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Collecting as an investment  
 

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Valued Member
87 Posts
Posted 11/08/2018   7:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Celticveil to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Before I begin, let me say:

1) I understand investment is speculative and may not bring the financial returns hoped for.

2) I have personal stamp interests as well so investment stamp collecting is a side hobby to include in my main series of interests. One among many so to speak.

OK, so as a noob, what would be a good way to invest in stamps that could potentially make a nice revenue later down the road?

I get confused by some modern America stamps, like the inverted jenny, as on eBay they sell dirt cheap, but professional online dealers (who I know have inflated prices anyway) sell sheets for much more.

I'm looking for stamps of decent value, within reach for the average joe in terms of price, and what to do to go about ensuring they'll be in pristine condition for resale at a later date. I'm wanting to add stamps as a small portion of my personal portfolio.

As a small-fry, I can't shell out thousands of dollars for one of these things, so some of the professional portfolio type I've read about are out of the question. I'm looking at this as akin to baseball card collecting....have fun doing it, and if possible to resell at a profit or at least break even, then all the more benefit.

I know most modern American stamps don't seem to have much value aside from their postage ability, so aside form a few select sheets (inverted jenny, war remembrance ones, military ones, etc.) I'm not even touching American stamps post 1950s. I also have a personal distaste for the switch to self-adhesive stamps like we use.

So, is this a possible scenario, to buy a few (or more) 'investment grade' stamps and make a potential profit a couple of decades or more down the road? Or am I barking up the wrong tree and should expand to other avenues for such investment type things?

I look forward to all insight, positive and negative, as I don't want 'confirmation bias'. I want truth, as I don't want to waste money on something unprofitable.

I'll happily waste money on something fun though. Otherwise I wouldn't be touching the Harris Co. mixed grab bags at Hobby Lobby lol. Removing the stamps form the paper is very relaxing, even if I only get a handful of unique stamps out of one bag. It's worth the price for a few hours of relaxation.
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3733 Posts
Posted 11/08/2018   8:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Nobody .......let me repeat that ......nobody here made more money with a higher return than me on stamps.

It was simple during the late 1980's and thru out the 1990's when everybody and that's dealers included were getting rid of worldwide stamps and the stamp auction houses found very few buyers for collections and bulk lots . It was a joke between employees at the auction houses to see if they could not only fill the back of my SUV for less than $400.00 and then stuff in for free those bulk lots that got no bids into my truck .

I had so many boxes of stamps at home it was years before I opened up some of them . I was buying stamps in albums and stockbooks and fiquring a bid price in terms of how many stamps I get for a penny .

Then GOD blessed me and had some guy in the bay area start something called eBay . I couldn't believe it people started to buy stock sheets filled with stamps on the computer for 5 cents each and they sold so fast that I kept raising my prices until I was getting 8 to 10 each for stamps ......and ....sold a ton of those yes it more like a few tons of stamps.....one thing I did and didn't realise was all the albums and stockbooks that went into the trash during that period . After selling for a few years I was sold out because no longer could I buy bulk collections anywhere near that old price level again .
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Posted 11/08/2018   8:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Celticveil - I believe you are talking about individual stamps, not boxes of eBay "stuff". Simply put, stamps are not, I repeat not an investment. No way no how. If you buy them it should be for collecting purposes with the understanding that you cannot expect to make money when you sell.
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United States
996 Posts
Posted 11/08/2018   8:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add dudley to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with rogdcam that you are probably barking up the wrong tree as far as your investment goals are concerned. Pretty much anything within reach of the average Joe would not be considered investment grade (which given the state of the hobby today might not even be a valid concept anymore). I wouldn't even take it for granted that there will be much of a market for collectible stamps in a couple of decades (I hope I'm wrong), and I certainly would not make investment decisions based on that assumption. Recall that back in the 1950's people began saving entire mint sheets of three-cent commemoratives in pristine condition to pay for their children's college education...

I say collect what gives you enjoyment, buy the best quality you can afford, and if you can eventually sell for half of what you spent you'll have done extremely well. If you are looking to make a profit then you'll have to spend more than it sounds like you want to.
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Valued Member
87 Posts
Posted 11/08/2018   8:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Celticveil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Well, it's not a matter of spending more than I want to, it's the amount of limited funds I have available, which could be spent on better investment items.

I've had a suspicion for some time that stamp collecting is going the way of the dodo, as are a lot of 'americana' type hobbies (model trains, model cars in general, coin collecting, etc.). Most of my friends are into 'modern hip' hobbies (electronic gadgets and games,). Meanwhile I reverted to a flip phone due to a general disillusionment with modern 'technology'.

I got poked fun at recently when it came up I had gone to a public library...and the book I was reading at the time was a 1982 edition of a beginners guide to stamp collecting.

I have worldwide stamps, but mostly I like my surprise bags because now and then I get a German ww2 issued stamp. Not much in the way of readily available war relics for small time collectors. This is one of the few avenues I can get something form that era at an affordable price.

Seems I'll be looking elsewhere for investment opportunities.
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United States
852 Posts
Posted 11/08/2018   9:24 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Celticveil,

There's usually little chance you can "invest" in stamps intentionally, like you would the stock market, and hope to make a monetary profit.

When collectors make a profit, it's because they've done their homework, studied the material they are collecting and purchased judiciously where others missed out on a variety.

The most return you will get from stamp collecting is the sheer pleasure of pursuing these little pieces of art. I am having a blast and have my entire life. Find me an "investment" which can top that!

As far as the hobby going away, not a chance. It's changing from a brick and mortar type of presence to a digital one. It makes it harder to see all the stamp collectors when they never leave their homes and don't socialize with other collectors, so it may appear as though the hobby is "dying off."

