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What are the odds that common stamps will make you rich?

 
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Posted 12/06/2018   10:57 am  Show Profile Check cfrphoto's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add cfrphoto to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
What are the odds that common stamps will make you rich?



Almost every day someone posts pictures of a few stamps here wondering about their value. What is philatelic value? Collectors buy stamps because the want them for their appearance, scarcity, to build a collection, to exhibit or tell a story or for fun. Buying stamps to make a profit should be left to dealers, keeping in mind that not all philatelic transactions are profitable. Although dealers can live off cash flow, no one can know whether the business was profitable or not until every stamp is sold.

Maybe the SCF should set up a separate forum for bounty hunters who would like to believe that their improperly handled and stored, tattered stamps or fragments have value. What are the odds that any common appearing stamp is valuable? If the odds were high, why would this lot sell for less than one or two hundred dollars? Collectors buy them looking for something someone else missed or the hope that the stamps were not carefully checked, but for fun, not profit.

On the other hand, going to post card shows can have unexpected benefits.

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Edited by cfrphoto - 12/06/2018 11:00 am

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Posted 12/06/2018   11:11 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The odds about the same as finding a winning lottery ticket in this stack?



Don
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Posted 12/06/2018   11:53 am  Show Profile Check Battlestamps's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Battlestamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It depends on how much one searches. I've picked up $50 to $1000+ items out of dollar boxes and bulk boxes at stamp shows all the time. I've also done the same at antique stores. You have to see a lot of so-so material and trash, but with more exposure to material the better the odds. I've pulled duds as well, but I'm getting better with educated guesses over time. I recently sold a stock certificate on eBay for over $400. Cost me less then $10 as an antique store find.

edit - My mother has a stack of scratch off tickets like that stack of lotto tickets. I've had much better luck than her.
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Edited by Battlestamps - 12/06/2018 11:54 am
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Posted 12/06/2018   12:21 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bookbndrbob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Knowledge is the key. If you are a long-time specialist, you have a tremendous advantage over general collectors and dealers in looking through "common" stock.
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Posted 12/06/2018   12:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bujutsu to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I love sifting through large lots. I prefer to take my time and, in some cases, it has taken me months up to 2 years to sort through a very large accumulation.

Once case in point was when I bought 2 large plastic tubs loaded with stamps off paper filled right up to the top of the brims. It was a WW accumulation and it had a lot of Germany as well. I paid $250.00 for the 2 bins, back in 2012. To be honest, I would do it again too. I found Soviet forerunners, early Empire Germany with single items cataloguing up to $35.00-$40.00 and in multiples. I was lucky on a watermark from one of the old definitive sets with a single used stamp with a CV of $210.00!! Many Berlin issues as well. Yes, there were also some of the DDR issues as well, but a lot of them were also MNH and with some of the better varieties.

This did not include the many multiples, that I can either sell or use for trade with catalogue values between $10.00 and $40.00. The total catalogue value, for just the good stamps, exceeded $4,000.00. This still left me with numerous stamps from 50 cents CV to about $5.00. The actual stamp count had to be in excess of 200,000 stamps. Sure, a great deal of them were cheapies, but, that goes with the turf when you buy some of these mixtures.

As another member here already pointed out, my experience going through these accumulations has vastly improved as well. I can do it faster, and I know what I am looking for.

Granted, there are some mixtures / accumulations that are just plain cheap stuff. It is all in knowing what to look for in the first place, in my opinion anyway.

Happy collecting

Chimo

Bujutsu
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Posted 12/06/2018   1:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"I've picked up $50 to $1000+ items out of dollar boxes and bulk boxes at stamp shows all the time."

