Iíve been asked what I thought about the imperforate stamps that are coming from the uncut press sheets that the USPS is releasing. Will I be carrying them? Do I think they will be valuable?
First of all, I have no plans to carry the imperforate stamps from the press sheets. In my opinion, I think a few folks are trying to corner the market on these issues. I donít want to get tangled up in that mess. Therefore, Iím staying out of it. Unless the situation somehow changes and I need to re-evaluate my position, I donít plan on carrying them in my stock.
Do I think they will be valuable? I donít have a crystal ball. But Iíll tell you my feelings. Please donít misconstrue this as advice on what to collect or not collect. And please donít misconstrue this as financial/investment advice about stamps.
First of all, the Scott catalog isnít going to list them or give them a catalog number. To me, I think thatís going to be a big deterrent. If it is not listed in the catalog, many of the casual collectors are going to ignore them. By that, I mean collectors who donít know a lot about stamps beyond what is printed in the Scott catalog. Scott is going to put a footnote in the catalog mentioning these stamps, but thatís all.
Second, do you remember the Farley issues (Scott #752-771)? To be fair, the Farley issues were printed in much larger quantities than the current imperforate stamps from the uncut press sheets. But to this day, the Farley issues are not worth a whole lot more than their perforated counterparts. Many of the Farley issues are inexpensive and only a few special position pieces (such as cross gutter blocks) are moderately priced. If you bought the Farleyís at face value and sold them today, you would make a nice, little profit. Unless you bought hundreds or thousands of sheets as an ďinvestmentĒ, the profit you make wouldnít pay for a fancy mansion.
I didnít do the math. But if you took, say, $1 and bought some Scott #765 position pieces and you were able to sell them today for $50, yes, you made a nice little profit. But if you put that same $1 in the bank in 1930, the interest it earned in the last 80 years may be higher than the $49 profit you made on the stamps.
Third, uncut press sheets have been around for about 20 years, starting in 1995. The imperforate press sheets are a new twist. But letís look at press sheets to date. A few of them are worth some money because the USPS didnít issue very many on a few issues. However, Iíve seen several auction lots that contain the ordinary sheets and often times, they are selling at face or below face value (almost like discount postage).
You could take these older press sheets and create gutter pairs and blocks from them, sort of like the Farley issues. Iím sure a few collectors have latched on to this idea. However, I donít see a lot of demand for this material. Where are the big full page ads in the philatelic press saying, ďYou can buy a gutter pane of the ABC stamp for just $29.95!Ē
The USPS doesnít issue a lot of uncut press sheets. Most issues are a few thousand sheets or less. If these were hugely popular, I think the USPS would print more of them (to help pad their wallet because they know these stamps will probably never see use as postage). And you would see lots of ads for them in the philatelic press.
To me, the uncut press sheets are a niche area of the hobby. Thatís fine and if you like these items, more power to you. But I donít see them as being widely accepted in the mainstream collector community. I may be wrong, but I donít think the imperforate press sheets are going to significantly change that.
Here is my best advice to you. If you like these things and you want to collect them, thatís great. Enjoy your stamps. If I was collecting these, I would pay, say, a few dollars per stamp.