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.

No comments: