What we collect!
Stamporama Discussion Board Logo
For People Who Love To Talk About Stamps


80 visitors online

General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

AuthorPostings
Rhinelander
Members Picture

Support the Hobby -- Join the American Philatelic Society
16 May 2013
07:16:04pm
I have been to a few regional stamp shows in the last few months, including some of the World Series of Philately shows, and again noticed that the vast majority of worldwide country collections (pretty much any country other than U.S. and U.N.) offered for sale were mixed collections of both mint and used stamps. These collections usually included the less expensive or less difficult to find varieties (mint or used) of each stamp. Some all mint collections were available of common countries (Germany, France); all used collections were hard to find. Advanced all used collections, there were almost none offered (any country).

I am proposing the following conclusions, but would be interested in any alternate observations, explanations, or conclusions offered:

Most collectors appear to prefer either mint or used stamps. Accordingly, country collections composed of either all mint or all used stamps sell better, such that unsold mixed condition collections make up the majority of dealer stock being dragged from one show to the next.

Advanced, clean, used collections are broken up more frequently, and stripped for stamps offered individually.

Beginning collectors should be advised to build either clean used or mint collections, but not mixed, and if mint, to focus on MNH condition.

In my opinion, the major arguments for collecting either mint or used, are (a) the added challenge to complete the collection in the chosen condition only (with clean used frequently posing the greater challenge), (b) the greater uniformity and visual appeal of a uniformly mint or used collection, (c) the greater acknowledgement of one’s collecting accomplishment by knowledgeable fellow collectors, and (4), to a lesser degree, the easier marketability should one change the collecting area and dispose of the collection.


Like
Login to Like
this post
Poodle_Mum
Members Picture

A Service Dog gives a person with a disability independence. Never approach, distract or pet a working dog, especially when (s)he is in harness. Never be afraid to ask questions to the handler (parent).
16 May 2013
07:42:41pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Since my collection is very centred in several areas, I do it in two ways. My one collection is all MNH. One of my country collections is both but housed separately. In certain eras it is difficult to find only mint or only used so in those particular eras (housed in separate albums) there is a mix. Right now, it's more to the point in those areas that I just want at least one of every issued stamp. Once I have that, then I'll go after the opposite (i.e. mint or used) that I am needing and eventually put them into separate albums.

With higher end (and this is only my personal observation) collections, I've noticed that in auctions they specify as complete (or if almost complete, they may list the issues that are missing) and the collection sells better, whereas mixed collections are broken apart.

Again, that's just my personal observation.

Kelly

Like
Login to Like
this post

"Let's find a cure for Still's Disease, Breast Cancer and Canine Addison's Disease. We CAN find a cure and save lives!!"

emmettslegacy.webs.com/
BobbyBarnhart
Members Picture

They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Benjamin Franklin
16 May 2013
08:10:30pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

I have my Felix Unger collection and my Oscar Madison collection. My USA is my Felix collection, mint from 1920 forward, mixed from 1892-1920, and used from the 1840s-1892; not necessarily by design as by budget. My WW collection is my Oscar Madison: this, that and the other all happily housed in albums, stock books, glassines, cigar and shoe boxes, and whatever. I enjoy both collections equally and am as aesthetically pleased by my overloaded Oscar pages as by my nice, neat, clean Felix pages.

Maybe I am this way because in 50 plus years of collecting I have never once considered my collection an investment to be sold one day - it is there strictly for my pleasure. When I pass, my heirs can curse me all they want about the marketability of my collection, I do not care now and I sure as blazes will not care then.

Like 
14 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. -Edmund Burke"

www.bobbybarnhart.net
tedlawrence
16 May 2013
10:14:54pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Rhinelander: Re: Collections you have viewed. I agree with all that you have stated. I do wish to add another aspect of what you see in collections.

Most collections offered at shows & online were put together from about 1925-1975. Some older - some newer. Collections put together pre-1980 usually have a tendency to be both mint & used. They also have a greater chance of having faulty or sub-standard condition stamps.

