Are stamp prices going up or
down? The period May 2000 - July 2001 has been a traumatic one for the
stock market, which high-tech stocks spectacularly crashing. This might
mean that people are looking for other forms of investment, or it might mean
that people have less wealth and less interest in such secondary investment
vehicles as stamps.
During the same time inflation
has been low (2.5% or thereabouts) and interest rates went up for a while and
then from January 2001 have been rapidly dropping.
Employment figures have softened
a little bit in the US, and the US dollar has continued to strengthen against
the Euro (by about 5%-10%) and most other major currencies (which of course
increases the value of stamps in non-US countries.
Oil prices have risen by about
250% during this same time period. Gold has risen a small amount.
If you don't want to read
any further, the trend over the last year can be described in one word -
flat. There has been no significant increase (or decrease) in the
value of Russian stamps over this time period.
Russian Stamps on eBay in General
This analysis is based solely on
observed activity on eBay. Other means of buying and selling stamps may
record other trends.
eBay has continued to grow in
size, and internet usage as a whole also continues to expand, everywhere in the
world. eBay's continued growth in size presumably acts to make it
increasingly 'efficient' and closer to a 'perfect market' (to use some economic
In other words, as the number of
buyers and sellers increase on eBay, selling prices tend to get closer and
closer to an accurate reflection of what the underlying market price actually
Sub-groups of Russian stamps
For the purpose of this
discussion, we have categorized Russian stamps into four categories :
- High value (ie $10+ a stamp)
- Moderate value (ie $1-10 a
- Low value (ie under $1 a
- Negligible value (ie under 5c
Speaking qualitatively rather
than quantitatively, our perception of pricing trends over this time period and
as per these four categories is as follows :
High value : Flat to
maybe some lessening in value. This might be explained by the fact that
higher and rarer value stamps are appearing on eBay in abundant quantities as
more and more people try and sell material on eBay. This is shifting the
market dynamic from a seller's market to more of a buyer's market.
Moderate value : No
apparent pricing trend at all.
Low value : Flat to
maybe a very slight increase at the lower part of this group. As more and
more buyers come to eBay, they are tending to rush to the good value and lower
priced items and buy those first, keeping some pricing pressure on the lower
Negligible value : A
slight increase here. I used to be able to buy some incredible bulk
bargains on eBay, but these are increasingly getting multiple bids (typically
from less experienced eBay members) and selling at prices that no longer present
as the amazing bargains of a year and more ago.