I receive inquiries from people wanting to know if there are investment opportunities in some recent USPS new issues. No, not the ordinary stamps that are churned out by the millions and billions. Everybody knows that new issues are not an investment. Instead, they are looking at the uncut press sheets and some of the quasi-postal stationery items that the USPS issues.
Both of these items sell in the hundreds or few thousands of copies. There was an article in Linnís Stamp News a little while ago where they listed sales figures for the uncut press sheets. Many sold in the range of 3000 copies. Given the millions of stamp collectors, these items are sure to rise in value. Right?
Iíve said it before and Iíll say it again, demand is everything when it comes to stamps. If the demand isnít there, I donít care how rare something is, itís not going to be overly valuable.
The demand is not there now for uncut press sheets. If the demand was there, the USPS would be printing and selling a lot more of them. Will there ever be a demand for these items? In theory, itís possible. But I donít see it happening. These uncut press sheets are very large. Storing them requires special care. Itís not like you can flip open a standard size stamp album and start thumbing through the pages and look at this collection. Collectors today tend to shun them for this very reason.
Collecting postal history was unheard of in the 1800s. Collectors wanted just the stamp. There was no regard to the envelopes and postmarks. But in the last 80 or so years, postal history has become a major collecting area. Could this happen to uncut press sheets too Ė where demand comes along later? In my opinion, the chances of that happening are almost zero.
Over the last several years, the USPS has issued a number of cards, lettersheets, and other quasi-postal stationery items at prices far above face value. Again, sales figures are low for these products. Another investment opportunity? Not so fast.
Many collectors donít collect postal stationery. Personally, I do and I find it a very rewarding area to collect. There is even a national society devoted to collecting postal stationery, the United Postal Stationery Society (UPSS, see www.upss.org) with about 1000 members. Even among UPSS members, only a handful of members collect these issues. These USPS products are a fringe area of collecting within whatís already a fringe area of collecting.
Iím not knocking these issues or the people who collect them. If you like them, by all means, add them to your collection. Enjoy them. But donít think, ďThese babies are going to be worth money some day!Ē I just donít see it happening. Youíll be sorely disappointed.