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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Auction Disc. : ACTION BUYING?

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Blackie
28 Sep 2011
12:00:44am
Seems to me that the economy has reduced the number of auction participants. I have a variety of stamps up for sale which are greatly reduced in price with very few takers. Not like six months or a year ago.
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dani20
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28 Sep 2011
01:01:18am
re: ACTION BUYING?

And yet some of the more high priced U.S. items seem to enjoy a robust bidding
frenzy. It is odd.
Dan C.

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auldstampguy
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Just one more small cover .....
28 Sep 2011
07:43:10am
re: ACTION BUYING?

There are often more lots in the auction these days to chose from. Also, sometimes you can just be lucky and post the very thing that someone was looking for, and sometimes not.

Regards ... Tim.

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CapeStampMan
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Mike
28 Sep 2011
09:47:27am
re: ACTION BUYING?

John,

This subject came up a few months ago also, so I would like to put my two cents worth in here. Just in my humble opinion, one item that might help your sales, would be to offer a better description of some of the items you list, or even the catalog value. Take for example the item "Charlie needs a home". Is that a post card, stamp, movie poster, advertisement out of a magazine, etc, etc, etc? Not even a clue to tell us what it's use is or any value it may have. I personally don't like having to go look up catalog numbers of items that are shown, that the seller must know ahead of time, before posting the lot, so why not share that information with the buyers. The more information you share with the prospective buyers, the more inspiration it gives them to buy. Something else that might help your sales would be a good scan of the stamp or stamps is a must. Those two scans of four different stamps, US and Germany, are so small that no one can even tell what they are, but at least you did identify them. They should at least be cropped and enlarged, to at least be identifiable.

Not everyone on SOR wants to be involved in listing items in the auction, so they don't know how frustrating it is to spend the amount of time involved to list just one item on the auction site and also how disappointing, that the item doesn't always sell, so try to give us as much information about any stamp listed and I'm sure your sales will increase quite well.
Good luck with your sales in the future.
Mike

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
28 Sep 2011
11:43:45am
re: ACTION BUYING?

Tim has the data, so he can tell us if there are more bidders, listers, buyers, etc. However, anecdotally, it SEEMS to me that there are more bidders than ever, but a constant, stable stream of listers.

I also agree with both Mike, that more and better descriptions and illustrations help (but doesn't insure) sales; and Tim that sometimes one is just lucky.

I also noted the Chapin thing, and, like Mike, had no idea what it is. My child loves Chaplin, and i'd be tempted to get IT for her IF I could figure out what IT is. I also agree that ID'ing things helps, but, like you, presumably, i'd rather not spend my time doing work just to rid myself of something. I'd rather work on the stuff i intend to keep. Still, i think that more work pays off with more sales.

David

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sponthetrona2
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Keep Postal systems alive, buy stamps and mail often
28 Sep 2011
01:20:49pm
re: ACTION BUYING?

The better quality of the stamp(s) image in the auction is essential for me to even look.............an accurate description of the stamp(s) helps checking what you want and what the item really is, especially perfs and watermarks.........hobo

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Bobstamp
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28 Sep 2011
04:32:32pm
re: ACTION BUYING?

I often see:

• Images that are too small. Stamp collecting is a visual hobby. Give potential buyers something they can actually see! If a seller doesn't know how to use his or her scanner and imaging software well enough create useful images, then a) don't bother listing or b) do some reading, take a course, call the Geek Squad!

• Incomplete descriptions. I am NOT going to bid on a mint stamp when I don't have a clue whether it's hinged, or not, or whether the gum is in good condition, or not. I am NOT going to bid on a used stamp without some indication of the condition of the back of the stamp. I am NOT going to bid on a cover unless the description includes information about the back of the cover, or better still a detailed image of the back of the cover.

I sometimes see:

• Images of stamps and covers that have been taken, badly, with a digital camera. Digital cameras can be used to take decent images of stamps and covers, but scanning is way easier and produces a better image, assuming seller knows how to scan. I will NOT bid on a stamp or cover if its image is out of focus, or taken under artificial light without consideration of white balance.

• Images of entire stock sheets filled with stamps, each stamp about six pixels wide. Forget it. I'm not bidding.

• Listings without any image. Forget it. I'm not bidding.

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..
28 Sep 2011
05:58:22pm
re: ACTION BUYING?

Just some rambling, off topic semi-connected musings.
Dan observed that;" .... And yet some of the more high priced U.S. items seem to enjoy a robust bidding frenzy. It is odd.... "

It does seem odd, but there are two possible, somewhat inter-related explanations.
One is political, I will try to avoid partisan identifications.
Some political figures and econonic mavins have suggested that currently about 1 or 2% of our adult population possess 30 or 40 or even sometimes 50% (Estimates vary depending of how sharp an axe they wield.) of the disposable income of the entire nation.
The other side of that coin, they suggest, is where the rest of the country and its limited disposable wealth lies. If that is even remotely true, it would mean that few people have the money for the big ticket stamps or collections, but to those few, that " ....... happy few, that band of brothers. ..." money is not much of an object when bidding on something that strikes their fancy.
.
The second thought involves the collection of a friend and my mass accumulation of semi-sorted and barely examined Machin stamps.
My friend is retired from the military and later worked for long enough to get a second pension. He did accumulate a decent retirement fund and, of course, he has the pensions that he earned the hard way. One of his passions is the early US classics. However he has met with several financial potholes recently involving some of his stock market choices and the careless purchase of some real estate just before the economy tanked.
He bought a nice home here in Florida, not a mansion, but quite large considering his married children live and work in New England and seldom visit, so the four of five bedrooms, pool, three car garage and a workshop that makes me drool, was a bit large for just him and his wife. Did I mention a sizeable mortgage? Oh, yes, the smart money advised him to leave his investments alone and use them as leverage for the house and property.

