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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : On Mystic catalog values and prices

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musicman
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APS #213005
17 Nov 2012
06:26:15pm
Mystic's prices are WAY out of line with actual Scott catalog values.

Mystic is probably the highest-priced dealer in the U.S.






Randy
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rgnpcs
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17 Nov 2012
10:01:04pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Not only is Mystic way overpriced, but they pay next to nothing for collections.
I had their buyer, Scott Morrow to my home awhile back, and their offer was the lowest by far. I think they prey on distress sales. I often wondered who actually sells to them.
Richaard

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michael78651
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18 Nov 2012
02:15:13am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Richaard, you are correct. Mystic will generally pay 25% or less of catalog value for stamps that it buys. They will pay a little bit more for collections that are well put together or hold superlative material. With high grade material, you'd probably be better off going through an auction house.

However, that buying percentage is pretty common among many dealers. If a dealer comes to your home to view and make an offer on the collection, or they pay for the shipping for you to send the collection to them, you should expect that the buy offer will be reduced to cover those added expenses.

One word of caution if you are trying to sell a collection is to not allow a dealer to "cherry pick" the collection (meaning buy the best stamps and leave the common material). You will not get much added in to the buy offer for the common material, but you certainly won't be able to get much of an offer from another dealer for what's left if all the good stuff is gone.

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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..
18 Nov 2012
11:54:55am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Mystic also, in all fairness, promotes the hobby in ways that few, if any, other dealer here does.
That slick color catalog they mail out several times a year costs. Their advertizing in Linn's and at shows is not free either.
Their replacement and substitution policy is probably the best in the hobby.
Buying common stamps is not a good deal for sophisticated long time collectors but is a very good deal for those who are just getting a nice collection going.

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rgnpcs
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18 Nov 2012
04:44:19pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

I know all the pitfalls trying to sell my foreign stock to the "big shot" dealers, and have given up contacting any more. In fact, I have sold more on my own in the last two years, than any of the offers, so if I can live long enough, I should do very well.
I did sell the majority of my US stock to an honest dealer who since has become a friend.
Lets look at some logic here: if I have 250,000 stamps worth $1.00 and up, say to $50.00 each, and just sell all at $1.00 each, I think I might make some money, especially since I have about 500,000 stamps; it is the time needed to do this that is the hard part, as I need to sleep, eat, toilet, and some entertainment.
Big problem now, my desk looks like the stuff has hit the fan, and I must clean it up before I do anymore selling, as I have been warned by my aide!
Richaard

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Zipper
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18 Nov 2012
07:31:26pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Sorry, I thought it was understood that common stamps sell for about 10% of catalog value, in which case the Mystic on-line catalog would work for him.

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michael78651
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19 Nov 2012
12:34:57am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

...and Richaard, because it takes so long to work up a stamp collection to sell, that's why dealers can't pay alot of money. They tie up their funds for a long time in the hope of selling. Many dealers, however, will buy at a low value and make a quick turn-around sale just to make a small profit to keep the business going. Many dealers won't even calculate values of stamps that catalog less than $10.00 when evaluating a collection for purchase.

I'm not near as old as you are, but I already know that with all the stamps I have sitting around that I need to work up to sell, I will never see them all posted for sale in my lifetime either! And if I were to piecemeal my personal collection out for sale, well there's 350,000 stamps there that are not included in my sale stock.

Charlie, that is very true about Mystic. Donald brings in many new members to the APS each year as well. The bonus funds that the APS pays members when they get a collector to join are donated to the APS by Mystic. I by from them once in a while. They do have some loss leaders that they advertise, and some of those are kind of nice and are offered at a decent price.

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musicman
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APS #213005
19 Nov 2012
07:25:40pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Sharyn,


No offense intended - I just meant that Mystic is higher than most over all.

I, too have purchased from them in the past; I like their album pages and their flyer specials sometimes....and they are a great place to get glassines and mounts.

I get their catalogs in the mail regularly. They are quite handy for easy reference.





Randy

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DRYER
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19 Nov 2012
07:38:55pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Me, I like Mystic, too.

I have their USA print catalogue and I think their on-line USA stamp catalogue is an offer no one can refuse. I've purchased a few of their stamps and have no complaints with the product or the service. The company is up front; you can shake hands with a Mystic employee and not have to check to see if your finger rings or your wristwatch are still where they belong.

Naïve as I am, I believe that businesses which charge higher prices are those which pay their employees a living wage.

