Condition, appearance, and scarcity are the keys to value."
What Are Dealer Buy Prices?
- Robert B. Jenson
(An excerpt of a much larger article:
What Is This Collection Worth - aj.)
A dealer's retail price has to cover what he or she paid to
purchase the material, as well cost of handling the item. Philatelic dealers,
for example, are in business for the purpose of making a profit. If there
is no money to be earned in dealing in stamps, there is no good reason
to be in business, and they could spend the time working on their own collections
instead of selling stamps.
A dealer can purchase stamps wholesale from a philatelic
In some cases, the stamps will be ready for sale, in stock sheets or display
books, marked with catalog numbers and prices, and ready for the dealer
to use. In other cases, the dealer has to do some preparation of the material
in order to get it ready for sale.
With collections (let's say it's YOUR collection that you've decided
to sell - aj.), very often there are several nice pieces or sections that
can command a good sales price by themselves, if they are separated and
catalogued and described. The rest is probably not very interesting material
(monetarily speaking - aj.) and can be broken up into sets, sold as one
bargain lot, or perhaps simply scattered into a "3 cents per stamp mixture
box". However, the act of taking a collection, picking through it for the
items that make nice sales pieces, and then disposing of the rest, all
takes time. When a dealer makes an offer for a collection, he/she has to
factor in how much time it would take to get a price that is close to the
catalog value of that set. Therefore, even if you know the exact
catalog value of all the material in a collection that you plan to sell,
do not be surprised or dismayed if you are offered only 25% - 30% of your
calculated catalog value.
That's just the way it is. Dealers buy low, sell high, and the difference
in prices pays for their time, their rent, their supplies, and if they
are very lucky ... even a bit of profit. I have spoken with many of the
local dealers at shows and in stores ... it's a fun business if you enjoy
working with stamps and with people, but it's extremely difficult to earn
a good living as a stamp dealer. (One more reason to realize this is a
HOBBY for most people. - aj)
My Stamp Worth Anything?
Unfortunately, most stamps are not worth very much. Even stamps
over 100 years old from many countries are so common that the Scott catalog
value is the minimum price that Scott feels a dealer can afford to sell
an individual stamp at and still cover expenses. This minimum is $0.25.
(retail - as of 2000. - aj)
The traditional perspective:
Outright sale, Auction House
and Private Treaty sales.
Is This Stamp Worth? by Mike Mills @ About.com
"Most of the world's stamps catalog for well under a dollar
and generally sell for less than the catalog value. And though many stamps
look the same to the untrained eye, a small variation in perforation, paper,
color or engraving can mean the difference between a .03 cent stamp and
a $45.00 copy. ..."
Other issues of 'worth':
: The American
Philatelic Foundation - free & non-profit.
"The most valuable stamps were printed in the 19th Century and
few have come down through this century in perfect condition. Many 19th
Century gums were acidic, and have damaged the stamps over the years. And,
what most non-collectors do not know is that most 19th Century valuable
stamps were forged extensively. Classic Japan as an example has 1000 forgeries
for every genuine stamp..." (note: forgeries are collectable too! aj.)
Selling Your Stamp Collection, by
D.J. McAdam (c.2009, 2015)
There is probably no question in the world I would rather avoid more than, "To whom should I sell my stamp collection?"
...It is so because one rarely has any idea what a collection is worth, and so mistrust hangs over the proceedings from the get-go.
You (if you are the seller), who perhaps just the other day pronounced a love of capitalism, must now face capitalism in its most unadorned form: a stamp dealer who wants to buy your collection at the lowest possible price and sell it at the highest possible price. What do you do?
Do Some Research ...
After the Research, Find a Dealer ...
One Last Consideration:
I've discussed selling a stamp collection because, given the title of this essay, I could scarcely do otherwise.
But you, dear reader, have options, and as a stamp collector myself I hope that you will at least consider another
one of them, which is, the option of not selling the collection and, instead, turning the collection over to
someone in the family who will keep it going and find enjoyment in it. In fact, if you've inherited a collection,
you yourself could become such a person, using what's been handed down to you as the foundation of your own collection.
This is, really, what every experienced stamp collector secretly prays for at night (we're an odd bunch), and it makes
me feel better to know I've at least raised the possibility.
And there's Wayne Miller ('404' c.201503)
"I wanted to make a place where collectors could ask questions about stamps,
and hang out. So, I have made this site. Here you can ask questions about
anything stamp related." [email protected]
(new URL 4/23/01 featuring an excellent set of links for beginners ; including FREE stamps! and articles... etc. - A.J.)
: Wardrop's in
: Collectibles Insurance Svc's, LLC in the U.S.
: Hugh Wood official insurance
manager of the APS and all others.
Stamp gifts (when you'd rather give than receive)
: Lion's Int'l "Philatherarapy"
for the wounded.
