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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : What are CTOs? What is the point of producing CTOs?

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lisagrant87
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09 Jun 2012
09:02:28pm
I have a general question about CTOs. They're not recognized by most catalogs and if they are, they often have minimum values assigned to them. They can't be used in postal duty. So what is the point? I just don't get why you would make a stamp, cancel it and sell it. I probably am missing something so can anyone help?
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michael78651
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09 Jun 2012
09:20:38pm
re: What are CTOs? What is the point of producing CTOs?

There are various reasons for a country to issue CTO stamps.

Let's take East European (Communist Block countries) from the 1950s and such. At the end of World War II, there wasn't any money in Europe. The Communist Block countries needed hard currency and fast to rebuild from the devastation of the war. Stamps were canceled without seeing postal use and sold to dealers at a discounted price. That brought in needed funds. Also, remember too that it was difficult to get mail out of these countries during this time, so postally used stamps were hard to come by in other countries. It afforded a chance for collectors to obtain these stamps at prices much lower than it would have cost if the stamps were unused.

Other countries will do the same, but will cancel the remainder of the supplies of the stamps and sell them at a discount to dealers in order to get some money out of them rather than destroy the stamps.

Other countries will cancel stamps to make special packets to sell to collectors. I just read where Australia did this with some of its surplus earlier issues (Kangaroos in particular).

Other reasons that countries will issue stamps as canceled to order to sell to collectors (get the trend here about CTO?) is that the stamps may not be available for use by the public and thus the country did not want to issue unused stamps for sale to the general public. Official stamps from The Netherlands is an example of this.

That's a quick overview of CTOs. Others may have additional information or examples for you.


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George
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11 Jun 2012
12:25:00am
re: What are CTOs? What is the point of producing CTOs?

you're forgetting "dunes", which were issued by middle eastern countries with the cancel printed as part of the design. they were only nominally available for postal use if at all, and it was pretty clear that they were issued to make money from collectors. SG catalogue lists them in an appendix and doesn't even show pictures for them.

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John Macco
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Astrophilatelist- Space Cover Collector
11 Jun 2012
06:22:53am
re: What are CTOs? What is the point of producing CTOs?

Some early Russian stamps are only found in CTO (used) condition.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
11 Jun 2012
07:18:35am

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re: What are CTOs? What is the point of producing CTOs?

I should add to George's comment that some of the dunes' stamps were issued by companies and not the countries.

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michael78651
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11 Jun 2012
08:48:04am
re: What are CTOs? What is the point of producing CTOs?

One funny thing about some of the Gulf States "wall paper" stamps is that they were also forged by souvenir shops when they ran out of the stamps in order to sell to tourists!

Michel has a Gulf States catalog (in English) that covers these and other bonafide issues from this region. The last edition was issued in 2006.

Some of these stamps are very popular, and their values are rising.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
11 Jun 2012
08:58:35am

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re: What are CTOs? What is the point of producing CTOs?

AND, one should look out for Dunes used properly on cover; their CTO cousins are sometimes derided, but the postally used stamps are as rare as oases in a TE Lawrence or Frank Herbert epic.

David

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Woodstock
11 Jun 2012
02:12:28pm
re: What are CTOs? What is the point of producing CTOs?

It should also be noted that pre-1984 China (PRC) CTO's and Reprints very frequently sell for much higher prices than those listed in Scott.

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
14 Jun 2012
12:19:12pm
re: What are CTOs? What is the point of producing CTOs?

One of th most interesting facts about the ubiquitous Jam Jar labels from the "sand dune" emirates is that they often featured images that would get you in trouble with the religious authorities in those very repressive regimes.
There are strict rules in the Moslem religion about female and male images, especially those that showed a naked or semi-naked body.
So it is not difficult to understand that those labels were printed in other countries and probably never available even for the archives in the supposedly issuing nation.

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PeterG
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14 Jun 2012
04:44:09pm
re: What are CTOs? What is the point of producing CTOs?

Not to mention that most of these emirates had ceased to exist and joined the United Arab Emirates long before those "stamp like labels" stopped hitting the philatelic market

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Bujutsu
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11 Sep 2012
01:45:59pm
re: What are CTOs? What is the point of producing CTOs?

Some of these "CTOs" never saw the country of origin that they were supposed to be from. A great deal were handled by agents.

A lot of the CTOs nowadays have the cancellation 'printed' right over them in their initial printing run-offs.

I personally have NEVER been a fan of CTO stamps. I prefer stamps that have been used through the regular bonafide mail routes. However, having made my statement, it is a hobby afterall and we all persue whatever makes us feel good.

Chimo

Bujutsu

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michael78651
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11 Sep 2012
04:54:05pm
re: What are CTOs? What is the point of producing CTOs?

In many situations, the only way to get the stamp is CTO as the postally used are non-existent or extremely hard to find, as would be unused stamps from the same set(s). So, one is looking at either filling holes in an album or leaving the spaces blank.

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
11 Sep 2012
07:26:57pm
re: What are CTOs? What is the point of producing CTOs?

" ... So, one is looking at either filling holes in an album or leaving the spaces blank. ..."

One other alternative.
Up to the mid 1970s I used the Minkus Master and Supreme Global Albums and bought the updates as they became available. However I began to purge the pages from those so-called nations that produced the Jam Jar Labels in great numbers.
That meant no holes and no blank spaces.
I collect postally used so if they were never postally used nor available in the nation they were supposed to be from, there is no place for either them, Banana Stickers or barbed wire strands in my albums.
Then about 1977 I began to create separate albums for different countries or areas. Since they are my albums and I skipped the CTO producers and products, again leaving neither blank spaces nor nor annoying holes.
Final result is that I am satisfied especially in the knowledge that I have not provided economic support to the very people who have done so much harm to the hobby.

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