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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Approvals Disc. : What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

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Soundcrest
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18 Feb 2016
06:49:47am

Auctions - Approvals
A very good point indeed! Every person has their own maximum as to how much they are willing to spend on a stamp. which is governed by a budget (or a spouse that puts a cap on spending). A hundred dollar stamp or dinner for two. I know what my wife would pick.

In my own auctions I have seen a slight uptick in the sales of stamps over a $50 CV, but I sell at 20% CV at auction AND I have my best 2 buyers come over from Bidstart. That may be the exception. As for US I don't know if that is a good category to judge in. Speaking for myself, I cannot remember the last time I sold ANY US stamp for over $20. That is the one reason why I have not bothered to put up some of my better revenue issues as I don't think there is a market for it.

For books there are too many variables. We still have the problem of books over a week old. If you have higher priced material in a book AND a buyer who is willing to spend more than a couple of dollars for a stamp that they need and sees it the first weekend, I believe they will buy it. If the book is a month old I don't think they will even look.

For the low end, there are a huge number of buyers in the 5-10 cent market. That is what makes this site unique. No site I know of is this done. Ebay doesn't allow it. Delcampe puts a 20 cent "tax" on each stamp. Bidstart - who cares. They charge 5 cents for each stamp sold at auction even if it sells for a penny. On these sites the time to put up 200 5 cent stamps one at a time is huge. Here the approval books are great, and easy for both the buyer and seller alike.

Greg

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Soundcrest
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18 Feb 2016
06:56:56am

Auctions - Approvals
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

May I also add off topic - that for better or worse I believe this site is going to see growth, probably by word of mouth. Maybe I'm dreaming, but I believe people still like to collect stamps and because of the pricing on other sites, they can't really buy very much, if anything. The fact that you can spend a dollar here and get a few stamps (or more) in return for money is a throwback to the days of approvals, or at least my approvals that were never priced high. Once people find out that we here DO sell stamps that are inexpensive I think they in turn will tell others about the site. We'll see. I don't know if Stamporama has ever taken out an ad in Linn's and I wonder if there would be interest in doing so. For now word of mouth along with hopefully people selling on other sites providing a SOR business card will grow our numbers which in turn will cause even more stamps to be provided.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
18 Feb 2016
09:41:22am
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Stamporama tries to balance all of its services among its users. I understand that sales of good, low-priced material is a big draw. However, I hope that people would also want to come here for the discussions and other educational material that is available. I know that many people are seen only in the sales area. I guess there's no getting around that without imposing restrictions. I wouldn't be in favor of that. They are missing the rest of the experience here.

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michael78651
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18 Feb 2016
11:01:40am
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Quote:

""better quality""



Definitely the word "quality" must have a reference point to identify what "quality" means, and from which to set the base level. So, "better" quality does need to have a standard from which to gauge "better" than what?

If the quality standard as relates to stamp condition starts at filler quality, then "better" could mean defective quality with "defective" relating to small thins and tears. Better quality could also mean other things as well. Better quality, meaning that the stamps are of too low value, presuming that better quality would mean that higher priced stamps are also in a correspondingly "better" condition. However, that is a false assumption. A $1000 stamp that is a filler will sell for more money than a minimal value stamp in superb condition.
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copy55555
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18 Feb 2016
01:12:50pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Lately, I have been concentrating on my used US & Canada collections, primarily on the modern issues (post 1940 to date.) My definition of quality deals with condition. I try to obtain stamps that are fairly close to perfect as I can. It is a surprise when I see copies with missing perfs in the approval books or auction lots. On some of the material the photos are so small that it is hard to see even the obvious. And this is on the common 5 centers.

Anyway, if I purchase 100 nickel items, I will have to send 8 - 12 of them to the Holocaust Project because of thins, creases, perf problems, etc. Most of the time it is not worth anyone's time to return these.