John Derry

P.S. I share Michael's views in that the "astrophilatelist" should do his own work, unless bedridden or otherwise incapacitated.

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Zipper
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19 Nov 2012
07:50:12pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Randy,

No offense taken -- I have no loyalty to Mystic. I just thought that the on-line Mystic catalog was an easily accessible reference source for anyone who doesn't own the Scott catalogues. I don't buy stamps from Mystic. (Too expensive for me.)

I collect used, so I enjoy sorting through off paper lots. Just ordered 5,000 World Wide stamps on eBay for $50.00. I also buy hinges, Vario sheets, etc. on eBay. For Classic stamps I prefer BidStart.

However, I couldn't resist Mystic's U.S.Heirloom albums for $39.95.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Zipper

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michael78651
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19 Nov 2012
09:51:02pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Here's an interesting kick...

Today, I received (unsolicited) stamps from Mystic for their 1992-2010 Gibraltar stamp collection. This was the first installment containing 28 stamps priced at 50% or less than Scott Catalog value. They say that all the stamps in the collection will be priced at or below 50% of Scott. It also contains the stamps from both stamp issuing entities in the event of joint issues, so there is a mini-sheet from the Vatican included as well.

Of course there are no catalog numbers with this packet, but I did quickly identify two sets containing 13 stamps that alone equal the asking price of the "buy all or none" selection.

So, like all dealers, check their prices. If you like it, buy it.

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musicman
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APS #213005
19 Nov 2012
09:53:27pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Yep- I have the Heirloom set as well, in 4 binders now.

And now they have the NEW binders with slipcases, which look beautiful.

Guess I'll have to start saving towards those after the holidays!

I collect US used as well, including all B.O.B., especially revenues.

If you've never dealt with Subway Stamp Shop you might want to check them out as well...lots of supplies there.



Randy

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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..
20 Nov 2012
05:34:05am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

I have dealt with Subway for fifty years since thy started as a kiosk at a NYC subway station and later as an store at the entrance.
Living in Brooklyn and later other parts of NYC/LI gave me the opportunity to visit Nassau Street starting even earlier when my dad let me tag along on Saturday afternoons when he visited dealers there in the late 1940s and '50s. And who could visit Nassau Street without at least stopping at the Subway Stamp Store.
Their relocation to Altoona was a loss to New York, but by then most of the stamp business had moved on as well.
Mystic and Subway represent the ethics and values that philately has been known for.

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tuscany4me
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20 Nov 2012
11:26:18am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

I buy from Mystic nearly every week, like clockwork. I know I pay more for the stamps, but in doing so, I get great delivery times, quality products, and great service. I also received the Gibralter Lot (but I do subscribe to the monthly program) because it is a great way to "sample" possible interests in particular countries. That said, the percentage of my stamps that come from Mystic probable does not exceed 10 percent, for I buy Kiloware about semi-weekly through ebay and I purchase most of my singles here, through the auction. The two most important points, for me, is quality product and speedy delivery. AND I pay Special attention to Shipping Charges. I just have never been a fan of paying for something and then having to WAIT, for it/ see it.

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Zipper
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20 Nov 2012
09:46:33pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

I'm a Born Again collector. When I decided to restart collecting, I used Mystic. Their stamps are in good condition, and I was happy -- until I found that I could buy a half pound of U.S. or world wide for $16.00. (That's about 3,000 stamps). Goodbye, Mystic.

I especially like Sedona Stamps. The last world wide lot I bought had a Great Britain GV valued at $21 in the 1997 Scott Catalogue. I paid only that much for the entire half pound.

I've discovered that buying from different collectors works best for me. I recently bought 1,800 stamps from a different source. This lot was heavily laden with Argentina, Cuba, Chile, Spain, Mexico, Romania, Canada. (Sedona sent mainly Germany, France, Canada, GB, Poland, Czechoslovakia.)

I ordered the last 5,000 lot from someone in Bulgaria. Should be interesting.

Next order will probably be Sedona Stamps again.


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Logistical1
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21 Nov 2012
03:41:42pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

I have purchased stamps on approval as well as stamps directly from the catalogs in the past. But I find it far more interesting and personally rewarding to purchase stamps from other collectors. If I am looking for an answer or an opinion I have lots of stamp collecting aquaintances to ask. Mystic does have a nice catalog that I ocassionally drool over.


