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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Approvals Disc. : Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
05 Jul 2016
10:38:11am
Why would anyone put together an Approval Book with mostly used stamps that catalog at or near the minimum... and price them above the current catalog minimum ?
Why would any Club members try to sell a "25c (that is a catalog minimum..but the stamp is worth much less) to fellow members at a higher price?
Isn't that a corruption of intent?
Even more aggravating is when the stamps are in random order, with no added info.

Approval Books were intended to facilitate the trading of the lower priced stamps that many collectors have many extra of, to help fill gaps at the low end of the scale that are currently no longer available on commercial sites efficiently and economically.
The catalog minimum (currently 25 cents for Scott) is a measure of the cost of cataloging, storing inventorying and processing stamps from commercial dealers with store overhead costs etc...

When I see books featuring ordinary "cheap" stamps listing them above the current 25c catalog low end threshold, I must admit it irritates me immensely in this, a Club setting, where there are no added costs to the seller. Even more so when no additional work (like adding years, cat numbers, cancellation selection.. etc) has been done to justify this outrageous mark up.

So I ask..how do YOU feel and what can we DO about it?
Free market economy? I see it as gouging!
rrr...

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Webpaper
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05 Jul 2016
10:58:32am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I totally agree in theory, in reality it is a slippery slope - where do you draw the line? If 25 cents is gouging, how about 20 cents, 15 cents, 10 cents ??

And as those of us who specialize know - the catalog is not always correct. I can't remember the catalog number but one of my customers back in the 80's offered me $5.00 for each of a certain common early Austrian stamp I could find for him. In the course of 2 years I found exactly 1. That is when I was remaindering several albums a month. It was a very scarce stamp in spite of its minimum catalog value and it was nowhere to be found on published lists of stamps for sale.

If no one buys they will eventually get discouraged.

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Jansimon
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05 Jul 2016
11:00:06am

Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I think I know what books you are referring to, or at least I assume I know. Whenever I see anything like that, I go through the book quickly and when I find that the pricing has no connection with reality, I make a mental note and ignore that seller. There is no obligation to buy at those inflated prices and there is also no way to do anything about it. We cannot decide for others what a reasonable selling price is. The only real power a buyer has is a boycott.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
05 Jul 2016
11:24:42am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Quote:

" I see it as gouging!"



While that may be true in some cases, in others (and maybe most situations) it is the result of a lack of understanding and knowledge regarding how to sell stamps, and the difference between catalog value, retail value and market value. This is especially true with minimal-valued stamps. In most cases, such a "seller" probably has never read the introduction to the catalogs or anything else relating to marketing and selling stamps, or has even bothered to look to see what similar material is selling for.

I see it in the auctions as well, even with higher valued material, Sometimes there is a "sentimental value" added to the selling price, because the collection used to belong to a relative. Sometimes the relative left notes about "values" of the material, but those notes could have been written decades ago when the market was better. Again, it comes down to a lack of knowledge.

Then there's the situation of some "buyers" who expect Neiman-Markus quality and value at below trash can prices. That is another matter, although it has its roots in the same lack of knowledge, or in some cases the opposite of a seller "gouging".
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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
05 Jul 2016
11:24:58am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Ralph - please message me with the books you are referring to. I have not been heavily policing pricing as I figured that the buyers would solve any overpricing by simply not buying.

However, Ralph - I strongly agree - over pricing should NOT be allowed and perhaps should be added to the rules list. We do not have any wording regarding pricing in the rules other than all the items on a page must have the same price. I'll start a management team discussion to decide how to word this rule.

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
05 Jul 2016
11:27:35am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Is this by a new member?
Is this a new seller?
Is this seller an experienced stamp collector?
Is this seller a new collector?

Maybe the seller requires a helping guiding hand and encouragement, not criticism.

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philatelia
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05 Jul 2016
11:37:25am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

If anyone sees overpricing in approvals, please contact me. I will contact the seller and discuss their pricing policies with them. If they are simply unfamiliar with current market values, a simple chat session explaining and educating how to price to sell will probably solve most problems. The first step taken will always be to give the seller the benefit of the doubt and they will be treated politely and graciously and will not be accused of behavior unbecoming simply because they lack they knowledge to know better.

I have the same problem in my local club auction. A few weeks ago I posted a series of scans of stamps with various faults. This project was to create some pricing guidelines for sellers to show them what buyers expect to pay. I will add to my "to do" list to write up a tutorial for new sellers on pricing.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
05 Jul 2016
11:54:54am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

The marketplace will dictate better than anyone else can. Sellers will quickly tire of listing over-priced items that do not sell. They will either learn to properly price their material, or will go away. There is a rule for this in the auctions. I find it to be self-enforcing through, as Jan said, a "boycott".

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
05 Jul 2016
12:01:41pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Quote:

"However, Ralph - I strongly agree - over pricing should NOT be allowed and perhaps should be added to the rules list. We do not have any wording regarding pricing in the rules other than all the items on a page must have the same price. I'll start a management team discussion to decide how to word this rule."




May I ask you all to be very careful about introducing new rules about pricing.

Depending on what country and catalogue the seller is using may determine the sellers price.

Recently I looked up the catalogue value of a stamp. Stanley Gibbons said it was £1.00, ($1.35 current exchange rate)) Scotts said it was $1.00. ie at 20% it is 0.27c or 20c.

Higher value stamps can be worse eg Gibbons £25 ($33.75), Scotts $25. ie at 20% $6.75 0r $5.00

So you see there is already a built in price differential between the two catalogues.

I am fortunate to have access to several types of catalogue. Not everybody has.

The "market" decides on what is ultimately paid and adding further rules would be a waste of time and resources.

Education is the best way forward.


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philatelia
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05 Jul 2016
12:03:18pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I agree that letting the market self correct itself is often the best method. But making sellers conscious of the importance of reasonable pricing by noting it in the rules might help prevent new sellers from wasting their time overpricing or at least encourage them to make an effort to learn proper pricing.

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GeoStamper
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Steve
05 Jul 2016
12:04:47pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

This is an important issue to stay ahead of. Given our on-line nature, a high level of trust is important. When I look through books, and the stamps go from 5c to 25c to $1.25, etc., I trust that the seller is pricing at some fraction of catalog, even if that fraction is 1/2 or 3/4. I often shop without access to a catalog, so that trust is crucial.

One seller even put the cat value range on each page; "SCV from $1 to $2," for example. As someone who hopes to put approval books up someday, I know it is a lot of work. But since this is a hobby, not a business, I find a strong (non-monetary) reward in just being fair and considerate with our fellow hobbyists.

That mutual fairness and consideration is one of the strong points of our group. Without exception, every transaction I've had through SOR has been pleasant, cordial, and seemingly unencumbered by any real profit motive.

I applaud the trust community you have created, and hope we can all help you keep it that way! Applause Applause Applause

-Steve

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Mike
05 Jul 2016
12:08:48pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

IMHO if there are no sales from this persons books, they will probably give it up or maybe finally figure out the prices may be a bit to high. I don't remember seeing any regulations mentioning what percentage sellers had to sell their stamps for. We have sellers selling for a penny, which would probably relate to 4% and we have many selling at 15 to 20% and some even "selling" at 50%, so where would we draw a line to regulate these prices? Just because someone lists an item certainly doesn't mean it is going to sell, any seller can attest to that. Besides if this person sells stamps at catalog value, or higher, good for him! Isn't this the land of free enterprise? I thought everyone knew that something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.
Mike

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
05 Jul 2016
12:20:03pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Mike, your points are definitely valid. I think what you said along with what the buyers here will naturally do (avoid such sellers) says what the Stamporama "marketplace" will accept as regards to pricing.

I do agree with Theresa that having such a statement against excessive pricing may give pause to a potential seller to check things out a bit before listing stamps for sale, or cause the seller to rethink after being confronted with little to no sales. I have found that the rule in the auctions requires little enforcing, but I do use it to try to help new sellers understand the nuances about selling stamps. Theresa suggests that she would use such a rule in a similar manner.

The other aspect that is valid for the rule is to protect the members here from the true gougers and scammers like what can be found on eBay. Those are the seller who try to sell "rare", but worthless pieces of trash for tens, hundreds and even thousands of dollars. These people who may sneak into here now and then, but rarely do so, need to be removed.

