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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : Cover values

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lisagrant87
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02 Jul 2012
10:19:14am
How does one determine the value of a cover or FDC? I ask mostly for fairness in cv to cv trades.

Is there a listing for any covers or FDCs?

Is the value basically that of the stamp? I realize covers with interesting routes or cancels etc have different values, so I'm asking about basic covers.

What about the value of postcards that have or have not seen postal duty? Are there listings for these?
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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
02 Jul 2012
12:22:48pm
re: Cover values

the short answer to your question is NO. FDCs are collected primarily by FDC collectors with others, such as me, dabbling in a few that catch our fancy for this reason or that. Most FDCs are mass-produced, and, as such, have little or no secondary market value. Of course, FDCs produced in small batches by artists already well known amoung the FDC collecting community can command hundreds of dollars. But you and I are unlikely to stumble on a Dorothy Knapp but we are likely to be innundated with ArtCrafts.

Scott specialty values FDCs, but I must tell you my experience is that valuation is generally many multiple mores than you should expect to receive.

There is an FDC association (AFDCS) and our own Bob Parkin is active in it. He can probably shed more light on this, from a specialist perspective, if you're interested.

There is also a post card society, and our own Richard Novick is active in that. Richard, feel free to post the URL here if you like, but allow Lisa to discover the myriad mysteries of deltiology on her own.

There are quite a few of us here who collect used post cards, but each for our own different reasons: Doe likes 300s, we have a few Naval cover collectors, Saleem for their airmail usages, and me if they carry a tied seal. The same post card, franked with an airmail stamp, US 300, or seal, or featuring either a ship cancel or keel-laying cachet will command a different audience and different price. Experience is the sole guide here, although one could go to Air Mail society, US Ship Cancel Society, or Christmas Seal and Charity Stamp Society to learn more about airmails, navals, or seals, respectively.

David

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parkinlot
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President - West Essex Philatelic Society www.wepsonline.org
02 Jul 2012
01:18:22pm
re: Cover values

99% of the FDC value is in the cachet and who made it. Like David said, the mass produced FDC's are a dime a dozen and the more popular and rare the cachet maker, the more valuable the fdc is. What I do to see what an FDC retails for is go to James McCusker's website: http://www.jamesmccusker.com/ and search by either cachet maker or Scott Number. Most of the time I find the cover on that site.

There is also the Planty catalogs which list all the known cachet makers for each issue. I don't believe that they are still in print and I'm not sure when the last was was issued. Being a member of the AFDCS, I receive the publication First Days and there is constantly new Cachet Makers and covers being found that were issued years ago that no one knew about.

Another factor that affects price is whether the cover is addressed or not. All covers are generally preferred unaddressed, especially modern issues. One exception to this rule that I noticed are cover made by Adam Bert. All his covers have no cachet and are addressed to himself. He was a legend in the FDC community, so I guess that is why they sell between $5-$10 a piece.

Bob

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oliver_black
02 Jul 2012
05:05:54pm
re: Cover values

I find it fascinating that being unaddressed is the preferable condition for most modern FDC's.

I realize I know relatively little about philatelic matters and nothing about the FDC aspect of the hobby, but it seems counter-intuitive. Almost like a CTO... postally, an artificial creation...sterile... manufactured. Seems to me a FDC that was subjected to the vagaries of moving from point A to point B within a postal system would have acquired a certain cachet compared to one sent in its own wrapper, so to speak.

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cdj1122
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02 Jul 2012
05:53:19pm
re: Cover values

The interest in FDCs of themselves came about over a hundred years ago due to the postal administration's, especially USPS's, habit of releasing stamps printed from a new plate or with significant modifications in paper, color or design. Sometimes they released stamps with minor variations or re-entries in the original plates used. Minor to the USPS, but very interesting to collectors.

