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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Approvals Disc. : The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

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cardstamp
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05 May 2020
10:27:41am

Approvals
This is mostly an opinion piece (mine) and I would like others to comment on this. I was all in for trying to put up some high dollar books and I had some early success with the first few books I tried. However, the demand seems to have fallen off - the last few books I put up had no sales at all (including the one book I still have up). Perhaps it is just the countries I am selecting but it just seems like it may no longer be worth the extra effort to put these books together. After I took some down and put the same items up for sale in other selling platforms and some items did sell.
I was also trying to look to see if other sellers were having better success with these books but I found out it is very difficult to find these books when searching. At first everyone was manually putting on the $$$ indicator in the book title - and you can search on that keyword using that. However now that not everyone is doing that I can not figure out how to do a search to find the high dollar books easily. I used the keyword of High but that brings me back many approval books that are not high value ones - and do not even have the word high in the title - so I am not sure how that keyword is picking up these books. So it is hard for me to see how others are handling their high value books.
So as my title here states - the jury is still out for me on whether I will continue to bother creating these books. Anyone have anything they can share ? and/or figure out how to easily search for these books.. Thanks, Steve
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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
05 May 2020
11:16:33am

Auctions - Approvals
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

Cardstamp:- If you go to the Approval section, then click on New Books it lists the minimum and maximum price ranges for the books.

In fact the All Books section shows the same information.

I took part in the trial of the first Higher Value Books. At the time I recognised that, like all selling platforms, it depends on what stamps you put up for sale, what the price is, when you list it and how you present it. These are all critical factors in any sale.
However in my experience here on stamporama it boils down to two things, namely Price and which country the stamp is from.

Have you read the survey results in the General Philatelic Discussion Topic on this Discussion Board? They are very revealing.

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Harvey
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05 May 2020
11:34:48am
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

Hi Steve! I'm going to do as you did and just offer my opinion. I like the $$$ books and have bought from them a fair bit, depending on whether they hit my collecting areas, of course. I will also bid on higher items in the auction, again depending on the area and whether the price is sensible. There are a couple people who seem to expect too much for items and I don't buy from them unless the item is special. Here's the part that people might not agree with - I find that most buyers on SOR are reluctant to bid on or buy higher priced items. I'm not saying the average buyer is cheap, it's just harder to justify spending large (or larger) amounts of money on a hobby. I also think (my opinion) that some of the members are buying to resell. This might not be the case, but as I said, this is just my opinion. All I know is that when I bid on a higher priced item in the auction I usually get the item on the first bid. The possible exceptions to this are US items, especially BOB. So, again in my opinion, if an approval book happens to be in a popular area it may do well, if it is not in an area that is popular or doesn't appeal to the people willing to spend more $$$'s, it may not do well. On a positive note I have bought some wonderful items on SOR so I hope things remain pretty much as they are. All we need is for the couple dealers who charge too much ( I consider more than 50% CV to be a bit too much) to get their act together. I think everyone has a right to charge what they want, just as we have a right to buy, or not buy, the item. Everyone stay safe!!

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
05 May 2020
11:52:48am

Auctions - Approvals
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

Price is in the eye of the beholder.

It appears that some sellers get the up to date catalogue and price accordingly.

However Stamporama is unique, not every collector here has the latest catalogue so may not be aware of todays "prices". Many members will be using catalogues from five or six or ten years ago or even earlier(I use Stanley Gibbons 1918 Foreign Countries quite often, not for the prices but for the detail).

However I can still spot an inflated priced stamp.

One must realise that Stamporama is a club and one must limit one's prices accordingly.


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sheepshanks
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05 May 2020
12:12:10pm
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

Steve, is it possibly that you have excluded a large number of countries to which you will not ship? I accept that is your decision but may contribute to lack of sales.
Looking at your Commonwealth book, page 6, NZ 201 (which according to your index page is page 5) you have it priced for $9.50, like many here I have an older Scott (2014) wherein NHM is valued at $20. Yours is MH which takes at least 50% off the catalogue value (maybe more if hinge damage is bad. So you are asking almost 50% of catalogue value.
Not sure about others but I look to buy at around 15-20% of cat value at most, hopefully less. I also prefer used stamps but that is my choice.
At the end of the day I guess it is down to whether it fills a gap and a buyer willing to pay the price.

