if there is one), the obvious point is that 1 Nov 1858 is an early date for a cover with Sc #8, though I posted a funky cover with a date of 21 or 22 September here a while back. So it is primarily the fact that it is a very nice cover, and there are lots of buyers in the market place with lots of money just now. How is the Ruble doing against the Euro these days?
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Beutlin
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[*] posted on 2/12/2012 at 13:21


I share most of your thoughts.

Quote: Originally posted by verny  
...
Your references are in dollars - are you comparing what this type of cover sells for in the US with a German auction price or are you comparing with similar items sold recently in Germany?
...


The normal price for such a cover at german auctions seems to be about 50-100 Euros. Of course, the very good condition of the cover and the clear stamp can push the price - but in this region?
Also letters from Petersburg and letters to Helsingfors are not rare, so collectors of these destinations can choose from lots of offers.
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[*] posted on 2/12/2012 at 16:10


No doubt the seller is crying all the way to the bank...
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Maxime Citerne
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[*] posted on 2/15/2012 at 08:07


Quote: Originally posted by verny  

This has resulted in the German government being more ready than most other european countries to grant visas to Russians

Well, I am not sure at all about this :) I live in Germany and I have many friends (and clients) from Russia and Belarus who want to come and live here in Germany. It is certainly much more difficult for them to get granted a long Visa from the German government than from the French or Italian ones! The Russian immigrant population has also been (historically) bigger in France.

Back to this cover - The current currency exchange rates (Euro-Dollar-Ruble) CANNOT justify the tremendous price fetched by this cover.

I agree also with Beutlin, both the origin and destination are common. There is nothing really special about this cover which can justify the price. Russia #5 covers are not scarce at all and there are plenty of superb examples out there to pick up from.

A superb cover could exceptionally fetch 200$/ or maybe even more ... but paying 1800$ is financially suicide.

If you can buy a Mercedes in all shops for 40.000$, why should you go elsewhere and pay 10 times more? This simple rule applies for small, medium or large wallets as well.

The dotted "1" cancel seems to have some finer dots (slightly smaller in diameter) than what is usually seen. A light-handed postman, a newly produced hand postmark or an unrecorded type? Only the latter could justify the price in my opinion.

By the way, I also agree with David about the manuscript number. This is not a registered cover of course.

Philately is certainly an interesting field! ;)

Best regards,

Maxime
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David Jay
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[*] posted on 2/15/2012 at 12:41


The cancel is very sharp -- maybe the cleaned the cancellers once in a while. But is one of the usual types, not one of the scarce early or experimental cancels that are not known on Mi #5, only on Mi #1 and 2, maybe 3-4.
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[*] posted on 2/18/2012 at 12:10


Maxime, Just to clarify - My earlier comments referred to short term visas to Germany not settlement visas. It is far easier for Russians to get a visitors visa be it for holiday/exhibition/auction/business to Germanyand other european countries than to UK. This is not simply a broad brush statement but one grounded in personal experience and on feedback from family, friends, dealers and collectors from Russia and across Europe. We have had family friends we have known over 40 years refused visas to come to the UK but had no trouble getting them visas to Germany, Sweden, Finland or Netherlands. UK dealers are travelling to Europe to sell Russian material precisely for this reason, particularly to Germany and Czech Republic.
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Maxime Citerne
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[*] posted on 2/19/2012 at 07:07


Thank you for your clarification! Now I understand better your statement.

I agree of course that it is far easier for Russian people to get a travelling/short visa from Germany than UK.

My wife is Russian and we get married in Germany... It was quite tough on the administrative level but still possible. Yet, I was travelling in London a few weeks ago and it was strictly impossible for my wife to follow me there: UK is the only Western Europe country that doesn't recognize the long time permit-stay delivered by other EU countries (which normally allow free travel within EU)!

Thank you again for taking the time to clarify. :)
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