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Best Way To Fill Empty Spaces In Your Collection

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Valued Member

Canada
36 Posts
Posted 05/16/2021   10:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Kinibo to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi all. I started collecting again about 5 years ago, renewing a passion that started when I was about 12 years old. My style of collecting has always been unfocused, accumulating stamps from all countries and filling empty spaces in my albums. For me the joy lies in completing a page, no matter what the age, rarity or origin.

In the early going, buying large lots of stamps was effective for this purpose, but as my collection has grown that is no longer viable, as I already have most of the stamps that I'm finding. So now I would like to make a concerted effort to fill some of these individual gaps.

How do you more experienced collectors deal with this? What is the best source (if there is one) of buying stamps individually?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have - and apologies if I'm restating a common query :)


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311 Posts
Posted 05/16/2021   11:06 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add canyoneer to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
For me, after getting most spots filled using stamps culled from large lots, I used eBay, Hipstamp, APS Stamp Store, and Stamps2go to get individual items. For really tough hard-to-find items I would use Delcampe which has many European dealers.
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United States
1979 Posts
Posted 05/16/2021   11:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add shermae to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hipstamp.com is one good option. For medium to higher-end stamps eBay is also useful.
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Posted 05/17/2021   12:13 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Oft times you will find that traditional auctions are a better value than eBay and the other Ebay- like purveyors.
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United States
306 Posts
Posted 05/17/2021   06:45 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add StatesmanStamper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I've been trying to limit my purchases to single country lots since my last few purchases of multi-country lots were fairly disappointing. I try to look for packets, remaindered approval books, lots mounted on specialty-style pages, etc.

I have found some good lots on eBay, but most of the time stuff I'm looking at goes well beyond what I'm looking to spend. I have yet to dip my toes into any of the SAN auctions.

Dale
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Posted 05/17/2021   07:30 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Keep in mind that most if not all of the material on eBay comes from the auction houses most of which are on SAN. Eventually many collectors cut out the middleman and buy "direct".
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Valued Member
United States
146 Posts
Posted 05/17/2021   10:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add moneil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I appreciate Kinibo's situation, and understand the dilemma of purchasing a lot with mostly unneeded or unwanted stamps just to get one or two that one does need.

Here are some sources one could use to fill out a page with individual stamps without buying a big lot of unneeded material:

  • As has been mentioned, eBay and Hipstamp (and other venues I'm not familiar with) can be good sources for singles and small sets, but I have an aversion to paying as much or more in shipping and handing that the value of the stamp(s), and I note that some (and only some) dealers pad their shipping and handling fee way beyond the actual cost. If I do see something I want at these venues I'll search the seller's other items to see if there are things of interest and an opportunity to combine shipping cost.


  • Hopefully we'll see the return of the stamp show or bourse. I live in rural southeastern Washington State and even here the local stamp club hosts an annual bourse with 5 or 6 dealers (except for 2019 when the usual venue became unavailable and 2020 because of Covid, we are hoping to resume in the fall of this year). These are great events to show up at with a want list.


  • If you ever travel to a "big city" (or if you live in one) there may be a brick and mortar philatelic shop to visit. Yes, these still exist.


  • If you can identify some stamp dealers, especially ones that specialize in areas or countries you need material from, send them a want list of stamps needed.


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United States
3087 Posts
Posted 05/18/2021   06:28 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If you have a desire for a specific stamp, you will like it find it somewhere online (ebay, hipstamp. etc).
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Al
Pillar Of The Community
United States
520 Posts
Posted 05/18/2021   11:44 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Philazilla to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I've only been collecting for maybe 5 years. I collect US stamps. At first, I started with year sets on eBay. Next was Stamps2go for filling the inexpensive gaps. I started learning more and going to shows and buying a few stamps from dealers around that time. It was then back to eBay for single moderately-priced stamps and working with some dealers directly. Now, I mostly buy from dealers and auctions like Kelleher and Siegel as the gaps get harder and usually more expensive to fill. eBay is tough for me now as the inexpensive stamps I'm looking for are either not there or misidentified and the expensive ones are more expensive on eBay than direct from a trusted dealer or dedicated auction house.

