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Ebay Vs Traditional Auction House And What You Pay For Your Stamps

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Posted 08/13/2021   10:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

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I just cannot wrap my head around so many collectors that are willing to do multi-hundred and thousand dollar transactions across the World with the eBay wall and rules in between as well as communicating through eBay.

Threads of this sort always are complicated by frames of reference so one must maintain an open mind. Consider that not all eBay sellers are unknown to the buyer. I buy from at least three eBay sellers whom I have met in person at shows and dealt with on the phone as well. I know these sellers as well as you know Paul. As Don has posted several times before, the guiding principle for the buyer is Know Your Seller, regardless of channel. Knowing that a relationship backs the purchase may justify agreeing to a higher price.

Pivoting to something different—I wonder if the inflationary economy of the past six months is showing an impact on prices. Buyers are sensitive to shipping costs, the amounts of which keep rising, so sellers may be increasing asking prices to maintain margin over those costs. Or perhaps buyers are more comfortable with spending more because during persistent lockdowns they still not spending as much on travel, restaurants, etc.

All I know is that as a buyer, the search for material should encompass every channel—Bay, auction houses, dealers, shows, the local club—and the purchase price is a constantly moving carpet taking into account the differing costs and risks of each channel.
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Posted 08/13/2021   11:01 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A lot of people who buy stamps have jobs and business to run . They can't be troubled with nickel and dime bidding all hours of the day on eBay . They rather look at a catalog during their one or two hours of free time each week and then buy or bid at one time . Not concern with playing the bidding game at mid-night .

As for me I would wait until the work season was over and knew how much I got to piss-away . Then get on a plane and fly to Kelleher in Boston or Greg Manning in New Jersey and buy my years supply of fun and enjoyment . The heck with sitting up each night looking for bargins to have someone out bid me on eBay for a few dollars .
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Posted 08/13/2021   1:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rismoney to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am not sure who said it on here a way back, but if you think of EVERYONE as dealers, the landscape becomes much clearer.

Nearly all sellers are motivated by profit, and their goal is to profit as much as they can. What they are trying to sell, their experience, and their means, impacts their venue selection.

Items of differing qualities appeal to multiple markets. A stamp with defects may not pass muster at Siegel, or even Kelleher, but thrown on the bay, and there is no muster to pass. Whether you disclose this and price accordingly, or conceal like a sheister, it's true caveat emptor on eBay.

Folks looking for the highest quality stamps may find diamonds in the rough, on eBay, but would certainly fare better shopping on a Siegel, Cherrystone, or similar venue where the quality is higher across the board.

Auctions Houses are dealers.
Other dealers also attend auctions. Even other auction folks.
Dealers sell on eBay.
It's the same people all over the place.

These same dealers may buy an item at auction, or even not buy an item (consign, arrangement from auctionhouse on unsolds, etc), and attempt to push out out eBay for profit.

I'm convinced buyers have no clue who the "owner" of the stamp even is.


Now as far as the where the real deals happen? They are few and far between. It's often when there is a piece of information unknown to one side. On the traditional auction side this happens far less, because of a large amount of certifications coupled with the stamp. But on the bay, specialized information can be super profitable. For example a rare PB# unknown to someone who isn't aware of Durland, sells something at seemingly market price.

I don't think in general there are "deals" on stamps. You get what you pay for, and I believe more often than not you overpay. You probably fare better buying huge collections and breaking them down from a sheer price/stamp, but you do lose quality control and this process is a time suck.
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Posted 08/13/2021   8:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
So many good thoughts so far. Many thanks for the input.

Although I am not too much closer to figuring out what makes people tick I do think that a few things stand out. Accessibility makes sense as a reason why collectors choose eBay over traditional auctions for the same type of purchases and seem to be willing to pay more for that access. That access leads to more people competing over the same item. A seller having a "brand" or reputation is also important. Ease of purchasing is another. One stop shopping and one portal to work through. These things seem to override paying fair market value as determined by brick and mortar retailers and competitive traditional auction sales. I know that FMV can be a hard thing to conjure when it comes to stamps/collectibles given the infinite combination of variables (and forget postal history!) but we all have a sense of what the "right" price is for things we know well.