It would also be nice to see scarcer material offered (in decent condition, of course.) But, the approvals and auctions keep me busy. And sometimes, I find something entirely different to add. Today I found a number of US se-tenant blocks with FDC cancels (no covers) that I could supplement my collection. Never considered them before but these sparked new interest.

Something new every day - that'll keep me and many others coming back again and again!

Tad


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rrraphy
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18 Feb 2016
01:42:08pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

I think you are generally missing my point.
I was refering to better quality Approval Books. For example, take a look at the Approval Book posted by Cardstamp #5785..as an example (I hope your permission is granted, Steve Applause). As a buyer, I find it perfect. It is organized in sequence. The scans are just the right size (no need to shift left and right to see the full width of the page..which I hate). The stamps are all labeled (sc #s are important here because of many varieties and nuances in the stamps...It take a lot of work to id them from the pictures only.) So my experience as a buyer is outstanding with this Approval Book. It is by my definition a "Better Quality" Book..one of the bestThumbs Up.
Now the drawback for the seller is that it requires more work, which may, or may not translate into more sales!
But here is the other vital difference: We are a collectors club, not a commercial site, so no one is getting rich posting Approval Books. We are actively trading...buying stamps we need and selling our surplus. I never equate this to a dollar value for my time!

What does "Better Books" do for the club? It helps collectors find what they need efficiently. It discourages those who are, for better word, just dealers, ie only interested in a commercial selling platform, because they must measure time as spent money! It makes the experience so much more pleasant, even with depleted books, you can still efficiently find missing "gems" to add to your collection. For me better books make our club better!

So for me, as a buyer, a better book is self obvious...but is it for all people the same. I know that for some, the stamp price is the key, so a better book may be one where all the stamps are priced very low, even if they have to do more work to identify what they need. So I am curious about how others feel about it.

Now as a seller, and I am also an active seller...even if I think about it as basically trading my surplus duplicates for stamps I need elsewhere... it is important for me to structure my books in a systematic and well organized fashion..even when it takes more time. I do occasionally add all the cat numbers, but I found that by just adding reference years and a few cat numbers, but also staying in chronological order, helps create a better book...my perception, but is it yours as well? (of course, hard to id stamps get their own sc # info added.)

Finally, since Approval Books are being used not just for the low cost stamps, but also for more expensive stamps, I believe that any stamps priced over..say $1.00...should have information about year, cat number, condition etc... This is not mandated as a rule, but it is a courtesy to your fellow collectors.

Now let us contrast this vision of "better" Approval Books, with a book that has a random bunch of stamps thrown in any order on the page...and I am sure you have seen them. Thumbs Down I for one, will not spend any time looking through them. To me they are "floor droppings" masquerading as Approval Books.
I will not single out any specific book as an example..but you have all seen what I am refering to. Often it is the first book one puts up, which is understandable, and should not be discouraged. But if it is the 50th or 100th book..it show a lack of respect (my opinion), and I won't look at them any more.
They remind me of the grab boxes at some stamp show, where thousands of stamps are thrown together at 5c/each, and you get to pick. Lots of work. Some like it. I don't, although I have been known to sieve through them At Wits End.

I am in agreement that we do NOT need more rules, but we could use some GUIDELINES to describe what would make a "BETTER" book. This could be added to the "User Guide" section which I am planning to clarify and refine. (even the rules need clarifications) You would not be obliged to follow them, but it may inspire you as a seller to add a little more to your books, making them more attractive to more people, and possibly enhancing your sales, or if you are a buyer, helping you with your purchases.
And as a buyer, please provide positive reinforcement for sellers who take the time to make "Better Books". Lavish some praise over their work...they deserve it. Trust me, they are not in it just for the money!

What are your thoughts on what makes a better Approval Book?

rrr...
PS: How do you structure a better book? Lower valued stamps first, Higher valued first?
grouped by size? in chronological order (by price ranges), by year/year range? etc...

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Philatarium
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18 Feb 2016
02:25:08pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

One thing I would find helpful in looking at an approval book is whether or not an unused stamp is hinged or not hinged.