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sponthetrona2
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Keep Postal systems alive, buy stamps and mail often
08 Sep 2013
01:16:41pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Mystic is not really any different than any other stamp company, prices may vary a bit, but they're all in it for profit. I decided long ago since I spent countless hours collecting and displaying my collection it will remain an heirlom for my family. If I'm dead and buried then it's their decision to save it as an heirlom or give it away, whatever. The years of enjoyment that I received from collecting is reward enough, albeit I would hate to have it broken up for profit by a company that took no effort in it's creation. If money is the motivation for collecting, then where's the enjoyment. Yes my collection does have a very high commercial value but it's not my reason for collecting. I still enjoy finding a used copy of a stamp with a more pleasing cancellation and will bid for it. It's the personal touch of adding family history to the collection which keeps me going.
We need these high end dealers to keep the hobby alive.

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod, Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Hi Tech Consultant
08 Sep 2013
02:19:25pm

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re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Mystic's US Album pages are the BEST deal you can dream to find for album pages..it is even cheaper than making "xerox" copies! And their annual page updates are a pretty good deal as well. I have not tried their new high end albums with dust covers (I stick to Scott), but the old one was not bad, and I used it for my US ... pretty much a handy 3 ring binder and you can find extras blank albums at dealers, auctions etc, for very little money. While they price them at $12.00 (plus shipping), I have always been able to buy them for less than half, even in new condition.
I also like the pre-cut mounts they sell in various very common sizes...I find those much more handy than the strips. That pre-cut mount pricing is also very fair.
I don't buy stamps from them. I suppose if you just need to buy one or a few items to complete your (US) collection, it is a way to go, but generally speaking they are not price competitive. For foreign stamps, they are totally useless.
But I like their catalog, and find it a good resource.
rrr....

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"E. Rutherford: All science is either physics or stamp collecting."
michael78651
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09 Sep 2013
02:45:17am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

I disagree about their being useless as far as pricing goes. You have to shop with them. I am currently getting their year sets of Gibraltar on subscription. The price is 50% of Scott.

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larsdog
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APS #220693 ATA#57179
11 Sep 2013
12:55:35pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Occasionally I will need several low CV items and Mystic is the only place that has them all. When factoring in shipping costs, Mystic can easily be the lowest total cost for me. I agree that the higher CV stuff is priced way above what I can get it for elsewhere, but there may be some buyers that don't want to deal with the issues one can face bidding on eBay for stuff. I, too, like the catalogs. I mostly use them to verify what the FV is off a bunch of precancelled stamps I still have that I use my permit for.

Lars

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HungaryForStamps
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12 Sep 2013
04:10:42pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Mystic probably is like a lot of other stamp dealers. I think the vitriolic responses sometimes raised in questions about Mystic stems from experiences when were we just getting started in the hobby. I still have a bad feeling about the various mail-order companies that made their living trying to con teenage youth like myself into a "poorly" worded subscription service offers. I'll always look on these companies as rip-off artists, regardless of the truth.

I don't think Mystic is paying 25% of CV. I bet its more like 5-10%. I'd take 25% in a heartbeat as that would probably be well north of a 100% profit.

I think preying on the inexperienced and purchasing collections from widows and widowers, which is my perception of some of the companies that advertise in the trade magazines is what raises the hairs on the back of my neck when I see their names in thread titles. This may be an unfair and incorrect perception. To be fair, it should apply to all such dealers, but some dealers are more prominent and hence are handier targets for such responses.

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DSCStamps
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12 Sep 2013
09:38:21pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

If I was a stamp dealer I would also be looking to buy at the lowest percent of CV as possible. I have read comments that seem to state that 10 percent of CV is the norm or industry standard. I have no idea where this came from and how it can even be considered as a standard across the board as a lot of buyers seem to use as a model. Certain stamps probably are worth 10 percent, heavily cancelled, torn, thins, poorly centered, etc. etc. But when you have a pristine very fine example, it should be at a premium, maybe not full CV, but certainly a higher percentage.

Dealers like Mystic have overhead - office/storage facility, accounting, travel, advertising, inventory investment, etc. etc. They would not be in business very long if they paid 10 percent and had to re-sell at 10 or 15 percent. If people expect to pay no more than 10 percent, then they should not expect to sell for more than that and actually a lot less because the dealer who would purchase must make a profit to stay in business.