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Webpaper
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05 Jul 2016
12:58:21pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

And of course we must remember that Mystic probably sells more stamps in a day than are sold on Stamporama in a month at what we generally consider outrageous prices.

If a "rule" needs to be made I think it ought to be as a statement rather than something hard and fast.

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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
05 Jul 2016
01:05:31pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

A great deal of work by Ralph and others created an excellent approval system. Their goal was to have books that had substantial offerings that would SELL. Flooding the system with numerous books full of extremely overpriced material would be detrimental to the platform. Our approvals are not meant to be stores and warehousing overpriced material is not how the platform was meant to be utilized. To prevent that, a generic rule warning against this practice is warranted. Please note that the intent of any rule would be to address extreme overpricing, not to nitpick every selling decision a seller makes.

Perhaps we might consider a shorter lifespan for books that generate zero sales. If nothing has sold in 90 days for example, it might be time to suggest to the seller that they re-examine their books pricing, quality or presentation.

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
05 Jul 2016
01:10:57pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Quote:

"The marketplace will dictate better than anyone else can. "


Michael, You would think that as a graduate of the U of Chicago with Int'l Economics as minor I would agree with your free market statement, but I don't

The market place is imperfect.
Free markets create abuse (as do controlled markets).
Regulations are needed to protect those who need protection.
The market takes lots of time to self correct.
The free market is not the right solution to everything.
The market place does not establish the correct framework for decision in all situations.

But enough economic philosophy..we are all brainwashed to believe our salvation always comes from the free market. Back to this issue.


This is not just a specific critique, although prompted by several specific cases, but a point that is well worth discussing. What kind of Club do we want!

I have the same visceral opposition to over pricing stamps as I do to over pricing shipping charges..and WE DO REGULATE the S/H charges at SOR Thumbs Up.


Quote:

"Mystic probably sells more stamps in a day than are sold on Stamporama in a month at what we generally consider outrageous prices."



Webpaper, Carol: Mystic is a commercial business. We are a CLUB. I don't think the comparison holds. If Mystic benefits from overpricing its customers, it is different than in the context of a Club where we look after one another. Profit is not our motivation.

rrr...

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
05 Jul 2016
02:00:08pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Can I ask How many "Overpriced Approval Books" are currently listed on Stamporama??

To quote the title of a Shakespeare play "Much Ado About Nothing" ???

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
05 Jul 2016
02:26:09pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Haha Ian
To quote back (in jest): People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
Isaac Asimov

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Webpaper
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05 Jul 2016
04:01:12pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

"Webpaper, Carol: Mystic is a commercial business. We are a CLUB. I don't think the comparison holds. If Mystic benefits from overpricing its customers, it is different than in the context of a Club where we look after one another. Profit is not our motivation."

I agree completely, I was trying to point out how subjective pricing can be. I put several 19th century VF, CDS, fresh minimum value stamps on Bidstart a few years back at $1.00 apiece and they sold out in a week. Was that "price gouging"?

Anyone note the absurd pricing of common 3c commemoratives with "near perfect" centering and a special "certificate". I have seen one at several hundred dollars and the next stamp in queue had better centering and was priced at 8 cents.

I am in total agreement with a rule that if there are no sales after a set period of time the book is pulled - absolutely. And I don't think 30 days would be unreasonable. Being realistic - if the book has been on a week with no sales, it is highly unlikely to generate any sales no matter how long it is allowed to remain.

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StampCollector
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05 Jul 2016
04:15:42pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one feeling this way, I shake my head every time I see this ridiculously priced approvals books, I wonder what the "seller" is thinking, I don't get irritated, I just click on the first page to get the new icon off the screen and don't bother anymore about that book, case closed.

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
05 Jul 2016
06:22:05pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Isaac who?

Maybe I didn't go to the right school.

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Anglophile
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RPSL, APS, EPA; US, GB, Ireland, British Europe, Italy, Mauritius Classics
05 Jul 2016
06:32:36pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Regulation of this issue will be impossible. Assume a common US stamp from the 1970s catalogs at $0.25 and is offered in a book for $0.30. Ralph thinks this stamp is worth $0.05. What price is SOR supposed to require? No more than $0.05? $.10? $.25? How do we really know that $0.05 is the right price? Should it be $.01? How does Ralph or anyone else know what costs the seller has incurred, and is trying to recover? It has been said that the catalog minimum of $0.25 is based on a brick and mortar dealer selling a single stamp across the counter with employees, utilities and rent to cover. How does Ralph or anyone else know that a member doesn't have similar costs? Dealers are not excluded as members. How does he know that a buyer at $0.30 isn't completely satisfied by solving their collection problem at an amount that is still low?

The free market, for these items and these prices, will do just fine here.

Common stamp, over $0.25, don't like it? Don't buy, move on.

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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
05 Jul 2016
07:22:54pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I agree that it would be wonderful if the free market could magically correct everything, but consider the following. This isn't a free market sales site - this is a club! Roy subsidizes our club's approvals and auction by paying for our site. The sales platforms were intended to be used by the members to buy and sell their duplicates. They were not intended to be a free place for dealers to set up shop. Is it fair to Roy to pay for the bandwidth and storage for competitor dealers to warehouse a bunch of over priced approval books at no cost to them whatsoever?



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Webpaper
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05 Jul 2016
08:21:19pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Are the approval books in question published by dealers? Most of the active dealers books that I see are filled with quality material at near wholesale pricing levels (for individual stamps). They contain a lot of stamps that are difficult to locate online and almost impossible to pick up as individual stamps at show tables (not many dealers carry nickel stamps in their red boxes anymore).

As near as I can tell, Roy's stamp inventory is substantially different from that of the vast majority of approval books. I think that perhaps the best way to make certain that no one uses SOR as a place to warehouse approval books would be to put a time limit on all books of say 3 months. But every time a limit is mentioned people say that they want to leave their books on longer. Personally I'd be happy to make my books inactive after two or three months just from an accounting standpoint and to give me a chance to add new material, reduce pricing, etc.

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Anglophile
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RPSL, APS, EPA; US, GB, Ireland, British Europe, Italy, Mauritius Classics
05 Jul 2016
09:04:43pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I don't see any significant negative impact on Roy. The more approval books there are, the more eyeballs are on the site, which should drive more traffic to Roy.

Since there is no verification of the credentials that new members enter at registration, other than e-mail, and no open participation in governance, unfortunately in my opinion the "Club" argument is hard to sustain here. Data can be falsified so there is really no way to stop anonymous members, or dealers. The time limit mentioned above is probably the best that can be done.

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CapeStampMan
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Mike
05 Jul 2016
10:05:14pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Wow, I'd like to leave my auction lots on for two or three months, but what purpose would that achieve? Why not put a limit of only 14 days on approvals, the same as with auction lots. Parity for all, not just one special part of SOR, but haven't we chewed on this before?

And if this is strictly a "club" why do we have so many sellers that have never, ever purchased one single stamp, but in fact only sell them? That isn't a problem for me, since I have bought from many of the "seller only members", but it does designate a different attitude towards SOR than just a club.

As for Roy's generous contribution to SOR, which is certainly appreciated by all, he is in a different category than almost every seller, or even buyer, on SOR. He is certainly a "dealer" in every sense of the word, but does little selling here on this site, probably because he would go broke selling his stock at the prices most of these lots sell for.

And I keep hearing "bandwidth" means nothing additional to the cost of the amount we use. I imagine if it did we would have automatically eliminated a whole lot of data that sits here, being useless, for years on end, taking up space.

Quote:

"To quote the title of a Shakespeare play "Much Ado About Nothing" ???"



I agree, I think we are trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill, causing more problems than they are worth.
Mike

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philatelia
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05 Jul 2016
10:23:03pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Ralph has raised a reasonable concern and it is good to hear all the different perspectives on the issue. I don't foresee any major changes to either sales platform, but when someone sees a potential problem it doesn't hurt to talk it over.

Question - As a club do we have a responsibility to our beginner members to make sure items offered for sale are reasonably priced or should we let them learn the hard way?