Some sellers are good about indicating this, and some are surprisingly silent on this. I tend to assume that if they don't specify, then the stamps are hinged. But there's just no way to know this without some input from the seller.

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Philatarium
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18 Feb 2016
02:45:03pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Ralph just asked:

Quote:

"PS: How do you structure a better book? Lower valued stamps first, Higher valued first?
grouped by size? in chronological order (by price ranges), by year/year range? etc..."



Since I'm here online at the moment, I thought I'd add a thought on this.

I've only done one book so far, but have many that will show up here in the near future. (Actually, I'm debating what material should be in an approval book and what belongs in an auction listing.)

The one book I did was organized from lowest to highest price, and then, within each price, in Scott number order. I had kind of assumed that this is what was done here. (I would otherwise list everything in Scott number order, were it not for the understandable programming limitation of only one price per page.)

So I was both surprised and interested to read one of the comments, either on this thread or its related one, that it was better if higher-priced items were not placed at the end.

Would it be better to placed the highest-priced material at the beginning? The benefit of that is that then, you know early on in viewing a book, whether or not there'll be enough material to justify the shipping. On the other hand, do people see the highest-priced material first and don't continue on, because that's not their price point?

"Enquiring minds want to know ..." Confused
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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
18 Feb 2016
02:54:32pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

I usually put the higher valued stuff at the end. I too was surprised by this comment. My reasoning was always that Approvals were primarily for the lower valued stamps, so the few extra higher valued ones get put at the end...for completion sake.
We usually have lots of lower valued duplicates, but only few higher valued ones.

Curious how other feel about it. Is there a consensus? or just diverse personal preferences?

rrr...

Good comment about MNH. I usually indicated those..the others, by default are M. But I have occasionally mislabelled a very lightly hinged M, seeing it as MNH and have been called on it. Failing eyesight? Too many stamps to take the added time?
So now, I tend to pretend that they are all M, even if some may be MNH.
rrr...

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Soundcrest
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18 Feb 2016
03:02:13pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

You are correct to do a book the right way. I looked at the book mentioned (because I was concerned I was missing something i do them) and I found that we do our books the same way though I opt for stock pages putting the stamp info on the lines. Two reasons for doing it this way. First its easy when you have the software to do it my way. The second, unless they have brought back the hinges of the 60's, I have to believe that adding another hinge would make it worse. The hinges that are used in the collections I break down are absolutely awful. Steves way takes up less space as those singe pages don't take up nearly as much room as stockpages (and cheaper too) but then you also have the problem of MNH stamps needing to be put into mounts.

No, it is not fast. I'm doing mine for this week now. I would say 3-4 hours from the time I start looking up the stamps to a finished book is what it takes me.

Ralph you are correct. I have been selling stamps since 1981 (part time through 2007) and I am not in it for the money. My wife asks me why I bother as we don't really need the little I make selling stamps. I enjoy it. It's a replacement for collecting - helping others to collect. Thats the bottom line. All told between stamps, vinyl, books, and other odds and ends over 5 sites I probably spend 50-60 hours a week. (its the vinyl,books and what have you that is the cash crop)

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
18 Feb 2016
03:07:56pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Quote:

"One thing I would find helpful in looking at an approval book is whether or not an unused stamp is hinged or not hinged."



I have seen many nice approval books without that notation (MNH). I pass those sellers by.

I agree that approval books that are nicely arranged, have nice sized images that were not taken in a dark room, notations on condition and preferably catalog number or issue year will bring me to a seller's books. The same can be said for auctions as well.

When it comes to sales, it is all in the presentation. If someone just slaps things together in a manner that connotes lack of caring, why should a buyer stumble through that seller's stamps to maybe find something? Sellers need to remember that there are plenty of others selling too. It may be a more informal platform here than on commercial sites, but what's the point of clogging up the sales area with poorly presented items? It makes the sales area look bad.
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youpiao
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18 Feb 2016
03:16:43pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Quote:

"As a buyer, I find it perfect. It is organized in sequence. The scans are just the right size (no need to shift left and right to see the full width of the page..which I hate). The stamps are all labeled (sc #s are important here because of many varieties and nuances in the stamps..."



