2009 was a tough year no matter what business you were in. The recession took its toll on many businesses. In the stamp world, some businesses did not make it. Those that are still here are likely to be here in years to come.

Stamp values have softened a little as evidenced by recent changes in the Scott catalogs. Some better items such as the Columbians (Scott #230-245) fell in price. Did you notice that the price reductions in stamps are far less than price reductions in other business segments like housing? Some markets took a large beating. However, stamp prices have remained steady overall.

One other thing that I noticed lately is that there are far fewer sales of graded, inexpensive stamps. I see a few such lots in auctions. Those lots sell in the tens of dollars – not the hundreds or thousands of dollars as they brought in the past. There will always be a market for top quality material in the pre-1935 era of US stamps. I believe the huge realizations, that some of this stuff brought in the past, were from “investors” outside the hobby who were looking to cash in. Collectors with philatelic knowledge didn’t fall for the big prices. I wonder how many of these outside investors are looking at their holdings today going, “What happened to the market?” When the economy changed, the market dried up. It was a fad.

Despite 2009 being a rough year in terms of the economy and with my stroke in the fall, the year ended on a very positive note for me. Thanks for your patience and understanding during my recovery period. And thanks for your continued business and making 2009 my best year in sales so far. I truly appreciate every one of you, no matter how big or how small your purchases. Thank you.

As the economy slowly turns itself around, there are brighter days ahead for all of us. Enjoy your stamps. That’s what it’s all about!