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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

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seaman
28 Jan 2015
02:11:33pm
My father has just passed away and has left me his stamp collection, hoard

I am not a collector but love stamps, I would like to sort and sell to raise some funds for my passion, bird photography

Any suggestions on how to do this? eBay comes to mind ... ...
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smauggie
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28 Jan 2015
02:43:30pm
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

If you have inherited that many stamps it may actually be worth your while to spend at least a year organizing, cataloging and getting to know the stamps. Stamp collecting is not an easy hobby and requires study and patience.

Also, while you are doing that, study the stamp market. eBay is a great place to do that. For rare stamps with a catalog $100 or more, you might also want to follow formal stamp auction companies at http://stampauctionnetwork.com/auctions.cfm.

Also feel free to post questions about stamps here as well.

As a rule of thumb, if you find envelopes in the collection with stamps on them, please dont remove the stamps from the envelope. They often (if not always) have greater value when still on the envelope they were used on.


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seaman
28 Jan 2015
03:23:47pm
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

Thanks, I am not working so I can work at it full time, especially with the weather here in the UK.

For ebay is it best to list at a fixed price and keep re listing or just let it run without a reserve ie starting at $0.99?

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I still have more questions than answers
28 Jan 2015
04:02:53pm
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

The majority of the stamps will not sell at 99 cents if you put them up individually. At a minimum I would recommend going to the library and getting a stamp catalog. To start you should expect things will sell in the range of 10% to 30% of catalog value. When you see something listed at a minimal value such as twenty cents that does not represent it's true value. Stamps of minimal value are best sold in lots. If you find better items they will do much better. It will be a lot of work to sell that many stamps on Ebay. You may want to look for a stamp club or a dealer near you to help in liquidating that many stamps. Or you could give me an all expenses paid trip to Jolly Old England and I would be happy to help you.
Pat

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dani20
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28 Jan 2015
04:26:16pm
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

Dear Seaman,
Congratulations on a wonderful hobby collection that will entertain/strain/delight/frustrate you no end. It is a passion that will last your lifetime. So how best to honor the gift from your dad. First the value of the collection is not the monetary one, it is the connection to your loved one through the heirloom passed on.

From your brief description, your dad was a multi-dimensional collector/accumulator and you have a great start to making it what you personally could value and might also pass on. Are you interested in any particular section/country/approach that your dad may have explored? Are you personally interested in any particular topic? If so, stamps can express it along many lines. There is no right/wrong-only pleasure in developing along the lines/areas that are of personal interest to you.

Know that there are many folk here following along their own lines of passion-just maybe you might have some material that might interest them. Perhaps identifying different areas that you have and letting our folks know about them and see if you and they can work out a sale/trade/swap might be worthwhile considering.

Best,
Dan C.


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larsdog
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29 Jan 2015
01:21:33am
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

I would be surprised if your father didn't have a catalog. Check the bookshelves and near the stamps. Scott is prevalent in the US, I believe Stanley Gibbons is prevalent in the UK.

It seems that there is a "collection" and a "hoard". If that is true, read on. If not, ignore everything after this!

I don't know how well my advice will translate to the UK, and perhaps other members can correct me if I'm wrong, but the first question is whether the "hoard" is mostly used or mint. If used, you are not likely to find anything of value in the "hoard" or your father would have likely already pulled it out. If you have mint stamps in the hoard, those can be sold in bulk for 75% to 95% of face value.

It is the "collection" area instead of the "hoard" area where you are likely to find value. Check catalog numbers and prices against the items in his albums. Start with the oldest items to see if there is some value.

The suggestion that 10% to 30% of CV (catalog value) is what you can expect to get as a seller is sage advice. There are exceptions, but that's pretty good advice.

What you want to focus on are the few gems, if any, in the collection. For example, if my kids wanted to sell my US Airmail collection, I would advise they focus on the Zeppelins and the First and Second Series. Sell everything else as a lot.

You might want to inquire at your local Post Office if they know any collectors. I get notes from my postal clerks twice a year from someone that inherited a collection. I don't buy or sell collections, but I'm happy to provide a bit of free advice. I will even look things over to see if there is something they should focus on. Perhaps someone in your area could do the same. If anyone asks you to leave your collection with them, or if it doesn't seem on the up-and-up, walk away. But if a seasoned collector is offering free advice, go for it!

Good luck!

Lars

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seaman
01 Feb 2015
09:22:47am
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

Thank you for all the helpful info.

I have a large collection of GB and mixed world, some nice bits bobs, but I start sorting tomorrow and will have a better idea on what I have at the end of the week.

