By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing
Let’s be honest, despite a devotion to standards like ISO and FOGRA and a determination to produce the best job possible, the output from most of the printing and converting industry’s presses is destined for the garbage can.
It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about glossy marketing materials, cornflake cartons or cinema bill boards, the lifetime of the printed product is fairly short and within weeks is mostly disposed of – hopefully for recycling to new materials. The Industry will spend a huge amount of time and not a little money on the production floor, and yet the output is treated as a disposable item.
Of course there are some areas of print where this does not ring true. And I am not just talking about banknote printers or those engaged in photobooks and other personalised memorabilia, where longevity of the product should be expected.
Printed Postage Stamps are Big Business
This might come as a surprise to some of the younger Landa blog readers in this digital age of email, PDFs and photo messaging… I am talking about old fashioned postage stamps. You know the little piece of sticky paper that you used to put on the corner of your envelope or card to indicate that you had paid for the cost of its delivery. Used stamps are now big business and are among some of the most valuable printed items in the world – which is more than you can say for archived emails!
Stanley Gibbons, the world renowned London based stamp and banknote dealer, published a report recently, highlighting the steadily increasing value of postage stamps as an asset class, comparable to stocks and shares and even precious metals. According to the report, stamps in general have increased in value each year by 11.43% over the last ten years compared to the FTSE100 which has returned 4.31% growth to investors.
The printed stamp market is worth around US$3B per year
Stanley Gibbons pointed out that while companies can fail – rendering stocks and shares worthless –rather obviously you cannot go back in time and print more stamps! Their rarity value is not confined to early examples like the first stamp ever printed – the British Penny Black. Even more modern-day stamps can prove valuable. Apparently there are now 60 million people worldwide collecting stamps, with a third in China. The market is worth around US$ 3 billion per year.
We know print run lengths are falling across all sectors so it is likely that more print categories will become valuable in future. Perhaps very short run lengths of personalised catalogues or Coca Cola bottles with very unusual names will one day find their way into auction houses.
With the upcoming introduction of the Landa S10 Nanographic Printing® Press, Landa’s new Nanography® process will be creating even more opportunities in future for short run packaging, point of sale and marketing materials. You never know – canny investors in the future might just be buying items printed with Landa NanoInk® colourants. And you, the printer, might be the one who created some of them in the first place.