The white backgrounds are a showstopper for me, if I cannot see the condition of the perfs.
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michael78651
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18 Feb 2016
04:12:43pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

I don't need the Scott number. I have a set of Gibbons world, and Michel Europe catalogs as well. I can find the stamp if the seller puts the year of issue. However, what I often find are mis-identified stamps, Wrong year, wrong catalog numbers, defects not revealed. I won't spend much time with a seller's items when I see an over abundance of errors, or images that I can't see clearly.

Retail studies show that customers will look for an item for about 15 to 20 seconds. If they can't find it, they move on. In retail, "move on" means "no sale".

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rrraphy
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18 Feb 2016
04:53:04pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Quote:

"The white backgrounds are a showstopper for me, if I cannot see the condition of the perfs."



It was suggested long time ago that stamps should preferably be put on colored paper to contrast the perforation. It is still a good advice.
Wish more people would follow it.
But it does not distract from the quality of the book I indicated. As always, books can be better, and color paper would definitely be a plus. But if you look at the organization of the book, you will know what I mean.

I have experimented with many colors for backgrownd paper and I like the "bright blue" color best. You can still write easily and readably on the page, the stamps stand out, and the color is pleasing to the eyes. I am running out of the darker blue, and I like this color best. It does add 1c per page to the cost of paper, which is insignificant.

On the issue of hinges, I have discussed at length the use of removable photo safe 811 tape for hinging temporarily. (Discussions on removable hinges and 811 tape can be found elsewhere). I use it to attach the stamps to the pages, and I also disclose it in my books, for those who are adverse to it specifically or to all technology innovations, Rolling On The Floor Laughing , or for those just conservative in their approach.
By the way, I do not use anything except mounts for the expensive stamps.
I am not stuck in the past and I like to innovate..and science and technology is wonderful, or I would be snail mailing my approval books. For hinges, we would all be using paper hinges with hand applied glue, if we had not moved on with the times!

If I had enough Lindner stock sheets, I would go that route and avoid hurting the feelings of purists, but with 1000 pages in Approval Books, my budget is not adequate.
Plus I cannot write on the pages, a big plus!

rrr...(Ralph)

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purrfin2
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18 Feb 2016
05:02:57pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

I'm finding this very interesting. When I do my books I try to list all information as I see it. Scott #, condition of stamp if it is not a used unhinged stamp, and note all faults that I know about. I'm also very happy to send a scan of the back of the stamp if the buyer is wanted to check it out.

My books, I've always started high and ended low. I thought that was the way things went. (Well it does in my world, ha ha.) This way my customers are looking at all the pages getting to the lower priced ones. (Well I hope they are going page by page, 1 to the end.)

Interesting, indeed.

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rrraphy
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18 Feb 2016
05:07:19pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Quote:

"If I am selling a "better quality" item then I will try and describe it and catalog it, but our major catalog is Gibbons, whose numbers are different to Scotts, and the "It does not have a Scott no so I won't look at it brigade" just ignore them. So where is the point for those that are not resident in the U.S. of A., whom are proudly boasted about on the Stamporama Home Page?
"


I put year as well as some reference cat numbers on my books. Year is good enough, in most cases, and as a guide if the stamps are organized sequentially. Given that most people on this site use Scott, I also give some Scott reference numbers..but I would not mind SG or YT numbers as well...they just help bracket the stamp to your own catalog.
But I could just as well use the year as my reference point, EXCEPT when stamps are hard to id and an extra help is welcome. So by all means, please add years for reference if you can!
Michael, yes there are mistakes in identifications, but you are right that condition/defects are probably more important. And a clear and well focused scanned image is mandatory! Plenty of discussion elsewhere on scanning, contrast and resolution quality. Above all, avoid cameras, and stick to scanners, unless you are "on the road".
And feel free to sharpen your images, using available software.