I am not singing the charms of Mystic and the like, and matter of fact have never purchased from them. I do understand the physics of doing business however and I think there are a lot of false expectations of these dealers from the comments I have read here.

I have also read comments about the dealers ripping off people who inherit collections and do not know what to do with them. This is an issue for all of us as collectors to deal with. Educate those that might inherit what you have so they have some idea of the value and how to dispose of. They need to understand they cannot expect to sell at CV or anywhere near it.

The only real value I see in full Cat Values is primarily for insurance appraisals, and of course in the event of a loss, the insurance company is going to discount the value anyway.

And I agree with Lewis and several others, most of us would salivate to get 25 percent of CV for what we sell. Why do we not think dealers should get at least that and more. We have several dealers in our midst's and I don't think any of them would disagree.

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michael78651
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13 Sep 2013
03:53:59am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Last year I had a serious health problem, plus many major items in my home and three vehicles all broke down at the same time. My mother also fell seriously ill. The costs associated with all this were extremely high. Trying to figure out my financial options I contacted Mystic regarding my selling my collection outright and quickly. They offered me 30% of catalog value. As it turned out, I took a different option and didn't need to sell the collection.

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DSCStamps
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13 Sep 2013
09:07:31am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Michael - sounds like Mystic made you a fair offer, but then I do not know the content and quality of your collection. Given they would want to resell your collection at more than they paid is why they need to get in the range of 50 percent of CV. And, no telling how long they would have to have it before liquidating. I hope you and your family are feeling much better. And it is nice to see you are still in the stamp collecting venue. Nice to have you with us.

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michael78651
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13 Sep 2013
12:42:26pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Thank you. 2012 was a rough year for sure, but we are all doing much better, and we have plenty of new things in both my mother's and my houses too!

I think it was a fair offer from Mystic, and it was very tempting. Fortunately I didn't need to accept it. But I do know what I can expect from them if I ever get to the position where I must sell. They were very professional about it through the entire process (never pressured me to sell), and were happy for me that I was able to keep the collection and stay in the hobby.

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larsdog
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APS #220693 ATA#57179
17 Sep 2013
12:10:02pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

And we're all glad you're here with us (in more ways than one)!

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stampmanjack
APS Life Member
14 Oct 2013
12:01:45am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

I have never tried to sell to Mystic but am surprised at the 30% buy for a collection. I am a part time dealer and I have seldom paid more than 10% of catalog and in many cases less. However, I take it all and then sort it out. I charge 50% or less for everything I sell. If I put up sets or singles on 102 cards, I ask for 50% but if you buy more than just a few, I discount that. I do album page lots at 33% but again if you buy more than one, I discount that too. I do cigar box lots at 20% or less. Currently doing $125 plus for $25. But the 10% is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of cost. I did a show yesterday in Joliet, Illinois which cost me$50 for the tables, $40 for the gas (forget about use of the van and repairs) and $30 for cost of goods (est) for a rough total of $120 to break even. I sold about $300 (it was a slow show). That does not take into account, the 40 cases of material in the basement in which I have money tied up, the cost of supplies to put the material up for resale (102 cards at $45 per thousand so 4.5 cents for every card, full sheets for souvenir sheets (just bought 1000 for $144 or 14.5 cents apiece and that is just the tip of the supplies that are needed. I buy from Subway and find then to be reasonable and prompt. Someone mentioned Sedona stamps for purchase and I use them regularly and find them to be very reasonable. Quite often I am able to buy take what I want and resell at what I paid. I met Ken when he was still in Florida as PBS stamps in St Petersburg and find him to be a fair and reasonable dealer.

I find that there is a mindset for sellers and buyers both that is slowly driving dealers to stop doing shows. I have a number of friends who no longer do shows as they break even or lose money. I was at a recent club sponsored show and had a Russian collection which cataloged $2000 and for which I paid $200. The best offer I had on it was $150 from a club member. I asked him if I understood him right. He wanted me to pay $50 to $100 for the tables at his club show, and gas to get there and sell him material at25% below my cost and he saw nothing wrong with this. I occasionally lose out on purchase as the seller wants more than what I can resell it for. I am expected to pay 50% and sell at 10%. A friend has a collection of US which cats $40,000.He tried to sell it and the best offer he got was 20%. I told him to go for it. No one in my family as any interest in stamps so I told my wife to go to several dealers I trust, get a bid from each and take the highest. I have had fun with it all my life and do not expect it will sell for any more than I was willing to pay. I have about 175,000 mounted and twice that many or more to sort and mount. I love it. I am 71 and figure I need to live to 150 to get it all sorted. Last weeks show was the first one where I did not buy anything. I made up for it the week before when I purchased my first set of used US Zepplins at 58% - a good buy - what will my wife get when she sells? I don't know and not to be mean but don't care. I enjoy them while I have them. They still are on my desk so I can look at them every so often.

