PODCAST - "What is RARE, and what is SCARCE?"

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PODCAST - "What is RARE, and what is SCARCE?"

Post by psestamp »

In this weeks podcast at:

https://stampshowheretoday.com/episodes.html

we don't tell you what stamps are rare or scarce. It is a conversation on what does RARE mean and Scarce.

The continuum is NOT common then scarce then rare.

Scare and Rare or on totally different scales. A stamp can be RARE and Scarce or Scarce but not Rare or Rare but not Scarce.

Very interesting conversation.

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Re: PODCAST - What is RARE and what is SCARCE

Post by acutipuerilis »

Of course, that all depends on their particular dictionary; according to the OED, both meanings (insufficient for demand, and uncommon/rare) are valid.

'Scarce' and 'rare' are also standard terms in biological recording, and in these cases are explicitly defined as part of a gradation of increasing rarity. That's a perfectly valid usage, and is the same as the colloquial usage in stamp collecting. In other words, I reckon the people on the podcast were trying to be too clever... and it didn't really work.

Anyhow, I don't reckon I'll be replacing 'scarce' with 'a bit less rare than rare' any time soon..! :mrgreen:

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Re: PODCAST - What is RARE and what is SCARCE

Post by psestamp »

acutipuerilis wrote:Of course, that all depends on their particular dictionary; according to the OED, both meanings (insufficient for demand, and uncommon/rare) are valid.

'Scarce' and 'rare' are also standard terms in biological recording, and in these cases are explicitly defined as part of a gradation of increasing rarity. That's a perfectly valid usage, and is the same as the colloquial usage in stamp collecting. In other words, I reckon the people on the podcast were trying to be too clever... and it didn't really work.

Anyhow, I don't reckon I'll be replacing 'scarce' with 'a bit less rare than rare' any time soon..! :mrgreen:
In Biology do they go from "scarce" to "rare" on a single continuum?
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Re: PODCAST - What is RARE and what is SCARCE

Post by acutipuerilis »

Absolutely. "Nationally scarce" species are believed to occur in 16-100 ten-kilometre hectads within the UK, whereas "Nationally rare" are found in 15 or fewer. There's no other difference in meaning.

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Re: PODCAST - What is RARE and what is SCARCE

Post by psestamp »

acutipuerilis wrote:Absolutely. "Nationally scarce" species are believed to occur in 16-100 ten-kilometre hectads within the UK, whereas "Nationally rare" are found in 15 or fewer. There's no other difference in meaning.
Thanks - Just FYI - your comment made it onto the podcast.

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Re: PODCAST - What is RARE and what is SCARCE

Post by acutipuerilis »

Blimey, fame at last! :lol:
Thanks for that, Caj. It's nice when random bits of knowledge turn out to be useful in unexpected places...

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Re: PODCAST - What is RARE and what is SCARCE

Post by fromdownunder »

I realise that I am rather late coming into this thread, but I would just like to share the late Simon Dunkerly's views on "rare" with which I largely agree.
As I have written, I like to think of something as being rare when you have the money or chequebook in hand and cannot find it to buy.

In other words, if something is easy to find, then by definition, it is not rare. You may fluke something here and there - and that might make something elusive or even scarce, however, rare is one of the most over used words in philately, and I am sure many other fields.

A 5/- Bridge is not rare. I once knew a dealer that had approximately 500 in stock at the one time - counting postally used, CTO, mint and mint unhinged - and it included several complete sheets. That might seem impossible, however, I can guarantee it is true. I saw the dealer buy many of them and even bought some at auction for him from time to time when he couldn't make it. If you are chasing a perfectly centred MUH stamp that is perfection in every respect, then that is certainly hard to come buy and indeed scarce.

When I was young, I used to think that a 1930 penny was rare. Then I once had a stand at the Opera House stamp and coin show and was next to a well known dealer. In one display case he had no less than 13 from memory on display in varying grades. At the time the average price was around $10,000 each. I asked him how many he actually had in stock and it was about 20! We are talking about a coin that generally sells now for between $20,000 and $25,000 in average condition. I went on to ask him how many he thought had survived and about 2,000 was the answer. My next question was how many would change hands each year in Australia and the answer was about 100. So if you had $2,500,000 to spend, over the course of a year I could potentially find you about 100 of these. In my view that cannot be considered rare. Yes, it is much 'scarcer' than the very common dates which are available in huge quantities, but it cannot be considered rare. The price is held up because it is so popular.

When I write about the rare watermark inverted varieties or missing colours or imperforate errors, I generally refer to the rarities as when there are 10 or less known. Now that is rare. Sometimes there might be an item where 50 or so are known, however, they are 'very tightly' held, and one comes onto the market only every now and then. In the context of what is available to new buyers on the market, that is rare.

Simon Dunkerley
I know that at least in Australia, postmarks are generally classified as follows:

NNR =......Number Not Recorded
RRRRR =..1 to 3 copies recorded
RRRR =....4 to 12 copies recorded
RRR =......13 to 24 copies recorded
RR =........25 to 50 copies recorded
R =..........51 to 100 copies recorded
SS =........101 to 200 copies recorded
S =..........201 to 300 copies recorded

R = Rare, S = Scarce, anything over 300 is considered common. An indication of how "rare" or "scarce" the demand for this material is (was?)

Australia's "glamour" item, the 5 Bob Bridge, is not rare. It is common and can be purchased 7 days a week from any major dealer.

I would not describe, say, the Inverted Jenny as rare. There are at least 80+ known copies, and if you have a cheque book with enough zeros at the end, you could quite probably buy one in the next week, although it may come under Simon's "tightly held" definition.