For several years he has been carefully purchasing the Trans Mississippis, some early 1850 issues, the Zeppelins and some other gems from some well known dealers and with each aquisition shows off his latest treasure at our stamp club. I have had coffee at his house several times and sooner or later he will proudly show me his album and his beautiful stamps. They are, or were, all chosen carefully for brightness, condition gum purity where appropriate, and centering, ....etc. Naturally he has a premium album and all the stamps are imprisoned behind some clear mounts. Then he closes his album and talks about the next thing on his purchase list.
Now the black cloud.
About the time of the Real Estate bubble bursting and this nation's financial collapse three or four years ago, his wife became quite ill and despite having what I would have thought was decent medical coverage for some reason wound up with what to me would be insurmountable medical expenses. After a year or two of draining his finances and emotions she passed away.
Oh yes, a neighbor two or three houses away found a "sinkhole" in his backyard which put an additional nail on the value of all the homes in that section.

But he does have his stamps, his pension and after paying monumntal bills some money left over each month. Not the wealth he had planned on, but sufficient to cover his living expenses.
I suspect that the last few stamps on his list are going to be just out of reach for the forseeable future.
.
Now I find myself in the bottom part of the economy, probably not much more than a ten spot above the line where things would be quite tight. I collect world wide postally used and have a decent specialized accumulation of the never ending Machin series. I buy bulk lots especially kiloware with thousands and thousands of the all consuming Machins and spend hours and hours, cleaning sorting and examining these phenomenally cheap definitives. Sometimes I find a minor gem and sometimes just some crazy variation to add the the "collection." Now and then I buy something at an auction that otherwise has eluded my stamp grubbing habit.
Other than to glance at those rare and consequently expensive gems so beautifully presented on eBay or in Linns, I move on to things that amuse me in the boxes and bags of stamps that someday I'll finish mounting or at least sorting through.

I suggest that there are more collectors like me than those with that enormous share of disposable income who might be interested in more expensive stamps. And some, like my friend have just about reached the peak of their collections at least as long as the economy lingers in the doldrums, beset by fear and to some degree by interests that care little about helping to bail out the ship of state.
But the real tragedy, as far as I am concerned, is that other than showing me or some other friend, his album every three or four months his stamps lie dormant on a shelf. On the other hand, I spend more hours playing with my stamps and albums, or browsing websites like this each day that I spend in the arms of Morpheus.
There are times when I do lust after gems like my friend has that I'll never handle, nevermind own, but all in all I think I have the better arrangement.

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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. .... "
dani20
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28 Sep 2011
06:28:16pm
re: ACTION BUYING?

Dear CDJ,
You've put your finger on what makes this such an attractive hobby-we can each define what we want for ourselves, and then pursue to our hearts content. There is no 'right' or 'wrong'-only pleasure in setting our own goals and following that star.

Returning to the earlier question about what we as buyers might be looking for, for me personally if I don't see the backs of the U.S.Large Banknotes, I'm rarely tempted to bid on them. On the other hand, if backs are included, they get my attention immediately.

Not right or wrong-just what appeals to me as a buyer.
Dan C.

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ScanStamps
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04 Oct 2011
01:53:24pm
re: ACTION BUYING?

CDJ, I think you have beautifully outlined why stamp collecting is such and amazing and varied hobby... there is no "wrong" and "right" way to go about collecting.

I personally don't buy as much kiloware as I buy "messy accumulations of old duplicates" and sort through them. And I do confess to being someone who saves the "gem" quality stamps and trades most of the rest. However, I do so on a shoestring. I'm not exactly "a dealer," but for 25-odd years I've "funded" my collections by reselling the material I didn't want and "about breaking even" in the process... a habit I got into because my ex just couldn't see "any point" to my spending money on stamps (hence the word "ex!") so I found a way NOT to.

That said, I also dabble in Machins and Wildings. "Dabble," being the key operator. And I dabble in S.O.N. cancels of most countries... these found in kiloware.

Along the lines of what Bob wrote, I think the auction market is overall fairly robust... IF you have proper photos and descriptions, and a realistic sense of pricing. I've been "eBay-ing" stamps since 1996, and have never had an issue getting fair prices for stamps... starting everything at 99 cents and no reserve, regardless of value. It's an approach that scares most sellers because "what if I only get ONE bid and give away a $100 stamp for 99 cents?"

What IF?

In my experience, if you have worthy and WELL PRESENTED material, the chances of that happening are REMOTE. Sure, I have sold a few $50 stamps for a buck... maybe a dozen in 15 years... but I can also remember the MANY dozens I've sold for multiples of catalogue value when a bidding war arose.

So, I suppose my lesson has been that you can't be "attached" to the price of any ONE stamp, you need to "play the averages."

~Peter

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