Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Crazy Little Thing I Do

Years ago, my dad, who is a seasoned coin collector with a passing interest in philately, told me that stamp collectors place more value on stamps from the edges of a print run, assuming they have the extra edges still attached. This is because of rarity: if there are 100 stamps on a 10x10 sheet, 36 of them will have one edge and only 4 of them will have two edges, as corner stamps. He taught me to preserve this rarity by never separating the edges from a stamp when I affix it to an envelope.

Now that stamps come in rolls in addition to the traditional sheets, edges are even more rare. On a roll of 100 stamps, there will be two unique edge stamps: the first and last ones on the roll. This doesn't have any impact on the value of the stamp today, but collectors of all stripes understand that and are more interested in what the value might be years from now.

In my role as Customer Relations Coordinator at work, I send out quality survey invitations via Canada Post. To encourage a better response rate I include a self-addressed stamped envelope, or SASE. It seems to work; our survey response rate is around 65%, which blows away the industry norms.

But that little bit of insight from my dad has stuck with me. In preparing a new batch of SASEs today, I started a new roll of stamps. On a roll, there is a separator every ten stamps which displays the artist's name. The photo above shows how the edge of the roll was cut halfway through a separator.

The reason I include that half-separator edge on the SASE I send is just in case the recepient is a sharp-eyed philateler who would identify this as a rare stamp. It's a one-in-a-million chance that it would ever matter, but I can't help myself. The smile this lucky find would evoke on a customer's face is just too great of an opportunity to pass up.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, but must be on topic. Spam, hateful/obscene remarks, and shameless self-promotion will be unceremoniously deleted. Well, OK, I might put on a little ceremony when I delete them.