Rare is when you cannot buy one at all regardless of how much money you have.

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Re: PODCAST - "What is RARE, and what is SCARCE?"

Post by tonymacg »

This 1891? postcard from Jammu & Kashmir is a good example of the rarity vs scarcity enigma:

Image

It has three strikes against it: it's a postcard, and hence not listed in Gibbons, it was never officially issued, and it's a Service (Official) type. And never mind the crease. Stahl/Singhee rate it '2R', meaning 15-25 copies known.

Nevertheless, those copies must be pretty tightly held - this is the first example I've owned. If I was minded to sell it (and I'm NOT), it might well go for upwards of a hundred dollars, simply because all serious collectors of Jammu & Kashmir (yes, there are such people) would have to have it.

And let's not even get onto the matter of the (so far) unlisted Telegraph stamps of Jammu & Kashmir. Gibbons now list the Telegraphs of India ...
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Re: PODCAST - "What is RARE, and what is SCARCE?"

Post by Joy Daschaudhuri »

tonymacg wrote: Image

Stahl/Singhee rate it '2R', meaning 15-25 copies known.
Nevertheless, those copies must be pretty tightly held - this is the first example I've owned.
This Jammu and Kashmir 1891? ¼A black official postal card (Deschl OC1) from setting IV and plate state B, Deschl records that 1000 examples of this card were seen in the remainder stock in c.1900, reported by Edward Benjamin Evans in his article "Some of the Stamps of Native States: Kashmir" in The Philatelic Journal of India (Vol.VII No.2 2/1903), p.53.

Where have then other 980-985 cards gone?

I am beginning to sense that those are covertly kept in the vault of tonymacg. :?

And Stahl is Staal.
tonymacg wrote: And let's not even get onto the matter of the (so far) unlisted Telegraph stamps of Jammu & Kashmir. Gibbons now list the Telegraphs of India ...
Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue 2017 Commonwealth and British Empire Stamps 1840‒1970 (Part I), published in September 2016, does list the "Telegraph Stamps of Jammu and Kashmir" but I am not going to spend £86 for this and will wait for the cheaper India 5th Ed.

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Re: PODCAST - "What is RARE, and what is SCARCE?"

Post by mcgooley »

fromdownunder wrote:I know that at least in Australia, postmarks are generally classified as follows:

NNR =......Number Not Recorded
RRRRR =..1 to 3 copies recorded
RRRR =....4 to 12 copies recorded
RRR =......13 to 24 copies recorded
RR =........25 to 50 copies recorded
R =..........51 to 100 copies recorded
SS =........101 to 200 copies recorded
S =..........201 to 300 copies recorded

R = Rare, S = Scarce, anything over 300 is considered common. An indication of how "rare" or "scarce" the demand for this material is (was?)
Now, here's something I can comment on :lol: And it might just shed some light on the Rare vs. Scarce debate - at least where postmarkings are concerned, and more particularly Victorian postmarkings.

By their very nature, cancellations are difficult to enumerate. It's been proven that a previously NNR can suddenly be thrown up in quantities when a hoard of material comes onto the market.

And it's not impossible to come across several copies of what was previously considered extremely "rare" (RRRRR) cancels.

Unlike stamps, or postal stationery, which most often have definitive printing numbers known; covers and postmarkings are difficult to peg down. It might be possible to know how many FDC were produced by J maker for Y issue - but not so easy to ascertain what quantity were remaindered - just as an example.

With cancellations, students can often be assured that X postmark was only in use for Z period of time - but there are few definitive records which survive to show how much mail went through the office during that period. It's not unusual for an uncommon cancellation to be found in quantity within a very specific time and date period - purely for historical reasons.
Sometimes there might be an item where 50 or so are known, however, they are 'very tightly' held, and one comes onto the market only every now and then. In the context of what is available to new buyers on the market, that is rare.
I think Simon summed it up very neatly right there.
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Re: PODCAST - "What is RARE, and what is SCARCE?"

Post by tonymacg »

Joy, I know very well that Deschl says that 1000-odd remainders of the Jammu & Kashmir black ½ Anna postcard were seen amongst the remainders. However, A.R. Singhee, writing at roughly the same time as Staal/Singhee, put the number available to collectors at 15-25. Perhaps you would like me to quote the full reference from Deschl (which I note you have failed to do).

"NOTE: Printed, but never issued. Used copies are unknown, however, several mint copies are in philatelic hands. It is stated to be "very rare". 1000 copies reported seen in the remainder stock (circa 1900)."

Deschl prices this card mint at "--.--" and used as "UNKNOWN".

I would dearly like to have control of the remaining 900-odd of these postcards, but alas ... The '15-25' that are in circulation are obviously tightly-held.

I'm delighted to know that the latest edition of Gibbons' 'Part 1' recognises the Jammu & Kashmir Telegraphs: the 2016 did not. It will be instructive to see what value Gibbons places on them.

And, germane to this discussion, what happens to the rarity/scarcity balance when a major catalogue decides to list, say, these Jammu & Kashmir Telegraphs?

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Re: PODCAST - "What is RARE, and what is SCARCE?"

Post by Joy Daschaudhuri »

I did not know to quote Deschl, I have to quote everything.

So, here is the relevant p.154 of The Comprehensive India States Postal Stationery Listing.
Edward F Deschl.
private, North Bergen, USA 1994
Part I: Feudatory States Postal Stationery Listing; Kashmir

Image

Now how the "full reference" help to answer the question "Where have then other 980-985 cards gone?"

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