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Thoughts On APS Circuit Books

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Pillar Of The Community

United States
507 Posts
Posted 02/03/2018   08:53 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add dkabq8 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I recently received my first shipment of APS circuit books. Overall I was pleased.

I bought 180 stamps for ~$170, for an average price of $0.94/stamp. The median stamp price was $0.30, and 80% of the stamps were prices at $1 or less. And I could have cut my cost in half by not buying anything over $2.50 (16 stamps; 10% of the total number). I did not keep track of the catalog prices, but asking prices were typically 1/3 to 1/2 of catalog.

I typically try to get lower priced material at a higher discount, however, I am willing to pay 1/3 to 1/2 of catalog when I can examine material before I buy it.

So from a cost/value perspective, I am happy with the purchase. I liked the accounting/tracking system, and the shipping process was simple enough.

But here are the things that I did not like.

(1) Many of the books contained modern (post 1940) stamps with pulled perfs. While I understand that this can be the norm with older stamps, it is unacceptable to me for modern material. But perhaps this is just me being AR/OC.

(2) There is a 7 day turn-around time. I believe that there are 240 stamps (5 rows by 3 columns by 16 pages) in a book. And my circuit has 11 books (2640 stamps). If it takes me a minute to figure out if I need the stamp and check its condition, that is 44 hours, or ~6 hr/day over the 7 days. Even if I can screen out half of the stamps (e.g., all Germany on this page, don't need that, flip to the next page) that's 3 hr/day. While I know that the goal is to keep the circuits moving, with the amount of material in a circuit, I think that a 14 day turn-around time would be more reasonable. Or am I just too slow?


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Pillar Of The Community
United States
7599 Posts
Posted 02/03/2018   09:01 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have never had any problem with the one week turnaround time. As a matter of fact I usually take two or three days,

Peter
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United States
2467 Posts
Posted 02/03/2018   09:46 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add chasa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Any time I can get 180 stamps I need from one source, I consider it a BIG win.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
7599 Posts
Posted 02/03/2018   10:36 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
@dkabq8, As an afterthought. The folks at the APS will work with you. If there is a time problem just ask for an extension. I have had to do it and they are very understanding.

Peter
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Posted 02/03/2018   11:09 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jogil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have heard that some have made big finds from APS circuit books due to some stamps being misidentified.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
507 Posts
Posted 02/03/2018   12:48 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add dkabq8 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
@Petert4522: You are a better philatelist than I.

@chasa: I agree. I am very happy with my purchase.
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Valued Member
United States
337 Posts
Posted 02/13/2018   1:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ecmorgan to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I always enjoyed them when I received them. I just had a bad habit of holding on to them too long. Too many late fees.
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claymorgan.me Some philately discussions. Some pontificating.
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Posted 02/13/2018   1:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Pulled perfs = don't buy.

One of the obvious advantages of circuits is that you can see the stamps personally and see problems like this up close. But you could argue that some collectors who can't afford the more expensive nicer stamps also have a right to buy stamps with problems. When I was much younger, feeling as if I could never afford some of the better U.S. stamps, I intentionally bought from a dealer a lot of stamps with minor problems at a steep discount. I don't regret it. But I carefully marked each on the back with a "D" for damaged so I wouldn't forget.

Hard to say which is better, but I'd say since perfs are easy to check, and some problems are pretty obvious, I'm not really bothered by this. Otherwise, as we banned each type of "problem" stamp, we'd eventually only allow the highest grades of stamps to be sold. It's thins and unnoticed tears that drive me nuts. Stamps masquerading as good stamps should not be allowed unless marked "thin" or "tear". Perf problems are like heavy cancels -- right in front of you, so I don't think anyone could be accused of trying to hide them.

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Edited by DrewM - 02/13/2018 1:58 pm
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United States
1189 Posts
Posted 02/15/2018   7:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I've been getting circuits for years, and the way I have all items in my collection digitally scanned, it is a simple matter of a few seconds to pull up the pertinent area and check what I have against what I don't, as well as to determine if this would be an upgrade of what I have.

Now, it did take a long time to get 50,000 U.S. items digitized, but it has paid off in time savings and documenting the collection. I have everything stored on the computer, copied to a portable flash drive that stays with me and on the cloud, so if anything happens, I can prove what I have for insurance purposes as well.

I usually turn the circuits around in 12-24 hours, unless the weather interferes.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
753 Posts
Posted 03/04/2018   09:45 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add chris2015 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I had a blast going through the circuit books when I visited the APS Headquarters last year, and the best part was no shipping or insurance fees!
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
532 Posts
Posted 11/29/2018   11:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add 91stang to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Just got a box in-Love them! I just found $100.00 in stamps that people shy away from, Persia/Iran, cant wait for the next box. All I see is money to be made-sure there are fakes and wrong scott numbers; guess thats why I am an advanced collector/seller-
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
2009 Posts
Posted 05/14/2019   12:21 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add TheArtfulHinger to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The 7-day turnaround time is not an issue for me, and circuits would take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to circulate if they let people hold onto them much longer than that. My only complaint with circuits is that sometimes finding items I need for my collection can be a problem. I dropped out of German States after a time as I went about 3 or 4 circuits in a row without finding anything I needed (and I still need some relatively affordable ones). I was paying nearly 10 bucks every time to look at the same stamps of Bavaria and Wurttemberg that I already have...
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1362 Posts
Posted 05/14/2019   09:05 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Trainwreck to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have to limit my purchases to no more than $50 a circuit, otherwise I'd blow my budget. In the last circuit, I paid $1.10 for a stamp worth about $80. The seller misidentified the watermark and made no mention that it was inverted. The 7 day turnaround is not really a problem; I can usually get through the circuit over a weekend.

Robert
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Posted 05/14/2019   10:37 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bookbndrbob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have enjoyed APS circuits for many years. They are hit and miss. Close inspection is required.

It takes me 2 sittings to get through the books. On the first sitting, I make notes for potential purchases, i.e. separating the wheat from the chaff. Second sitting is for purchases.

Two or three days at most is sufficient time for this.
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Valued Member
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United States
63 Posts
Posted 05/15/2019   10:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wheatcent to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
For someone new to the hobby this sounds absolutely fascinating. I'm hoping to join the APS this coming Friday, I've mulled it over and it certainly provides a lot of good for an appropriate membership fee.

Coming from a numismatic background this is the kind of item that I wish could exist in the American Numismatic Association or similar national group. Thankfully philately has the APS , of which provides this kind of daisy chain to send materials around.

I think I will educate myself on stamps a bit more before I subscribe to a circuit. I'd rather not bite off more than I can chew. Having a forum like this though with APS members explaining everything helps me out tremendously.

I'll have more questions once I join the APS as to not commandeer this thread too much but I thought I would quickly chime in.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1189 Posts
Posted 05/16/2019   08:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Wheatcent,

Another avenue which may be open to you is the local stamp club.

What part of the US are you in? I'm sure someone on here could help steer you towards the local club.
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