: For taxable
reasons (U.S. IRS form 8283) ... (310)
275-3256, [email protected]
: Scott Kitchen's Charity
Page - a long list... mostly for education.: www.eclipse.net/~skitchen/ '404' c.2014
Beginner's Guide to Online Auctions
... Using one of the major online general auction sites, such
for the first time can be just as overwhelming, especially
for folks who are new to the Internet. Rules and regulations, bidding and
selling procedures, auction etiquette, confusing auction formats, and insider
lingo -- it's enough to make you want to go back to bed.
But not to worry. You don't have to jump in without a net. We've put
together a comprehensive beginner's guide to online auctions. This guide
walks you through the entire process for both buying and selling. ...
(c.2001 all except Linn's and, perhaps, Gibbons seem to be 'dead' links c.2008)
Linn's (searchable) Classifieds (good c.201503)
A List of classified
ad sites - from CancelNations.com '404'
page at Rainbow Online - long dead!
Welcome to Stamp One Classifieds '404'
Krause (including Stamp Collector Magazine) Classifieds '404'
Stampguyz's searchable Classifieds '404'
Gibbon's new Collector's Cafe '404' c.201503
(undated ads) - "404 - File or directory not found." c.201503
Tip: One way to protect
yourself in general is to deal with dealers and collectors who are members
of a national organization, such as the American
Philatelic Society, the American
Stamp Dealers Association, the National Stamp Dealers Association, or the dealers
association in your country. Both the APS and the ASDA have a system
for handling complaints against their members, so you have some recourse
if a deal goes wrong. (keep records)
I have compiled a special list of dealers who
are agents of national governmental postal authorities as another avenue.
- buy from coin dealers too!
The best 'net info on shows near you is from Linn's
Stamp News, the APS,
the ASDA (sign up for email notification)
and StampShows.com. (or a good 'ol
telephone call or letter to your local dealers)
Trading, when you have a few duplicates or decide to change your direction, is a
good method and it puts you in contact
with other collectors. Also consider charity.
Dupke's Stamps (now, c.2011, 2015: TradeOnlyStamps.Com - a traders heaven)
Paul Edney's Stamp Yellow Pages :
Ask friends and relatives to save their old mail for you.
Look for free stamp offers on the internet. (like the JPA's Kids Offer)
DON'T go and spend a lot of money until you know you're really interested.
Tips: One way to get a good assortment of stamps is buying 'kiloware',
or mixtures. Shop around and compare
and you will find some good
deals (no particularly
link is endorsed by me). All over the world, new stamps can be had at the
post office, of course, but it's good
to know that several U.S. ones are designated as 'Philatelic
Centers' and can provide other services. Similar services are
provided by most modern stamp issuing entities.
And don't ignore 'approval
pals will get you interesting mail too. Or try to win
Images impressed into the paper on which stamps are printed
that are not easily visible to the naked eye. They can create different
varieties of the same apparent issue.
Stampguyz's ('404') 'FOUR KINDS OF WATERMARKS':
Watermark: The designs on the
roll are so arranged that a single complete watermark is impressed
into each stamp.
Watermark: The designs are small and worked so closely together that all,
or parts, of several watermarks appear on each stamp.
Watermark: The watermark is spread over all or part of the sheet and only
part of it shows on each stamp. Stamps of Hungary 1898-99 are examples
of this type of watermark. (Watch a video from Kenmore Stamp Co. (c.2009)
Watermark: This is a variation of the sheet watermark. The Mexican watermark
"Papel Sellado" so arranged that a single letter is found on each stamp.
Also the United States watermark "USPS" each letter (see above image), or part of each letter,
will fall on a different stamp. There are also single line and double line
watermarks. See your stamp catalog for details regarding these.
AskPhil - How to do it...
The 'wet vs. dry'
methods (the cost and ease factors)
Stamp2 Watermark Database - formerly (http://220.127.116.11/webbase/):
- The Stampguyz Watermark directory (now '404' 12/1)
See Also: Our title=ical Index : Watermarks
Note: there are also the 'Ultra Violet' & 'Optical' methods (see below)
Q: Can you check a watermark with the stamp still on the cover?
A: With a '
... [related story by
notes: "..As an alternative (to watermark fluids etc. - aj), there are
a number of electronic watermark detectors on the market that work fairly
well. We prefer the Morley-Bright Roll-A-Tector. It will reveal the most
difficult watermarks and will show the watermark of a stamp on cover, without
having to remove the stamp. No fluids,
batteries, or chemicals are needed.
Glassine - A cellulose paper made from wood
Often used in the baking/cooking industry, the photography
(and other arts) arena for film sleeves and packaging and by collectors
in general. It is used for its 'greaseproof' quality'. Used philatelicly
for stamp hinges, album and stock book interleaves and envelopes to temporarily
store stamps, covers and ephemera. See: 'Hinges'
for more info..
Signoscope = Watermark detector:
and always search
Specialized tweezers for manipulating/holding stamps
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