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod, Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Hi Tech Consultant
05 May 2020
02:10:15pm
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

Quote:

"Not sure about others but I look to buy at around 15-20% of cat value at most, hopefully less. I also prefer used stamps but that is my choice.
At the end of the day I guess it is down to whether it fills a gap and a buyer willing to pay the price."


I agree. Also, if you do a quick search on hipstamp, ebay etc, and you can find stamps offered or less, some times a lot less, (and they have to pay fees..so go figure), then why buy here?
Since I probably have 1000+ stamps on my search list, I can get the lower price eventually by waiting, and never run out of items to buy weekly. So for me, 15% to 20% of catalog is a good target unless I must absolutely get a stamp NOW!

Just relying on catalog price is a bad choice for pricing. Look at how other sites price the same item, and then decide if you can compete, no matter what the platform is.
Also factor in the sales that come up a lot.

rrr...

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BrightonPete
05 May 2020
03:14:37pm
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

Just saying, but I have pretty much stopped buying much of anything until this pandemic eases off.

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Harvey
I think, therefore I am - I think!
05 May 2020
05:01:22pm
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

I don't mind paying more for an item that is extra special. I have rarely paid as low as 15% to 20% for a really desirable item. You usually have a pay a bit more for a better item, and if you really want to own the item you have to be ready to do that. Life is short and sometimes you have to jump before you lose out!

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cardstamp
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05 May 2020
07:26:58pm

Approvals
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

Thanks for some of this input. First of all I certainly do not have a lack of overall sales here. My regular books always sell fairly well (Of course country matters). Perhaps I need to adjust some of the prices on the higher dollar books going forward. I have taken some of the same stamps from previous higher priced books and when I close them here - some of them sell for the same price on Hipstamp and occasionally Ebay. As for the country exclusions - I only sell to a limited # of countries - so I have to exclude all of those other countries and it generates that list of excluded countries on the selling terms page at the front of the book. I never liked that - I would prefer to be able to select the countries that I do sell to. 95% of my sales are US and Canada and I only have kept certain other countries for some long time buyers that are elsewhere. I rarely get anyone new outside of the US or Canada. Steve

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Webpaper
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05 May 2020
07:53:27pm
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

"Not sure about others but I look to buy at around 15-20% of cat value at most, hopefully less."

I would be more than happy to pay 15 to 20 per cent for true FVF face free CDS early US and certain foreign countries in fresh condition and that would be for resale - the majority of it to other dealers. I guess it's that parallel universe thing dependent on one's customer base.

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StampCollector
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06 May 2020
10:27:45am
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

I hardly buy stamps anymore but when I see a $4.50 CV stamp selling for $3.00 I figure, why
bother looking at the rest of the book. Someone said 10% of CV for single stamps would be a fair price and probably is but in my case there are many stamps I "want", but not a single one that I "need".

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cardstamp
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06 May 2020
11:55:31am

Approvals
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

Well thanks to some of the input received - I have lowered the prices on most of the stamps in my latest higher value book - just to see if that helps at all. I will not keep the book up for too long and I will close it and move the stamps to other selling platforms.. Thanks, Steve

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michael78651
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06 May 2020
12:48:47pm
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

Well, the higher dollar material has always been called for here by those who buy. However, the buyers rarely pony up to the bar and put down their money.

Also remember that with the world shut down now for the third month, people don't have money for hobbies. People are out of work, and thousands of businesses have gone out of business forever, leaving even more thousands of people without a job when things open up.

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philb
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06 May 2020
12:53:17pm

Auctions
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

Ok, i guess we are talking collectors duplicates here..building a collection at 15 to 20 percent of catalog. When i buy from professional dealers who are the lifeblood of the hobby..The ones who have what i really need its 50 percent,80 percent or 100 percent of catalog..usually with some small discount.

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod, Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Hi Tech Consultant
06 May 2020
01:29:27pm
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

Phil, I agree. We are talking of collectors getting rid of duplicates, with no additional store or selling charges. But even legitimate dealers are all over the place in their pricing. Common stamps (search a number on hipstamp, and if you see listings of 10 or more (10 is my number)) then it is common, and I will not pay more than 20%. I am always amazed by the range of prices, as if sellers never look at competing offers. The sellers who price at the low end move their stock rapidly, the others have thousands of stamps that remain forever on sale...and after a while you know which sellers are the ones to target.