Collectors were just not as picky about condition as many are today.I am surprised at some of the junk in these old collections. For example: why would someone have a faulty used 2c Columbian? Back then you could pick out a nice one for a penny!

Another factor: You have to be aware that some dealers "make" old collections. Sometimes from an old empty album & sometimes from an album with stamps. They will fill the empty album up with junk & in the case of the already well-filled collection, they will take out the nice sound stamps, & replace them with faulty or altered or fake etc.

The large Public Stamp Auctions are generally more honest, although a few are really bad, so caveat emptor. Ted.

Like
Login to Like
this post
Rhinelander
Members Picture

Support the Hobby -- Join the American Philatelic Society
17 May 2013
09:53:09am
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

@ Kelly

I believe that you are making a good point why mixed condition collections dominate: sometimes the mint/used or copy is much harder to find, and so the alternate condition is included as to not have a blank spot in the album "for now." I believe many collectors collect that way and it is perfectly legitimate.

I personally only collect used; and if I can't find the stamp in good used condition, I leave the spot blank. In many of my country collection I could easily fill many additional spots with mint stamps, but I would still have to pay twice, first for the mint filler and then again for the used copy I really like. More importantly, the empty spot, which gives a true picture of the advancement of the collection, just bothers me less than a collection in mixed condition. My extreme example is my French Colonies, which are difficult to collect in used. Collecting mixed would be so much easier.

@ Bobby

Whenever the point of value or marketability of a collection is brought up, even if it is the last point in a list of other considerations, immediate pushback materializes and an argument similar to yours is made: “The value of my collection does not interest me. I have never once considered my collection an investment to be sold one day. My collection is strictly for my pleasure. I don’t care about its value etc. etc.”

Trust, me I will not prescribe how anyone should collect. In fact, personal autonomy in how one builds and organizes his/her collection is what makes stamp collecting such a wonderful hobby.

However, I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that value is irrelevant. I will have to leave soon, so I will have to come back and develop this thought later. We are in the newcomer column. The advice “Let no one tell you how to collect; put your stamps in a cigar box and enjoy!” is wrong at many different levels. Now if a novice, after looking at the issue from various angles, decides to accumulate junk, call it a stamp collection, and be happy with it, that is one thing. It is however sad if the novice builds a junk collection due to lack of knowledge. Accordingly, the argument “don’t let anybody tell you what to do” is only correct after full information has been given.

@ Ted

I have to run now. You make some good points. I will have to get back to you.

Best,

Arno

Like
Login to Like
this post
sponthetrona2
Members Picture

Keep Postal systems alive, buy stamps and mail often
17 May 2013
10:48:47am
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

I am one of those collectors who enjoys both MNH'd and used. A used stamp is an example of what the stamp was intended for. I look for the best centered available with a very nice cancellation. Even if I have the FDC I still want a nice cancel to display next to the mint. Collecting to me is not about dollar values but finding the best available copy of a stamp used for the purpose of mailing.

Like
Login to Like
this post
larsdog
Members Picture

APS #220693 ATA#57179
17 May 2013
11:55:29am
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Everyone is free to define their own criteria. I like the savings on high dollar stamps when collecting MH or MNG versus MNH. My goal is used 19th century and mint beginning with the First Bureau. I still have a few used high dollar stamps to replace, but I'm fairly close to done. I plan to replace my used $1 through $5 Columbians with MNG Columbians. I should have to worry too much about cleaned cancels since used and MNG have the same CV. I'm glad many collectors are so particular about the gum. It save me lots of money.

Like 
4 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.

"Expanding your knowledge faster than your collection can save you a few bucks."

www.larsdog.com/stamps
BobbyBarnhart
Members Picture

They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Benjamin Franklin
17 May 2013
12:51:47pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Gee, Arno, you twist my words better than any spin doctor in D.C.Big Grin

I believe that my statement that "...in 50 plus years of collecting I have never once considered my collection an investment to be sold one day - it is there strictly for my pleasure.." clearly infers that I am an educated collector and am reflecting my collecting practices, and certainly not advocating anyone do as I do. And, yes, I do believe that anyone (at least in the good ol' USA) has the absolute right to collect the way they want to collect, even if they are uneducated hicks from the backwoods of Maine (even though I didn't say that).

