July/Aug 2019 edition
Issue #6 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
Oh, So Collectible!
I am always on the lookout for anything Ferrari or automotive-related to add to my collection. My interest in collecting Ferrari postage stamps began during a visit to the Schlumpf Museum in the early 1990s. I came across a series of six stamps, each depicting a different driver from a different aspect of racing: Can-Am, Formula One, and F5000. Their strong colors and graphics were intriguing.
The United States Post Office has never issued any stamps honoring Ferraris, so you must go outside the 50 states to hunt for your treasures. While most stamps featuring Ferrari history are fairly recent issues, there are Ferrari-related postal stamps in circulation more than 50 years old. Many countries use this media as more of a revenue generator than as a means by which the mail is moved. St. Vincent, Nevis, Tanzania, and Grenada are some of the more prolific producers.
Stamps are produced in many forms; such as single stamps, strips of three/four or more, souvenir sheets, plate blocks (entire sheets) and a series. A souvenir sheet can be described as a sheet of one or more stamps, specifically printed by a government for a specific event or purpose, with extra-wide margins and inscriptions describing the purpose of the issue.
Most of the Ferrari stamps are primarily commemorative in nature, and are based on events like the Mille Miglia, Formula One in general or the 100th birth anniversary of Enzo Ferrari. In addition, governments have chosen to feature the drivers themselves, such as Wolfgang Von Trips, Gilles Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher, Jacky Ickx, and Clay Regazzoni.
For featured Ferrari models, equal numbers of race and road cars abound, with numerous versions of all Formula One cars represented. The first Ferrari cabriolet and 1949 Geneva show car, 166 Inter Cabriolet S/N 011S is even mentioned by serial number on its souvenir sheet for Grenada / The Grenadines. Other cars featured include several 250LMs, 250P, Boxer, the prototype P6, 212 Export Spyder, 250 MM Spyder, the King Leopold Cabriolet, 195 S, 250 GTs of all flavors, 340 MM, 275 GTB, 365 GTS, 250 GT/L, 250 Testa Rossa, and more.
While you will find that the newer issues are slick, colorful and include newer Ferrari models, the older gum stamps are beautifully designed and engraved. Keep a sharp eye out and you will find super rare color or design proofs that are signed by either the designer or engraver. Also rare are 22k and 23k gold foil commemoratives.
There are two important general features that affect the value and desirability of any collectible stamp; condition and grade. The condition applies to the physical state of the stamp. Damage, such as creases, scuffs, tears, holes, paper thins, stains, gum disturbance and so on, affect the condition of the stamp. The grade of a stamp is determined primarily by its centering. The centering on a stamp is determined by the position of the design of the stamp in relation to the outer edges of the stamp.
The prices for Ferrari-related stamps tend to follow the pricing for other commemorative type stamps. Like any collectible, the pricing is based on the supply and demand. Single stamps can run anywhere from $2 to many hundreds, where souvenir sheets and plate blocks start at about four dollars to many hundreds for mint, never used examples.
The values for the new stamps are based on the actual value of the postage on the stamps, plus a somewhat blue-sky add-on for unique design, rarity, and location of the country producing the stamp. You will also find variations such as color or design proofs, sometimes signed by the designer or engraver. Another adjunct of collecting includes envelopes or covers that commemorates the first day usage of the stamps.
In your search for Ferrari-related stamps, you’ll notice many tremendous automotive-related stamps that feature other brands of cars, races and events. Monaco, Italy and Germany have some particularly stunning stamps with subjects such as, the Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo Rally, Mille Miglia, Torino Auto Salon, and the Circuito di Bologna Florio of 1908.