At least one Auction Catalogue I receive will often add the words “NH – therefore must be worth at least double the catalogue value”.  Some catalogues actually differentiate between ‘hinged’ and ‘never hinged’ with according price premiums. We all know that Scott finds an arbitrary point in the 1940’s to state “Prices for all unused issues after this date are for never hinged examples” or words to that effect.

Many collectors pout at this and tell anyone who’ll listen “I’m not a gum collector!” However those very same collectors will typically select a never hinged stamp when it is available and it is the same price as a hinged example!

It is a sticky question!

Where I have difficulty is why an NH one pound stamp issued in 1945 is considered to possess a x2 premium when the same value stamp issued in 1946 does not. Or why an NH stamp issued in 1875 should have just the same x2 premium as an NH stamp issued two decades later. I realize that the two aforementioned stamps may have different catalogue values but should the NH premium be the same?

And another thing!

Very often when one finds a long set, it may be that all are NH apart from the two top values that have been previously hinged – this I can understand – probably plain economics or it is so difficult to find the top values NH. However what is as frustrating is finding that same long set with the lower three denominations hinged when the rest are not. When a collector starts out, lack of funds or lack of knowledge may encourage him (or her) to use hinges on the low values that he obtains. With subsequent knowledge of hingeless mounts, all subsequent purchases are safely encased in Showgard mounts – maybe even those few early values are remounted to give the page symmetry.

Now back to the “sticky question”.

I’d like to know your opinion on this subject.

As you know, I am interested in the stamps of Great Britain and the entire British Family of Nations. So I will use these as the basis of my thoughts. I propose:-

Queen Victoria Issues up to 1890                                         NH Premium = 3.0

Queen Victoria issues after 1890                                          NH Premium  = 2.5

King Edward VII issues                                                        NH Premium = 2.2

King George V issues up to 1932                                          NH Premium = 1.85

King George V issues after 1932 + King Edward VIII issues   NH Premium = 1.33

King George VI issues                                                         NH Premium = 1.25

This may seem a bit complicated, and maybe it is. On the other hand it may be too simplistic.

Maybe high values – say 5 shilling values and up should deserve a little more premium; maybe some lower values may need a little more as well.

Certainly some countries’ issues are easier to find NH than others. We all know how stamps from warmer climes tend to be plagued with toned gum. This often caused the collector/owner to float the gum off before it suffused into the paper and affected the appearance of the stamp face.

So what do you think? Should we have a standard at all or should we leave all well alone? Please let me have your comments and/or suggestions.

This could be the start of quite a discussion!!