When somthing different was released with little or no notice from the philatelicly deaf people at L'Enfant Plaza, collectors, sooner of later, noticed the difference and wished to know more. Our deaf friends also often played dumb and could not, or were unwilling, to provide information as to when and where a new plate was used or details about the series of repairs (re-entries) that had been made. So the search was on for the earliest known usage (EKU) and sometimes a complete cover with a clear cancellation showing the first day of issue was found. An even greater bonus might be attached if some clever devil had the foresight, or good fortune, to affix the stamps to an envelope that was decorated with some drawing or printing that illustrated the purpose for which the stamp had been issued.
From that developed the idea of special First Day of Issue Cacheted Covers. The first of which was created by George Linn in the early 1920s.

One interesting side factoid about modern FDCs is that a miniscule number are actually used to carry the mail and quite often very few actually have the cachet applied on the day that the cancellation is applied. It is far simpler to affix the stamp, have it cancelled and then with the wisdom of hindsight apply a carefully designed and executed cachet. Just for good measure most "FDCs" are cancelled anywhere from a month before the actual First Day of Issue to as long as a year later. Notably, when some stamp generates extreme interest such as the Elvis Presley Stamp or the Moon Landing Stamp of 1969, FDCs were still getting first day cancellations a year later.

But as long as enough people are interested in what are correctly, contrived souvenirs, they will remain popular.

In one of his popular books about his years of experience as a stamp dealer, Herman Hurst tells of being asked to evaluate and make an offer for an extensive stock of FDCs of a a recently deceased FDC dealer. The covers were each in separate glassine envelopes and arranged in many carefully marked file drawers. Hurst explains that he looked though the drawers that had a marking indicating unusual usages or cancels and then made an offer quickly thereafter. The estate's executor asked how he could have made an accurate appraisal so quickly and Hurst replied that he simply measured the number of FDCs per inch and then calculated how many were there with a ruler. The formula, total length times some assumed price per cover gave him the total value of the hundreds of drawers chock full of FDCs!

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
02 Jul 2012
07:00:57pm
re: Cover values

Oliver, each specialty develops its own conventions, and modern FDCs includes unaddressed (and therefore unmailed) and cacheted. Earlier FDCs are all postally used.

In a way, FDCs are like CTOs in that they haven't seen postal duty. I prefer my FDCs to be postally used, but that's who I am. And I know I will never get a penny from any FDC collector were I to try to sell these used FDCs. But what stirs an FDC collector isn't my cup of tea; instead, I prefer ones that went awry while going through the mails, so RTS or missent or postage due markings all make the FDC far more interesting to me. But, again, that's not the convention among FDC collectors, and they are the people most likely to be interested in collecting -- and purchasing -- FDCs.

David

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auldstampguy
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Just one more small cover .....
02 Jul 2012
07:44:41pm
re: Cover values

I agree with David. I like covers to be used and have a story. My ideal FDC will have started at the St. Paul post office, be routed to Washington, DC, then to Beijing, China, stamped again in Sydney Australia and finally arrives in my letter box in Hastings Minnesota.

Tim.


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silvermirror
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02 Jul 2012
10:05:00pm
re: Cover values

Is the collecting of FDC's thriving ?

Ive always felt they take up far too much space. Ive got only a few in my collection ( some old postally used fdc's from the 30's and 40's and a couple of modern postally used ones with fauna and flora miniatures on them ). If I ever started piling them up at home, my family would definately see red.

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parkinlot
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President - West Essex Philatelic Society www.wepsonline.org
03 Jul 2012
09:50:14am
re: Cover values

I guess it is all aesthetics. Older FDC's had to go through the post office. The collectors who went to the ceremonies were able to get the cover handed back without an address. This became the preferred way the covers are collected. FDC's are considered more than philatelic. They are considered works of art by many. They don't want addresses mucking it up. Until I got into FDC's, I only thought that there were about 3 or 4 cachet makers as that was all that I saw. I don't really think of the ArtCraft or Art Master FDC's as work of art although they are beautifully engraved. When a Dorothy Knapp, Kendal Bevil, Dave Bennett, Dorthy Hamilton or Fred Collins get a hold of a cover, it is transformed into a real work of art. Many cachets add to the history and story behind the stamp. That is what the FDC buyer is looking for.

