ETBs: sic transit gloria mundi

Discussion in 'Stamp Chat' started by Werner Salentin, Jun 8, 2018.

  1. Werner Salentin

    Werner Salentin Well-Known Member

    The ETB (First Day Card) bickerstonehall shows in his latest thread,is a good reason
    to tell the sad story of those ETBs.
    In Germany the current series of ETBs was started by the Bundespost in 1975.There were issued for Berlin as well.
    The first issue "Important Women" (Jan.15th,1975) had a print of 397.700.
    Many collectors jumped on the train and the print-quantities rose and rose.The peak
    was reached in 1983: 601.000 were printed of the issues of January/February.
    Since then the numbers went down all the way.The last numbers available,are for
    2015,with prints of 74.000.
    Even more than the printing numbers,the prices of previous ETB´s went downwards.
    The hype was over and ETB-collections became close to unsaleable.
    On first sight it seems strange: many ETBs have a catalogue-value,what is lower than
    that of used stamps.
    On second sight the reason for that is quite obvious.The stamps on the ETBs are cancelled by special First-Day cancels.However they are just touched by the cancel
    only.This makes the cancel better to be seen.However if you would remove the stamps
    from an ETB,you would get stamps with a tiny fraction of a cancel.As Michel cat.-prices of used stamps are for specimen,with cancellation,what show date and place clearly,
    stamps from ETBs do not meet this standard.
    To the prices:
    I have an "antiquated" Michel catalogue only,but prices will not have changed much.
    The ETB "Tübingen University 500th anniversary" from 1977 is listed with € -.40.
    All 28 ETB´s of 1977 have a cat.-value of € 29.70.Face value of the stamps of this
    year was DM 28.85,equivalent to € 14.80.I do not know what the surcharge for
    each ETB was,but I guess around DM 1.- or € -.50.So the total cost of all 28 ETBs
    would be around € 30.-,practically the same as the Michel-value.
    I could not find a current dealers offer for single ETBs,but for complete years only.
    For the 1977 year-set of 28 ETBs the asking-price is € 5.- !
    I further read in a german stamp forum,that dealers pay as little as € -.02 for an ETB
    with a single stamp up to the letter-rate.That is well below 5% of the original price.
    Isn´t this a sad story ?
    DonSellos likes this.
  2. DonSellos

    DonSellos Well-Known Member

    Sounds similar to contemporary U.S.first day covers. Easy to buy, almost no resale market.

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