Again once we are in the second half of November and once again it is actually six weeks too early to summarize the market situation of the whole business year. At first I started to read my comment I read written in my 2012 sale catalogue. While doing so, I had to fight against the temptation, to copy certain passages (even most of them) to repeat the last summary simply again! This is, because the arrivals of new material have reached us exactly in the same way and the conclusions have still the same validity as before.
One can sell classic stamps only once. Afterwards something similar may come along although it is not identical. One can supply new issues of the 20th Century at least the majority of issues even hundred times! The mint issues look anyway all the alike.
The situation for the classic Switzerland stamps and its buyers looks similar this year! If one would sell a piece or a larger lot to a collector, then one can assume that he will be interested perhaps only for a year rather than steadily continue. He is now interested to change the collecting field and buy something differentl As a dealers, one must then offer different issues or other postmarks. The condition is that if it comes to it at all, is the fact that the customer trusts the dealer, was satisfied with his service and is happy and ready for new purchases. One will never see dissatisfied customers again!
After a very good year like 2011 it was for us - like every year - a big challenge to be able to realize also this year similarly good sales. Of course this is not at all guaranteed. As mentioned above. It needs in addition as a condition the satisfaction of the customer and besides from our side the readiness to acquire as much as possible of the offered material at reasonable prices so that we are again able to offer to our old and new customers again interesting material. This seems to have been the case and it would be dishonest, if I would sum up our business 2012 differently than “extremely well”. We had again a number of new customer (I speak of buyers and not only of prospective interested newcomers!) to our list to look of clients and we probably were never allowed to sell so many items and collections to colleagues and at collectors. We can not possibly describe and split up in detail all acquired collections and larger lots. Therefore we continue to sell meanwhile six to eight collections of ten as one entire collection .It is possible that we take some pieces out because those may be necessary to refresh our stock or that these pieces are possibly not interesting for the buyer. Consequently you tailor the collection according to the demands of the buyer. The sales to colleagues are for us an important indication that our estimates of the collection is right and correctly priced. Impossible to fool colleagues with unrealistic prices! Exactly before the national exhibition in Stans, my son selected the material for the next catalogue finished the descriptions and scans already so that the pieces were freely available starting from this date, respectable. still are. The exhibition in Stans was well organized and exceeded our expectations by far! Likewise the fair of Sindelfingen! We have really been able to sell so much at such meetings as never before so many big expensive items of our new catalogue as this year! Remember, we did not even show or bring along any material to these shows. Only upon real requests beforehand from clients, we took some lots and were often able to sell them immediately! A recession looks differently! But let me analize a few groups more closely.
The market of Kantonals intensified itself with us clearly. This is mainly thanks to the new pre-printed album published by the Swiss Stamp Dealers Federation, which we give away free of charge with a purchase of Kantonal stamp, when you spend over Swiss Francs 1.500,-, which offer still stands.. This contributed surely to the fact that many “smaller” collectors discover the beauty of our first Swiss stamps with the help of this album and to the illustrations and their instructive explanations far better here than with the traditional albums. I maintain that the following fact is almost worth to be entered into the Guinness Book of Records that there is no other philatelic company in the whole world, which was able to sell approximately 100 Zurich 6 stamps in only one year. We did not even count the ones which were in the collections which we sold. Many buyers contributed to this result, for which we are very grateful.. It goes without saying that the sale of larger lots at special prices. ( this applies cantonals naturally also for other cantonals than Zurich) is different than the sale of single items of the catalogue.
With reference to RAYONS one must point out that apart of those collectors, who try to plate the printing stones , there are also normal collectors, who try to collect simply the different numbers. But there are also those who are looking for rare cancellations. Also here we were selling to clients a few hundreds of items.
As far as the STRUBELI are concerned, we have noticed a new tendency towards the classification of the Strubeli Guide Book by Urs Hermann, resulting in constant demand and price range. I assume that this trend in particular for new collectors, will intensify. It is not at all necessary that collections built up according the old good sustem of Zumstein should be changed or adjusted. Both systems will continue to live along side by side and which system will prevail in the coming decades, remains to be seen.
Regarding the perforated SITTING HELVETIA, we were fortunately able to find new collectors for the rare destinations, which today are still at a reasonable low level of purchase. In the first part of the perforated issues, we managed to acquire interesting items and recently even a complete fantastic collection.
If someone wishes to build a classic Switzerland collection but forgo the first expensive numbers, he has mainly the choice between a birthplace collection or a collection of their Canton. He will look for certain regions or a Canton. Here the timing is at present excellent.
We have the biggest demand currently here for the perforated issues of Switzerland. Here the demand increased so much that we have of several numbers only a limited stock or non at all. Some want lists cannot be fulfilled. If you wish to take advantage here of our old stock , please send your want-lists as soon as possible and we do our best.
Prospects for the coming months and years:
- The central banks print money in big quantities, almost all over the world. That results in low interest rates and unnaturally so low on one side that the danger of inflation will rise considerably. Although I do not expect this to happen until the end of 2013.
- The Dollar and in particular the Euro are currenly not on a high level and create all sorts of problems to governments and also to investors.These uncertainties push today many people into tangible assets.
- The economic growth in Europe is declining on the whole, and also especially as well in the Southern States of the United States of America.The unemployment figues will not fall so quickly but this has no significant influence on the market of Classic Switzerland.because we have here only positive and market-influencing points. The prospects in The USA and Asia seem to be moderately positive.
- Due to lack of interesting investment opportunities in the areas of bonds and the stock exchange ,which is especially for the older people too hectic yo handle, there should be many in the new year no longer( or only partially) seeking to invest in the available means. People would like to enjoy some of their savings. Never have so many people ( mainly elderly) booked cruises or other big holiday trips. The investment in alternative assets such as paintings, jewelry, gold and classic Swiss stamps will continue. Here new money flows into these commodities even if the unemployment figure in many countries remains very high on the other side. Right up now we were spared thankfully for a large part in Switzerland. For the moment it is the worst in South European countries where also the level of buying clients for Classic Switzerland dropped.considerably some time ago so that it cannot harm us now. Fortunately the market for Classic Switzerland has greatly improved in Germany, reflecting no doubt also the economic significance of the country within Europe and the world.
- When buying classic Switzerland stamps, you should not only expect a certain return but invest before all only in one of the most beautiful and most interesting collecting fields.and feel the joy of first class Swiss Culture. Thanks to the strong Swiss Franc! The main reason to buy should be the joy of this beautiful hobby in my eyes. Thanks to useful and honest advice of professionals, this joy can remain with you until the end of your life. In comparison to investing into Gold bullions, where the action and dealing is dealt mostly in Dollars. Here you may have the risk of currency fluctuation.
- In my eyes a collector is wrongly advised, who sells also his stamp collection after backing from other investments. These people deprive themselves exactly of the primary purpose of such a collection; a lifelong well of joy. Usually much longer than the pursuit of sporting activities is still possible by collecting stamps. You should remember this at the start as well as the planned sale of a collection!
Actually the following last paragraph of my review should be the beginning. I cannot imagine to make such a comment without saying thanks from the bottom of my heart to the many new and old collectors and colleagues with whom we were able to enjoy in 2012 business and friendly contacts. Also thanks from our small family team. My special thanks first and foremost to my son Markus, who not only edits the catalogue and gradually leads the whole business completely by himself but also my wife, who assisted me year after year, then Markus’s wife with my wife joining her as well as the many relatives who are indispensable to help us with mailing and shipping the catalogue.
Schmerikon, 20th November 2012 Gottfried Honegger