Newer US Issues

Hard as this is to believe, throughout the 1950s, the United States Post Office issued an average of ten stamps per year with a total face value of 30¢. Last year, there were over 150 issues with a $77 face value. When one is tallying up where collector dollars get spent, it is hard to avoid wondering what would happen to the price of older stamps if the USPS (and foreign Post Offices, which are usually not much better, and often much worse) had issuing policies that were more conservative.
Over the last twenty years, the United States has issued over 3,500 different stamps with a combined face value of over $1,700. And since most of these stamps are marketed in sheets of twenty, a devoted collector could easily have spent $30,000 or more over the last two decades on his collection with the post office on new issues alone. Put this kind of money into quality United States stamps and you would produce a collection of real value. In US philately, $30,000 buys used Nineteenth Century complete (except for the better grills, reissues, and Special Printings), Twentieth Century complete mint, (except for the rare Washington-Franklin coils and types), Airmails including Zeppelins, and decent other Back-of-the-book. In other words, $30k can get you a pretty nice US collection which would have increased in value over the last twenty years and would stand a pretty good chance of doing well in the future.
The $30,000 in postage that many people have bought now sells for about 65% of face value and will trickle down in value as postage rates increase making these stamps harder to use in coming years. The problem with philatelic prices is not inadequate demand. The problem is that traditional stamp dealers compete with an aggressive marketer of modern postal labels. That marketer has a huge promotion budget and thousands of retail outlets. Many people stop buying new issues at a certain point in their collecting lives. They would be better off if they reach that point sooner rather than later.
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