A report of the market situation - like I used to do it at this point for many years- would be interpreted as rather subjective and especially when you do not look at the year as a whole, you would be equally influenced by real economic and political happenings. As usual we deal explicitly with the old classic Swiss stamps from 1843 to approximately 1880, which may be generally considered as a sound investment. We are not concerned about the later issues and their price relation to the market, which is not my subject.
This year that soon comes to an end, had for several months a critical time where one did not know how it would develop. Instead of the generally expected economical upward trend we suddenly had the Sars virus, which nobody could foresee or put in his forecasted budget. The whole world economy was heavily affected. It was not as much as the direct outbreak caused, such as limiting and damaging the whole tourism branch in that area but moreover the resulting economical situation. In a region of uncertainty and perhaps anxiety for the future one expect negative figures. This is the same in philately. The sales in general went very well. We had especially some superb collections with perforated Sitting Helvetia for sale. This resulted even to the sale of several more lots, more than we quoted in our net catalogues of previous years. On the other hand we could also register a record of so many different buyers as never before. However, it is of course natural that these values have a truly lower price level as the Cantonal issues and partly also the Rayons with the last result that the number of sales was pleasantly increasing but the total of the sales figure of the last year could not be reached.
Nevertheless we were very surprised that the second half of the year was completely changed! The demand especially for the often-neglected Cantonal issues was satisfyingly good in order to say that we had a well-balanced rewarding year. Satisfying because the demand mainly from abroad had greatly increased.
- Excluding all unforeseen happenings, it seems that the expected long awaited economy upturn could finally happen. That would boost the economy universally.
- Furthermore the inflation would remain relatively low in the Western countries, really remain extremely low.
- Due to the increase in prices through the Euro introduction in the Common market countries, sales are in our country considerably cheaper. It is the reverse with the US dollar. This development will be widely influenced politically, militarily and financially through the involvement of the Americans and reflects the world situation.
- We can say that for many years we never had so little public offers of old classic Swiss stamps like in 2003! Thanks to this fact we experienced a very welcome stabilisation of the market. Thus absolutely no trace of a saturated market caused by a recession!
One can deduct in general that the present market presents now as before an almost ideal time to build a nice Old Swiss Collection. The prices have now been constant for several years on a stabilised interesting level and are in no way expensive. You would be astonished but I think this fact is very important that we are price wise still in a right stabile phase but on the other hand one does not expect very dangerous price increases either. The bigger and quicker those would come, the sooner we would find ourselves at the " summit". And from the summit there is only one way down! For of you who wish to build up a collection at ease and enjoy their collection, it is more interesting to know that the price summit is far off. Only speculating people find such a development too slow but those should better play with shares. Let us revise the various fields of Classic Swiss Stamps: Cantonals do not only belong in every Classic Swiss collection because they are the first stamps, which were issued in our country (formerly divided in different cantons like counties) but principally also because they are on such a reasonable price level. One can buy a rare cancellation merely by paying a bit more, not like years back when prices were exaggerated for such pieces. Many collectors get frightened when they see the high catalogue prices of the great rarities and think that those prices are beyond their bank account. Here they forget that the majority of Cantonal issues are at absolute affordable prices and that a collection also increases in value if one or other stamp is missing. You can love mountains, even if you yourself will never be able to climb Mount Everest! For this reason you should never give up walking or climbing average mountains if it is within your capacity. Also such tours are very enjoyable, even when there is no first climb to be done. It's the same with philately! The question, to be able ever to fill the final gap in an album, should never deprive you of the pleasure to look at other items, which you could still afford!
Rayons do not only count to the most loved collecting fields but are certainly also the most fascinating. Collecting and plating of the different printing stones has taken off tremendously in the last years and so enjoys a great popularity. We are sure that it will continue to have a great potential for the coming years. If you really get intensively and seriously into this subject and possess the widest possible stock you can find something for every specialist like we did already for many years. Then you can say -without exaggerating- that the Rayons are generally sold more quantity wise in the last year than any other classic stamps of Switzerland! The fact that prices remain for the moment unchanged and can be kept so for some time, is because we bought in the past years larger amounts, when these came onto the market since several collections were broken up. The collector benefits from this when the material is offered less than today's demand.
Strubeli and Sitting Helvetia Perforated are those subjects, which are in greatest demand for "HOME" collectors (people, who collect where they are born, be towns, little villages or the whole Canton). Here we could briefly point out that there are some Cantons, which cancellations are today (again) available at very affordable prices because some big collectors have disappeared from the market. These facts are always great news and enable new collectors to start afresh! We will be happy to inform you what is nowadays recommendable and of which regions one can expect a very interesting material coming on the market. Unused Stamps of all classic issues can be recommended without any exception as before. We have also here new collectors who have recognised the generally low valued catalogue prices for unused material. You can find incredibly rare pieces, which in comparison to used items, you can still buy at ridiculously low prices (and there are about). It should not be the basis that in the decades after the Second World people - God knows why- preferred to buy used material. Also meaningless ways of judging collections have also caused that these stamps were treated poorly, were almost despised. The situation gradually changed during the last 10 years. I am very pleased to see today international jury members, who think that unused pieces are important in a collection and who defend their opinion that such in pieces absolutely belong to a highly specialised traditional collection. Thus we are also at the start of this development, which will happily continue.
Birthday Collections become more popular with every year. These are small accumulations of pieces which have all the same date, the birth date of a certain person. There are only some small pieces gathered together, you couldn't speak of whole collections. You can have the date on single pieces or on covers. Naturally they all have in common that they have the same day and the same month but not the year. Such collections are not only interesting for the collector himself by arranging his collection with simply personal leaves but is also an excellent idea for a new collector,for example a child or godchild or grandchild etc. As philatelists we will always try to recruit offspring in one way or another. This is a gentle start, which every collector can afford (also you!) to go into this direction. Give to your children, grandchildren or a godchild not a whole collection but only one or a few stamps with his or her birth date. You will see that such purely personal pieces will be honoured accordingly. The chance is very big that a collector's mind will be stimulated one day and who knows that a continuation of your own collection is not excluded. And this does happen if you intend to leave your collection one day to your children. You have to arouse first their interest to do something for themselves. This is also important if you are without an heir and have to sell or want to sell your collection. You are then much more dependent on the fact that there are new recruits who are interested in your treasures. Give us the dates, which could be of interest to you and let us surprise you with what we have to offer.
That you are now holding this catalogue in your hands is only possible thanks to the work of our whole family. Mainly thanks to our son Mark, who is now editing the catalogue independently. His work can be also studied on our website on the Internet http://www.ghonegger.ch
Here you can see the entire catalogue offer as well as the present special offers, which change from month to month. Your own judgment and assessment is very important to us. Big thanks also to my wife and our numerous relatives, who effectively participated in the production. If we are able to afford year after year to send you such catalogues- and effect purchases before, then we have to thank you, our clients, dear Ladies and Gentlemen. According to our experience and accounts, we know that more than 90 % of our sales go to long-lasting clients, as we say " good clients" and especially to those as well as all our new clients. We would like to thank all of you from the bottom of our heart for your loyalty. Your purchases are admittedly important but are not the only factor within a client's relationship. I think it is important to assure you that we are always at your disposal and service at any moment for any question without hesitation concerning our stock and sales. I am ready to take the time with you to look through your collection and to advise you professionally according to my knowledge and my conscience; very often this is possible you in writing. Naturally I am also very pleased to visit you if you find a personal consultation or conversation more useful and productive. I would be very pleased to hear from you and wish you and your family a merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year,
Gottfried Honegger Schmerikon, 9th December 2003