Now when you are talking about stamps that are rarer, ie much higher value in the catalog, one would expect to ultimately pay more percentage wise, but the fact remain that if you are willing to wait, you will find it in the 20-25% cat range, even from professional dealers. There are always stamps that I will buy at any price, because I want them and I have had difficulties finding them listed, but the majority can wait. As a world collector there are many stamps I need, and I buy them as they hit my price threshold. There are also dealers I want to support, so I buy from them, even if I know I pay more than elsewhere.

A bit of math. Say a $100 cat valued stamp listed at $50 (pretty typical 50% pricing) vs at $20 (the seller listing at 20%) that is a $30 savings, or just about 300 stamps at 10c. And in time, I bet you someone will offer it at the lower price. Since I have many 10c stamps I need, I am willing to wait until that $100 stamp hits my mark, price wise, and I will buy lots of the 10c stamps in the interim.

Apart from pricing, there are fundamental issues.

The problem for me with the higher price approval books in their current form is that the platform is not good. I want to be able to search on a specific stamp, and I cannot. I want to be able to look by country, not spend time with poorly labeled stamps "worldwide". I need to be able to sort out just the higher valued books. I think we need an index for the stamps across all books, and we need a longer listing window. I think the higher priced Approval books platform as offered now is a dudd. There are better ways to find and to buy and sell the higher valued stamps.
Long time ago, I made such a proposal to management (at the time I called it Better Stamps at Stamporama), and it was not considered, possibly because it needed to be modified by a receptive development team, and not just be taken as is. What we have now just won't do it for me. I appreciate the effort that went into it, but I now know it will not meet my needs, and I no longer look through them.

rrr...

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
06 May 2020
02:10:14pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

Surprise!.....Surprise!

Quote:

"I think we need an index for the stamps across all books, and we need a longer listing window"



If THAT comes in then it is:-


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEhkM3X_teQ


Quote:

" I want to be able to search on a specific stamp, and I cannot."



My answer to that statement is:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef9QnZVpVd8


Quote:

"There are better ways to find and to buy and sell the higher valued stamps."



Yes there are. On other selling platforms.

SO

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc-28YHR6Qk

Rolling On The Floor LaughingRolling On The Floor LaughingRolling On The Floor Laughing

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cardstamp
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07 May 2020
10:12:18am

Approvals
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

The verdict is in ! First of all thanks to everyone's input especially the special input I got from Ian (offline). I reduced the prices on my current high dollar book and I had a large sale last evening from that book. I need to re-think my prices going forward not only here but in all selling platforms I use. Since I am "NOT" a dealer and a large part of what I sell are stamps my father had accumulated over his years of collecting - I can easily lower the prices offered (here especially). I buy a lot of country collections to fill in my gaps from the countries I collect and sell off the remainders - so no issue on lowering the prices (not sure I go as low as 15 to 20 percent of catalog) however, some of my regular buyers know that I often run sales at 50% off especially when a book goes into closing soon status..... So the verdict for now is I will continue to create higher value books as I gather enough material to make a meaningful book... Thanks again... Steve

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philb
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07 May 2020
10:26:06am

Auctions
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

I guess everyone is different...if i want a stamp its not so much the asking price, its is the shipping reasonable ? Am i going to be penalized for using paypal ? I do not add a fee for paypal and i do my best to avoid sellers that do.

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Harvey
I think, therefore I am - I think!
07 May 2020
12:05:17pm
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

I'm with Philb on this one. I obviously look at the price, but mostly I ask myself "How much do I want it?" and "How often have I seen it?". And then, as long as the price isn't ridiculous, I either bid or buy. Maybe, since I am on my own with good pensions and investments, I have a bit more money than some. To me I see 20% as almost a gift for an item I really want. If you try to keep the price fair that's usually good enough for me. There are a couple of you that are too highly priced compared to others on SOR and I only buy from you if it's an item I want badly - to finish a page or a series or something I may not see again for a long time.