Knowledge is wonderful - the day I stop gathering knowledge is the day I die. But if a person chooses to collect just for the simple pleasure of pasting colorful CTOs on album pages, without knowledge of watermarks, perfs or paper types, I will defend to the death their right to so do.

Like 
1 Member
likes this post.
Login to Like.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. -Edmund Burke"

www.bobbybarnhart.net
DRYER
Members Picture

The past is a foreign country, they do things different there.
17 May 2013
07:59:43pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Arno:

Having spent thirty years plus in the Canadian Army, you will understand why I have no hard rules, regulations or habits in my stamp-collecting hobby.

My stamp albums are a chronicle of my life, reflecting all of its stages from childhood to present day. I've a lot of some things and a little bit of almost everything in my stamp collection: mint and used; singles, blocks, plates and sheets; fakes, facsimiles, forgeries and suspects. I've followed every philatelic fad; haven't more than two album covers that look alike; tried every stamp-mounting device and procedure imaginable including cellulose tape and rubber cement; ditto for viewing devices, tongs, tweezers and pincers; some of my many "accessories" (stamp wallets, guillotines, UV lamps, sweat boxes, heaters and so forth) are little used and dust-laden. Heck, I could go on forever.

As any collecting methodology that I carve into granite decays in the light of the next day, Arno, you will also understand why I am fascinated with the self-discipline many, perhaps most, Stamporama members bring to the hobby.

John Derry

(John, I took a whole lot of blank lines out of this post figuring that you were trying something that didn't quite work ... Tim)

albums

(Modified by Moderator on 2013-05-18 10:18:39)

Like
Login to Like
this post

"Much happiness is overlooked because it doesn't cost anything. "

parklanemews@gmail.com
Rhinelander
Members Picture

Support the Hobby -- Join the American Philatelic Society
18 May 2013
05:48:08pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

@ Bobby -- You are not mad now? Angel -- Yes I misread your message and gave it a different spin than I now see you intended.

I started this thread with the thrust to give some guidance and "food for thought" on the conundrum of whether to collect used, mint, or both. With this in mind ...

@ Ted

Your point that collections formed before about 1980 are primarily mint and used mixed, and also sometimes tend to be less discriminating with respect to condition, is quite interesting. I never thought about this. I hope others can weigh in on this observation.

In essence, you suggest that there could be a generational issue. Could it be true that those collectors in the hobby today that were already forming collections prior to the 1980s care not much about the mint vs. used issue, and collect "mixed" as it has "always" been done? While collecting uniformly mint or used is a more modern collecting approach?

Certainly, there have been many trends in collecting over the last 10-20-30-40 years -- the rise of MNH condition, the rise of topical collecting, the rise of postal history, the trend towards specialization vs. worldwide collecting, the availability of more sophisticated collecting systems, etc. etc.

@ larsdog

In my opinion you should be quite worried about cleaned cancels. Cleaned copies are frequently pen cancels which are less desired by used collectors. Turning 20% of CV for a pen cancelled copy into a 100% of CV for a MNG stamp is a nice profit. However, the value of a MNG stamp is for an unused stamp without gum. The value of a cancelled stamp is for a cancelled copy with a contemporaneous cancellation. A cancelled stamp with removed cancellation is not MNG, but an altered cancelled stamp which should be valued at perhaps 10% of a cancelled copy and not at 100% of a MNG. My opinion.

Also, I don't think that accepting hinged or no gum stamps "saves" you any money. You get what you pay for. Condition is paramount and stamps in lesser grades sell for less. Having said that: Congrats, larsdog, for being the proud owner of the used dollar value Columbians. That's pretty cool. I wish the problem of replacing for mint was mine ...

Arno



Like
Login to Like
this post
tedlawrence
18 May 2013
07:28:35pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Rhinelander: Yes,I guess one could say it's at least partly generational.I had my first table at a show in 1974. At that time I did not separate the Mint NH from the Hinged.Just 3 years later NH was important.

