Notes from the Past

Catalogue Value

The price quoted for a stamp in a recognized catalogue -- not to be confused with market value.  Some catalogues -- Stanley Gibbons is the outstanding example -- are also the price-list of their publishers; others, for example Scott, are  published by firms which are not stamp dealers at all, and give an entirely independent opinion of what the compilers consider to be fair buying prices.  In the former case catalogue value is the price at which the publisher is prepared, at the time of publication, to sell you a single copy of the stamp in question, in top-class condition, if in stock.  Many stamps are obtainable at considerably less than catalogue value.  A dealer can usually sell a complete issue of stamps, even more a large collection, at less than cost than the same stamps sold one at a time, because the time and trouble involved are so much less.  The state of the dealer's stock and of the stamp market generally, and the popularity or otherwise of the stamps concerned, are other factors which help to determine the selling price.  Thus terms such a 'half cat.', 'third cat.', etc. are often seen to describe a stamp offered at the quoted proportion of catalogue value.
- R. J. Sutton 6th edition revised by K. W. Anthony
The Stamp Collector's Encyclopaedia
Published 1966
 Posted January 12, 2000

Editor's Note: The condition of the stamp is a principal determinant in the market value of a stamp.  Defective, off center, and heavily cancelled stamps sell at considerable discounts to catalogue value. 

Index of 507 Notes from the Past

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