Saturday, November 07, 2015

2015 year coming (first half of it):

As I'm still under influence of 2014 year, I can not to mention that someone in Post of Montenegro, simply say, don't have clue what is TOPICAL in Philately!

But, let's start:

1-2015 Art in Montenegro:

Feb. 5, 2015: two value in set, one can be included in Historical Building and second in Museum Artifact - hardly that it can be selected as ART in Montenegro!

2-2015 Monastery OSTROG:

March 12, 2015: One that I admire well! Even that I'm not religious man, that I'm not in any religion, one that I never visited! I admire it for other people testimonies, and for role that it have in history!
Artist still made poor job, as to take one photo from spot, and made one home work, nothing more than that!

3-2015 Flamingo:

March 12, 2015: You really think that Flamingo is "bird of nation"?
No, it is not, as Flamingo can be spotted seasonally in just one place in whole Montenegro. But, someone decided to include it as important to be on Montenegro post stamp!

4-2015 EUROPA issue:

April 16, 2015: It is common in year to issue this topic, and this year it was "Children's Toys", so Post of Montenegro made also!
Nice? Not so, as still they use "hard" color in design!

5-2015 Cetinje mentioning:

May 5, 2015: One issue that can be put on postage stamp, as CETINJE is very old city, and have big role in history! Stamp is too small for picture that they put on, so You will need big lens to enjoy in old picture and see all detail on it!

6-2015 Kite Surfing:

May 8, 2015: this issue have name "Tourism" - can You imagine it?
Put it under name of sport, it will be fine! If You made "Tourism" topic, made stamp that will show us tourism sites, beach, mountain, spa, hotels.....

7-2015: Nature - Tree:

May 13, 2015: It is put under name "Environment Protection", and stamp will show us one very old tree, half alive, so we will think that it is one very-very old tree, which is alive thanks to good environment situation in Montenegro! In principle, good one design.

8-2015: Euro-Basket Championship:

May 22, 2015: Sport event that was really important for Montenegro, as other countries also made this issue. But again, artist fail in all aspect of design! Using olive oil, than hard red/orange in combination - overall feeling of this issue is so dark, so confusing!!!

2014/2015 RED Cross and Postage Due:

As I don't know exactly date of issue, this seven stamp will be here show, just as is.
It is postage due, which was obligatory on all mail delivered between specific time, little bit is confusing that this stamps don't have written value, so public actually don't know how much to pay.
There is name as :Red Cross day", "Red Cross Week", "Fight TBC Week", all in prosper to collect little bit income for Red Cross Organization!

2014 till end of...

Terrible time go on, and almost full year, I was unable to find reliable supplier of new issues from this tinny country! As Post of Montenegro philatelic section go to be very unreliable, I was pressed to search for another person that can handle my orders, at one time, in first half of 2014, there was one very nice person in Montenegro, who actually made great job. To health problems of her, and loss of job, she was unable to continue, so I was left in between nothing and searching.

To my luck, one collector come with possibility to handle my need, but it resulted in higher fees on new issues, more expensive come shipping fees and percentage for every shipment go up in price.

So what we can see on market, is not so nice to hear, as new issue will be more costly.
Just to remind, that Montenegro have some 620 000 citizens, and printing quantity of each issue come around 20-30 000, so this "small" quantity, actually made very "stable" selling price of any issue from Montenegro. Even more than that, it can be main factor (small quantity), in forming sales price.
What I see on Michel catalog, that most new issues are priced on double+ price, on some web auction, same items will reach 3x face value (even more if taking also shipping cost per item), than, probability that this is good area to collect are great!

Here it is from continue from previous post, as stamp go:

9-2014 World Cup:

April 9, 2014 date, set of one stamp and one m/s, with combined face value of 1.90 euro
all in green (Army) color, which I hate, because design and artist, still continue to apply this far-end scale of color! There is or green or black, red....., no "between" colors used!

