I've noticed that many dealers say that they take want lists. I wonder how effective they are at delivering on specific goods, and does that mean you compromise on getting a deal? What about turn around times. I know the answer is always it depends, but I am wondering about anecdotal experience on this.
Say I need 30 stamps. They are not common, and don't show up on eBay, hipstamp, dealer's sites. They may have appeared a couple of times at auction in the last 20 years at most.
I'm interested to know how people draw stamps out of from the underworld, that aren't especially expensive, say $200-$2500 but just can't be found.
Does it mean you have to spend way more than that on other material in the hopes the dealer will start to "work with you" for other stuff?
rismoney: these days, with specialty collections now occupying my time rather than the former world-wide collection, most of my dealings are with dealers, or the APS Stampstore. I check eBay occasionally, but find it hard to navigate for what I'm looking for. When I do find an item on eBay, more often than not, it is overpriced, damaged, or both. So, I don't buy on eBay. Haven't bothered with Hip or DelCampe.
My strong preference is to deal (pun not intended!) with dealers who have stock to be viewed on their websites. I do business, however, with a couple of dealers who have little, if anything, on their web sites. So, yes, I do send occasional want lists. Both of these dealers do have turnover in their stock, with new purchases. I've dealt with one for many years; both by mail as well as at shows. I recall returning only one item, and got a prompt refund.
The way to "draw stamps out from the underworld" is to simply ask, at least in my experience. Turn around times are generally OK. And I get discounts when I remember to ask for them. After all, they need to make money and I'm usually not spending a ton of money since my specialty collections already are extensive.
Regarding your suggested answer; "it depends;" I'll say this: "depends on what you collect." It seems like dealers in US material are a dime a dozen. Finding high quality dealers for Portugal & colonies, or Poland, is much harder.
I've had mixed results with want lists. Have sent several to what I would call larger dealers who sell a lot on EBay/Hipstamp and received pretty much no response.
Have found some specialized dealers (In my case Ecuador) and have had a pretty good experience in both quality of material, responsiveness and accuracy of their stock. That usually translates in to a higher price tag though. Personally speaking, I'm ok paying a premium for stamps that you just don't see often, or in some cases, ever.
I think most dealers will also work with you if you become a good customer, but each is an individual. I work with one on my US stuff that will mail the next day when I make a purchase knowing my check is in the mail as well, and from time to time I will ask for a discount on something and generally receive it but I also don't try to beat the dealer up on every purchase when I know the stamp is being offered at a fair price.
On the other side of that coin, I've bought stuff at full Scott where the dealer said "Find someone else with this and I'll match their price" knowing that you can't, because they know their stuff. Just have to make that call on your own whether to pony up or keep looking.
I've not sent out wantlists in the traditional sense, however any time I am planning to attend a major show, I send out a wantlist 3-4 weeks before the show. I explain that I am attending the show on days X and/or Y and here is what I am looking for.
Most of them get circular filed by the dealers I'm sure, but every now and then it will pay huge dividends. I'll either get an email or phone call letting me know to stop by Booth X and what they have for me, or when I see them at the show and they recognize me (I wear my business card as a nametag which matches the one they received in the mail as well as the letterhead), and say "Oh hey, I brought this for you to look at..."
I learned early on that there is NOTHING worse than speaking with a dealer at a show only to hear "Oh, yeah I've got XXX and YYY... but I didn't bring them with me."
The more specialized or esoteric your interests, the more important this is. Dealers are going to want to bring what they are likely to sell the most of, and will vary what they bring to different shows based on (1) anticipated clientele for that show, (2) any societies with meetings at that show, and (3) the geographic region the show is being held, e.g., bringing more Illinois/Indiana postal history to CHICAGOPEX than they might to ARIPEX.
It never hurts to inquire. You never know what might be lurking out there buried deep within the depths of a dealer's cabinets and cubbyholes that only needs a mental jog to dust off and bring to light.
People like Dan understand that building relationships is critical in scoring good material. Communicating with them, as he outlines above, and getting them to understand that you are a serious buyer, goes a very long way towards building a quality collection. This was true 40 years ago and is true today; online buying has not changed the need to build strong relationships. Don
Quote: Things happen when they happen, and most volunteers respond better to carrots than sticks.
Understood completely, as one of the volunteers that helps set up the tables and chairs and assists dealers unload their vehicles at NewMexPex every year...
That said, if somebody took the effort to create a web page for the show, they can go two extra steps to add the dealer info.
This is why dealers need to make more noise. Usually, more attendees equals more sales.
I also concede CV19 has shown this may not be entirely true as I understand last weekend show only had 200 or 300 attendees, and dealers states they did better than normal at the show. That may be bored buyers happy to spend money on something.
Show organizers have a responsibility to the dealers to do all they can do to advertise and generate interest and enthusiasm to pull in buyers.
I can't ask dealers to bring weird stuff if I don't know which dealers are attending.
Frankly, if I am unable to get a dealer list, I most likely am not attending that show.
I would find it strange that a major show does not produce a dealer list. My main experience is with Rocky Mountain Stamp Show. However, I attended WESTPEX in 2017 and SESCAL last year, both in California. And I agree with Dan. Having the long standing relationships with key dealers is critical. With both of my non-Colorado shows, I corresponded in advance with a couple dealers. Thus, they knew both that I was coming and what in particular I was looking for. Very good experiences were the result.
As an aside, RMSS also posts its dealer lists in advance.
I can only speak to foreign collecting as I collect no USA. Resources are difficult to find in the US compared to 20 or 30 years ago. But there are still a few, especially in BC and Germany. No bargains to be had but they are more likely to have stock you want.
There are a few France and Colonies sellers in the US, but I have not had much luck with them. I have sourced key French Colonies items mainly from Europe. Ditto for Netherlands and Colonies.
There are quite a few dealers around with very large stocks. Some accept want lists, some don't. Some I would not send a want list because I know they will want extreme pricing if they know I want something. The key is to do a lot of research, ask a lot of questions, and ferret out sellers who still have large stocks. Send want lists to those who accept them, and shop lists for those who don't.