rrr...
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cardstamp
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18 Feb 2016
06:19:53pm

Approvals
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

First of all thanks Ralph for identifying my book as an example of a better quality book. I just recently started adding the Scott numbers just to see if it made a difference. I have a few buyers who grab the stamps so quickly from me it probably does not make a difference. Although it takes me longer to prepare the book I do have some advantage on the back end. Since I still have a store on bidstart (not sure for how much longer) after an approval book has been up for a few weeks I can easilly take certain stamps out of the books and put them up on bidstart because I already have the catalog number i limit what I put up on bidstart to stamps that already do not have a lot of examples already available there so with the catalog number I can quickly check for good candidates.
I will not do this for books with all 10 cent stamps for example it would not be worth the time. As for putting the higher priced material first I tried that a few times and hardly anything sold. I think some of my buyers did not know the lower priced items were in the back so they ignored it. The same stamps sold when I redid the book a few weeks later in my normal format. Most of my buyers select stamps priced below $1.00. The higher priced items have been harder for me to sell here so I usually move them off to bidstart at some point. I rarely have any approvals over $3.00 and opt to put those stamps up on auction. Also if I only have a handful over $1.00 I usually put them in auctions also and not add a page to the book
All of the stamps in my approval books have already been hinged so I guess I am adding additional problems by hinging them again to the approval pages. I have ruined stamps by doing this but for me it is still the fastest way to put them together. If I have. MNH material that would be up in auctions so because I hinge I think I would loose the distinction of having a better quality approval book !
Many people have asked me if I am doing this as a business and the answer is a definite NO. I am trying to liquidate large amounts of collections my father had accumulated. After he past away in 2014 I discovered more boxes of albums and stock books he had put away. I mainly collect us stamps myself now with a few additional collections that are too good to part with. I consider doing this as part of my hobby now and am amazed when I discover stamps that I did not know I even had. Eventually I will not have much new material to put up ! Steve

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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
18 Feb 2016
06:30:41pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Quote:

"All of the stamps in my approval books have already been hinged so I guess I am adding additional problems by hinging them again to the approval pages. I have ruined stamps by doing this"




Ever since the demise of the Dennison hinges, hinging a stamp is problematic at best. Meaning no disrespect to those who hinge, I prefer to avoid buying hinged stamps. I don't want hinge remnants on the backs, I don't want stamps that have thins from rehinging and I don't want to have to resoak them, so I generally avoid buying from those sellers. Yeah, I guess I'm fussy and I don't want to sell anything I wouldn't want in my collection.

I suppose this is a case of what one person considers perfection is problematic for others. This is similar to the disagreement about pencilling, which I also avoid but others don't mind. This one point illustrates how difficult it is to define the BEST approval book method. Everyone has their likes and dislikes. In the end what really matters is what is most important to the buyers.



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hs2oca
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18 Feb 2016
08:06:41pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Hi all. This is a very interesting and informative thread. I am coming back to the hobby after leaving it as a young mother over 35 years ago. I had no idea there were such expectations on auctions and approvals. I agree it would be nice to have this all laid out somewhere on the site.

However, I, like most newcomers to the hobby, do not have access to an entire set of Scott's to post catalog numbers on duplicates I am trying to get rid of. I am currently trying to get rid of 3 or 4 binders worth of a worldwide collection to pare down to concentrating on Canada, textiles, and Christmas themes. If I could sell them all at once I would.

And of course, just because I have a Scott's wouldn't mean I IDed the stamps correctly. I'm a newbie. Mistakes happen. I need to be taught.

I posted my very first auction the other day and am now glad I only posted it for 3 days. I just do not have the time, as a working artist, to spend on setting them up that you folks appear to. I think, from this thread, that I might have better luck selling mixed packages of 100 different used stamps on e-bay.