Many collections were built during the Great Depression. Most collectors could not always afford first quality stamps.Prior to the mid 70's Philately was mostly about collecting. That all changed in about 1977. The investors came in. Most of them are now out of it but they changed the way people collect. Much more attention was paid to condition. Prices between lower grade & higher grade stamps keep widening.

I believe that there are less collectors in the US today than there was 30, 40 or even 70 years ago. Many of them are looking for high grade & rare items. This has caused those items to increase in value. There seems to be more than enough lower grade & inexpensive stamps available. I see that prices on them keep dropping every year. Many items sell for less today than they did 50 years ago if you factor in inflation.

Most hinged stamps issued after about 1925 are difficult to sell.There is an adequate amount of the NH availble to satisfy the demand.There are a few exceptions such as the Zepp's & some rare Worldwide issues.

I do not recommend investing in stamps. But if one were to do so, I would recommend only the best quality & some scarcity ,to be the items to consider for ones portfolio. Ted.

Like 
3 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.
cdj1122
Members Picture

Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
19 May 2013
11:09:28am
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Since this discussion is about one's opinion I'll state mine.
I prefer postally used and have generally collected most sets that way.
Just for the fun of it try to accumulate a nice set of almost any multi-stamp set issued since the start of this year. By "Nice" I mean lightly cancelled preferably without excessive interference with the design, reasonably centered and not smeared by the annoying blob cancellations used in today's automated spray-on machines..
Not impossible, but certainly far more difficult and sometimes more costly than buying mint stamps from the local post office.
That said, I collect the stamps that come my way mint or used and upgrade the examples to nice postally used when the opportunity arises.

Most of the mail that leaves my house is franked by combinations of older US postage which I buy in sheets and half sheets at a 10% to 20% discount from a local dealer. He gets large blocks and full sheets from accumulators who spent full face price for the sheets and put them aside as an investment. He pays between 50% and 75% of face value depending on how convenient the offered values can be combined to make up the current 46¢ rate.
At almost every show I've attended many dealers will have a box of these "Discount" postage sheets or large blocks, all mint and still valid for postage.

Like 
3 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.

".... 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. .... "
philb
Members Picture

25 Aug 2013
10:37:09am

Auctions
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

I am a mixer, i much prefer the postally used stamp..but our hobby is an individual one,thank goodness there are no ground rules written in stone !

Like
Login to Like
this post

"And every hair is measured like every grain of sand"
philb
Members Picture

25 Aug 2013
10:44:58am

Auctions
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

I can identify 3 types of collector..i am sure there are more ! 1) The competitive one who displays and exhibits..i can respect that. 2) The investor..who wants to live like that? Isn't that what Annuities and IRAs are for ? 3) the Phils of the world who just get fun and relaxation out of stamps and oovers.

Like 
1 Member
likes this post.
Login to Like.

"And every hair is measured like every grain of sand"
philb
Members Picture

25 Aug 2013
10:47:01am

Auctions
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Oovers..that must be a Dutch word..i meant covers of courseBlushing

Like
Login to Like
this post

"And every hair is measured like every grain of sand"
DSCStamps
Members Picture

25 Aug 2013
02:14:49pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

I like the "Oovers" better. We can start a whole new "Topical's" theme.

Like
Login to Like
this post
larsdog
Members Picture

APS #220693 ATA#57179
25 Aug 2013
11:24:21pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

I like "Oovers" better, too, but is sounds like a wonderfully tasty French cuisine breakfast dish featuring eggs!

I'm getting kinda hungry right now!

