Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Roberto's stamp question

Roberto asked how I bought my stamps on the cheap. Harry said I used a coupon from Stamps R us which made me giggle. But now for the serious answer …

            I buy most of my stamps online. There are many stamp dealers and auctions online. The largest and easiest to use is ebay. As with anything sold on ebay, it takes patience and persistence to find the good stuff at a good price. While I find some things by just browsing, I hunt for specific stamps. That more than any other search takes patience. Remember the official stamp I posted about earlier. Finding that was the result of a persistent search. I searched for it by Scott and Michel numbers, by date, by a combination of search terms. I found it by searching “Germany pages.” I see lots of junk that way, but I also see stamps the seller failed to check.

            Many dealers start their auctions at ninety-nine cents or some similar amount. If it’s something I need or want, I’ll put it on my watch list knowing that it will probably go for much more than I want to pay. But sometimes they receive no bid. I have the entire set of the ‘snake’ over print German officials. They are listed for hundreds of dollars each. The most I paid for any of them was five dollars, because I found them in mass lots that no one wanted or bought them from the dealers with low initial listing price when their items received no or few bids.

            If the item is really scarce, even rare, I will take a stamp with minor flaws, sometimes more than minor if it is still presentable. A flaw drastically reduces the value. But the stamp can still look nice on a page. Below is a page from my Germany collection. These are the Thurn and Taxis North District stamps. The princes of Thurn and Taxis had the mail contract with most of the German states. You see I still miss some. If you look closely you’ll notice that many of these are flawed in some way. Some are cut close on the margins, or even into the margins. One is heavily canceled to the point where the ink bled into the stamp. It would be hard for me to find nicer examples at a price I can afford.

Some of these are really good, some so so, a couple are badish. But its how I found them and I probably cant afford better. Sometimes I find something really supperior for nearly nothing. 


  1. An occasional reader2:27 PM

    I've used up my supply of stamp collecting jokes on comments on previous posts, but congratulations. I know that eureka moment when something rare pops up and goes dead cheap. Mine was purchasing Newcome's Improved Version NT (1808)for basically pennies from a dealer who really should have known better. You keep a straight casual face, and then punch the air when you leave the shop. Getting a real bargain via eBay must be similar.

  2. Well, I see a nice message in your post. Maybe a single stamp is not beautiful, even ugly, alone; but it looks better and nice on a page with other stamps.
    The page itself looks better when it is complete.