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
18 Feb 2016
08:26:07pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

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"What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions"



I think it means $50 stamps for 5 and 10 cent each! Big Grin

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
18 Feb 2016
09:20:08pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Quote:

" I agree it would be nice to have this all laid out somewhere on the site."



We do have information on this site regarding buying and selling. You can read the rules of buying and selling, and even there's an auction tutorial as well.

For those selling through the approvals, there are rules, guidelines, a user guide, and page templates to print and use to make the approval books.

All of these are available to view on the auction and approvals pages.

In addition, I have been going through the auction-related material, and have been revising and updating what is there. Ralph is beginning to do the same for the approvals.

There is plenty of information available to help make anything you do on Stamporama easier.
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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
18 Feb 2016
09:21:14pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Try putting those lots of 100 here instead. On ebay you have to pay fees and you don't have any protection from buyers who claim their packages never arrived. There are more buyers there (more eyes) but you also have to compete with a bazillion other lots for sale. Weighing the pluses and minuses, Stamporama is number one in my book!

Don't let this conversation discourage you - we are bandying ideas back and forth discussing what are the ideals. That doesn't mean you have to do things any certain way - do them YOUR way! Give it a try. Also - no one expects a new collector to be an expert. I've noticed that beginners selling their stamps get lots of sales from folks who are trying to encourage them. I doubt you'll find that sort of friendly help on ebay. There it is all about the money, here it is more about making friends.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
18 Feb 2016
09:36:06pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Quote:

"do them YOUR way"



Well, to an extent. One does have to follow the rules.

100 stamps, if they are from the same area make one approval book. Many sellers also put up large lots like that in the auctions.

One thing to do before starting to sell is to read the rules of the site (any site). Look at examples of auction lots and approval books. See how others put them together. Read how they write up descriptions and how they state their terms and conditions. Use what they have done if you like it, or create your own. No one has to create auction listings or approval books in the dark. There's plenty of examples and help to view, and as you see, post questions in the Discussion Boards. Plenty of people here ready, willing and able to help.

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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
19 Feb 2016
11:26:00am
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Quote:

"do them your WAY"




Your way on paper or hagnar sheets, hinged unhinged numbered, not numbered BUT - as Michael reminded me to add --- following all the existing rules.

Thanks, Michael! Good catch!

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Stevo45
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20 Feb 2016
11:05:23pm
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.


For me a "Better Book" would NOT have any stamps that are upside down or sideways (repeatedly) and certainly no parts of the stamps would be obscured or hidden by another stamp on top of it.

I also dislike (and will not buy) a stamp that looks like it is mounted to the page with a hinge of any sort...

Scott numbers.... are useless for me but the Condition, Country and Year of issue are much more important.

Cheers

Steve.

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cdj1122
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25 Feb 2016
02:27:00am
re: What is meant by Better Quality in Approvals/Auctions.

Concerning the "Approval" books;
As far as I am concerned, if you are sitting up at night putting Scott Numbers and detailing obvious condition (From a clear scan) for low priced issues, you are spending too much time.
Concealed faults should be disclosed and most seem to do that aa a matter of course.
If there is some idea of year of issue, or a range of years, so much the better but it is not a deal breaker.
Two things that are show stoppers, wildly divergent page sizes, and stamps tilted so I have to crane my neck.
Since the majority put the higher valued issues at the end, I click "First Page" then "Last" and use the "Previous" tab to work my was to the front.
When books reach 70% SOLD just about anything that will interest me is gone.
While photos are nice when showing cute children some members seem to think they are just as good for our precious stamps. Not so.
A tilted camera creates a distortion.

Re: The auction;
One member seems to think that eyes improve with age, another puts up dark mysterious images that are unable to be viewed without stopping and opening the data sheet. I stop at school crossings, not at scans I cannot see clearly as I view the column.

Now what about that elusive definition for "Better Quality Stamps" I have no idea, but " I can recognize one when I see one...."

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