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Advice Needed From Sellers: Best Way To Sell A Large Collection (By Country Vs All At Once?)

 
 
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Valued Member
United States
41 Posts
Posted 11/04/2019   4:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add sjtwxgirl to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I have been collecting stamps since I was a youngling, but I am looking for a mix of fast cash for Christmas and also just clearing out most of my collection before my kids have to deal with it. I don't have single stamps with tons of value, but I do have some pretty good stuff and huge variety (worldwide, classics to new). I have spent years buying and sorting lots, so I have my main collection and tons of duplicates. The problem for me...too much still in envelopes and not catalogued or in albums.

So, the real question...I could sell a few countries individually that are better sorted and catalogued (ex. Russia). I'm afraid breaking some countries out of the collection may hurt from selling the rest later on. Am I better off being patient and trying to finish dealing with my backlog and sell it all at once, or is it about the same to start breaking it up and selling in pieces by country? I plan on not going the eBay route. I am not trying to get rich, but I also don't want to be taken advantage of by a lowball offer due to stuff not being properly catalogued etc. What do dealers prefer when they purchase a collection?

Thanks!
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United States
232 Posts
Posted 11/04/2019   4:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Willwood42 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If selling retail, I believe you are better off selling by country or groups of countries. If not selling on eBay, what route do you plan on going down. If selling to a dealer, I don't believe it will make a difference either way.
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Edited by Willwood42 - 11/04/2019 6:15 pm
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United Kingdom
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Posted 11/04/2019   4:29 pm  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Perhaps you ought to reconsider eBay. Don't rush into a pre-Christmas fire sale. Take time to organise your country or area lots, perhaps minimising duplication, which most buyers don't want. But, equally, don't spend forever trying to finish a complete sort.
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United States
1234 Posts
Posted 11/04/2019   7:44 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
sjtwxgirl: I'm nearing completion of a major downsizing and change in focus for my former world wide collection. I'm keeping a number of areas that, perhaps not coincidentally, contain the most value out of my former collection. Like you, I did not go the eBay route. My reason was wanting to make the transition as painless and time efficient as possible, meaning not having to deal with write-ups and shipping. And so many people are on eBay, it would be difficult for some of my areas, to be disposed of, to rise above the crowd.

My down-sizing, which might not work for you, was to dispose of unwanted material in three ways: 1) auction houses 2) APS Stamp Store 3) donations to the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library for their fundraising auctions.

My France and colonies collection, which had around $12,500 Scott in value, went out through Rasdale early last year. I didn't get the price I really wanted, but was glad to be rid of the material. I have some higher priced items on consignment now for Michael Rogers Online, which is part of Kelleher. I have some sets and single items that will go to the APS Stamp Store right after Christmas, next month.

Everything else has gone to the Library, much of it fairly common material, but which can be hard to find. I've given 55 manila folders of single country album pages thus far; and will donate another 24-25 in early January so it is a 2020 tax year contribution.

Areas I've kept are: 1) Portugal & colonies (a specialty area) 2) US 3) British Commonwealth 4) German speaking areas 5) some select Eastern Europe, including Poland, a specialty area 6) a few select Latin America, including Mexico, another specialty area.

Geoff also has good advice, as in, don't rush into any decisions, know your material, and think about how best to sell it or otherwise dispose of it. In terms of selling to a dealer, I'll offer that the less work THEY have to do in analysis of your collection, the better for you. Hope this helps. Steve

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Valued Member
United States
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Posted 11/05/2019   01:00 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add sjtwxgirl to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks everyone. This was the kind of help I was looking for. I want to keep going with a few areas, but also get rid of the piles that keep me from enjoying the hobby as much. I think I will take it a little at a time and start with the stuff I have gone through most carefully.

My fear is a buyer taking advantage of what I dont know is in there. A couple weeks ago I decided to get rid of some Russian souvenir sheet extras on eBay. I found one block in the duplicates pile that had a note about an error on one of the stamps. I didnt find the error in my catalogue, so I put it on eBay. I sold it the first day on eBay for my listed price. I'm guessing I did not ask enough, lol, but glad someone gets to enjoy it.

Heres just a sample of my German mess still to go through...


Here's some of my Russia to dump




I think I'm wasting too much time on stuff of lesser value. I think it's time to do a quicker sort and only worry about stuff above a certain catalogue value...maybe $1 or more? The rest makes a mix? Then I may parse the main collection starting with popular areas.

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United Kingdom
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Posted 11/05/2019   03:47 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don't use a fixed price in eBay unless you know that that's the price you want and are likely to get. The auction method gives you a better chance of getting a better price for items that you're uncertain of. I never use buy it now, but get rid of around 90% of things during the first auction period (books are always a drug on the market and pull the percentage down). Good luck!
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Australia
1198 Posts
Posted 11/05/2019   03:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bobby De La Rue to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi sjtwxgirl,

Another aspect of selling at an auction house is, if something doesn't sell and something you want also doesn't sell, you might be able to do a deal with the auction house. I do this myself from time to time. Being rid of material you no longer want is a good thing; getting something you do want as part of the transaction even better!

Hope this helps
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United States
1234 Posts
Posted 11/06/2019   2:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi again sjtwxgirl. About your fear that you'll be taken advantage of by a buyer because you don't know what is in a stack or pile, my advice is to not sweat over it. If it happens, it happens. I bought a lot of world wide collections from the 1980s through about 6 years ago. I pulled out items for my main world albums to fill spaces, and the rest went into boxes, envelopes, and stacks. Did I miss anything? Probably, but I made it a priority not to lose sleep over it as I didn't have the time to go through each and every page.

Regarding the two examples you showed; Russia and Germany; I'd use my catalogs, were they mine (stamps), to check out the years where value might be present. I'd look closest at pre-1950 as the really valuable items in both countries become more scarce after that date. I used this method with my 1 1/2 inch stack of China album pages, which I probably won't keep because I never collected the area specifically. I found three higher value items on page 1 of one collection that I pulled off to go with the group to Michael Rogers Online. I expect to spend another half hour or so examining the pages again, but only because China has had a good run up in value over the past 30 years. Did I spend that kind of time with Norway, Thailand, or Brazil? No.

Again, good luck.
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United Kingdom
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Posted 11/06/2019   3:10 pm  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Steve - I don't think you bother with eBay, but ... may be worth sticking the China on there. I was surprised to make a couple of hundred quid recently for three lots of what I considered pretty unremarkable stamps.
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United States
1234 Posts
Posted 11/08/2019   09:42 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Geoff: thanks for the suggestion and thoughts. Unfortunately, it's gotten more difficult here in the states to set up, and run, a business of the type used on eBay. The largest burden now is collecting, and remitting, sales tax. So, eBay is not an option. What I will do during our upcoming holiday seasons, here in the states, is to give the China collections a closer view. The larger problem is I have a lot of the 1940s vintage overprints and surcharges, mostly in Chinese characters.
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United States
1135 Posts
Posted 11/08/2019   09:49 am  Show Profile Check KRelyea's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add KRelyea to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
eBay now collects sales tax from buyers, as a seller I don't see it or deal with at all. They've made that part pretty easy.
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