One thing you could try is to find a dealer who has the material you want and buy a few hundred or a thousand dollars worth of the specific $1-$20 (or whatever) stamps you want. The dealers will discount for volume. Some can work off want-lists and do approvals for your budget, or you can see them in-person at a show and peruse their stock.
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United States
1027 Posts
Posted 05/20/2021   10:29 am  Show Profile Check ray.mac's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add ray.mac to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Kinibo, welcome....
One thing that has not been said yet is that some stamps you may not be able to find. I collect the world, but only with the Scott International volume 1 which is 1840 to 1940 and there are about 34000 stamps in my volume. There are perhaps of the 10000 that I still need, 2-3000 that are mimimum value. Some are just very very very difficult to find and that's what makes it interesting and fun is "the Chase".
A lot of inexpensive stamps are difficult to find online because it is very hard to justify all the time it takes to scan and list a 25 cent stamp so a lot of dealers and part time dealers don't mess with those. And with some countries, it's difficult to find anything (Some Colombian States, some Spanish Colonies).

So those of us chasing, use all of the suggestions you've found here....good luck, and enjoy! Ray
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Valued Member
Canada
56 Posts
Posted 06/06/2021   2:48 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add helder to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I usually buy only complete series to fill the gaps.
If I have a series where only one stamp is missing, I buy that only one along with others that I don't have.

***Do Not 'Work Around' banned sites/words***
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Valued Member
United States
359 Posts
Posted 07/09/2021   10:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Cephus to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My problem is that it really isn't fun to do this anymore. I walked away from collecting a couple of years ago, after having collected for more than 40 years. Today it's just a credit card exercise. You log onto a website, you pay for your purchase and sooner or later something shows up in the mail. That's just not fun. Without the thrill of the chase, what's the point? It's just accumulating stuff. So my stamps got stored away close to a decade ago and every now and then, I pull them out, really wish that I could fill in some holes or chase down another collecting interest and remember that the whole process in the modern world is awful.

I came up in a world were major department stores had stamp counters and stamp shops were everywhere. Now, most of the things that advertise they even carry stamps at all, they're really just coin dealers buying gold and they have a rack somewhere with a couple stamps and a few mounts on it. It was sad in the days pre-COVID, it's even worse now. Stamp shows? They've largely gone the way of the dodo at least where I am. I used to hit half a dozen a year. Now, there aren't any. There was a monthly bourse that I'd hit regularly, up until it became painfully clear that nobody there actually wanted to sell stamps, the dealers were just there to hang out with their friends. Now, even that is gone, killed off before COVID ever showed up.

So what is a collector who hates the modern credit-card driven collecting scene to do? It's not just stamps, it's everything. It's all just stopped being fun. There are no discoveries to be made in the wild anymore. It's all just cataloged and photographed and stuck up on a website for a quick sale. Where's the fun in that?
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Posted 07/09/2021   10:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add redwoodrandy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The cure was worse than the disease.
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United States
270 Posts
Posted 07/09/2021   11:48 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add classic_paper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Without the thrill of the chase, what's the point?

Maybe, what you're chasing is too easy to catch?

Have you thought about really specializing, or raising the standard of what you used to normally collect? Specific covers, cancels, routes? Errors? Military mail? Zeppelin covers? Balloon mail? Proofs or essays?

The hobby has changed, certainly. If one isn't willing or able to change along with it, I can see how interest would be lost.
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Valued Member
United States
377 Posts
Posted 07/10/2021   10:13 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jconey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Since 1972, I have been and always will be a "treasure hunter". I still buy large lots at auction and from estates to comb through and find items that I need or are are better than what I have. Then I sell the rest, often for as much or more than I paid for the lot. The hunt is part of the fun for me. The other part is the research, I am a self confessed information junkie.

Stamp shows have been scarce for the past year+ but I do like browsing them. Again, not only for specific items but treasure in the boxes under the tables.

Stamp shops are "almost" a thing of the past now. Most killed by the internet, moved to an internet only store, or just victims of time and the economy but a few are still hanging on. I like to support them when I can. Likewise, I know a small (and getting smaller by the year) number of dealers and collectors that I have sold/bought/traded via mail with over the years that I can turn to.

There are those holes that can only be filled by a specific purchase. For those I often turn to the Internet... as others here have mentioned: eBay, Hipstamp, and if you do a few searches you'll find several other good sources.
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Valued Member
United States
359 Posts
Posted 07/10/2021   10:46 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Cephus to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
For me, the only really fun thing about collecting at all, anything at all, is being able to walk into a store or into a show and find that perfect specimen of something I've been looking for. I want to come across it in the wild. It doesn't matter how much I specialize, the idea of only being able to find anything by browsing web pages leaves me cold. There are no surprises that way. There is no thrill. There's a big difference between buying normal stuff online and buying collectibles that way. Amazon delivers here every day. I just don't want my stamps coming that way.

Maybe it's time I packed it all up for good.
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Edited by Cephus - 07/10/2021 10:47 am
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