10-2014 Radio-Telegraph:

July 20, 2014, what to say? Nothing! If it is home work for pupil, I will give some 75-80 grade, no more than that! Why? because FDC are very poorly made, with stamp attached, cancel applied and it is all job made!

11-2014 King Nikola will:

July 27, 2014, what an great importance for Montenegro! Last will of King! King is alive - long live for King! Hy man, are we live in which century? There is no more important cause to celebrate? Just last will of King?

12-2014 Hotel Lokanda:

Sept. 5, 2014, someone know this hotel? No? I also never hear about it! Even that 150 years of existence deserve to be mentioned, I don't think that it need to be on postage stamp!

13-2014 Personalities:

Nov. 8, 2014: Mihailo Lalic, writer, good one, and deserve to be on postage stamp. problem come as he work and made all his life in Yugoslavia!!!! So that his roots come from Montenegro, "modern" politician take his work as Montenegrin writer! How much it can be correct, I really don't know!

14-2014 Joy of Europe:

Oct. 22, 2014 - I still want to cry! Basic elements are here, children drawing, as usually in this topic. But! On stamp You will see Montenegrin folklore, dance of Montenegro, with people custom on, over this go some "stars"!!!!! Which stars? European one! Something as GREAT REICH over Montenegrin people! GREAT to loss own identity!

15-2014 Cultural Heritage:

Nov. 12, 2014: Aha, let's see what we have here?! Set of three value, in total face value of 2.05 euro!
Still not so big face value (for west countries), but, if we take in consideration that medium salary in Montenegro is between 400 and 800 euro, than we come to conclusion that it is still very high face value!
What they wish to show us as Cultural Heritage? First value (0.30) come to celebrate painter Anastas Bocaric. I really never hear about him, but why they put him in cultural heritage, and not in prominent persons?
Second issue (0.80 euro), are for Orlov Krs' (Eagle's Rock, in local translation), here I can say, that many overseas collectors that use translator online will see one direct translation as "Eagle's Rubble"!
What is important here is mausoleum of Bishop Danilo. This one can be included in "History" topic, but if they prefer it as cultural heritage, so let it be!
Last third value (0.95 euro) are old archaeological site "SVAC'"!

16-2014 Danilovgrad Library:

Nov. 17, 2014: Someone translated it as Reading Room in Danilovgrad! As fact, back 125 years, there was no Library at all! There was one small room in home, where newspaper will be put on table, and educated people will come to drink coffee, and read newspaper. One nice cultural heritage I can say!

17-2014 Gymnasium:

Nov. 28, 2014: Actually name was translated as General High School, but before 150 years, there was not high, middle or other school - there was GYMNASIUM! (What You think, artist use Google translator?).

18-2014 Stamp Day:

Dec. 15, 2014 - Stamp Day topic will lead us to imagine stamp design that will show some artist toys, cancel, post office or something related to STAMP!
Actually, we receive portrait of one women, which was actually first woman (female) post officer!
So, to which topic You will include this issue?

That is all for 2014 year!
Something that we will remember as continuing in "old way" of making things happen!
Nothing to comment, nothing to be proud of, and nothing that we can say are changed in producing postage stamp!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Beginning of end or...?

Montenegro Philately:
Beginning of End or…?

So, what reason for this "terrible" name of article?
Reason is very good, as one, at first glance, simple advertisement for "Special Offer" come across my desk.
At simple reading, it is one good offer, but if we go little bit to analyze this offer, we will see slightly another picture.
Let's start from beginning:

I read this "Special Offer" in one Journal from leader company in Philately (based in Europe), where offered are (as written in Journal): "…first 4 sets, the first 8 sheets with tab, the first 4 souvenir sheets, inclusive the special imperforated first booklet pane…" (no offered cover for this booklet).

Nice advertisement, with small resolution picture of material. Till now, nothing unusual, as we know many-and-many of this kind offerings in our hobby. Then I read next sentence: "…limited edition of 5 000 copies…"!