All the time??? I have occasionally found items like that, but even finding $20 items does not happen "all the time".
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Posted 12/06/2018   2:21 pm  Show Profile Check Battlestamps's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Battlestamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
revcollector: Granted the $1000+ item only happened once - Korean cover from a 25 cents "Stamps for the Wounded" box at Napex, I do find them all the time as I'm always looking through everything I can. You just got to comb through a lot of crud. I'm also talking about covers, postcards, postal stationery and the like. I don't think I could do that with stamps. It also helps to have dealers like Doubleday nearby and lots of antique stores.
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Posted 12/06/2018   3:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bookbndrbob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If you know what to look for, circuit books can be very worthwhile.
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Posted 12/06/2018   3:48 pm  Show Profile Check stallzer's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add stallzer to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I've really only had 1 purchase that was what one would consider very profitable. I bought a collection from a widow who asked $2,000 for her husband's collection. When I did this the Wife was livid. My compromise was to sell $2,000 worth of the collection and I keep the rest. I'd estimate that the portion I kept is easily another $2,000 in an instant sale to a dealer and more if I were to be patient and sell to another collector.
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Posted 12/06/2018   4:00 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses. FRANCIS BACON

Don
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Posted 12/06/2018   4:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Yup
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Posted 12/07/2018   09:41 am  Show Profile Check wheelman's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add wheelman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
About 20 years ago I bought a box lot of US stamps at a coin show. If memory serves it was under $20. Totally forgot about it until really getting back into the hobby a few years back. Upon opening the box I quickly realized that every envelope, at least 200, with many stamps in each, predated 1916. The envelopes by this time were crumbling as I was opening them. For the most part the stamps inside were still OK.No extremely valuable stamps but many many up to $40 stamps.
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Posted 12/07/2018   10:39 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rismoney to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
To be honest, you need to find an equivlant of a c3a to hit the lottery. You aren't getting rich on a 40 or even a 200k stamp, albeit that is nice or very nice. To truly be nicely rich, monetarily, you need to buy the likes of a Gross collection from a naive widow.

Ethics might come into play, where a decent person may inform the widow of the true value and emphathize with her loss versus a profiteer capitalizing selfishly.

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Posted 12/07/2018   10:55 am  Show Profile Check docgfd's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add docgfd to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There's also the 'dumb luck' category which I was fortunate enough to become a part of about fifteen years ago.
A small dealer in Florida (who's name now escapes me) used to send out a monthly price list that I subscribed to. Back then I was heavily into hunting and fishing revenues and swallowed up almost everything I came across, and this dealer usually offered something of interest. In his list, the dealer, who admitted having no clue f what he had, offered up a stack of 1957 and 1958 mint Printed Text hunting and fishing license stamps from the Territory of Alaska with no image included. For $25 bucks for the lot, I figured I had nothing to lose so I bought them. I had no clue what they were at the time either. There were maybe fifteen or twenty from each year, held in old, yellowed glassine envelopes, so into a stock book they went, with two from each year going into my SG Senator album. Each stack was sequentially serial numbered.
Imagine my surprise a few years later when while perusing an auction catalogue from the Sam Houston Duck Company, I found that they were offering the identical stamps at $100 and $150 estimate a pop, the 1957's going for the higher price. I can still remember my pupils dilating and my heart rate speeding up when I stumbled onto that auction page.
After shopping them around to various waterfowl revenue dealers, I ended up selling the ones in my stock book for $2.5K.
Not too shabby a ROI, and proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that even a blind squirrel will occasionally find himself an acorn.
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Posted 12/07/2018   11:14 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There are collectors, collector dealers, dealers and folks that hope for a score in that pile of stamps found in Uncle Neds sock drawer. As soon as it becomes apparent that Uncle Neds limited edition battery powered Elvis socks had more value than the stamps they are off to the next potential ticket to paradise. Hope and dreams power mankind.
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Posted 12/07/2018   11:55 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rismoney to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
rogdcam - you speak truthiness. May get these https://www.ebay.com/itm/FOR-BARE-F...uO:rk:7:pf:0
Mint, original imperf tags with slight tear.
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