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michael78651
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06 Jul 2016
12:18:13am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Quote:

"Question - As a club do we have a responsibility to our beginner members to make sure items offered for sale are reasonably priced or should we let them learn the hard way?
"



"Reasonable" is very subjective as Chris discussed. If one is going to sell something, then it behooves them to learn what it is that they are selling, and how to sell it. Some do ask questions and learn. However, many don't want to do that, and many do not want to be told either. We can try to help them, but if they're unwilling to accept the help, and try to do things their own way, well, there's not much that can be done. They will learn the hard way, and either adjust their attitudes towards selling their "gold mine" of minimum-valued stamps at a price that will generate sales, or they will simply go away.
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malcolm197
06 Jul 2016
05:46:36am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

The comment I have latched onto here is

"Regulation is necessary for those who need protection".

Perhaps we should look at it another way

"Education is necessary so that no-one needs protection"

99% of the regulars here can spot a mile away consistently overpriced material - I am not talking about the odd misdescribed item or hopeful punt. I don't buy or sell here - it is not my bag, but I wonder how many absolute beginners actually buy this overpriced material through ignorance.

Perhaps some simple guidance on how a buyer can calculate for themselves a fair price (giving due emphasis to how much desire may overide prudence ).

A couple of examples are -

Another example of a common stamp will turn up cheaper ( than an overpriced one) sooner or later (probably sooner ).

Before purchasing a particular stamp examine all the approvals ( and preferably e-bay and delcampe too ) to arrive at a minimum and maximum reasonable price. Not all sellers on e-bay etc are crooks. If there are not many about defer your purchase until you have done further research. It is a bit like accepting a quotation for home improvements. If something looks too good to be true it probably is.If something is overpriced it is usually obvious. In my experience with quotations there are usually one or two too cheap, one or two too expensive, but the majority are somewhere in the middle and reasonably close to each other - and they are ones you should go for.

..no doubt others here can think of other comments.

Note that these points do not require specialist knowledge, merely the application of common sense, simple research and a modicum of financial care. It is merely another facet of not letting your sense run away with you at auctions.

The other thing to remember is that the price of any item, is not what it cost you in $$$$, but what else you could have bought for the same amount.

Malcolm


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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
06 Jul 2016
08:49:12am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I LOVE regulation. I do. Makes me a liberal. Or vice versa. But I love it when it's needed; and I find need when greater concerns than those of those being regulated are protected. In the absence of that, well, let the markets determine.

In this case, I see little harm being done. An overpriced piece is no different from an underwanted piece..... nothing's going to happen and the seller learns or doesn't. Yes, there's something to be said about protecting noobs from buying stuff that they'll never be able to sell at that price or that they could have gotten for a quarter of the price, but then we'd need to enforce rules we would have a tough time writing.

We already provide ample opportunity to learn about markets, and no one here is shy about answering questions, including, is that REALLY worth what he's asking?

At one time, I bought an example or two of virtually every old stamp I found on cover. I figured it was old and it must be worth something. I learned. I don't buy 3c green Washingtons on cover any more, because i know that lint is worth more. But, really, for 50c, I got an education. And am glad for it.

I do agree that if we become overburdened with damaged common stamps and overpriced sheets that could have been had for less than face, we will become irrelevant, and folks will stop coming, but right now, they're just part of the great bell curve of philatelic offerings.

now, if people are being harmed, let me know, and I'm there with all my EPA-wannabe buddies.

David

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
06 Jul 2016
09:02:48am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

If you are going to put in a rule with regards to Overpricing, then by definition, you must put in a rule regarding Underpricing, if you want to be seen to be fair.


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TuskenRaider
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06 Jul 2016
08:35:50pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Hi disgruntled bargain hunters;

Some of you have way too much spare time, or you are just drama queens.

If you don't like what sellers are selling, then don't look, just move on. Is your last name Kardashian? Thinking

As always overthinking everything again, but we know you have only good intentions Ralph, so we are okay with that.

Go out on the balcony and have a cigar and brandy with James Spader, and William Shatner, or just jump off.....splat....Big Grin

TuskenRaider


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06 Jul 2016
09:19:31pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I have to agree..."Much Ado About Nothing".

I'm sure I would feel somewhat "outraged" at seeing ridiculous pricing of common material, but its really bothersome raising public objections every time such an "outrage" occurs. There just are not enough hours in the day to rant about every perceived outrage, knowing full well that opinions differ.

In this case, as pointed out several times, a member can simply not purchase the items.

Please try not to take offense at the next sentence as its not meant to start an argument or ruffle feathers, but ... This thread might be just another example of why some non-members find this club lacking in maturity - the common complaints about things that really don't matter or that should be broached to moderators in private and not made public.

Everyone should know that approval books contain common material. Maybe every new collector does not know that common material should sell for no more than the minimum CV, maybe not. Perhaps the solution here is to simply insert a sentence somewhere prominent that "approvals contain common material and should sell for no more than minimum CV (e.g., .25 cents in Scott)". If someone wishes to price their common material above that then so be it. Good luck with sales to sellers with those prices.

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auldstampguy
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Just one more small cover .....
06 Jul 2016
10:44:58pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

One thing that I'm not seeing in this discussion is anyone saying that they paid too much for a stamp and they are upset by it. I know that I have paid too much for a stamp at times, especially on eBay, but when this happens you learn through the process and you are a more knowledgeable buyer next time.

I've been a member of Stamporama for approx. 10 years and in that time we have always had some members putting material in the auction that is significantly over priced. Mostly they don't sell very much, but when they do it is often to some of our most experienced collectors, who definitely know what they are doing, but found perhaps a particular stamp that they just wanted.

I applaud Ralph and Theresa for their intent to make the Approval Books the very best for everyone that they can, but I say let the market sort this out. If people particularly want a particular stamp they will buy it even if it is priced at 10 time cat value. If there are no sales over time there are mechanisms in place in the system that will remove these books.

Regards ... Tim.

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
07 Jul 2016
04:34:59am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Tuskenraider: Could it just be

Quote:

"The Mad Cow......Denny Crane"



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philatelia
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07 Jul 2016
11:10:31am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

To be honest, I am relieved that the general concensus is to let the buyers make the decision. I still believe that there should be wording in the rules to mirror the pricing rules in the auction and to give us some recourse in the case of severe price gouging. Michael and I have been working on making the rules for both platforms more in sync.

In any case, this little video clip link sums up my philosophy on policing a rule like this.




here is the link if the video doesn't work


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GMkuPiIZ2k




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rrraphy
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07 Jul 2016
12:12:08pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Interesting discussion, and I do take offense to some, but I won't hold a grudge.
I was afraid this discussion would slip into one about what is a "correct" price (not the intent as it was not my intention to legislate pricing). Also, contrary to assertions by some that doing nothing is the best route, I don't believe that the free market is necessarily the only solution in a CLUB.

But I did not expect it to become a discussion of what one should post or not post, and I take exception to this!

I am concerned about what kind of Club we are! If some feel it should only be a Sales platform with an unstated goal of maximizing the returns to sellers, I am not interested in such a Club! If one has to filter every opinion to fit someone else's politically correct gauge, I am not interested in such a Club! If one does not volunteer and one expect others to do all the work, I am not interested in such a Club!

Quote:

"This thread might be just another example of why some non-members find this club lacking in maturity - the common complaints about things that really don't matter or that should be broached to moderators in private and not made public."


That is a low blow because to me, this Approval Book issue is worth discussing, even if you are not interested. It is also mere speculation about "non-members opinion" because I don't know of any forum where one agrees with everything that is written and who sets up the "maturity meter"? In all forums you pick what you want. Just use the DELETE if if it not your cup of latte, that is the mature thing to do!

Now the point I am interested in is relevant to our CLUB. We set our own rules in a CLUB! It is not a democracy, and the rules are set to favor certain aspects of the club philosophy.

Utmost on my list of concerns for this Club is how do we avoid becoming just another sales platform, how do we nurture and educate our members, how do we maintain a pleasant atmosphere, how do we help develop friendships and how do we advance our hobby. This is my list and this is what I work on. The Approval Book platform was intended to help the trading of duplicates among members...that was the original intent of it, and I should know because I helped set it up! In case you may have forgotten, these were the very first statements for Approval Books printed here 2 1/2 years ago, about its intent.