Like
Login to Like
this post

"Expanding your knowledge faster than your collection can save you a few bucks."

www.larsdog.com/stamps
amsd
Members Picture

Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
26 Aug 2013
07:13:21am

Auctions
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Or Bob I's Dutch crash plane

Like
Login to Like
this post

"Save the USPS, buy stamps; save the hobby, use commemoratives"

juicyheads.com/link.php?PLJZJP
Rhinelander
Members Picture

Support the Hobby -- Join the American Philatelic Society
26 Aug 2013
12:15:11pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

The statement that there are no rules in stamp collecting is still wrong, even if repeated ever so often. There are a lot of rules, how one should assemble, mount, store, preserve, and organize one's collection. If there were no rules -- or let's call these rules "best practices" -- I wonder why people constantly ask for guidance. Some "best practices" are fairly uniformly agreed upon (use tongs, preserve gum of mint stamps if possible, etc.). The jury what is best practice on other questions is still out (preserve selvage at all times, or not?). Most importantly what the common standard is, is subject to change. The common standard today is MNH; in past days the back side of a stamp was not all that important. However, there were also no collecting systems available at the time (hingeless mounds, stock books etc.) that made it easy to preserve the gum. Or, to give another example, postmark collectors now generally prefer the full cover and not a 2x4 cut-out.

Should we really tell a person interesting in getting into stamps or postmarks: do what you want and have fun! Or should we explain the commonly accepted rules and best practices of collecting, and emphasize the freedom that exists within these parameters? Of course, if a person prefers not to follow any of the accepted rules -- we all have seen collections mounted with tape or stamps numbered on the back with pen etc. etc. -- yes, it is perfectly within the the right of the person to do as (s)he pleases, but other stamp collectors certainly do not owe any respect to such collection.

Like
Login to Like
this post
amsd
Members Picture

Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
26 Aug 2013
12:29:11pm

Auctions
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Arno, I do believe you are right to counsel a newcomer on the accepted rules of the hobby; and, as you say, there are some, if only in that some things receive greater return than others, reflecting their general acceptance, or not.

your are as a good a starting point as any, as long as we also point out the collectors in various parts of the world value things differently and that many collecting trends change, for instance, from PNC3 to PNC5 to.... either ever-larger formats or, more likely, irrelevance.

we should point out that rarity is not the same as valuable, (ie, people generally prefer perfs on all four sides rather than the much rarer SEs); and that conventions change (it seems to me that philatelic first flights have been surpassed by commercial flight covers, assuming you can find the latter).

But, yes, people are free to collect as they wish, but guiding them on what the norm(s) are is useful; it's how we can best help the future of the hobby: arming our successors with information that will make entree that much easier

David

Like 
3 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.

"Save the USPS, buy stamps; save the hobby, use commemoratives"

juicyheads.com/link.php?PLJZJP
Rhinelander
Members Picture

Support the Hobby -- Join the American Philatelic Society
26 Aug 2013
02:20:58pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

This takes me back to the question of value, which is probably the most misunderstood concept in stamp collecting. In part, because value has become an emotional term. Being mindful of value is often defined as in complete opposition to collecting as a hobby.

Let's get away from dollar values for a second, and contemplate the non-monetary meaning of "value." "Value" is the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. If we see a fellow collector's collection, stamp exhibits at a show, or members sharing pages of their collection here, we appreciate the time, effort, and knowledge that went into the building of the collection. Of course, individual criteria of appreciation differ, but it is hard to argue that generally -- all else equal -- we appreciate "fine" more than "faulty," more complete more than less complete, and organized more than unorganized etc.

The deniers of "value" have to understand that dollar values are tied to demand. The monetary value of a collection is a direct expression of the appreciation of other collectors for a collection. If the collection is in high regard, for its quality, its organization, or a multitude of other factors that make us appreciate a collection, than the collection will also have monetary value.

The factor that is misunderstood the most is that a valuable collection must contain valuable stamps. Yes. It is true that collections that are more complete, and also contain some less easy to acquire stamps, are more adorned (all things equal), and thus also have higher monetary value. However, amassing expensive stamps is not key to creating a valued collection.

The two key ingredients -- in my opinion -- are condition and organization. Condition is paramount. I strongly believe that one can tell a good collection by the cheap stamps, the time and effort that went into finding nice copies of the plenty of inexpensive stamps, granted that the condition might be lower on the more expensive items. Organization is what makes a collection. Organization turns an accumulation into a collection. I can have fifty apparently random U.S. stamps worth nothing, or I can organize the same stamps into "the History of Ohio and Ohioans as told by U.S. stamps." Many collectors will appreciate -- and thus value -- a collection a lot for the time, effort, knowledge, and organization that went into forming it. The pocket book often is less important.

