If you start from a low level, a little improvement is already a positive change. However if you had a really excellent year like we had seen it in 2006, we are simply speechless and we cannot even criticise the present year of 2007. “Unique!”, “Sensational!” are no words of exaggerations! Let me express everything as a statement: In my career of 41 years as a professional philatelist, this year is by far the best year and I cannot imagine that we will ever have another year like it. We were able to acquire countless little and medium items and collections but were also called to buy very big collections. Do you know what pleased me most? It was not at all the big turnover (that makes you perhaps arrogant and proud) but the fact that we were contacted and were given a chance to buy. And it is not only that: after the completed buying you need on the other side a buyer or many buyers, who make it possible that you can constantly renew your buying process. Otherwise you would soon exhaust your own means and be unable to continue buying. Both go together – taking all the circumstances into account when buying or selling are necessary a fact for a great confidence of expertise and the seriousness of the participants of the market. And this confidence you cannot buy. It is also not simply given to you but you have to build it up and you have to work for it. And this is exactly the reason why I am so thankful each year when this confidence is shown to us in our business. I try to justify this for more than 4 decades but whether and how I was successful, you must judge for yourself. The essential difference of the market happening for the already very good year of 2006 is the fact that in 2007 especially expensive pieces were wanted and these particularly of the Cantonal issues but also of the Rayons and the Strubelis. It is very difficult for a dealer in the first 20 to 25 years to own a nice and high quality stock of the “big” Cantonals of single items on or off covers.
Sometimes you were lucky to sell one or the other piece but [ moreover] more often it remained in your stock and stopped you from buying new items. You simply had to wait. This stock was staying there, blocked your cash flow and stopped you from taking advantage to buy smaller items, which were easier to shift. That is one of the reasons, why the Cantonal issue catalogue values did not increase for many years. However, now we have new buyers, who are not precisely buying these long- time neglected Cantonals the heavy weights Cantonals” one by one but are looking for these in great numbers. They do not buy them singly but mostly a whole array. This is excellent for the market and signifies the easing relief. Considering the most expensive numbers (Zurich 4, Double Geneva, Basle Dove, Waadt 4, and unframed Local Post) the catalogue values are out of date, especially for superb covers. This sensational buying of big pieces still had no effect on “ small /less expensive items of Cantonals “, which can be sold also better but which catalogue prices are still very moderate. What worries me a little that not all of these new buyers and financially very strong buyers are really true collectors. When these prominent and for us very important numbers of the Cantonals are bought as an investment , we can only hope that these items will be re-integrated in a careful manner in order not to confuse the market.
Preview and Thanks:
You immediately ask yourself after such a good year how will it be in the future. I think that the prospects are all in all favourable to last. Naturally the United States mortgage and credit crises will cause a slight problem. However this concerns the banks and not so much the average consumer, nor the average collector. The inflation will grow a little in all parts of the world although in a bearable way. Higher wages/salaries will be welcomed in many countries and we are equally delighted that the unemployment figures are gradually diminishing. The fear to lose your work, which awful thought stopped a great deal of small collectors to invest their savings into their hobby to collect stamps, is no longer there and totally unfounded. The interest rates will increase slightly, although reasonably so that everything remains like before and that you can face a positive future. The fact that the US Dollar went down did not affect surprisingly philately at all and will not lead to a one way system downwards or will not continue to affect the exchange rate as a negative fact in the coming year. You could say the contrary. Germany is one of the countries limping behind in questions of demand. They have now better salaries and the Euro is very strong (that will remain certainly such as) which means that purchases for Germans in other countries like Switzerland or USA anywhere abroad, allows them to buy everything cheaper. But since placing money in shares is very problematic and guilds as well are rather low in dividends, the public is staying away from the uncertain market and looks for an alternative such as classic stamps. If you do spend your money on a marvellous collection, you can at least enjoy it every single day. Don’t minimise this advantage! You should rather ask yourself, what is actually this daily pleasure worth? That is actually the crux of the matter. You have pleasure and enjoy it if you built up a collection with a purpose and consult a good professional philatelist. If not, it is easy to go wrong.
After a unique year in the stamp business I am asking myself more the question of ending the year normally and who was really responsible for this fantastic result. In the first instance it is certainly thanks to you dear clients and colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen. I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart to put your trust in me which was to our mutual pleasure and enjoyment. It presents for us a new target that it will remain and justify itself in the New Year. These words of thanks are connected with an apology. Although our stock is at present much larger than ever before, we did not have enough time to work through so many collections as we did before. We went to so many exhibitions and had such a demand from our customers for entire collections and larger lots. When you are under such pressure for time to serve everybody, you will understand that our catalogue is also a little smaller (although we have the material in stock but could not present it because we simply had not the time to describe it). So it is logical that we have included material, newly acquired (untouched and not worked upon like we do it normally in a minutely studied way) offered en bloc to those who are interested and keen to buy collections. If the market continues like now, the situation for the next year will remain the same.
Our apologies go especially to all those collectors, who collect “ my Birthplace” collection , who will not find as many lots in this catalogue as last year because we simply did not have the time to sift all through our stock. If you are one of these collectors, who are missing out this time, I would like to promise you that I will see that you will be served with extra care in the New Year. Just let us know what you need.
Do not forget that our business is not a one man business. My son Markus does more than putting the catalogue together. It is entirely edited by him and it is Markus, who puts it on to the Internet. You must realise that our business is not possible without his work and my striving to render myself slowly superfluous. It slowly takes shape and I have recorded already first signs of success. My thanks are directed to him as well as to my daughter in law because with her help and computer work we will be finally catching up with all documentations embracing the whole year and present a nice work.
There is a great deal of work which is invisible in connection with the production of this catalogue and the mailing out thanks to my wife and numerous relatives because without them, you would never receive this new catalogue, to which you are used to. My special thanks also to them.
My best wishes for the New Year go with mailing of the catalogue. It will be a real pleasure for us to hear from you in 2008 and if possible to fulfil your wishes.
Schmerikon, 27th November 2007