The Royal Wedding

Get ready. It’s been 30 years since Princess Diana and Prince Charles graced our albums and you can bet next year’s William and Kate extravaganza will produce a record number of philatelically inspired stamps. The last Royal Wedding produced hundreds of issues and this one will produce thousands, even more if you include specialty items, covers and intentionally issued errors. Two quick predictions-first the hype surrounding the wedding will give a short term spike to British omnibus sets in general and to Royal Wedding thematics in particular. And two, five years after they are issued the William and Kate wedding stamps will be a drug on the market. Today, the 1981 Charles-Diana Royal Wedding thematic stamps sell for less than 15% of their face value, not including album costs. We sold a collection recently at auction for $300 which means the owner received $270. Her cost of stamps and albums were over $2600 and that was in 1981 dollars. At 5% compound interest she would have had over $11000 had she put her money in the bank. A philatelist has a decent chance of performing well in the long run if he buys real stamps with a broad collector base. But Royal Wedding stamps are a form of philatelic theater that people are unlikely to care about for very long.

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