Quote:

"Approval Books ... provide a unique and simple way to sell and to collect for our members. Approval Books do not just try to be one more auction platform, they will encourage participation, sharing of resources and help relieve the clutter of lower cost items which one cannot justify listing one at a time in auctions. But it is much more than that, and I encourage you all to check it out and jump in!

...The intent here is to facilitate the trading of low cost items, and un-clutter the auctions where hundreds of stamps, priced say below 10 cents, are lot of work to list and to buy. So this Approval Books should work well for buyer and seller alike. "



So when I say corruption of intent, I am being very specific. This is why Approval Books was developed and why the current rules (and lack of) were established.

But like every new arena, and it is a brand new arena, rules are adjusted over time, in response to usage, and with the intention of staying on course for it goals, or modifying them with gained experience.

So now after this long intro and response to some of my critics, I ask you again: What kind of Club do we want?
We do legislate our own rules, for example for shipping charges, or Payment delays, or number of pages, or number of stamps etc... is it wrong to talk about a philosophy for pricing in a CLUB? I know what my philosophy is, and I reflect it in my books. I can see what it is for other sellers I follow and buy from. But we constantly have new members and new sellers, some who are dealers with only one interest..selling at the highest price possible...and I ask, how does it fit in a Club like ours.

Jan-Simon did answer best as far as our individual response:

Quote:

"Whenever I see anything like that, I go through the book quickly and when I find that the pricing has no connection with reality, I make a mental note and ignore that seller. There is no obligation to buy at those inflated prices and there is also no way to do anything about it. We cannot decide for others what a reasonable selling price is. The only real power a buyer has is a boycott."



But why not set some Club guidelines? We have none...does it make sense?

It is up to us to do so or not. This is not a discussion that should simply be swept under the rug, to stay politically correct, or avoid irritating those who think it is lacking in maturity.

Most here have an aversion to go counter to their idea of the free market..I understand this basic bias, and yet they accept direction and rules set up for other specific purposes. I have not publicly suggested my preferred approach. I have asked how you feel about this issue in a Club like ours.

And my next question is: IF you feel it should be dealt with in our Club, in what form?


Here there are many ways one could act..from doing nothing (the easy way..one always favored by risk averting gutless corporations) to rigid rules (Set by our MT dictators Big Grin, and I am against it). There are an infinite range of small steps and half measures one could take in between these two extreme positions, to set a CLUB tone as far as pricing!

Finally, I will follow Tusken's advice:
Quote:

"As always overthinking everything again, but we know you have only good intentions Ralph, so we are okay with that.
Go out on the balcony and have a cigar and brandy with James Spader, and William Shatner, or just jump off.....splat....Big Grin"



Actually I will follow the first part of his advice, although I would prefer the company of Deanna Troi .

As for the second part, Britain has already done that with the Brexit, and I am no copycat, as you well know.

rrr...

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HungaryForStamps
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07 Jul 2016
12:42:39pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Just to set the record straight, I was not making the comment that some SOR discussions are childish or immature. I was saying that some (other) people "might" find these types of public discussions immature. I was harkening back to that discussion (of mostly outrage by members) when one member quoted his acquaintance that said (paraphrasing) that SOR was too childish for him.

Anyhow, I prefaced my statement "Please try not to take offense at the next sentence as its not meant to start an argument or ruffle feathers, but ..."

And I used "might"...:

"This thread might be just another example of why some non-members find this club lacking in maturity"

But apparently this statement still caused offense when none was intended. Sorry.

However I still believe the subject matter is much ado about nothing and should have been broached in private to a moderator rather than potentially embarrassing members that are selling in the approval books (not me, BTW).


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TuskenRaider
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07 Jul 2016
01:07:20pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Hi Everyone;

@ Brechinite;

Hey....another Boston Legal Fan....I also liked the cast in "The Practice".

@ Ralph;

I would probably prefer the company of Denise Bauer, played by Julie Bowen.

I don't always agree with you but some good thoughts there in your last reply. The club would not be as good without your ideas, and those of all the other volunteers.

I've sold common stamps in both the auctions and approvals. In approvals I sold very clean, high quality singles, and had good results at 8¢ - 10¢.

I noticed after I shipped an order from approvals that a buyer purchased a stamp with a scratch. I messaged that buyer and mailed a replacement copy on that buyer's next order

In Auctions I also had good results and very satisfied buyers. I only sold common stamps at increased prices over Scott, that had town cancels, fancy cancels, or other unusual factors, that I felt justified a bump in price. My town cancels were eagerly bought up, at 25¢ - $1.00, because they were listed for specific buyers that liked them. I always messaged those buyers when I had them available.

So there are situations that would be considered okay to bump the price. An example of this would be a plain cover, franked with a common stamp. That same stamp on a cover with postal history (military covers) would be worth much more.

So I'm not against what you suggest, but temper it with some common sense. If you have any say in that matter, I'm confident that it will be just fine with our membership, including Tuskie....

Just sortin'....
TuskenRaider

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rrraphy
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07 Jul 2016
01:25:08pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Again "Lewis" I hold no grudge, and yes you are entitled to your opinion, even if masked as "others say" Laughing..and please don't take offense as none is intended..Rolling On The Floor Laughing. (just immature and kidding)

And no one else should be embarrassed, as it very carefully singled out NO one in particular. It was a reaction to one more such issue..the "last drop that makes the bucket...etc...".

This is an issue that has been brewing in me for a while, and I took it up at this time because several Auctions and Approval Books seem, to me, to be out of whack pricing wise, lately. (and I was wide awake at 3:00 AM due to my jetlag!)

Any reason why I noticed?
Well I see ONE common thread related to what I see as pricing issues. ALL are related to NEW MEMBERS, who ONLY SELL here. Often they start selling the minute their membership has been accepted.
I admit that I have been watching for this.

Some time ago, I raised my concerns about a shift possibly occurring as commercial platforms increase prices and tighten rules at the low end or shut down. I feared an exodus of dealers to SOR with only sales profits (and minimizing their costs) as their goal for being here. I feared no other vested interest in our Club. I am making no such judgement, but it is still my fear. Some say, who cares...it just adds more choices to our buyers... Now really?

You draw your own conclusions. I find it has already changed the feel of some of our Auctions and Approval Books platforms when I scan through them (take a look), and this concerns me. Past experience also indicates that our members are savvy enough to take care of themselves, and that such dealers eventually get burned and move on. But it affects the Club atmosphere, sets bad examples, and benefits no one (or just a few) here.

This is one of the reasons I wanted to talk about pricing in the context of Approvals. I am not surprised that others have discussed it about Auctions as well. It is up to others to address it, if they wish, for Auctions.

Granted, we can just let it be, as it is the easiest least effort solution. Is it the best?

rrr...

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Webpaper
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07 Jul 2016
02:18:20pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

First let's try to define the term "Dealer". What is a "dealer"?

There are those sticklers in the IRS who would say that everyone who sells stamps on here, or for that matter trades or barters stamps, is a "dealer". There are those who say that you have to have sales over "x" amount per year to be a "dealer". There are those who claim not to be a "dealer" because they are not actively purchasing new material for resale.

In my own case I was a dealer and sold to the public through mail order list, mail auction, and the show circuit from about 1985 to 1992. I then switched to collecting postal history and made some large purchases and sold off some remainder lots to other dealers. I started selling to the public again around 2008 and now have a store on Bidstart (like so many SOR members have - NOT just new members). I have not actively purchased new material for resale since 1992, only for my collection.

So I am selling off items purchased over 20 years ago and keeping what I want for my collection. While I consider myself a dealer in the eyes of the law and religiously file income and sales tax forms every year for my business I am actually doing the same thing as many of you are - just trying to get rid of boxes and boxes of stamps. I have taken over 5000 items off Bidstart and placed them on SOR. My minimum price on Bidstart was 20 cents. They go into the books here at 10 cents the first time, 5 cents the second time.

Anyway, I certainly don't feel like I am "only on here for sales profits". And I don't feel that I am anymore a "dealer" than most on here are, even though I file tax returns to keep Uncle Sam happy.