Sorry I went on so long but to sum it up buy at 30 to 50, sell at 10 and enjoy.

Jack Leiby

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HungaryForStamps
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14 Oct 2013
01:44:13pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Jack,

One cause of the expectation for big discounts from some buyers has to be Ebay. Discounted collections are common, although quality is mixed, and some will naturally expect those bargains everywhere, unless it is something unique or there is a need or desire to make a purchase immediately.

On line retailers have permanently altered the marketplace in philately and elsewhere and dealers have to adapt. Thus, my expectation of the potential sale price of my collection is quite low (say 20% of CV). Thus I find it hard to believe Mystic pays anywhere near 30% for general quality material.

A somewhat related anecdote: I frequently buy board games, which can be ordered from an online seller at a decent discount to brick and mortar stores, but I occasionally like to go to a local game store to give them a crack at my business. Unfortunately, they rarely have the item I am looking for, but they always ask with a straight face "Would you like me to order it for you?" Of course I say no.

But I can't help thinking how out of touch they are from how the business has changed. I go to the brick and mortar store because I want the item immediately and I am willing to pay extra for that. I'm not going to pay extra for them to order the same item I could order at a discount and receive faster from an online retailer. In my view this retailer hasn't adapted. They need to do something different to capture my business, such as a) maintain a larger inventory of the highest rated games, b) alter the cost structure for items they special order, c) provide some additional service (e.g., door-to-door delivery) and/or c) open an online store.

Now this is somewhat different from the experiences I've had from stamp dealers, but the cause is the same.

As for brick and mortar (B&M) stamp dealers, I occasionally visit some near me, but almost always for supplies, not stamps, because for supplies they are competitive. Stamps I can obtain from Ebay and elsewhere for a significant discount and the prices the B&M dealers want for stamps are generally unrealistic. Last time I visited one of these dealers, the owner practically had a stroke when I mentioned Ebay (I simply asked him if he was a seller so I could look out for his items). Yet he also couldn't point me to any discounted collections of basic material in his store that I wanted to purchase for my son.

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stampmanjack
APS Life Member
19 Oct 2013
12:16:53am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Hungary
I agree I can sell cheaper on EBay and even StampoRama but not at shows or in a store. Stores, unfortunately are a lost cause but shows continue at present. If I were to lower my sell price to 20% or less than my buy price also has to drop. If I carry it to extremes, in order to sell at 10% at shows, you would have to give me your collections, and I'm not sure I could do it even then. The clubs have been raising their table fees, venues are now requiring clubs to provide liability insurance at shows, the cost of gas has definitely gone up and collectors want us to buy at a higher percentage than they are willing to sell. My age will probably stop the shows before the cost does but it is coming when there will be many less or no shows.

My own club is working for a show for 2014 and the current budget for the show is a 5 - 700 dollar loss. We have some surplus in the treasury which will cover this one but how many will the members be willing to ante up for?

There is no question that EBay is part of the problem but I do not know the answer. I am just going to have fun and not worry about what my collection brings because I will be dead but I will have gone with a smile on my face.
stampmanjack (Jack Leiby)

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BobbyBarnhart
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19 Oct 2013
09:36:58am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Well said, Jack. The one great constant in our existence is "things change." We can either accept the changes and adapt, or futilely fight the changes and die miserable, old Luddites.

Stamp collecting as a hobby is still tottering along. Perhaps there will be a renaissance of the hobby, perhaps not, but the way it is pursued has most definitely entered a new phase. Frankly, while I miss the local stamp shops, I like and embrace the current incarnation.

Now, onto Stamporama auctions for some more great buys!

-Bobby

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DSCStamps
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19 Oct 2013
11:46:54am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Jack - I am right with you on buying and selling versus Cat prices. I may have even said something similar earlier in this thread.