So, to summarize, in my opinion: good stamp collections are value oriented, and at the core of good collecting is the creation of value. Value comes from the appreciation of other collectors. If a collection is held in regard by fellow collectors, market value will follow automatically. It is a consequence, not the purpose. There are many ways to create a collection that is valued, amassing expensive stamps is usually the least valued approach. Value creation tends to come from making the sum more valuable than its parts, usually by paying attention to quality, organization, completeness, and knowledge.

The above is either a minority perspective, or at least you will not find this expressed very frequently. However, you can see these ideas being played out in the market place by following ebay. Most collections go for their "scrap value," the value of a few individual stamps that can be stripped out and integrated into another collection. Mixed collections form the bottom of the totem pole, having neither enough "meat" of used or mint stamps to make it worthwhile for a collector preferring either, and usually also being very "mixed" with respect to condition. Collections that are valued for being a "collection" (consistently mint, consistently used, consistently vf quality etc.) are rarely offered and almost always fetch significantly higher prices.


Like 
3 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.
amsd
Members Picture

Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
26 Aug 2013
03:40:05pm

Auctions
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

EVERYthing you said is true, Arno, but the key remains demand. you helped to define demand by describing things that were likely to increase the worth, and therefore, the demand that a collection might have; no arguments, as long as there are collectors looking to acquire the thing you have so carefully, lovingly amassed and organized.

I often think that the most important element is that which helps to explain the significance of a piece or a complete collection, because, in truth, many of us are less knowledgeable than others AND we're likely to overlook the very thing you've just described because each of us is looking at things through a different prism.

David

Like 
1 Member
likes this post.
Login to Like.

"Save the USPS, buy stamps; save the hobby, use commemoratives"

juicyheads.com/link.php?PLJZJP
michael78651
Members Picture

26 Aug 2013
04:16:05pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Quote:

"Most collections go for their "scrap value," the value of a few individual stamps that can be stripped out and integrated into another collection. Mixed collections form the bottom of the totem pole, having neither enough "meat" of used or mint stamps to make it worthwhile for a collector preferring either, and usually also being very "mixed" with respect to condition. Collections that are valued for being a "collection" (consistently mint, consistently used, consistently vf quality etc.) are rarely offered and almost always fetch significantly higher prices."



I agree with what is being said.

I want to add to Arno's statement that I block quoted above. In my years as an adviser with the APS Estate Advisory Service, and my going to auctions to purchase collections, the reason that you don't see many of what you called "worthwhile" collections, is that they are few and far between. Too many collections I have seen are just a hodgepodge of low value, incomplete sets splattered among mostly empty pages of cheap international stamp albums or piled into shoe boxes, or hundreds of the same minimal valued stamps that are not well stored or maintained. When I do purchase such a collection (rare that I do, except when included in a box lot of better material that I want), 1/2 to 2/3, and even more, of the stamps go into the trash for being damaged.

Like it has been stated, a collector is free to do what is desired to the stamps being collected. However, the collector (and heirs) of an inferior collection usually has an unrealistic opinion as to its monetary value.
Like 
4 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.

www.hipstamp.com/store/the-online-stamp-shop
Rhinelander
Members Picture

Support the Hobby -- Join the American Philatelic Society
26 Aug 2013
06:54:05pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Michael,

Quote:

"The reason that you don't see many of what you called "worthwhile" collections, is that they are few and far between."



That's pretty funny. Circular logic makes me scratch my head.

My main point is that monetary value -- which frequently is spelled out here as a despicable consideration in forming a collection -- really is the consequence of having formed a collection that is desired by other collectors. A collection that fellow collectors value for one of several possible dimensions of quality, automatically also has monetary value as a consequence of collectors' appreciation (yes, that's demand, David). Economists may call it utility.

