Rarity and value of Alaska Statehood
The base on which the listing here is made is much too thin to accurately put values or rarity factors on each of the many different cancels. At the same time and for the same reason no attempt is being made to put first and last dates on the use of the cancels as of most just one is available for reference.
But I can try to formulate some guidelines that may help to 'guesstimate' the value of a given
cancel. Be aware that these guidelines are just that! Also they are my opinion only and I am
open to suggestions from anyone who thinks he knows better
1. All good quality Alaska postmarks (that is, completely struck) on a decent cover not too large (on a 6¾ size envelope preferably) are at least worth $1. Exception: machine cancels without slogans from the large cities like Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau, these are worth less. Strikes on large envelopes are almost invariably worth less than those on smaller envelopes. All prices mentioned below are for smaller envelopes.
2. 4Bar cancels from independent post offices still in operation are worth $1 to $2. Covers of philatelic origin are worth $1 to $2, commercial usages $2 or a bit more. Also cancels of the 1960's and 1970's of philatelic origin are 'better' than those of the 1980's and 1990's and therefore closer to $2 than to $1
3. Double-Circle cancels from independent post offices still in operation are worth $1 to $2 in Philatelic uses, $2 to $3 in commercial uses. Same 'age rule' for philatelic uses applies here.
4. 4Bars and Double-Circle cancels of CPO's, Rural Branches, Contract Stations etc. of towns still in operation are worth $2 to $5 on philatelic covers and $3 to $8 on commercial usages. Same 'age rule' for philatelic uses applies here too.
5. Cancels of DPO's (Discontinued Post Offices) are worth $5 to $20 (in some cases more, in a very few cases a lot more) depending on how long the post office was open during Statehood. The shorter the period, the higher the value. Commercial usages of many DPO's are sometimes next to impossible to find and one should not be too picky on condition if one is found!
6. Cacheted covers commemorating something in Alaska or something tied to Alaska with 'normal' Alaska postmarks are worth at least $1 more than the cancel itself would be. The nicer the cachet, the higher the premium. For handpainted cachets as used on for example several of the ACC Sustaining Members covers the premium is at least $10.
7. Special Event postmarks on cacheted covers are at least $2 and range in my opinion to $10. Commercial usages are next to non-existent on those, when found treasure them and don't be picky on quality! I have a few struck on the covers used to mail the cacheted covers in to collectors who had sent for them. In my experience these covers are the closest thing to commercial use to be found.
8. Covers with Postage Meters are at least $1. Those on covers with corner cards revealing their sender are at least $1,50.
9. Covers with bulk rate imprints or other printed indicia indicating postage is paid are $1 to $3 when showing their sender, but next to nothing when the sender can not be identified.
10. Covers with PVI labels on philatelic covers are about $1. Commercial uses at least $1, those of smaller towns more. Also, rates other than first class postage ($0,29 or $0,32) are more desirable and therefore worth a little more.
11. Covers with precancels commercially used at least $10, probably more as I have only two so far. Philatelic covers with precancels at least $5 (have about 3 dozen)
12. Covers with penalty imprints (used by the USPS mainly) with markings identifying an
Alaska origin are about $1 to $2 depending on size of the town of origin.
These guidelines obviously do not cover all cancels in all cases! There are many individual exceptions to them! Most exceptions are up, not down in value.
Also, as always, condition plays a major factor. Especially philatelic covers must be in virtually
perfect condition to qualify for the prices mentioned. Commercial covers must be in good
condition, not necessarily perfect to qualify. The smaller the town, the rarer the cancel, the less
important the quality of the cover since not much else or better may be out there to be found.
Also, in my experience commercial covers of the 1980's and 1990's are surprisingly hard to find
in relation to those of the 1960's and 1970's, especially from smaller towns and therefore prices
of these tend to be in the higher part of ranges given.
All these guidelines are my opinion only and they must be used with a lot of caution!
Dirk van Gelderen
2771 ZB Boskoop
Suggestions: please tell me