I do however disagree with eBay being the culprit for the lowering of stamp values. eBay is just a worldwide store front. It is the sellers who created the problem. Cannot blame the buyers. Hell, if your neighbor was selling his 1 year old Cadillac for $500 you would buy it with no questions asked. It is the big dealers like NYStamps that list items for 1 cent and take whatever price they can get at auction. Buyers begin to expect this from all sellers. There is the big rub and culprit. You can also bet that NYStamps is buying at a lot less than 10 percent based on the volume of their listings. They have to be making profit or they would not still be in business.


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Les
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19 Oct 2013
12:44:32pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

We have a local dealer here in Brandon, FL. His people have stated to me that they generally buy at 10%. They sell at catalog value with a slight discount for quantity. I have dealt with him for about 10 years now. The owner was (is) a stamp collector and had a fairly nice stock of good material a few years ago. He sold his stamps to Mystic some time ago and used the proceeds to buy a small building off the main highway. Primarily, he sells coins with stamps as a sideline.

I used to buy supplies from his shop, but now I buy from Subway, Potomac, and Amos. Its cheaper. For high grade material, I look to the auction houses. I also will buy collections offered on eBay. Currently I limit my sales to here.

Those of you who are professional dealers should look at the APS educational programs. Maybe the free lesson plans can spark a resurgence in the hobby. However, the days of H.E. Harris, Minkus, Scott mass marketing stamps are long gone.

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DSCStamps
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20 Oct 2013
12:46:26pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Les - I can see why your dealer is kind of out of the stamp business. Not many dealers are going to survive if they want to get full catalog for their stamps. They better have the best damn stuff ever printed and cared for. Not likely. Maybe why he has gone into the "Hard Currency". It is always worth the minted value no matter how bad it had been taken care of.

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Martyn
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20 Oct 2013
02:48:45pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

The most any dealer I have dealt with has asked is three-quarters cat. value, with discount if not perfect. With my main collecting areas I have found buying on ebay has often meant paying full cat. or even over cat. which I don't like but to get any good Guyana I don't have much choice.

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"Collect whatever YOU like, not what someone tells you."
DSCStamps
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20 Oct 2013
05:47:09pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

I have purchased 1,000's of items on eBay and for probably 95 percent of them paid less than 50 percent and most even a lot less than that. Sellers can list for whatever price they want, it is us buyers that decide to buy at their price. This is not a function of eBay which is only a storefront to connect sellers and buyers. When I see something that peaks my interest I look at it and then access the price. I look at several sources to assure I would not overpay. If it is near cat value, I just pass and wait for another. Sometimes I do a web search on the same item and find it is also listed by several other sellers at more favorable prices. Then if still not favorable, I pass. I have also encountered the same thing with many dealer's websites where they are off the charts with pricing on common items. When everything else fails, contact the seller and give them an offer. Most of the time they will accept. Things are only worth what someone is willing to pay, challenge them. We are not obligated to perpetuate foolishness!!!!

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Martyn
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21 Oct 2013
05:45:51am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Sorry DSCStamps if I gave you the wrong impression, I normally pay considerably less on e-bay except when it comes to Guyana esp. the overprints (1981-89) as most of these are very hard to find anywhere in good used condition and I normally have a couple of others bidding against me for them so to get them I have to pay more.

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"Collect whatever YOU like, not what someone tells you."
DSCStamps
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21 Oct 2013
08:30:20am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

It think we have all done this one time or another. I know I have, and it is not isolated to eBay purchases. But again as I said earlier, it was my choice and not a function of eBay or any of the sellers. They had what I wanted and I bought it. I did not have to, I could have waited for a better opportunity, but I just wanted it and paid the price. Same with auctions, I bid what I think I am willing to pay and some I win and some I don't.

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Les
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21 Oct 2013
12:34:20pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

As far as my local dealer is concerned, I don't buy from him any more unless he has something that really catches my eye. I check his store out about once every two months or so. I rarely bid on a single stamp on eBay, but I have bought collections. I really enjoy breaking a collection down and identifying each stamp. Frankly, I wish I had started doing that years ago. Sometimes, I just buy for the binders. I now have 4 brown leatherette Scott hingeless binders to house my US collection and lots of Scott National pages.

I will also make a major purchase from Regency on occaision to keep my subscription for their auction catalogs. They are a great source for evaluation and identification. And I like going on line to look at Mystic's catalog.


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HungaryForStamps
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21 Oct 2013
01:25:19pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

I think the key change Ebay (and other similar sites) has caused in some retail businesses is the elimination of markup by a traditional dealer, or the need for the dealer outright. That is, the middleman in these businesses are no longer necessary, but still may provide a service, such as serving the impulse buyer, as I alluded to with my Game store anecdote.