Here are a couple FDC's from my collection...

I sure wouldn't want an address in the middle of these covers. You won't find these sitting in the dollar box at your local show.

David Peterman Cachet (1 of 29)

Image Not Found

Bevil (80 of 175)
Image Not Found

Fred Collins
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Poodle_Mum
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03 Jul 2012
10:16:42am
re: Cover values

I agree on the FDCs. I only collect the FDCs for my Royalty collection and do so because of the history shown through the artwork (portraits, etc) on the covers. I definitely wouldn't want an address on them (just mucks it up for me). However, on the older ones (pre-1960s), I appreciate the ones that have gone through the post because it gives it character (I've always wondered what was in some of them, since they are sealed and I don't ever want to open them - x-ray vision would be awesome at those times!).

I recently came across an envelope in the bottom of a box (had no clue it was there) with a Canada large Queen on it - the side is ripped where obviously the person opened the letter but it was awesome to see as well as the fact that it was addressed to a person in the town next to mine.

I also recently purchased an FDC that was put out for my city (didn't even realise it existed) and to me it is just one of the most beautiful pieces of art I've ever seen simply because it shows the pride of my city. The first Church built in town (on what has become known as "the hill") became the centre of town and we still have a by-law that says no building can be built higher than the Church. If someone had put an address on that one, it would damage the whole thing for me.

The one thing though that ticks me off about FDCs is when dealers pencil in their price on the cover or put an advertising label on it for their company. Oy! I'd like to wring their necks! But I have the same beef with people who have written Scott #s on the backs of stamps. Where was their head? I have a beautiful mnh stamp, even the gum is intact with no cracks from the 1880s and some genius wrote the Scott # on the back! Sheesh!

Kelly

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
04 Jul 2012
07:50:56am
re: Cover values

Bob, are you subscribed to these various cachet makers? if not, how do you (or how does one) go about acquiring these very limited run FDCs?

David

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parkinlot
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President - West Essex Philatelic Society www.wepsonline.org
04 Jul 2012
09:02:05am
re: Cover values

David,

I don't subscribe to anyone. I just go on bidStart or Ebay or McCuskers. I really only collect FDC's of stamps issued on my birthdate or my wife and kids birthdate. I try to get every possible cachet that I can find. Others, like the dinosaur I buy because I just like the design.

Bob

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PeterG
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04 Jul 2012
09:53:58am
re: Cover values

In my country almost nobody collect FDCs anymore. The FDCs are for sale for 1 year and still the postal service can only sell around 1000 copies, unless the stamp is a joint issue. Over here people consider them "artificial covers" and many more people collect postally sent covers with complete sets. In my humble opinion those are just as artificial. If any of you consider buying a 100 years old cover I bet you all check if the postage on the cover is correct. If the stamp was used in the period when it was current. I don´t understand why the recent cover doesn´t have to meet the same standards.
It´s the same with the postcard, if it´s 100 years old we want it to be correct franked, and so it should be today too. I have a little collection of used postcards and one of the postcards I´m most happy with is a holiday postcard from North Korea, for the sole reason: Who goes on holiday in North Korea ?
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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..
04 Jul 2012
04:15:53pm
re: Cover values

I remember seeing a similar envelope years ago with several US stamps affixed and appropriately cancelled. It seems that a collector found a cover that had been serendipitously processed on the day of his birth and bore the proper stamp and a neat legible CDS of his birthplace. What are the odds of that ?
.
Well he got the bright idea to put another stamp on it and have it cancelled the day he was married at the local post office where the wedding was to be held. Then he did the same for each of his two children when they were born so that it bore four regular first class definitive stamps each with appropriate CDSs during the time of postal usage for each event in his life. I suppose he did not have to add one after a divorce.
.
Nothing of great value or meaning to anyone else but priceless to him. I am trying to remember more details but I think it was in an article in the once "twice a week" Western Stamp Collector of fond memory.

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