In about six weeks 2016 will be history. It was an eventful year and many people do not know exactly what they should expect for the future. So, let us first have a look at the past – in philatelic terms. Our subject is but classic Swiss stamps from 1843 to about 1870 and we are glad to be able to talk about an excellent year for our business. However, at first it did not seem to start so well. During the first half of the year I was determined to take care of whole inventories and collections, when a terribly long cold decided to not let me. Thus about 500 lots of mainly homeland and birthday items were simply missing – unfortunately to the disadvantage of their collectors.
We would really like to do better next year! On the contrary we were extremely lucky to purchase the abundant Gerold Emil Anderegg and William H. Gross Old Switzerland collection for an excellent client. This is not as much a financial success as a passionate one, as being able to handle such a famous collection with so many philatelic masterpieces are a great honor. It is unclear what the future holds, but after handling the phantastic Richard Schäfer destinations collection last year, this year’s Anderegg/Gross collection might even be the climax of my career. I am however eager to mention two things in addition: this deal would not have been possible without the energetic help of my son Markus. Also, there is something more valuable to me than mere sales numbers – finding great friends in great clients. During the last years, I was honored to find myself in these situations multiple times facing clients and colleagues which motivates me to continue what I am doing.
Generally spoken the whole Old Switzerland development is very encouraging. The demand for mint stamps is higher than ever, and apart from us there are barely other houses who keep such high stocks. Collectors start assembling new specialized collections using Rayons and even cantonal stamps. For me this feels like the right thing to do, mainly due to the current availability at moderate prices. Homeland collectors will be content with assembling postmark and cover collections restricted to a single region (Cantons, districts, or just single villages), so they will not need every single Old Switzerland issue. These collections bear a very personal character, which seems inspiring in today’s world of mass markets.
Birthday collections remain neglected and underestimated. They can pose a lovely little addition to every collection – especially if someone is going to inherit the collection one day. That way they might establish a personal connection to the collection instead of seeing it as simple inheritance that can be sold. Such a collection can then be cultivated and enlarged. A course of events that does not necessarily take place on the spot, but might even begin decades later when that person starts settling down and shift their priorities. Hobbies like these can then become passion again.
Let us take a short peek at the future. Political circumstances are not something to place hope upon. Gigantic clouds are forming and growing bigger facing the end of the Obama administration. It is doubtful whether western society can ever handle the constant stream of refugees. In about one year we will know whether now President-elect Donald Trump will bring peace to the world or cut off important relations. This is some political turbulence that influences our economy. Classic Swiss stamps however are excluded from such speculations – nowadays they count as both collectors’ items and investments. The current glut of money (predominantly in Switzerland) bearing negative interest rates brings uncertainty to many investors. Private investors are reluctant to invest in stocks or bonds. Many people relapse to hoarding cash like in “the good old days” or changing their spending habits. People want to afford things and get something out of their savings. There is a rather new era of individual consumers being able to afford things and spend money. Cruises for example are as popular as never before. Some people would even afford to go on vacation two or three times a year. A part of this very available investment money is flowing into classic Swiss stamps, which is at least worth thinking about! It poses an investment into the Swiss franc and at the same time a new hobby that can bring happiness throughout your life. What amount would you consider paying for a lifelong joy? Does it have to be for free? On top these classic Swiss stamps also keep some value, so your money will not just be spent and lost forever. Is there another hobby as sustaining as this one?
While I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you, dear clients and colleagues, I am confident to say that all success is based on your friendship and excellent relations, which I am utterly grateful about. The same gratitude goes to my own family (from my son to my grandsons) and kin, whose help in creating and shipping our catalogues is indispensable. We are all relying on our passion to have a bright future and all of us can engage in pushing towards it.
I am always interested in fostering classes for young people and people of age. If you know any individuals or associations who are making a success out of such things, please let us know. We are eager to establish some form of support.
Please let me extend our most heartfelt wishes for a peaceful new year to you.
Schmerikon, November 11th, 2016