This applies to the sale of books, games, music, videos, etc. and affects the brick and mortar retailer most in these areas. Just look at what happened to Borders bookstore. They did not adapt well and paid for it.

The other factor troubling stamp sales is of course way too much supply for the demand.

As regards NYStamps and other Ebayers that essentially sell stamps at wholesale (in some instances) this obviously is eating into the business of the traditional wholesale auction firms. These online wholesalers sell wholesale to a swath of Ebay "dealers" that break up the collections and sell for a higher percentage of catalog value. They get compensated for their effort breaking up the collection, cataloging etc.

I don't think anyone is to blame, not Ebay, NYstamps or the Ebay dealers. Its just a fact.

A traditional dealer needs to capitalize on the benefits of direct sales. I don't know exactly what those are but one is the ability to examine the articles first hand. So for an example of improving service, maybe a dealer could provide additional services that made direct sales a richer and more rewarding experience. What can a dealer do face-to-face with the customer that an Ebayer can't -- figure it out and take advantage of it.

One thing I like about a certain brick & mortar store in my area over the others is the ability to occasionally tap into some expertise in one area or another. That's an additional service that goes wanting in my experience, i.e., free advice/expertise.

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DSCStamps
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21 Oct 2013
04:12:51pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

And don't forget Blockbuster, they also fell to the technology improvements of the likes of Netflix. When I was a kid there were stamp stores all over the area I grew up in and I did not have to go far to buy stamps. Where I live now, there is only one store still in business and it is not what I would call close-by (drop in for a peek). But I agree the store has value for the "face to face" and visual inspection aspects. The other value is I can look at several examples for centering, perf quality, etc. With on-line auctions all I can do is guess based on the quality of the photo images, and I can say the ole adage of "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words" does not work for buying stamps. Stamp stores are King, but they are fading away rapidly.

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Les
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23 Oct 2013
01:40:04pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

The stamp market peaked in 1980. Compare the prices of the Zeppelins then to now. The real reason is simply supply and demand. A couple of years ago, I was at the Sarasota show and watched as a widow carried an album from dealer to dealer only to be disappointed at the offers. The one thing that the internet has done is widen the market so that a seller can find a buyer. The local dealer that I often refer to sells on eBay. He offers a mint stamp at face and lets it go for whatever the market brings.

However, selling singleton stamps on eBay is expensive. The seller pays the fees for payPal. The buyer usually pays postage. The fees and the postage alone raises the single stamp cost to a $1.00.

Buying bulk collections is actually an inexpensive way to fill holes, but they are picked over. I bought a filled stock book on eBay because it had Providence Postmaster's Provisional. Turned out that the the Provisional was a counterfeit. I also found a counterfeit express train invert in the same batch. My best eBay bulk collection purchase has been from an individual collector or heir.

Because of the low demand, there just is not enough money in stamp dealing for brick and mortar stores. I am really surprised that Mystic seems to do as well as they do.

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michael78651
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23 Oct 2013
02:59:36pm
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Quote:

"The stamp market peaked in 1980. Compare the prices of the Zeppelins then to now. The real reason is simply supply and demand."



Les, while I agree with 99% of what you said, I disagree with the one thing above. The late 1970s saw a group of so-called "investors" take over the stamp market. They began buying up supplies of certain stamps, often common stamps. That caused a frenzy in the hobby as people began buying just about everything that they could find as catalog values rose and rose by the week, per the "investor's" advertising. The Ryukyu Islands was one of their targets. You could always identify their ad by the picture of Ryukyu Islands Scott #54. What happened? They were exposed, got arrested and put in prison for fraud. It was very similar in nature to the group that ran up the prices of Europa issues just a couple of years ago. They too were caught, and now like then, values for Europa issues have fallen.
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Les
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24 Oct 2013
11:41:05am
re: On Mystic catalog values and prices

Michael,
Very interesting. I was not aware of the investor groups trying to corner the market and being convicted of fraud. I do remember the Ryukyu Islands being very popular. I went to Germany in 1975 and remained there until 1978. When I got back to the states in 1979, I was stationed in DC and revived my interest in stamps. I did fall for one of the investor pitches and signed up for subscription. It did not take long after receiving a nice binder and some rather common overpriced stamps for me to realize that it was a scam.

Thanks for the information.

Les

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