Commentary No. 36 - 17 August, 2002
What's New On Our Website - Part II
How many hits we receive per day
We receive statistics on a daily basis through our site meter. It tells us how many hits our site receives each day from our viewers. It informs us of the number of pages you look at, the types of questions you ask, the search engines you use to find us and finally, the time zones in which you are located. We find these statistics interesting as they give us an insight into the world of the Internet and the people out there who are interested in Canadian stamps. When we see we have viewers from the USA, the UK, France or Japan, it takes us back to our youth when we began collecting and would get excited about finding a pen pal in another country with whom we could trade stamps. We present below some of the statistics that show the growth in the number of people using our site. The first set of figures shows the number of hits we have received over a three-year period during the month of June. The second set presents the number of pages viewed for the same month and how these have increased over the three-year period.
Number of Visits from our Viewers
Average per day
Pages our Viewers looked at in the month
The monthly increases are by no means constant which makes these numbers all the more intriguing to us as we view them at the end of each month. The best month so far was January 2002 when we had 3115 visitors on the site looking at 29000 pages.
Hints for new collectors
About a year ago we added a new feature called "How to Buy and Sell at Auction." We have prepared seven articles so far on our site under this heading. The topics were:
- An Introduction to Bidding at Auction
- Bidding Using Auction Catalogues
- The Importance of Good Perforations
- Canadian Stamps In and Out of Favour
- How Much should I Bid?
- What is momentum?
- Putting Your Stamps up for Sale at Auction
Our knowledge of this area is ever growing, just like that of our viewers. We are not auctioneers but observers of the auction scene. We gained our experience over 25 years of buying and selling stamps at auction. We talk regularly with the auctioneers following their auctions to ask how the bidding went for a particular item. We ask how competitive the bidding was, whether the lot went to a mail bidder or a bidder on the floor and if it went to a Canadian or non-Canadian buyer.Each answer tells us about the market.
Our ten-year pricing history
Since the early days of our site we have been keeping a record of prices realized at auction for a broad selection of Canadian stamps of investment quality (click here to see example). This means we only record auction results for stamps that are at least of VF quality and well centered. Exception is made on occasion for the rare issue that may only be available in F-VF condition. This happens sometimes with some of the scarcer issues of the Large Queens.
We consider this activity to be one of the more significant aspects of our site as it provides both buyers and sellers with accurate and up-to-date market values for the Canadian stamps they wish to buy or sell. In our view a well-informed market is a good market. Few people have the time to keep a record of this type of information and few have available auction catalogs and prices realized from all Canada's major auction houses. Today, we have pages for approximately 400 of Canada's more valuable stamps on our web site with prices realized over the past 10 years. In the past we only updated our numbers a couple of times per year. But beginning in 2002, we have updated the numbers after every sale. This is because of the continually increasing prices and new record prices being realized almost on a monthly basis.
We are in the midst of expanding the pages in all areas but particularly for the modern varieties. It will take a few more months as it is a very time-consuming process, but by year-end, you should see prices for many more Scott and Unitrade numbers. There will also be prices for a number of modern varieties that are unlisted in the catalogues, but which trade regularly. Here is an example:
Jim A. Hennok Ltd
April 28, 2001
Our review of auction results
In the section of our site entitled "Recent Auction Results" we provide a brief description of most of the auction sales that are held by 14 of Canada's leading stamp auction houses. For each sale we cover, a highlights page is provided to show details of the more significant realizations. We pay particular attention to the descriptions provided by the auctioneers for the stamps, noting their comments on varieties of paper, colour and perforations.
What is apparent from having reviewed so many of these sales is that the period from the Small Queens to the Admirals is by far the most popular amongst serious collectors. This is one of the few areas where one can predict fairly accurately what prices will be realized for a particular stamp. This means that this is the maturest part of the Canadian stamp market. We also see a remarkable interest by collectors in Canada's modern varieties. But our impression is that there are not nearly as many players buying and selling in this area and it is therefore more difficult to predict what the prices will be for one of these items at auction.
We enjoy doing these reviews, particularly when it gives us an opportunity to discuss the results with the auctioneers.
Canadian stamp knowledge
From time to time we provide detailed comments on Canadian sets or particular stamps because we believe our viewers are interested in increasing their knowledge of Canadian stamps. Here are some of the comments we have provided:
The Half-Cent Large Queen
Canada's Revenue Stamps
The Popularity of No Hinged stamps
Canada's Gutter Stamps
The Definitives of 1987 - Part II
The Definitives of 1987 - Part I
Large Queens - Paper Varieties
Canada's Modern Imperforates
Canada's Rarest Stamp
Click on the image
On the front page of our site there is an image of Canada's rarest stamp, the 2-cent Large Queen on laid paper of which only 2 copies are known. Clicking on the image will take you to a commentary on the stamp. We have recently added two links at the bottom of the page which will take you to some of the rarest stamps in the world and also to the rarest stamp that exists, being the well known One-Cent Penny Magenta of British Guiana.
Our plans for the future
We have many plans for the future. Our immediate goal will be to extend our ten-year pricing history to cover a greater number of stamps. We want to get to know how stamps are auctioned over the Internet by such sites as eBay. Not all collectors buy stamps through auctions and we wish to provide these collectors with more general information of interest to them, particularly our young collectors. Finally, we wish to be able to provide research material on all Canada's stamps to supplement the basic information already provided so well by the Canadian Postal Archives on its web site.
©2002, Canadian Stamp Auctions Ltd., Montréal, Québec, Canada