Anyway - food for thought. These are 2 copies of Scott #989 currently for sale on Bidstart. One is priced at 7 cents, the other one at $350. There are actually 6 copies of this stamp on Bidstart at over $75. I know the seller of the one for $350 and have watched him sell similar items at similar prices at the larger shows - there is a market. Tough to make rules when the marketplace has none.

Image Not Found

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
07 Jul 2016
02:50:40pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

A club is a club. The type of club that you have/belong to depends almost solely on the membership.

Some members will take an active managerial part,
Some members will take an active part as "helpers".
Some members will take an active part in all areas organised by the Club,
Some members will take an active part in some areas organised by the Club,
Some members will take NO active part in any area of the club but enjoy being part of the Club.
Some members will want to change the Club,
Some members will not want change in the Club,
Some members would like to rule the Club
Some members will want to rule the Club.

You see a Club has different members wanting different things, one members vision is another members nightmare.

Above all a Club requires members to appreciate other members views:-

Understanding and Tolerance are the keys.

Remember some new/old members may be quite shy, confined to bed/house, and not be as experienced as us "Tough as Old Boots" masochists.

Quote:

""We are flamingos Denny".....Alan Shore"



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Bobstamp
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07 Jul 2016
02:56:46pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

When I found myself being reborn as a collector, and with very little knowledge of stamps and especially of the pricing of stamps, I bought a MNH Canadian stamp from a dealer for what I thought was a song, i.e. much under catalogue value. I walked across the street to another stamp shop to offer it to the dealer at catalogue value. He would get a great stamp,and I would make some money. (What? Me? Greedy? Never!) Anyway, the second dealer looked at it, said he wasn't interested in buying it because he already had several copies of it. That was my first lesson in philatelic supply and demand.

I have purchased a few hundreds dollars' worth of stamps from a dealer who prices all of his stamps way above catalogue value. Why? Because they have been stamps that I wanted that I couldn't elsewhere, because all of his stamps are offered as singles rather than in sets, and because his customer service is excellent. I have bought low-catalogue-value stamps from him that I have never seen offered anywhere else at any price.

I never use catalogues as price guides except in a very general sense. That's because catalogue pricing has nothing whatsoever to do with my subjective evaluation of stamps. If a stamp, in my opinion, is somehow special, then I'll be willing to pay more for it than you might pay, and if I already have it and decide to sell it, I'll price it for what I think it is worth to another collector of like mind. If I can't sell it, who loses? Me.

My bottom line: the last thing we need in the Stamporama auction or approvals is price controls.

Bob



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bobstew617
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08 Jul 2016
08:06:45am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I can tell you in the auctions there are sellers who NEVER get it when it comes to overpricing their material, going around the mandatory three relisting reductions, and then doing it over and over again. THAT is what drives me nuts!! At Wits End

Usually a nice conversation with a seller takes care of the matter, and then there are some who think it should just be the Wild West out there and get offended. I have stories of when I was Auctioneer, I can tell you!!

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psyprofret
08 Jul 2016
08:22:35am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Webpaper - Wow, that example of #989 is an eyeopener.

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
09 Jul 2016
12:17:34am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Nice seing you on line Michael.
wow...now this one is complicated! you betya!

should we hold grudges?? only 24 hours

should we let the market work? Been proven not to work, but the alternatives are worse

should we consider chicago a decent school??? (not bad...!?!) over-rated

what constitutes 'gouging'?? anything selling above 10% of any catalog

I don't sell here. I don't buy here. noticed

I'll let you folks work this one out... Thanks for your help

Rolling On The Floor Laughing rrr...


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musicman
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APS #213005
09 Jul 2016
08:58:15am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Quote:

"I don't sell here. I don't buy here."




....didn't you mean, anymore?

Quote:

"Membership data for Michael Roth:

Auction Statistics: Lots Sold(0) Lots Won(297)"



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ikeyPikey
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09 Jul 2016
09:30:05am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Quote:

"... I'll let you folks work this one out ..."



You got there!

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bobstew617
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09 Jul 2016
11:20:38am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I have a few more thoughts. I think a general rule should be made that the Auctioneer/approvals moderator has the discretion of determining when potential price gouging is occurring.

We already have rules regarding disclosure of damaged Stamps, but I think that rule can be updated and then better enforced. Too many sellers think a scan is enough, WRONG!!

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michael78651
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09 Jul 2016
11:33:30am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Bob, that rule already exists for the auctioneer.

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usrevenues
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09 Jul 2016
05:34:54pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Disclosure: I do not actively buy or sell here at Stamporama. However, I do actively buy and sell through other venues (eBay, APS Stamp Store, my own website).

I would strongly advocate restraint when it comes to "policing" the pricing of items. It's a dangerous and slippery slope.

In addition to the differences in currencies and catalog systems, there are also major differences in what people perceive as overpricing. It's not as simple as a percentage of Scott.

I sell stamps every week for between 10x Scott and 1,000x Scott (yes, a thousand times Scott) and the buyers are very happy. How is that possible? I specialize in cancels and plate varieties on early U.S. Revenues... an area where the Scott catalog values can be completely immaterial. To the lay collector, the pricing might seem ridiculous, but to experienced collectors in the specialty, the pricing could be comparatively a bargain.

Just the other day I purchased a stamp for 40x Scott and was thrilled: it's actually worth about 350x Scott.

Additionally, the entire notion of policing based on a percentage of catalog value is inherently flawed: it assumes the catalog value is accurate. I can tell you that with absolute certainty that in many areas it is not (and this holds true for Michel, Stanley Gibbons, Yvert, Facit, Barefoot, or any other catalog system you choose to use).

There are Scott listings and values that have not been updated in decades. Moreover, there are low-value stamps that are simply impossible to find. There are more than a few stamps that I would gladly pay many multiples of catalog value for... if I could ever find a dealer who had them.

Even in my secondary collection of 19th-century worldwide classic stamps with socked-on-the-nose/CDS cancels, if the example is aesthetically pleasing, I will happily pay full catalog or more, depending on the stamp and cancel, and I know plenty of other collectors that would do likewise.

The "anything more than XX% of Scott is a ripoff!" mindset tends to be an affliction of either the novice or the general collector (and I say this without the intent to disparage). Once one ventures into specializations or areas that fall outside the purview of the catalog, that view tends to dissipate, as the mainstream catalogs no longer reflect reality in many cases.

Just my 2 cents.

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milpatch
09 Jul 2016
10:47:54pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Just a thought. If it is not what you are willing to pay, just pass it up. No one forces anyone to buy anything that they don't want to buy.Happy

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Bobstamp
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09 Jul 2016
11:41:55pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Used Austrian stamp valued at $0.80 in 2013 Scott:

Image Not Found

Admittedly, I haven't searched avidly, but I've searched whenever I've had the opportunity, and I've found — actually, Roy Lingen found for me — exactly one postally used copy, and only a couple of philatelically used ones. So, how much is one of these actually worth? If your pockets are deep enough, I'm open to offers... Big Grin

Bob


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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
10 Jul 2016
11:12:15am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I agree with Bob (How come he gets his own topic anyway ?) about the 3g Austrian stamp he scanned and posted. I had so much trouble finding a copy I thought my slightly out of date Michel Europa-Katalog West M-Z was in error ! But I did find and purchase an example a few weeks ago in the approvals for about 20¢ and finally completed that set although not both printings.

However, as someone pointed out twenty posts ago; "Education is the answer."

I would add one thing to that; something that I've mentioned before, and has been received with acclaim similar to the proverbial Lead Balloon."

If some members would begin to refer to catalog listings and drop the word "value" since we all know that the quoted "value" is most often so far from reality and not what a given stamp will sell for on the open market that it could be considered a part of education.

Other than a few minor adjustments here and there I am quite happy to watch Adam Smith's"Invisible Hand" work its supposed magic. Thank you Professor Eisenheimer (where ever you are) for explaining that and putting half the class to sleep.

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copy55555
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10 Jul 2016
02:21:23pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

As a buyer only, I have to put in my 8 cents worth. If a seller wants to price his recent mint US Forever single at $3.00, then that seller should have the right as a member of this community. If a buyer decides he wants to purchase that stamp, that buyer should have the freedom to do so.