Huh, let's analyze it:
First 4 set are:

1) "Flag and Coat of Arm" 2005 year, set of 4 value, Michel #100-103,
Scott #123-126, MR # 177-180, print run 500 000 copies.

2) "EUROPA – Gastronomy" 2005 year, Michel # 104-105, Scott # 127-128, MR # 181-182, print run: 2 different sheets of 8 stamp+gutter on middle, 5 000 sheets (40 000 sets):

3) "50 year of EUROPA issues", 2006 year, Michel #108-111, Scott # 129a-d, MR # 187-190, a print run 2 000 numbered sheets of 16 stamps + 4 gutters on middle (total 8 000 sets):

4) "Winter Olympic Turin", 2006 year, Michel # 112-113, Scott # 131-132, MR # 196-197, print run of two different sheets of * stamp + gutter on middle 4 000 sheets (total 32 000 sets):

So, all is fine with offer, except that "…5 000 copies limited edition…" which sound very attractive, but don't stand in fact, as it is NOT CLEARLY explained if it is talking about stock available in seller hand, or as print run in Montenegro Post! For ordinary collectors, who don't goes and search for printing quantity information for each issue wanted to obtain, this is not so important, because he/she want to buy something as offered "limited edition"!

As I'm one of people who like to research, I see that it is not so "limited edition", because original print run from 500 00/40 000/8 000/32 000 quantity sets printed, it is correct when talking about booklet pane and sheets of 8+1 gutter (5 000 quantity print), wherein offer are not stated, that all (usually) booklet panes have cover included, and in this case, there is no cover included!

Then, we come across one information, connected to "50 year of EUROPA issues", which are initially printed in 505 000 souvenir sheets (Michel # Bl. 3, Scott # 130, MR # 3) – this issue are printed in huge quantity (505 000), from this 500 000 are sold to dealer in Spain, later revoked (problematic financial transaction as reason), revoked material was removed or destroyed, rest of 5 000 quantity was sold inside country to the post offices and standing order collectors.
Question is, how to offer for sale, "…limited edition…", as we see that it is not so limited, and there where it is indeed limited to 5 000 copies, most are out of hand for dealers! Probability that exist much more quantity in dealers hands than officially claimed?

Analyzing catalog prices, I see that it is very correctly stated in offer, as 451.00 Euros total catalog value, which seller have in first offering price of 135.00 Euro (30% Michel catalog value), and now in this "Special Offer" for 81.00 Euro asking price (18% Michel catalog value).

What face value say? So, not so big profit, as face value for all material offered are 88.00 Euro, selling in first offering for 135.00 Euro (65% up of face value), and in second offering of 81.00 Euro (7.00 Euro less than total face value), which is still with profit, as we know, that Post of Montenegro give great discount on higher quantity ordered/purchased (range from 5% to 30% discount on total balance sheet, depending on quantity purchased).
So, to summarize, that value of Montenegro stamps are going slowly down, as time go on! If it is just result of dealers dumping stock after 10 years of keeping it in stock, or as inactivity on market, as collectors are not willing to obtain material from this small country by so high asking prices?

My personal opinion is, that Post of Montenegro made one great mistake, as Croatia made, and go with Spain dealer to some problematic adventure, which resulted in mistrust and in high market prices for new issues offered in first ten year.
Now when we take in account, that service to standing order holder from Montenegro Post are very-very slow, with administrative barriers (selling postage stamp in Montenegro to the foreign address, are treated as export, which mean, proper paper work must include every shipment, with custom declaration involved, no matter of quantity ordered) which slow delivery time and involve additional dues as shipping cost which are very high.

All this "problems" made collectors to abandon interest for Montenegro postage stamp, so also dealers, who keep some bigger quantity in stock, after this 10 years keeping material in store, now go, and sell it out.

If it will have effect on market, just time will say, as now, I don't see any price drop on any internet sale, and my personal stock are very low, as I don't keep quantity in stock, but this "special offer" made one really good opportunity to buy low and avoid high catalog value. We will see reaction from Michel catalog 2015 edition, which comes out in next few months.