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philb
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07 May 2020
01:16:07pm

Auctions
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

Harvey i will tell you a secret...i do not run this as a business...if i did i would have a clue as to what profit or loss i incur. In the past starting in the late 80's i began buying box lots from Dutch Country Auctions in Delaware...i catalog a stamp when i am ready to list it...i will never be around long enough to dispense the bulk i have around here. I suppose i have to look at whatever comes in as profit of some sort.

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
07 May 2020
01:55:17pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

YYUUPP! What I do on stamporama has a couple of outcomes:-

a) keeps me out the wife's hair.
b) gives me something to do other than lazing on the couch.
c) what I sell enables me to add to my collection.
d) Feeds my habit of looking and buying mixed boxes.


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Harvey
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07 May 2020
02:23:45pm
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

I am totally a buyer on SOR, even though I was an antique dealer for about 30 years I have never sold a stamp, unless you count those that were on postcards I sold. Selling coins or stamps required way too much work. I doubt if any one selling on SOR is trying to make a huge profit but maybe the ones who sell on multiple sites do OK. Most of the sellers probably do so to enable them to add to their collection, for a few it might be considered a business. How many? I have no idea! My wife and I looked at the antique business as a hobby and a way to finance some of our collecting. I know of a few dealers and pickers who had that as their entire business, most needed other sources of income. In most cases the serious dealers/pickers were not collectors as well!

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Soundcrest
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08 May 2020
05:44:46am

Auctions - Approvals
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

Its all about the customer base, on every site, and what they are looking for, at both price and needs. Stamps that don't sell here at auction at 20% will sell on other sites for 60% because people want a) free postage (thank you Amazon) and b) a deal. So I'll give them both on ebay but only the 20% off on Hip because I sell stamps there that are too inexpensive to list on ebay with free postage. In the end I am selling at 40-45% cv in a worst case scenario, which is my store target. This is true for everything from stamps to vinyl. Its all about the buyers perception of what they are getting, like haggling at a yard sale. I have found the reverse of others, as my sales now are higher than before the virus. I expected a drop in sales, but I have not seen it.

As to the original topic - I'm pretty much zero for two in the higher priced books offering French Colonies and Italian Colonies. Kind of what I expected to find, so I'm done with the experiment. I'll let the books rotate off and move the stamps elsewhere

Greg

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
08 May 2020
06:28:34pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

I have looked at some of the Higher Valued Books in the Worldwide category and worked out what they have sold.

It ranges from $16 to $80 per book and all these Books have still many items for sale.

If a standard book has 120 stamps at 10 cents each then the maximum amount of revenue is $12. That of course means selling 100% of the stamps. If you only sell 50% of the stamps you are only going to get $6.

Of course some books are going to sell nothing because buyers do not want these areas or the seller has priced their items too high or they are not presented well with poor images and descriptions.

I feel that Higher Valued Books are a reasonable addition to the current system as they give buyers additional choice and some sellers another selling avenue that avoids the severe constrictions of the Auction system.


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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod, Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Hi Tech Consultant
08 May 2020
07:05:39pm
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

My experience Ian is that higher valued stamps sold well when combined in a book with lower valued stamps. In some way, a collector will work on a specific country and try to fill ALL his needs, lower valued as well as higher valued. Just putting the high value stamps in one dedicated books (which is mix of anything and everything) will not do it and I am not sure if really serves a unique need.
Selling the higher valued stamps in conjunction with the lower valued stamps made the Approval Book more attractive to the seller.

As you pointed out, selling 120 stamps at 10c each only yields $12, and it is a lot of work if you want to organize them. But with a few stamps priced in the $1-$10 range, the economics of time vs return is more balanced. And they do sell...as long as you take the time to id them properly. I found out that these books with both lower and higher valued stamps worked much better than books with just the low valued stamps..(for me anyway).

rrr...

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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
08 May 2020
07:18:30pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: The Jury (Me!) Is Still Out On The Higher Dollar Approval Books

rrraphy:-

All I was saying was that the evidence is that buyers are buying from these books.

Sellers are selling items from these books.

That there is a market for them.

I repeat my final paragraph

I feel that Higher Valued Books are a reasonable addition to the current system as they give buyers additional choice and some sellers another selling avenue that avoids the severe constrictions of the Auction system.


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