I'm not sure why we are having this discussion about instituting price controls. We are a stamp collecting CLUB populated with philatelists and "dealers." Most collectors would like to buy at the lowest possible price and most dealers would like to sell at the highest possible price. Isn't that how the free market system is supposed to work?

As I understand it, StampoRama began as a venue for members to dispose of their duplicates and have access to other member's dups. Some time later there was a discussion of whether "dealer" participation was welcome or not. As a result we now have a much greater variety of material to choose from. We have the FREEDOM to decide whether to buy or not to buy.

Tad
A collector and buyer





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Bobstamp
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10 Jul 2016
11:15:05pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Copy55555 said,

Quote:

"I'm not sure why we are having this discussion about instituting price controls."



The simple answer is that most members live a democracy, or what passes as a democracy, which most folks take to mean that they can talk freely, and make whatever suggestions they wish to make. I wouldn't want it any other way, as long as members remain civil. There's nothing wrong with suggesting price controls for the auction and the approvals. A suggestion is nothing more than an idea that leaves one person's brain and enters other brains. The reason that Stamporama evolved from an occasional dead-tree newsletter to what it is today is that members made suggestions that were agreeable to other members.

Bob
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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
11 Jul 2016
07:46:55pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

".... then that seller should have the right as a member of this community ...."

But there is one matter left unsaid. As a club we attract new members some of whom may be mere youngsters who haven't yet reached their Jubilee Year ( 7x7=49) and as newbies may not be familiar with the catalog publishers custom of greatly exaggerating the actual market value of the stamps listed in neat orderly columns.
So I think it is appropriate for experienced members to discuss the situation when some possibly also less experienced member lists stamps far in excess of the general market value.
Strict rules and regulations, no, but an occasional word to the wise, yes.
When I went to sea we had a way of providing such hints, and could exert peer pressure by word and deed (Well there was an occasional fall down a ladder, truly accidental.)
that usually had a positive result.

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".... You may think you understood what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you think you heard is not what I thought I meant. .... "
Ningpo
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11 Jul 2016
09:00:53pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Quote:

"As a club we attract new members some of whom may be mere youngsters who haven't yet reached their Jubilee Year ( 7x7=49) and as newbies may not be familiar with the catalog publishers custom of greatly exaggerating the actual market value of the stamps listed in neat orderly columns."



Now that is a very good point.

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ikeyPikey
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12 Jul 2016
08:56:14am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I agree with Sam Harris that there is a class of ideas that are, simply, bad ideas.

I do not think that some sort of price guidance rises to that level, but I am not optimistic that it would be practical.

I agree with Bobstamp that it is a fair subject for discussion, and that we benefit from kicking it around.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
14 Jul 2016
05:40:38am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Quote of the week on this subject:-

Quote:

"The "anything more than XX% of Scott is a ripoff!" mindset tends to be an affliction of either the novice or the general collector (and I say this without the intent to disparage). Once one ventures into specializations or areas that fall outside the purview of the catalog, that view tends to dissipate, as the mainstream catalogs no longer reflect reality in many cases.
"





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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
14 Jul 2016
07:09:35am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

People can charge whatever they want. We see it when something is even free - it really isn't.

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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
14 Jul 2016
11:33:29am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

angore:- You are correct because Nobody and I mean Nobody has 100% complete knowledge of all things philatelic.

We all try to educate ourselves in our own areas of interest and pass that information onto others.

We may take an interest in areas other than ours just to expand our knowledge.

For some one or group to inflict their possible uneducated beliefs on to others in a one fix to cover all is totally disingenious.

We have our rules for the approvals and auctions. I see no need to change or add to them.

By all means if a moderator spots something then they can have a quiet word with the individual. I have no problem with that.

What I do have a problem with is individuals tossing a grenade in to see our reaction in the Stamporama business topic. They should run it by the management team/Moderators first.

It is a different story when a member of the management team asks for our opinions.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
14 Jul 2016
11:50:45am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

we all understand that this topic was initiated by the individual who came up with the idea of approvals and who headed it up from its infancy to the time it was transfered to Theresa.

Ralph has been a steadfast champion of the approvals, and one who is always looking to make it better and find ways to have it function the best way possible. His initial comments were, it seems to me, made in that spirit.

what follows are various members' views of things, some in agreement; others not.

I see lots of diverging views here, but most are expressed in a thoughtful and respectful manner.


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philatelia
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14 Jul 2016
01:01:54pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

David is absolutely spot on. If a potential problem is detected, it is wise and prudent to discuss it and consider actions to protect the club from abuses.

Believe me, from the extensive discussions taking place regarding this issue, nothing rash will result. The Management Team takes rule changes very seriously and doesn't institute alterations willy nilly. This is the first time I have been privy to a portion of this type of discussion and I am quite impressed with the thoroughness and herculean effort made to consider all of the possible ramifications of any actions.


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Steve
14 Jul 2016
03:14:14pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Bob wrote:

Quote:

"Used Austrian stamp valued at $0.80 in 2013 Scott..."


Not sure if this one is going over my head, or just around it...

Here's part of the page from my album (my aim is to collect used with town and date cancels wherever possible):

Image Not Found

Are these CTOs? Postally used? How can I tell?

Amazing that I'm still learning what I would consider to be basics at this point... At Wits End

-Steve

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
14 Jul 2016
04:02:55pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I am sorry but we ALL do not understand the history of who done what with the approvals from the start.

My point was to try and enforce my view that we have a system currently for the auctions and approvals. It is not perfect for everybody but it covers most of members needs.

AND due to my previous posts

You have to be very very careful who is to determine what is an overpriced item. THAT is only in the eye of the beholder. The item in question may have a rare postmark/colour/perf etc etc etc. I reiterate NOBODY has 100% knowledge of all things philatelic.

If you are considering "Overpricing" rules/regulations/notes/guidelines what about "Underpricing"???

Is it "fair" for a member to spend time cataloguing and pricing stamps at a reasonable "market price" to then discover that another member has put the same stamps through at less than the "market value" or at even one cent.
If you feel that Underpricing is "fair" then "Overpricing" must therefore by definition be "fair".

You should not have double standards.

I do not care how many discussions everybody has over this issue as long as the result is no more needless rules.

I reiterate from a previous post:-

Quote:

"What I do have a problem with is individuals tossing a grenade in to see our reaction in the Stamporama business topic. They should run it by the management team/Moderators first."



My last words on this matter are:- Do the right thing.



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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
14 Jul 2016
06:20:07pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I know I said in my previous post that they were my last words on this matter. However I found this in the Auctions & Approvals section of the Discussion Board in the July 2016 report from the approvals moderator:-

Quote:

"WHAT IS YOUR APPROVAL MODERATOR WORKING ON THIS MONTH?

There is a possible new rule in the pipeline regarding pricing, but most of the rules changes will simply be clarifications. I will also be working on writing a pricing guideline for newer sellers."




No wonder people get cheesed off!!
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philatelia
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14 Jul 2016
06:51:49pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I'm not sure what part of my comment has you cheesed off. The "possible new rule" is that the approvals guidelines will probably be amended to make them mirror the auction rules as it is too confusing to have different rules. This is all being debated right now and nothing is 100% absolutely going to happen. Is this the part you disagree with?

The second part about pricing guidelines for newer sellers will NOT be carved in stone demands that they price things according to some artificial chart. Many new sellers ASK for help with pricing, so in response to their requests, I had planned to compile a set of examples that current sellers are using. The new seller is welcome to follow suit or not. Is that the part that has you cheesed off?

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cdj1122
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15 Jul 2016
01:20:37am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

" .... The "anything more than XX% of Scott is a ripoff!" mindset tends to be an affliction of either the novice or the general collector (and I say this without the intent to disparage). Once one ventures into specializations or areas that fall outside the purview of the catalog, that view tends to dissipate, as the mainstream catalogs no longer reflect reality in many cases. ..."

Wouldn't specialties that fall outside the purview of a catalog be obviously "out side the catalog's listings" and thus outside of the potential problems created by misunderstandings of the catalog listings ?
A seller of some advanced variety that commands a premium price is likely to explain what it is he thinks makes the item worthwhile.

