The Railroad Postmark Pricing Project, September, 2005

What's an RPO cover worth? When I resumed collecting railroad postmarks after a hiatus of several years, I learned quickly that things were different in regard to prices on good RPO material and Postal history items in general. It was apparent also that the valuation guidelines that existed were hopelessly out-of-date or not truly reflective of the real value of covers.

There is ample data available for sales on higher-priced material, but little to guide the average collector in regard to fair value pricing. I set out to assemble data from mail sales, auctions, knowledgeable dealers and other sources to give a better picture of values for the low-to-medium priced railroad postmark covers.

I did not seek to include data from sales that focus on high-end markings but if high rarity factor markings or especially-attractive covers appeared in the sales that I had realizations for, these are included in the data. By the same token, if a high rarity factor marking had major faults, was on piece or had other negative factors, it was left in the data as well. Data on more than 20,000 covers listed by auctions, published on net price lists or listed for sale) from 1989 to the present has been assembled so far. A total of 15,010 prices were included in this data. The balance of the covers likely did not sell at auction, etc. The prices ranged from $0.50 to $940.00. Several covers that sold for over $1,000 were not included in the calculations below.

Low rarity factor cover average prices are inflated by auction and retail minimum prices, and in many cases may not have actually sold at the listed price, especially in the case of retail lists. The highest rarity factor groups' prices are lower than expected due to the types of auctions and lists included in this data - many superior covers sell for much higher prices.

Even though a number of higher-priced individual items that were included in the previous calculations from a year or so ago have been removed from this data, the average price of a cover increased significantly; the previous average was $9.50.

The average price for all covers sold was $12.96

The median price for all covers sold was $7.50

3,625 Rarity 1 covers sold at average price $ 5.77

6,369 Rarity 2 covers sold at average price $ 8.24

3,231 Rarity 3 covers sold at average price $ 15.07

1,216 Rarity 4 covers sold at average price $ 29.02

340 Rarity 5 covers sold at average price $ 46.72

115 Rarity 6 covers sold at average price $ 76.06

76 Rarity 7 covers sold at average price $ 91.26

32 Rarity 8 covers sold at average price $136.87

6 Rarity 9 covers sold at average price $204.02

This is an ongoing project, and collaborators and more data will be welcomed. Contact Rick Kunz if you'd like to help.

Auctions included in data

Dealers included in data

 Some Ebay US RPO Prices Realized for Mar-May, 2008

 Some Ebay Canada RPO Prices Realized for Mar-May, 2008

 Some Ebay US RPO Prices Realized for Jun-Dec, 2008

 Some Ebay Canada RPO Prices Realized for Jun-Dec, 2008

A few words about the Ebay Prices Realized Project

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