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How To Buy A Stamp With Confidence

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Valued Member
United States
8 Posts
Posted 05/12/2021   12:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add kwc98 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hello,

I am interested in purchasing a few stamps that are enough for me to think twice about the money. As I read all of the posts, I see that people are saying a number of desirable stamps on eBay are obvious fakes. Since I am new to stamps, it might not be so obvious to me. (these sellers still have 100% positive on eBay as well it would seem).

I see that we have a list of trusted sellers on eBay, but I have also seen posts where people seem to <wink> about various sellers being 'good', including the ones on the trusted list.

How should I go about buying a stamp that I don't want to waste my money on. For example I don't want to buy a stamp for 100.00 dollars when many people say, this is obviously not worth more than 5.00.

Do I need to purchase from mysticstamp.com? Somewhere else?

Please let me know,
Thanks!
Ken



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United States
5746 Posts
Posted 05/12/2021   1:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bookbndrbob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Patience is your best friend. It takes time to see and learn what a fair price is for a "better" stamp.
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Valued Member
United States
61 Posts
Posted 05/12/2021   1:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add oldboldandbrash to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don't purchase from some established stamp seller like Mystic. They'll charge prices based on their name. There certainly are good sellers on eBay that have good prices for a variety of reasons, be it liquidating old stock or simply understanding the real value of a stamp. You can usually buy a stamp on eBay for 1/4 of its CV if you look hard enough. A set of German airmail stamps CV 100$ Mint just sold (I was watching it) for 35$. Very nice set, but there was hinge remaining.
You have to weigh your collecting desires (do you only want Mint Hinged due to its often cheaper get, or do you want Mint Never hinged for its greater rarity and quality). Think before you buy and ALWAYS do research before spending more than 10$ on a stamp. 10$ for me, at least, is the point at which I can't just buy something because it's pretty.
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Edited by oldboldandbrash - 05/12/2021 1:12 pm
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United States
7441 Posts
Posted 05/12/2021   1:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Membership to the American Philatelic Society (APS) is only $25.00 right now. Their publication is full of trustworthy sellers each month, a far better deal if you are unfamiliar with stamps then eBay is


Peter
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375 Posts
Posted 05/12/2021   1:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add 1840to1940 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There was a thread on "good" dealers that I found helpful:

http://goscf.com/t/57410
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Posted 05/12/2021   1:28 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Ken,

The following is my opinionů
An eBay feedback score may or may not be a good indicator of a quality seller. The feedbacks scores are regularly manipulated by various means (in both directions). For example, if I thought I had a score to settle with you and you were a good seller I could easily use multiple accounts to buy from you with the sole intent of trashing your score. In the other direction, some sellers maintain 50 or more accounts so they pump up their own feedback scores. And of course, eBay regularly removes negative feedbacks for preferred sellers. As anyone who has ever owned a retail store knows, it is virtually impossible to run through 10,000+ transactions without a few of them going south.

I recommend SCF members who sell on eBay, I cannot think of one that is not a decent person. https://www.stampcommunity.org/member_sales.asp

Do not buy into the eBay marketing that buying from an anonymous seller half way around the world and based upon their images is risk free; it is not.

Do not 'sort by lowest first' and think that you are getting a bargain, in the majority of cases you get what you pay for.

Spend as much time learning WHO you are buying from as you do WHAT you are buying. Work towards building a relationship with a few good sellers, the time spent doing this will bring rewards over the long term. Buying the cheapest material from a different seller each time is NOT smart buying.

Like you have done here, ask around from experienced collectors and see if they will give you recommendations. Unfortunately, some collectors do not share this information thinking they are limiting competition.

Start slow and learn, learn, learn. There are some good deals on eBay but it often takes a lot of experience and a lot of patience to find them. Do not expect that you will find many at first.

Keep in mind that the majority of material on eBay (and in the hobby) has been through countless collectors and dealers hands before you; fresh material entering the hobby is very rare.

Buy based upon your expected 'enjoyment level'. In other words if you spot a lot that you think you will enjoy spending 10 hours going through and you can get it for $100; ask yourself if $10 per hour enjoyment is acceptable. Compare to what it would it cost you to do other leisure time activities (i.e going to movies, golf, etc) per hour. If the math works out for you, you will lower your risk.
Don
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United States
61 Posts
Posted 05/12/2021   1:44 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add oldboldandbrash to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
@1840to1940 Yes I was looking through that thread after it was bumped a couple weeks ago and unfortunately probably 90% of the eBay sellers named are no longer active :/
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Posted 05/12/2021   2:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BobInRye to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I would also encourage anyone interested in more reliable on-line stamp sales to look to HipStamp as opposed to eBay. While I often find mistakes in listings, they are usually due to incorrect categorization as opposed to bad / wrong descriptions.
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United States
573 Posts
Posted 05/12/2021   3:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add centerstage98 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This is all good advice. I guess if I were new to stamps, as you say you are, I would not be thinking of buying anything that makes you think about the amount of money you are spending. That amount - whether is $2, $200 or $2,000 - is better saved right now as you are learning the many, many facets of the hobby and what you are interested in.

