Peter R. Feltus, who lives near San Francisco and is one of our senior members (only three current members joined us earlier) recently sent pricelists of Egyptian stamps and related books to his collector clients. In the accompanying letter he said this:
Dear Philatelist, June 2008 Greetings from California. Have you seen the recent catalogue values of Egyptian stamps? I mean the Stanley Gibbons Middle East Catalogue of 2005 and the following Scott Catalogues.
The 2007 Scott says "Egypt has been thoroughly reviewed resulting in ... 2,086 value changes from 1866 through the mid-1970s. Some increases are significant..." Yes indeed! Some price rises are modest, but many are up by 50% or 100% or more, even 1,300% (did you find it?). The noteworthy changes include: The 1872 2 1/2 pt. rare perf is up 50% to $1200, the 18721 pt. red Lithos used are up 100%, most of the 1874-75 tete-beches are up about 50%, the 1923 £ 1 Fuad imperf pair is up 150% to $1600, the 1922 Crown Overprints Doubles and Inverts are way up ... as much as 300%, the 1927-37 Fuad definitives with the 500m. & £ 1 are up 90% mint and 140% used, the 1934 U.P.U. set is now $552 mint & $213 used, most Fuad & Farouk era airmails are up more than 100%, the first Express stamp went up nearly 100% mint and 200% used and the other four Express stamps went from pennies to dollars each (the 1,300% one is here), the 1922 2pt. orange Postage Due with erect Crown overprint rose from $6 to $25, and the 1960 and 1962 postage dues sets are up 250%.
There were few price changes in the 2008 book, but in the new 2009 Scott (which arrived last month) there are 2,491 more price changes for Egyptian stamps! Many definitives and commemoratives of the 1980s and later are much higher now, and most officials are up by 200% or more, some much more, and the three definitive sets of 1948-1956 with Palestine overprints are up 200% (they tripled!). Though these new prices are startling, many dealers remarked in recent years that Egyptian stamps are in demand and under-priced in catalogues, and there's a hell of a lot of money chasing stamps generally nowadays. And the weakness of the dollar by itself suggests across-the-board price increases of what? 50%? So the new startling prices are perhaps appropriate. (Of course, I'm sorry I didn't buy much more in the recent past and that I sold good things in recent months. If you bought, you did well!) But remember this, too: While prices have risen, so have "grade" requirements.
Prices used to be for stamps of Fine-Very Fine centering but are now for Very Fine centering (such as a typical 1938 £ 1 Farouk's Birthday stamp?), and inferior stamps, though not worthless, are worth less. So, how much should decent fault-free but somewhat off-center stamps be discounted? And furthermore, all this is about the normal Scott listed stamps; what price rises for specialist material are entailed in all this? I expect no consensus answers to these questions.
Peter is no doubt known to most of us as a most knowledgeable dealer in Egypt philately and related material and goes on to say:
If you want more usual stamps, or other things entirely, explain and send me your wantlists; I have more in stock than gets listed. If you want to add to your library, read my philatelic literature price list. And if you collect 19th century Egypt travel guides and travel accounts and history books, or old Egyptian hotel luggage labels, as I do, please tell me; we can collaborate.
And if you collect stamps from Egypt's southern neighbor, ask for my Sudan price list.
Have you anything to offer me? I'm always eager to buy Egyptian and Sudanese stamps, especially fine collections, classics (classic blocks and covers are my favorites), essays and proofs, varieties generally, blocks and sheets, covers and scarce post-marks, postal stationery and postal paper, interpostal seals, revenues, etcetera, and related publications.
I look forward to hearing from you soon. Write or telephone me at your convenience.
If you care to add to your collection, write to Peter for his lists of offerings: Peter R. Feltus, P.O. Box 5339, Berkeley, California 94705. Or telephone him at (510) 658 - 9627.