My experiences this week with Russian material auctions tells me that:

1) Scott catalog values are pretty much useless (cue the gasps)
2) People are still willing to pay a hefty premium for quality
3) The market is hot with more bidders than I can recall seeing competing for top notch stuff
4) I believe firmly that many new collectors have indeed entered the arena with $$$
5) Those new collectors might just stick around given the cash that they are willing to invest sink into their collections
6) (Russia Specific) MNH sets of the 30's are much harder to find than Scott values would suggest
7) All of the ancillary aspects of collecting must be benefiting such as album and catalog publishers, mount producers, tong machinists, stockbook purveyors and of course stamp collecting forums such as this AMAZING one that we have right here

One of my conclusions is that I will still stick with an auction house that I know well for the comfort level and amazingly for the likely better sale prices. I have however built a relationship with one or two eBay sellers that have proven themselves to be trustworthy. Those sellers also include telephone and email contact information outside of eBay and that means A LOT. Big Brother is better off on the outside of our business sometimes.
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Posted 08/14/2021   12:07 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am a stamp collector who learned long ago that turning a hobby into a business will suck the enjoyment right out of it (for me). To be honest, I sometimes have hard time even 'giving back' to the hobby without getting frustrated and angry; I certainly do not need to pile on to that additional aggravation by doing a lot of financial transactions (which ALWAYS will introduce headaches and heartburn over time).

When I go to local hobby events and see a non-collector walk into the room with a armful of inherited albums that they want to 'get rid of'; it would be distasteful for me to run over and see if I can get a 'deal' for myself. I would much rather talk to the person and see if they are at all interested in possibly starting a new hobby.

I try to not view the hobby in terms of money, transactions, or how to turn my experience and knowledge into a dollar for myself. This is not because I am not a capitalist (I am probably one of the bigger capitalists around). It is because when I was forced into retirement and faced the ultimate grim medical prognosis, I decided that the last chapters of my life were no longer going to be about making money.

For me, being freed from the financial shackles has made the hobby even more enjoyable. It certainly has made my buying decisions easier; I simply decide how much enjoyment something will give me.

If I have extra material I look to simply move it on to others who will enjoy it. It does not matter to me if I paid more for it than I sell it for, there is no point sitting on it and there is little value in maximizing the amount I can get for it. I would rather avoid hassles and give others a good deal and lower the risk of push back.

Given this, I really do not care what is or is not happening to stamp prices or which selling venues do this or that; my objective is to find something that I think will be enjoyable to me, decide how much MY enjoyment is worth, and then either pull the trigger or not. Ez Peezy
Don
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Posted 08/14/2021   2:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
For myself the area that I now collect gives me great enjoyment. In order to accomplish my goals I need to spend money. I do not have unlimited resources and so what the market is doing and how to maximize my resources to accomplish my goals is important to me. What others see happening and their experiences are things that I was interested in hearing and I thank everyone for their input. Divorcing $$$ from stamp collecting is a tough thing to do unless you are Bill Gross (maybe he cared as well though) or are collecting something that requires no real cash output. Definitely do not look at my collecting as a profit/loss venture and never said so. The reality is that profitable sellers/dealers are necessary for and indicative of a healthy hobby. Likely I will make nothing on it when sold although I have done well with the disposal of my US material which allowed me to keep going on Russia. Making money was never the objective. Hopefully talking about the market side of things is not taboo.

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Posted 08/14/2021   3:00 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

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… Divorcing $$$ from stamp collecting is a tough thing to do unless you are Bill Gross (maybe he cared as well though) or are collecting something that requires no real cash output….


Exactly, I found things to collect which do not require big bucks. I did not simply wake up one morning and think, "gee I think that I need to reevaluate what and how I spend money on the hobby". I woke up one morning to hear three different doctors tell me, "you are a walking dead man, you have less than 6 months to live, get your affairs in order" (they literally said exactly that).

Given that I had already decimated the nest egg in medical costs, how do you stay engaged in the hobby? I decided to find little collected areas of the hobby where low demand keeps costs minimal; Christmas seals, cut squares, postal cards, HPO covers, etc. And what I found is that I got just as much enjoyment learning these areas as I did my costly specialized collections. I also blew the dust off my original 1970s Big Blues and got back into 'filling spaces' and again rediscovered the fun that I had when I first started.