If that's the case, why am I getting outbid on eBay, at auctions and on-line auctions all the time? Hmmmm......
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87 Posts
Posted 11/08/2018   9:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Celticveil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I certainly get enjoyment from looking at the collection, but I really enjoy the process of preparation. I'm a watchmaker by trade but I work in the micromechanical/technical field. I like working with my hands and the soaking/prep part is fun for me.

I'm not a fan of the push to digital sales. I don't like buying things I can't see first hand, too many frauds. This modern age is something I am not adapting to well, and I'm not even 40 yet. I'm also interested in finding something I can invest in, and enjoy at the same time. May not be able to do that, though. May be stuck with boring stocks, bonds, 401k blah-ness.....
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Posted 11/08/2018   10:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Shelby Mustangs
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87 Posts
Posted 11/08/2018   10:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Celticveil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Lol, not a car guy. Thanks for the input though!
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United States
1147 Posts
Posted 11/08/2018   11:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My wife seems to think it's Valentino and Dior shoes.
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United States
3733 Posts
Posted 11/09/2018   01:07 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
POOR MAN INVESTMENTS -----Go to McDonalds and load up on plastic straws ,I understand cities and some states are banning them . Don't laugh ,I loaded up on coffee stir spoons from McDonalds many years ago and ended up selling them for $5.00 each to all the cokeheads around Chicago .
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Valued Member
310 Posts
Posted 11/09/2018   02:28 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Sorsh to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
1) I understand investment is speculative and may not bring the financial returns hoped for.


in any field of investment there's only those who know more than the rest who makes a living of it.


Quote:
2) I have personal stamp interests as well so investment stamp collecting is a side hobby to include in my main series of interests. One among many so to speak.


collecting AND investing is difficult, because there'll be a conflict between mind and heart at some point.


Quote:
OK, so as a noob, what would be a good way to invest in stamps that could potentially make a nice revenue later down the road?


if you're at a point where you're washing off stamps, you're lightyears away of understanding enough about stamps to make an investment.


Quote:
I get confused by some modern America stamps, like the inverted jenny, as on eBay they sell dirt cheap, but professional online dealers (who I know have inflated prices anyway) sell sheets for much more.


modern stamps, if looked upon with investing eyes, a complete waste of time.


Quote:
I'm looking for stamps of decent value, within reach for the average joe in terms of price, and what to do to go about ensuring they'll be in pristine condition for resale at a later date. I'm wanting to add stamps as a small portion of my personal portfolio.


there is a lot of average joe's, all of whom you're competing with to get material to either add to your collection or your "investment" when demand is high, prices go up.



Quote:
As a small-fry, I can't shell out thousands of dollars for one of these things, so some of the professional portfolio type I've read about are out of the question. I'm looking at this as akin to baseball card collecting....have fun doing it, and if possible to resell at a profit or at least break even, then all the more benefit.


when collecting anything, the same keyword applies.
supply, demand, rarity and condition! in order to break even, you'd have had to either invest smart (know more) take better care of your items, and be LUCKY that the interest in your area is still there when you sell.



Quote:
So, is this a possible scenario, to buy a few (or more) 'investment grade' stamps and make a potential profit a couple of decades or more down the road? Or am I barking up the wrong tree and should expand to other avenues for such investment type things?


NO, it's not possible.


Quote:
I look forward to all insight, positive and negative, as I don't want 'confirmation bias'. I want truth, as I don't want to waste money on something unprofitable.


until you know more, your investments are a learning curve, and they will be lost in terms of return, but not in terms of knowledge (depending on the person, as some never learn)


Quote:
I'll happily waste money on something fun though. Otherwise I wouldn't be touching the Harris Co. mixed grab bags at Hobby Lobby lol. Removing the stamps form the paper is very relaxing, even if I only get a handful of unique stamps out of one bag. It's worth the price for a few hours of relaxation


it takes about the same time to go through a box of junk, as it takes to go through a box of gold. your profit is calculated on the time spent (investing is a job) price paid, and final price.

it's fun going through materiale you've bought, but all I can tell you, it's even more fun to go through a box that cost 10.000 than 100.


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Learn More...
United States
1966 Posts
Posted 11/09/2018   07:11 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Save your money for an inverted Jenny. I doubt you will make money on common items on a long term basis. The fact is there are fewer buyers as time goes on so the truly rare material is likely what will see demand.

It is interesting that some items like the US White Plains sheet are so pricey. You can find them dealers with many in stock.

If you are buying your investment material from a dealer, you are likely already paying too much since they would not pay the price you paid to take it back.

The point made earlier about time invested can be important. Think about the person with a metal detector who spends hours and hours searching and then brags and feels satisfied they found a $100 ring.

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Al
Edited by angore - 11/09/2018 11:55 am
Valued Member
17 Posts
Posted 11/09/2018   09:31 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add michaelschreiber to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Celticveil,

"Time is the only truly scarce commodity." Torstein Hagen, the river cruise guy on TV
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Edited by michaelschreiber - 11/09/2018 2:16 pm
Pillar Of The Community
United Kingdom
3434 Posts
Posted 11/09/2018   10:44 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Or,

"I ain't got nothin' but time" - Hank Williams.
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Valued Member
Denmark
417 Posts
Posted 11/09/2018   11:22 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ClassicalStamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can buy "bulk lots" hoping to find treasure or break collections up and sell 10000 lots on eBay...
This is a fun enterprise for someone looking to fill 12 hours a day.

If you want to buy already properly classified "investment grade" single items, note that you pay the auction houses commissions. First when you buy. Second when you sell. That is A LOT of % you are already down before even locating a buyer...

Perhaps keeping your heart in stamps, and your brain in stocks is not the worst piece of advise...

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