It is of course not easy to forecast six weeks before the end of the year the economical trend for 2005. For this year I can say without hesitation that it was a very enjoyable year and that we have exceeded the last year’s figures already well now. When we do finalize this year’s total sales, we can really speak of an excellent year.
When you analyse the total result, you come to different conclusions: In Switzerland there are happily many collectors, who collect their birthplace or their area, which is still today a good idea and very recommendable for some cantons. Those collectors are keen buyers of everything suitable for their subject. They can as a rule find less than they wish to buy. It is also a pleasure to see that there is a demand for average or even lesser quality pieces, mainly with regards to expensive cantonal issues. As before the demand for the superb and expensive pieces is slow. Fortunately we have been able to buy reasonably many of those pieces and offer them 20 to 30 % less than in our prime years 15 to 20 years ago. But we think also that these pieces are in this price level very steady and kept a stable price. Very important: This is true – and this may astonish many people- for deluxe pieces! Today we do not have enough general collectors, who are prepared to buy” space fillers”, although we have truly big collectors of classic Switzerland, who unfortunately are not very active buyers. I say this with genuine regrets that many exhibitors consider the collection then finished when their collection fills the assigned frames and not because they are getting old or because of health problems. It is a pity because collecting stamps should always give you pleasure and be enjoyable. You cannot have too much joy in any phase of your life, especially not when you are old, when other problems gradually arise.
The situation with regards to cantonals of small or big defects is completely different. Here the market developed itself very well and prices did not drop at all in recent years. On the contrary, here we have many issues, mainly the rarest issues are very scarce and the demand is growing steadily. This year the demand got notably much stronger from abroad, not only for certain things but in general for most things in all fields. It is interesting to see that this demand comes from Overseas, not from Germany who used to be our strongest market but they seem to suffer much more from their economical problems than anticipated. It is indeed astonishing to hear that we have gained so many US and overseas collectors when you think about the big currency drop of the dollar. Thus an old experience confirms itself: the more a currency of a country loses its value the more the interest increases in buying stamps from a country with a very stable currency, which is naturally Switzerland.
Forecast for the Future
- The inflation will increase in the most important buying countries although it will not matter and show any change.
- The interest rates are very low, not only in the historically low interest countries like Switzerland. If you need a mortgage it is very reasonable, although if you wish to invest it, it is not. Most investors have to think if it is worth their effort since there are ridiculous rewards and whether it would not be wiser to look for an alternative investment like buying classic stamps because these will give you at least pleasure and make you proud of owning them.
- The improvement of the economic situation will continue. By the way a slow but steady progress, which is in my eyes better than a quick unhealthy increase, which results only into a counter reaction and which demands quick action.
They are our very first Swiss stamps, which were virtually only issued in the Cantons of Zurich, Geneva and Basle but nevertheless belong in every complete classic Switzerland collection. As we know there are some very expensive pieces. If you are not too demanding for superlatives or dream pieces, you will be pleased to find beautiful medium or average quality pieces. These stamps must simply be genuine and the price must justify the quality. Very important, a good certificate alone is not at all sufficient. The quality must also be identical with the certificate. This is why you should be expertly advised by a reputable dealer, who guaranties with his good name not only to supply you the genuine piece but who also advises you profoundly. The Cantonals are still on a very interesting price level. If you are interested in buying a larger lot or a whole collection, we can show you with pleasure attractive offers, which we can put together according to your wishes. Some time ago dealers tended to advise you to buy only deluxe quality as investment and claimed that all other quality pieces would loose their value much quicker. Even if I would prefer to sell an expensive de-luxe piece, I must be honest enough to mention that our own market experience shows today and this already for a couple years that the situation is different. To emphasize this and to stress the interest in buying cantonals of 2nd and 3rd quality, we make you the following offer. If you have in your collection one or the other piece not in perfect condition and wish to replace it with a deluxe copy (maybe this piece has always upset you or does not match your other quality or perhaps you wish to take advantage of the low prices for deluxe pieces), we are ready to help you in such upgrading by buying your inferior piece and selling you a deluxe item at a reasonable price. Just let us know when you are ready for this.