Instead, do a lot of reading; purchasing lesser priced lots; and studying those lots to learn about the many nuances of stamps.

Good luck. Always ask questions.
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United States
458 Posts
Posted 05/12/2021   3:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rdavid to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The stamp shop of the American Philatelic Society is trustworthy and has thousands of stamps for sale at reasonable prices. They also have a stamp circuit where approvals are sent to your home. Much of my collection comes from there. Great resource.
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Posted 05/12/2021   3:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wkusau to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Per the forum rules, you can use the forum email system after 50 quality posts. Once you reach that number, you will be able to trade/buy/sell with forum members. That could be a big help in filling your want lists. I say this now so that you can focus on reading the forum, asking questions as they come up, and learning as you slowly build up to buying.
For the record, I occasionally buy some random stamps at my local stamp club just to dig through. If you can't wait, just try to focus on inexpensive bulk lots.
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Posted 05/12/2021   6:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Oracle of Delphi to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have purchased a fair number of items from the APS StampStore and two advantages are that they have a 30-day money-back guarantee and you can ask that any item over $50 be expertized by their APEX service for a fee. You pay the fee if the item turns out to be genuine, but if it is misdescribed or faults found not noted in the description, you can get a full refund of the purchase price plus the expertizing fee.

Having said that. my experience is that probably 10-20% of the items I have purchased were misdescribed (e.g. MH versus MNH) or have undisclosed faults. As the APS states on their website, these problems may not arise from any willful intentions by the sellers. Be aware that, as is the case on eBay, the items are owned by the sellers who provide the descriptions and APS does not guarantee the accuracy of their descriptions (hence their refund policy). Therefore it is important that you carefully examine any item purchased from the StampStore as soon as it is received as well as consider expertizing the more expensive items.
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Posted 05/12/2021   7:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As Don and others have stated it is extremely helpful to build a strong relationship with a dealer/seller that you trust. It takes time and vetting and like all relationships there will be a period of getting to know one another. A seller that is willing to share knowledge without a direct sale in the picture can be a real asset as can a seller that really wants to understand your interests and goals and will work with you over time. A seller that is looking long term rather than for a fling ( it ends the minute your cash stops flowing even temporarily).

There is a very important thing to understand when you set out and that is what is your realistic budget for what you want to accomplish. This budget may change with time and so you will want to reevaluate your financial commitments as warranted. The reason I stress understanding your finances and how they relate to your collecting is that I see people fall into the trap of unrealistic expectations and biting off too much. That tends to lead to "settling" for a stamp or cover or chasing stamps based upon small percentages of catalog value. You open yourself up to faulty and misidentified items because that spot needs to be filled and that oft times leads people to the less savory retailers.

Collect what you like, build a strong relationship with a good seller and understand what is realistic to acquire and you will likely be a happier collector in the long run.

I found that a box lot works well for digging and researching and providing fodder for questions to be asked. Take the time and don't treasure hunt. An envelope full of Washington-Franklins can provide endless entertainment and help you learn types, watermark detection, perforation etc..

My 1.5 cents

Cheers
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United Kingdom
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Posted 05/13/2021   01:30 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You don't say what area you are particularly interested in collecting. If you're new to this, it may be worth your avoiding both specialising in any one area too quickly and jumping in to spend relatively large amounts on individual stamps. When I returned to stamp collecting after a very long hiatus, I assumed that I would start where I left off decades earlier by focusing on British and Commonwealth stamps. I began by buying old, well-filled albums on eBay. I soon found that I was actually more interested in collecting a wider range of countries. I realised that the eBay sellers I was buying from were simply selling off material they'd bought at auction, and started buying mixed lots at one or two auction houses. That in turn led to buying country collections.

Over the years, I've cut back on the range of countries, and now tend to focus on the French area and parts of the Near East - ie nowhere near where I'd originally expected to be. I still rarely buy individual stamps - and if I'd started off by doing so, I'd probably have ended up with numerous copies when I later bought collections containing the same material, and I'd probably have lost interest by concentrating on too narrow an area too soon.

Just my experience!
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Cyprus
120 Posts
Posted 05/13/2021   02:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Moose to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
At the end of the day, any purchase you make is up to you; if you are comfortable to pay an 'x' amount for a stamp (irrespective of CV and or market value)go for it.
That being said, don't buy if you don't know your subject matter. Arm yourself with as much knowledge regarding your collecting interests before you decide to spend. Rather 'invest' in some reference books/specialised catalogues on your subject matter before committing yourself to expensive buys.
This community is also a great place for advice and help so ask ask ask
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France, Metropolitan
3096 Posts
Posted 05/13/2021   07:13 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add perf12 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:

I am interested in purchasing a few stamps that are enough for me to think twice about the money

That sounds like somdeone interested in buying altcoins.(a few stamps).
If that is the case, you are in for lots of
What is youur budget? 100$ or 10.000$
Capital gains ? on the mid term or long term?
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