Some of us, for whatever reason(s), have indeed divorced $$$ from the hobby and found much enjoyment. The intent of my post was to let folks know it is possible and to not overlook this possibility as opposed to getting caught up in values and marketplace headaches. It certainly was not to scold anyone by suggesting that they collect with money as an objective.
Don
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Posted 08/14/2021   4:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Completely understand where you are coming from Don as far as the enjoyment you can get from collecting things that do not require much of a cash outlay. Point(s) well taken. My fortunes throughout life have been up and down as is the case with many of us. No matter what though I always stayed engaged in collecting stamps. I try and remember that some of my best collecting memories are from the beginning when I had a cheapo album, a pile of hinges and a bunch of CTO packet stamps. Kept me entertained through a lengthy illness as a youth and I never really let go of the hobby.

It can be much more relaxing to sort through a pile-o-stamps or covers or Cinderella's (and potentially find things to learn about) instead of fretting over that empty space that needs four figures to fill. Drive my Ford truck through the mud instead of worrying about a bird pooping on the Porsche (or Honda Hot Hatch) type of deal.

Cheers!
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Posted 08/14/2021   4:59 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

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…Drive my Ford truck through the mud instead of worrying about a bird pooping on the Porsche (or Honda Hot Hatch) type of deal.

They say, 'when you turn your car on, it should turn you on...if it doesn't then you may be driving the wrong car'.

Perhaps the same is true for this hobby...if you open your album and it does not turn you on, then you may be collecting the wrong things.

Whatever makes each of us happy.
Don
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Posted 08/21/2021   7:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

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When is the last time that anyone has seen a trade at full cv? You may be able to bring an example but it will be a lonely one.


Actually, the list is long as many catalog values are set by the latest public sale prices. But yes those sales prices are for the goodies most of us cannot afford and only one or a couple of collector's at a time can own them.

That said, even the material that was difficult to sell at 60-70% of face value, also know as sheets of discount postage now sell for more than face as an individual lot on eBay and that is usually before S&H is added.

One other B&M Auction House issue I have not seen mentioned is that threshold of a value minimum for consignment. Your set with a cat value of $1200 alone many not make the minimum desired by most firms. It is difficult to not meet the eBay threshold where bids can start at 1 cent and up.

lastly, there are people who would rather sit at home and buy stamps with the money that it would otherwise cost to attend a stamp show. What was the average overhead cost for an out of area person to attend the GASS? Room, food, transportation adds up even before the first stamp purchase.


Quote:
They say, 'when you turn your car on, it should turn you on...if it doesn't then you may be driving the wrong car'.


I enjoyed the heck out of my 1931 B-2 International Harvester Corporation 1 1/2 ton fully restored flat bed, until the day I found my garage empty except for a broken 4 x 8 HO layout propped against a wall, oxy/acetylene tanks and 3 18' 4x8s. I will stop there or I may write seriously inhuman things about inhuman humans. Oh, I did gain a crowbar the dream uses not proper for a family website.

But my current daily vehicle which cost me two dollars ($2.00) gives me great pleasure each time I use it. This one will not be stolen even for a hubba-ride {short drive of a stolen car to avoid walking} or scrapper (qualifies as a scrapper by age, but not size nor is it a lead sled)[Both tend to be just Nor. Calif. street terms]. So far I have added 110,000 miles to it. It replaced my $350 vehicle upon which I added 280,000 mile before driving to Pick-n-Pull where I received $325 for it. The $350 got 39 miles to the gallon and the $2 just 36 MPG. Until just recently I was planning to drive to GASS in Chicago as the car is mechanically trusted.

I collect stamps in the same range and as you say Don, there are items which can be had for cheap. Want inverts? Yes blocks of the 1869 or C3a can be had, but out of my price range but there are hundreds of inverts world wide for which a couple of bucks will get an example. Stamps with a S-O-N birthday or date cancel, covers too. Just two examples of collecting on a budget.
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Posted 08/22/2021   12:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jkelley01938 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
While I have downsized, I did start a new collection. I am now collecting used 1920-1980 US stamps to go in my All American album. Yes, I do have all these stamps MNH. But I just want re-live my early early days. Using Dennison hinges too! Makes me happy.

Jack Kelley
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Posted 08/22/2021   2:07 pm  Show Profile Check johnsim03's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add johnsim03 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

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While I have downsized, I did start a new collection. I am now collecting used 1920-1980 US stamps to go in my All American album. Yes, I do have all these stamps MNH. But I just want re-live my early early days. Using Dennison hinges too! Makes me happy.


And that is what it is all about!

John
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