It seems that for me to maximise the value of the collection I will need to become a part time dealer!

eBay seems to be a very expensive way with the lowest commission/fee structure at around 15% for listing circa 200 lots per month that sell at around $20.

This site seems a place to sell but I could not find the fees structure for listing and selling.

The other sites I have found are Stamps2Go @ 10%, BidStart 8%, Delcampe 5.5%, can anyone comment on how easy it is to list items etc?

If I follow this route the time invested to start would lead me to restocking, how and where is the best place to buy?

Any help and suggestions appreciated.

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Jansimon
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01 Feb 2015
09:43:09am

Auctions - Approvals
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

Shocking news: there are no fees for listing and selling at Stamporama!

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postmarks
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I still have more questions than answers
01 Feb 2015
09:52:50am
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

You'll like the fee structure here.
As for restocking with a million stamps it may be quite a while before that is an issue. If you truly want to increase the hoard I have found the best way to get stamps in quantity is box lots at shows or through dealers. It sounds like you already have the quantity.
You may want to concentrate on quality. That can be found through many different venues. The biggest mistake you can make, in my humble opinion, is to try to go in too many directions right now. My advice is to get your feet wet with what you already have. You can then find out what interests you the most and concentrate on that.
I started collecting as a kid and I wanted a copy of every stamp in the world. At some point I realized that was never going to happen and lost interest, or was it girls, cars, motorcycles and more girls. Well, somehow I lost interest in collecting the world. I never lost interest in revenue stamps. Stamps became a very low priority in my life.
Twenty years ago I got more involved in stamps again. I found my collection was a large hoard of stamps that was largely common material except for the revenues which I had continued to pick up for years but I never really organized them. As I organized my stamps I found a few covers that I knew nothing about. The internet was brand new to me in 1994 and I tried researching the covers. I found the research and discovery of the path the cover took, the people involved, the rates, the places, the method of delivery, the route, etc. fascinating. It was whole new world of collecting to me. My stamp hoard these days is overshadowed by my cover hoard.
My short story made long is, dig into what you already have before you buy more. Find out what fascinates you.

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michael78651
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01 Feb 2015
11:45:58am
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

First, don't simply jump into it. Did you jump into bird photography without learning about it first? If you did, I'll bet you wound up in a bunch of bird doo doo, and had to take a step back to learn what it was you were wanting to do.

Read this article located on Stamporama:

http://stamporama.com/articles/display_article.php?id=RAzVsUyz8ryqE

Then, read the associated articles that are linked within it.

Look at catalogs, to learn about stamps. Read the introductions. Look online. Do searches. If you want to sell, learn how to correctly identify and describe a stamp. Look at listings of stamps posted for sale on this site and eBay. Be wary of fraudulent sales listings on eBay where common stamps (not worth a pence) that are listed for overly-high prices.

Ask questions here. As you can see, there are many helpful people here willing to help.

However, it is too early for you to start worrying what to sell the stamps for. It is going to take alot of work on your part if you want to do it right. If you just toss the stamps up for sale, like someone already told you, they won't sell if you price them too high, but they will sell if you price a valuable stamp for just a few pennies.

Study and learn. There is no other way around it, if you want to do it right. And remember, most stamps are common and are readily available by the millions. Countries do not print stamps to make stamp collectors rich.

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Bobstamp
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01 Feb 2015
12:44:51pm
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

Michael is 1,000% correct about not jumping into stamp dealing. There can't be many hobbies in the world that are as far-ranging as philately, nor require as great a store of knowledge. To be a successful stamp dealer — which doesn't mean by any means that you'll make a lot of money quickly — requires a great deal of dedicated organization and study. These random thoughts are coming into my mind:

• Consider the massive size of the complete, up-to-date Scott catalogue or Stanley-Gibbons catalogue, not to mention their high cost. If you wish to sell world-wide issues, you'll have to have a set of one or the other, not to mention at least a few specialized catalogues which have more-thorough listings than either Scott or Stanley-Gibbons. You'll also have to become very familiar with the use of the catalogues.

• You may need to buy some specialized tools such as various types of UV lamps and magnifiers.

• As a photographer, you may already understand good scanning techniques. If not, you'll need to learn how to produce useful scanned images of stamps, and that may require a new scanner and good software, including image manipulation software.

• Skillful stamp dealers requires knowledge and skills set at least as complex as those required of excellent digital bird photography, and that skill set can only be obtained through a long period of working with stamps.

• A suggestion: Since you are already into birding, how about starting a collection of bird topicals? You probably already have some in your inherited collection, and more would easy and not very expensive to accumulate. In studying bird topicals, you will automatically begin to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to become a dealer.