The hobby of collecting and plating of the different printing stones has fortunately found many new followers. It is one of the most interesting and rewarding way how to enjoy the hobby fully, especially for all kinds of budgets. We would be pleased to introduce to this kind of collecting. Also here we can say that these stamps are not expensive and move in a healthy way to a steady increase since we have more and more collectors. Advanced collectors will find it in the near future very difficult to discover copies of certain rarer printing stones, maybe here and there only one. The popularity of these stamps is also connected to the fact that the rayons are for most “home” collectors the oldest stamps of their collection and which they can afford. Thus we have also from that side an additional demand.
Strubel and perforated Sitting Helvetia:
These are the foundations for the “home” collectors, building up a collection of their region, town or canton. The collecting possibilities are here multiple, especially also for their many cancellation varieties. The prices for the “too expensive” areas (rare mixed overseas destinations, rare combinations or mixed frankings) have levelled reasonably. These covers can only be found at good auctions and obtain higher prices than those sold in direct sales. Today there is no reason to warn people not to pay too much. There is simply no material around.
More and more collectors gradually find out that those unused stamps of Classic Switzerland are price wise strongly neglected. Nobody had noticed this fact until today because there is less demand for unused than used stamps. Now when more collectors will be aware of this fact, the more it will become evident how mistaken the proportion is in the catalogue values for unused and used stamps. Some values of the imperforated unused issues exist absolutely in abundance and can be found easily, while others not at all. We handled this subject quite intensively for more than three decades and would be pleased to advise you, if you like.
If you wish to look for a special gift for yourself, your children, your grand -or god children, I would recommend starting a birthday collection. That means that you collect a special day of the year. Hence it is important to collect a special day of a special month but not a special year, so to say a special birthday. We have a big choice of classic Switzerland items on file on our home page at all different prices. Just try us. We will be pleased to let you know what we have in stock. You must not assume that you will be able to fill a whole album in a short time. That is not necessary. However, it is very nice as a beginner to start a collection with a couple of pages with one’s birthday, as a special start with something personal. You would be surprised how much fun such collections could be and how proud you would be each time when you discover a new piece. This kind of fun or pleasure is exactly what you should aim for when collecting. You avoid collecting plain collections, which have no purpose but simply force you to accumulate catalogue numbers. A collection must be enjoyable and personal. Also if that personal collection will be left to your children or grandchildren, they will have a different relation to such a collection, it can be continued. Particularly you had picked their birthday, it will not be sold and will be proudly persevered one day, when the successor gets to a quieter life and perhaps has founded his own family.
It is our tradition that the whole family is preparing works to the new sale catalogue towards the end of the year. Our son, Markus is editing the whole catalogue by himself for some years as he does also the big work for putting the whole catalogue on the Internet under http://www.ghonegger.ch You will find all offers of our catalogue on the Internet as well as constant updating during the following year of sold items and of new acquisitions, ready for you to order via e-mail without any problem. This is of course the fastest and cheapest way of ordering. I must tell you that also my wife was involved for many weeks in the work of preparing the catalogue. As soon as the first copies are coming off print and are delivered by the printer and binder, we count on the help of all our numerous relatives, whose help is absolutely invaluable for packing and sending out the catalogues.
We wish to thank you all as well as our many personal clients personally for the many personal contacts and purchases during the year. We wish to thank also all new clients. You all may rest assured that I am at your total disposal for giving you my best possible support, help and advice whenever you call me. Our business is not only simply selling and supplying you but to serve you to the best of our knowledge and conscience and to answer all questions in order to advise you best for your classic Switzerland collection. You can call over the phone, write to me or if you wish, you can come and visit me with your collection. I will always have time for you and look forward to hearing from you.
With best wishes for a happy New Year Sincerely yours,
Schmerikon 16th Nov 2004