I think the discussion was about issues that are known to sell for some substantial discount from some catalog's arbitrary listings, yet are being continually offered by a member at a price exceeding the listings often enough to be considered an intentional overcharge.
It is nt the individual sale that creates a problem but the apparent organized attempt to bilk newbies and thus stain the hobby and the club.
I think the attempt mentioned to educate new members by concrete examples is a good plan that avods trying to tinker with the ebb and flow of the marketplace.

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scb
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Collecting the world 1840 to date - one stamp at a time!
15 Jul 2016
04:04:55am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Interesting topic, and I must say that I agree with rrraphy. But instead of just single cost related factor, I'd say the 'issue' is combination of factors.

A bit of background first... I did give buying from the approvals a try but eventually gave up as I found it not worth it. I'm not accusing the sellers I bought from at anything; just stating some facts.

Yes, to certain degree my decision to quit because of pricing. When you collect the world (and are interested of stuff that has no real value), then you got to have eye on on the budget. Collecting 100K stamps at 5 cents a piece, vs. collecting 100K stamps at 10 cents a piece, vs. collecting 100K stamps at a 25 cents a piece have got a difference equal to cruise on sunny Caribia. The cheaper the prices, the better from collector perspective.

To great extend I was let down by quality. I can live with odd flaw here and there, but when you buying single stamps (at price both seller and buyer have agreed), then the damage percentage should remain low. What I experienced was north of 10% consistently apart from one seller (who I understand is no longer with us). Thins, folds, creases, staining... And yes, I did spent a lot of time trying to pick out the best looking specimens.


And finally, the shipping costs... Being across the big pond results in spending several bucks on shipping alone. There is nothing the seller and buyer can do for this, except trying to provide a full cover with nice (preferrably modern commemorative) stamps used to pay postage. And this leads back to previous points on pricing and quality... If there is no supply, then the covers will remain half-empty.


So lets play a 'game of reality'... I buy 50 stamps at 20 cents a piece. That's worth a tenner + postage 3$. When I get the stamps, 20% of them end up to recycle bin because of damages.So the cost per stamp is actually 32cents.... It may not sound much, but if I scale the difference to say 1000 additions a year, it equals over 300$. Doesn't sound very collector friendly.

So what's my suggestion (these may seem radical to some of you, but bear with me)..

- fixed price of 5 or 10 cents a piece for any stamp that catalogs less than few bucks/euros/pounds. These are packet material, and should be sold a price that reflects the truth. Some may say it is not worth their time. Here's the news: collecting is a hobby, not a job.

- higher end material and unusual stuff could be sold at a price buyer feels comfortable. Like others have said, if the cost is too much (or not collector friendly), then it will remain unsold.

- Strict quality guidelines on what is ok and what is not.
Despite there are differences between US and European collectors, I believe everybody knows and agrees the meaning of 'solid copy'. The sellers should hold very high standards, because the more they let slip through, the greater the risk for the buyer... And maybe there could/should be tools for us buyers to report any issues and there should be consequences as well (for example the sellers should pay a fee equal to stamp sold to some charity for every faulty stamp reported)

Just my 5 cents worth,

-k-

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TuskenRaider
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15 Jul 2016
04:38:26am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Hi scb;

A news flash for you k....some of us don't go on a "cruise on sunny Caribia".

-Many of us are retired on fixed incomes.

-Some of us live in HUD subsidized low-income housing.

-The only "cruises" some of us go on are trips to the local church, for monthly food allotments.

-Some of us use the bridge card (food stamps).

-Some of us have only Medicaid or Medicare for medical insurance.

I'll sell my stamps for whatever amount I feel like, and I'll be damned if you sir will dictate to me what to sell them for. If I get a few dozen good sales, it will mean I can eat 90%-10% ground round this week, instead of 70%-30% ground beef. And maybe if I sell a extra few dozen that month, I'll even be able to buy a steak once a week.

So you can stick your price controls where President Nixon put his wage freezes.

Just my 2¢....
TuskenRaider

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Jansimon
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15 Jul 2016
04:42:47am

Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

When I look at the sheer amount of approval books being offered (and added each week) and the rate at which they are emptied, I cannot help thinking this discussion is rather academic. Obviously there are members, potential buyers, who share Ralph's feelings but there are many more who do not and are happy to buy from the books at the listed prices.

Of course I agree that some sellers have their price level too high, but in those cases I just do not buy from them. Even when they offer interesting stamps that I would like to add to my collection.

What I find lacking in the discussion though, is that there is no real regard for the seller's perspective. Here is my normal approach for the approvals: I have several sources from which I buy stamps. Mostly collections. Sometimes large, most of the time smaller ones but nevertheless. From these I take the stamps I can use myself, the rest ends up in the stockbooks or in the approvals. Sometimes I see material that I know is in demand over here, so I buy it for no other purpose than reselling. But the same arithmetics that scb uses to determine whether buying is useful for him, makes that the stamps I put on sale must have a certain minimum price, knowing that on average 40 to 50% of the material in the books will sell.

Finally, in my opinion, if you are out to buy large quantities of stamps (100K is an awful lot) - then you ought not buy them as single stamps. You should go to a dealer or an auction house and buy collections. In my experience, that would lower the price for a single stamp to something around 1 cent or less. Yes, you would end up with a nice bunch of duplicates in the process but that is where the approvals appear on the horizon. I think the approvals are for those who are looking for specific stamps and do not mind paying 10, 20, or more cents per stamp.

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
15 Jul 2016
04:57:33am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Quote:

"The "possible new rule" is that the approvals guidelines will probably be amended to make them mirror the auction rules"



The words "possible new rule" is what I took exception to. Making bald statements without clarification is totally disengenious.

NOW if you had said the above quote the first time there would have been no problem.

I now ask "What are you going to do about Underpricing?"
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londonbus1
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15 Jul 2016
06:02:37am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I have not responded up to now but this, once again, is another example of a thread causing friction, tension and argument amongst the members.

Well done.

Much ado about nothing and a great shame. There must be some very bored folk here at Stamporama.

Quote:

"Interesting topic"



Absolutely not.

Londonbus1.....not bored at all, playing with Cinderellas.
At Wits End

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Jansimon
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15 Jul 2016
06:31:20am

Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I think one should be able to discuss matters and not agree with others, but otherwise you are absolutely right: "Much ado about nothing".
But it does not make me feel cynical though.

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
15 Jul 2016
08:43:44am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I said in my very first post on this subject "Much Ado About Nothing" and when I saw the way that some posts were heading I felt I had to argue the case against any new rule on "overpricing".

My language may be construed as being forceful but I do not wish to see this wonderful club being hindered by petty rules and regulations.

Everybody that posts on this discussion board should choose their words and phrases carefully as I try to do. Especially those who hold responsible positions.

I have nothing "personal" against any member here. I only ask them to be careful in what they say and how they say it.

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scb
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Collecting the world 1840 to date - one stamp at a time!
15 Jul 2016
11:46:38am
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Quote:

"A news flash for you k....some of us don't go on a "cruise on sunny Caribia"."



@TuskenRaider - I am sorry if my write-up hurt your feelings (no intention on my part). I was just stating how I perceive the situation, why I am no longer buying from approvals, and what kind of changes would make me come back as active buyer.

And if it is of any comfort, I don't get to go on Caribean cruises neither Crying
(though I could always stop buying stamps for few decades and put the money in jam-jar instead, and maybe then...)

Quote:

"Finally, in my opinion, if you are out to buy large quantities of stamps (100K is an awful lot) - then you ought not buy them as single stamps. "



@JanSimon - My collection is already 100K+ scale, and the next big question is how to make it to 200K, and then 300K items.

I got where I am by buying mixtures and collections, but there are limits how far one can/will go with this approach. I do see the potential of using approvals on 'filling spaces', but with the current cost structure it really cannot compare to other methods (like stamp exchanges) out there.

-k-


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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
15 Jul 2016
12:05:02pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Quote:

""Finally, in my opinion, if you are out to buy large quantities of stamps (100K is an awful lot) - then you ought not buy them as single stamps. ""



Some folks will do anything to avoid acquiring duplicates while others prefer to buy collections even though they may only need a handful of stamps from the purchase. To each his own, eh?