• Stick with us here at Stamporama. Read posts, ask questions, help other collectors when you can, send personal messages. Join a local stamp club if one is nearby. Other collectors offer your best chance of learning about philately. I have a friend (let's call him a philatelic encyclopedia) who started working in a stamp shop in high school and, now 50+ years old, has never worked in another industry. He specializes German civil censorship, but has the broadest store of philatelic knowledge that I have ever encountered. He has been my best "stamp instructor" by far. Curiously, even though I know perhaps 5% of his knowledge, I am sometimes able to teach him something, which shows how broad and deep this hobby is.

• I think you could begin to sell stamps, assuming you are confident of the identification of the stamps and in your ability to write accurate descriptions. Just as you learn about stamp collecting by collecting stamps, you can learn about selling stamps by…selling them! Stamporama would absolutely be the best place to start, in either the auction or approval section or both.

• Consider trading, which requires some of the same skills that selling does. Start with a few stamps which you know you don't want to collect. After doing some basic identification work, and deciding what types of stamps you would like to receive post your desire to trade here in the Discussion Board.

• While it's possible to make money on stamps, especially if you didn't pay anything for them in the first place, it's hard work to make a lot of money. Successful stamp dealing requires nearly constant attention. Stamp dealing not a passive activity!

Good luck to you. Please keep us apprised of how things are going.

Bob


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seaman
01 Feb 2015
12:46:34pm
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

Thanks for the recent advice and suggestions

This weekend has been all stamps, the internet really helps getting to grips with a new subject quite quickly

The sorting starts next week Big Grin

It would be good to put what I think might be good stamps in ezstamp or SG My Collection so when I come to sell I could then export to excel, has anyone had experience doing this?

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seaman
01 Feb 2015
12:51:21pm
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

ebay has been good for the things I ordered this weekend, uv lights, big stock books, I might need more, SG concise cat and drying book!

My father had a set of SG world cats 2012 which I think will be upto date enough for me to get an idea of value.


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hs2oca
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25 May 2015
02:28:25pm
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

How's it going Seaman? Haven't seen a post from you in a while...anywhere on Stamporama. Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying the stamp collection your father left you. Happy

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BobbyBarnhart
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They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Benjamin Franklin
25 May 2015
03:32:32pm
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

hs20ca

We get many folk like seaman who join strictly for advice as to how to dispose of an inherited collection. If you note, from his first post, he made no secret of the fact he was here to figure out how best to dispose of the stamps so he could fund his other hobbies. There is certainly nothing wrong with his approach; in fact I respect him for stating up front his reason for joining and his goal. Our members, as they so often do, assisted him and furthered him along toward that goal.

I presume he either took the advice offered, joined another online community for the same purpose, went to a dealer, or otherwise disposed of the stamps. Regardless, he last accessed Stamporama on February 9, of this year and I sincerely doubt he monitors these posts. Just another potential collector who the bug didn't bite.

Bobby

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cdj1122
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26 May 2015
03:23:23pm
re: HELP ! I have inherited 1,000,000 stamps could be more, but not less ;-) - part time dealer

" ..... Since you are already into birding, how about starting a collection of bird topicals? You probably already have some in your inherited collection, and more would easy and not very expensive to accumulate. In studying bird topicals, you will automatically begin to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to become a dealer. ....."

Bob's suggestion is the best of all the opinions offered above.
Investigate a Bird topical because you will find such an album can be a part of your current passion. I'd suggest you hold off any major disposal for a year or so as you start and begin to enjoy the bird subject. While doing that and paying attention to the hobby you will acquire the knowledge and experience necessary to dispose of other stamps at favorable prices, and do so as fun, rather than the chore of learning, making mistakes and gaining experience.. Or, by then, you may want to not sell after all, as you are infected with the stamping bug.

About our Club Auction and Club Approvals Departments:
When you decide to test the selling waters, just put up a few items at what you think is a good starting price.
If you have priced the item too high, it is not likely to sell. There is no fee and you can re-list and eventually adjust the starting price.
If on the other hand you price some item too low, trust me about one detail,there are other equally wise and experienced buyers who check things daily and are not about to let someone else get "a steal". The item will likely generate sufficient bids to raise the price to something acceptable.
Check our rules.
There is no sniping by wise guys (One of my great pleasures when scanning on eBay.) Each bid near the close time will push the close time nine hours ahead so bidders can respond.
Then after you get the feel of selling on-line you can explore other sites with wider, but not smarter, buyers, sites where there is a fee.
I have a small topical album with several hundred bird stamps. I can only imagine how many sets should be found in a "Million" item hoard.
Charlie

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