The Double Dip

Double dip used to be two scoops of ice cream on a warm summer night. Now it means a recession that never ends. Economists are predicting a “lost decade” like the one that Japan has been enduring for nearly two decades now, with low economic growth and high unemployment.
It’s hard to know what is really going to happen. Most economic forecasts predict that everything will continue rosy when business is good and that everything will be unendingly gloomy when things are bad. The beginning of the fall 2010 season in philately has begun and there are some trends to report. We had an auction this week, and the number of bidders was up 10%. The average price for what we sold was steady to improving. US stamps show some weakness, especially in the under $200 stamps. Broad areas such as Banknote issues (US Scott #135/229) are very soft and sales are immune to price cutting which indicates further weakness ahead (That is, when you cut your price on these stamps and then cut them again there is still no activity).
But British and Foreign stamps are still selling at high prices which is surprising considering that the dollar is so much stronger than a year ago. We sold nearly half of the auction to non US buyers- much higher than a year ago. The internationalization of the philatelic market has been the main engine in the growth of stamp prices and interest in the last ten years.
The word from the APS annual show, which was held in Richmond, Va this year, supports this view. Attendance was strong and most dealers reported brisk sales. I think the 2010-2011 philatelic year will show steady interest in stamps and stability in prices.

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