There are many reasons why people collect stamps. Some people collect stamps to learn history, to relive their own histories. Other folks like to look at stamps and enjoy the feelings and emotions that they evoke. And other people collect stamps for investment purposes.
In order to resell stamps, you need to acquire some for resale. One of the best methods for acquiring stamps at the lowest price possible is to buy them in bulk. There are any number of ways to do this.
Spend some time looking around some major auction sites, check out your local stamp dealers, and read some publications devoted to stamp collecting. From these sources you should be able to figure out what stamps are currently in demand by collectors.
You will find that some stamps will just sell better than others at any given point in time. Once you have determined what stamps are currently hot and in demand, try to find some collections that feature these stamps. They don’t have to be high-dollar stamp lots.
If your knowledge of stamps is minimal, you should stick to topical stamps for the time being. You may be wondering what topicals are. Topical stamps are simply stamps that deal with a specific topic such as: animals, nature, cities, peoples, places, buildings, etc. The demand for topicals stamps never seems to diminish.
There is generally much more room for markup on common, topical stamps, than there are on higher value classic stamps. If you will stick with modern day topicals in at least good condition, and buy them in bulk, you can usually sell them off for a handsome profit. Here are a few reasons why topical stamps consistently remain popular:
1. People have specific interests and are constantly on the lookout for items that support that interest. Whatever it is that they love, chances are there are many stamps that can be associated with it
2. People are patriotic. If someone moves from a country that they grew up in, they often want to own things that will remind them of their former home.
3. People love history. Different countries constantly print stamps depicting historical events within their country and elsewhere.
4. Stamps are small and therefore easy to store. There are many ways that stamps represent people’s interests and are so easy for them to acquire and store.
So where can you acquire topical stamps?
As previously mentioned, the best way to acquire topical stamps is to buy them in bulk lots. These can often be found at auction houses whether they be online or at a physical location, stamp dealers, flea markets, garage or yard sales, or estate sales.
When you purchase bulk lots of stamps you are going to get some great stamps as well as some bad ones. Generally the profit you can make on the good stamps will more than outweigh the bad ones in the lot.
Auction houses exist in many larger cities, and sometimes have periodic stamp sales. Check you local yellow pages or do a local web search for auctions houses near you. Generally you will have to sign up with the auction house before you can bid on any item they have up for auction.
Each auction house will have their own rules about long before an auction begins before you can sign up to bid on it and what their fees are. Auction houses generally take a fee ranging from 1% to 15% or more, depending on sales prices. There is generally a listing of their auction fees posted somewhere.
What attributes should you look for?
There are numerous factors that can affect the value of any given stamp. But here are some of the more common ones that you need to be aware of:
Centering: Generally speaking, the closer the image of a stamp is to being perfectly centered between the perforations, the higher the value you can expect for the stamp. Stamps in guidebooks are generally valued in a grade of “very fine,” which may be off center only slightly in one direction. Stamps that are further off center are usually considered lower value. Conversely, stamps with better centering generally command a much greater value.
Gum Condition: A stamp with full, unblemished original gum will value higher than an otherwise similar stamp with imperfect gum. The old style of stamp mounting was to use a small adhesive strip of paper called a “stamp hinge” to stick stamps to stock pages.
This process was called “hinging,” and did irreparable harm to billions of stamps. The stamp hinges disturbed the gum on the stamps, causing thin spots, and were the cause of many torn stamps during the removal process.
As stamps age, environmental processes take their toll on the stamp gum. Of course there are individuals that will re-gum stamps for a fee. This is a controversial subject in its own right. However, most experienced collectors can detect re-gummed stamps. All of these factors cause gum condition to be a major factor in a stamp’s valuation.
Perforation Condition: On stamps that are perforated, most collectors will agree that the presence of all the perforations is important. If a stamp has short, bent or missing perforations, this will negatively affect the value of the stamp.
So how much should you pay for stamps?
The most important point you need to pay attention to in acquiring stamps is your acquisition cost. You should be able to pick up stamps for around 6 cents each. Set up a target price to pay, such as 6 cents and work from there. You may get lucky and only have to pay 2 cents a piece for stamps. If you have to pay over 10 cents a piece for the stamps, you are going to have a hard time making any kind of a profit reselling the stamps.
Your markup may still be high on the stamps that you sell, but the ones that you don’t will drag down your profit once you take into consideration the listing fees on them. Generally speaking, the more stamps you buy at one time, the lower the price should be. Be sure to shop around for bargains and don’t overpay for the stamps as this will drastically affect your profit potential.
A caution about damage. From time to time, you may come across references to damage avoidance, and techniques that may seem awkward at first, but they are a necessary part of handling stamps. One of the main reasons some stamps become so valuable, is their fragile nature. Stamps are susceptible to fire, theft, loss and damage. A small crease, dent or stain can have a huge impact on a stamp’s value.
Now that you have acquired some stamps, you will need to organize your collection. Naturally there are many ways of doing this. The most common way is to organize stamps by country, topic, or genre. When you are offering stamps for sale, you will need to figure out the best way to organize your stamps yourself.
The most common way is to organize the stamps by country. There are a number of reasons for doing this. Stamp guidebooks are generally arranged by country, then chronologically by date of issue within each country. Organizing by this method makes identifying you stamps much easier.