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whitebuffalo
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15 Jul 2016
12:32:10pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Some folks just seem to think the VC and Moderators are out to sink the SOR ship. I say let the folks who take on these thankless tasks, do their jobs. Personally, I have complete faith that any rules, regulations or changes they decide to implement, are only going to be in the best interest of the club. Some of their ideas may work, some not, but these are actively intelligent people who are working on all of our behalves and they deserve a whole lot more respect then far too many here are willing to give them. Make your suggestions, offer ideas with a thoughtful tone, but if things don't go the your way, get over it!!! After all, how many of you voicing negative opinions, were knocking down doors to take on the job yourselves?

Carry on Captains, I think you're doing a great job!!!!!


WB

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
15 Jul 2016
12:39:11pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Before things get out-of-hand, let's please remember to keep things civil. Also, is there really a need for some to constantly repeat their same point over and over again?

Keep it nice, or this thread will be closed.

Michael
Moderator

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HungaryForStamps
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15 Jul 2016
01:07:32pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I agree that if you are planning on acquiring 100K stamps, either starting from zero or starting from an existing 100K you want to augment to 200K, its a very poor plan to purchase single stamps from an online approval book. For one it'll take forever and you'll probably end up paying 10 to 25 more.

Buying collections is still the best plan of action. If its a general worldwide collection, you can pull out the stamps you need, and relist the remainder as a somewhat sparser collection. Recall we are talking about low-value stamps to start with (given that's what should be sold/bought in the approval books), so you're not necessarily robbing the collection of its best bits.

The other option is to focus a bit more and perhaps buy a collections targeted at a single country at a time or collection of related countries.

The added benefit of this approach is collections often yield nice surprises and occasionally, superb finds.

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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
15 Jul 2016
01:21:53pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

This is an interesting topic - collections vs singles purchasing.

I have started a new topic for this discussion.

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
15 Jul 2016
01:39:34pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I have resisted getting into this thread again, but since promises to stop harping at the same point again and again are empty promises, I will make it brief, and it will be my last comment here.

1. This is a legitimate issue, and a public discussion of this topic was requested. I always thought it would be a civil discussion, rather than seeing grenades and epithets being hurled back. Don't shoot the messenger. Deal with the message.
2. It was posted due to my perception that some Approval Books were not in the spirit of the platform. "Overpricing" run of the mill stamps "with no justification" was seen by me as possibly harmful to our nurturing ALL collectors, particularly the beginners. I called it price gouging, (a bit strong...apologies for my language...not sure what else to call it, if it was intentional).
3. Price control was never raised, although some made it a discussion focus about it: read again: ""I ask..how do YOU feel and what can we DO about it?""
4. There are many possible solutions other than price controls, IF it is to be addressed.
Why is this turning into a brawl about imposing price controls is beyond my understanding. Think outside the box, if you can.
5. Finally, and this is possibly not civil discussion but I am getting sick of the bullying tone this has taken to censor what can be discussed (and how it should be written), so please look into the mirror before hurling more personal remarks.

rrr...

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purrfin2
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15 Jul 2016
03:00:58pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I'm also going to chime and a say let's all take a step back, breath and clear the head. This was a discussion that has turned a little nasty and it's not how we treat our fellow CLUB members. Let's keep the name calling to a nil and keep the discussion focused on a reasonable price guide.

So cut it out! Be nice or the Mods will close this thread.

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Dambrovski
15 Jul 2016
03:40:10pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I don't understand why everyone is getting so hot under collar about this. I have a golden rule about buying stamps, 'If I don't like the price I don't buy'.

Buying any stamp is not compulsory - you chose to do so. If it's too expensive then don't buy.

If vendors don't sell their stamps at the elevated price then they will be the losers.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
15 Jul 2016
04:03:46pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Sometimes, the simple gets lost in all the hyperbole.

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ikeyPikey
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15 Jul 2016
04:37:02pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

The solution is "s-h-o-p-p-i-n-g".

Most buyers who pay too much - especially for common material - are buyers who have not done a lot of shopping.

It seems to me that clicking-before-shopping should be on the buyers; not the sellers, and not the rest of us.

For me, its simple: I like buying more than I like shopping. I know that I like buying more than I like shopping. I value the instant gratification of click-and-its-mine.

Yes, the time that I would have spent s-h-o-p-p-i-n-g would leave me with more money, but that time could also be spent w-o-r-k-i-n-g, which would also leave me with more money.

Lastly, I don't really care for arguments made on behalf of ripped-off newbies who've left the hobby over the price they paid for common material, as I've yet to meet one in real life.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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HungaryForStamps
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15 Jul 2016
04:49:54pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

I apologize if this thread is just stoking the flames, but I want to comment. No offense to anyone intended and I am writing in a respectful tone I think (at least its intended).

I don't see any posts really getting "hot under the collar" (very much) and none that are really bullying or disrespectful. Remember, its easy to color the written word with our own interpretations. Its much easier to gauge the real sentiment of a face-to-face conversation.

I know I posted early and was a tad brusque (about the perceived childishness of these endless arguments about changing rules), but Ralphy started the thread with inflammatory comments such as "gauging", "corruption of intent", "aggravating" and "irritates me immensely" which gives a certain tone to the thread. I assume this was not intentional. Likewise my comments weren't intended to offend (and I said that before I made the comment if that means anything).

Tusken Raider said something about sticking things where Richard Nixon stuck them. Not such a big deal IMO. He was expressing a point, perhaps in a semi-angry tongue in cheek tone, no different than Ralphy's original post.

I don't see any other comments even remotely offensive.

These three posts could have been phrased better, but we are all adults and shouldn't constantly be worrying about hurt feelings.

Okay, I'm done with that. I should go and buy some expensive common stamps!

One more comment about pricing:

P.S. Selling single common stamps at higher than catalog value makes sense to me if you expect a seller to only buy one or two. Catalogs set minimum pricing for dealer overhead, and dealers should be more efficient. Casual club seller overhead is bound to be higher, hence higher prices are justified IMO.

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cardstamp
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15 Jul 2016
05:38:53pm

Approvals
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

As a seller whom has sold over 40K items in approval books here in about 20 months - I have to say that if I ever have stamps priced too high in my approval books - I would appreciate someone sending me a note and letting me know. I have made mistakes in the past for various reasons. Since I am not a dealer and just selling off large portions of my father's old collection as well as my own and all of the duplicates as well - I try to price low. I really would like these stamps to find new homes than face the certain trash bin in the future when I am not around. I have no children and my nephews could care less about stamps - no matter how many times I tried to get them interested in collecting. What does amaze me however, is that since I have been selling on Bidstart for about 7 years - that buyers will buy a single 15 cent stamp and pay the postage fee (eg. $2.15 for international) - just to get that one stamp they need. There are a handful of stamps that I have been looking for - for quite awhile - they are not too expensive but I know if I found what I need - I probably over pay for it - just to get it ! Maybe the overpriced sellers should be sent a friendly note just to let them know they may do better if they priced their material better ? Steve

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tomiseksj
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15 Jul 2016
06:20:29pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Quote:

"I have to say that if I ever have stamps priced too high in my approval books - I would appreciate someone sending me a note and letting me know. "



A novel concept...perhaps it would have been a useful first step.
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musicman
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APS #213005
15 Jul 2016
07:57:15pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Dambrovski said it best and I believe that is all that needs to be said;

Quote:

"I don't understand why everyone is getting so hot under collar about this. I have a golden rule about buying stamps, 'If I don't like the price I don't buy'.

Buying any stamp is not compulsory - you chose to do so. If it's too expensive then don't buy.

If vendors don't sell their stamps at the elevated price then they will be the losers."



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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
16 Jul 2016
07:47:36pm
re: Approval Books - A corruption of intent?

Here is a novel concept;

".... You may think you understood what you thought I wrote, but I'm not sure you realize that what you think you read is not what I thought I meant. .... "


SEE BELOW

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".... You may think you understood what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you think you heard is not what I thought I meant. .... "
        
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