Michael's observation of not-to-be-much-proud-of-heaps-of-junk heralded as collections could be equally a consequence of individualism gone nuts (I collect how I want to collect and that's the way I want to collect and if you don't like my shoe-box go to ...), or lack of an education how to form a good collection. I suppose it is primarily the latter. This brings to the fore David's point:

Quote:

"I often think that the most important element is that which helps to explain the significance of a piece or a complete collection, because, in truth, many of us are less knowledgeable than others."



As an online stamp club with a large and international membership, we have the potential to greatly advance education and knowledge, but it is an aspect that has not been a main focus of Stamporama heretofore. I have been on the VC for about six months now with an agenda to advance Stamporama's potential for the sharing of philatelic knowledge and research, so there will be some initiatives forthcoming towards that goal eventually.

For the sake of expanding a potentially interesting discussion -- that is, at least it is more interesting to me compared to discussing members' typos: Isn't it quite puzzling that most collectors have a more or less good grasp of what the dimensions of a "quality" are (condition etc.), but, according to Michael, so few collections reflect these principles?


Arno

Like
Login to Like
this post
michael78651
Members Picture

26 Aug 2013
07:40:29pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Arno, it doesn't bother me how anyone collects. There are many means of storing a collection as well. Boxes work just fine for many. It is how the items in the collection are cared for that matters. It is up to them to do as they want. It's a hobby, and it is meant to be enjoyed, and not worked.

Some people focus so much on the "value" of their collections that they lose sight of the hobby aspect and think primarily of the dollar return they can get. They are often mistaken on that regard.

Look at the neophytes who, when they are told that someone is a stamp collector, blurt out, "Wow, what is your most valuable stamp?" The focus is not on the hobby, but on the money. Same with me when someone who is not a model railroader, sees my layout for the first time and says, "Wow, how much did this all cost?"

Maybe there's an aspect that we're missing here in our discussions. Perhaps it lies in the term "collector". How would we define a "collector"? Are there different levels of a "collector"? At what point does a "collector" become a "philatelist"? I have seen many very nice collections put together by philatelists, some nice collections put together by collectors, and many not so nice put together by the "casual and/or novice collector".

If one desires to advance in the hobby, they will learn more and move up the proverbial "ladder" to put together a better collection, and will have a better understanding of the true, overall value of the collection not just in terms of money.

Like 
1 Member
likes this post.
Login to Like.

www.hipstamp.com/store/the-online-stamp-shop
Rhinelander
Members Picture

Support the Hobby -- Join the American Philatelic Society
26 Aug 2013
11:52:30pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Michael,

Let me pick out two points. These are great points that you hear very frequently here, and -- of course -- I have my own opinions. Just as some food for thoughts, my again contrarian perspective.

First, I don't understand your point that "It is up to them to do as they want. It is a hobby that is to be enjoyed, not worked." Are you saying that building a nice, clean collection and properly caring for your stamps, is less enjoyable than accumulating junk in a shoe box? I don't think you meant to say that, but just in case: it would not be a correct statement in my opinion. All collectors enjoy their stamps, regardless if it is one of those cheap worldwide stamp albums filled with damaged stamps you mention, a clean and neat, no faults, but otherwise middle of the road single country collection, or an award winning world league of philately exhibit.

I have read this juxtaposition a couple of times here on Stamporama: On the one end, the collector that collects for fun; on the other end, the collector that considers value. The reality is that all collectors have fun, but that everybody collects differently. Just that the collecting effort of one person is tossed in the garbage (at least 1-2/3 of it as you say), while the collecting effort of the other you call "few and far in between." Being my usual contrarian, I point to the good old saying that "everything worth doing, is worth doing well" -- In other words, if you collect, why collect crap? (and, to repeat my above, because "it is more fun" is not the correct answer.)

Second, "Some people focus so much on the "value" of their collections that they lose sight of the hobby aspect and think primarily of the dollar return they can get." This is another juxtaposition that you read quite frequently. Phil called the group "investors" a few postings up. Here the "pure" collector, there the money-driven collectors. -- To be honest, I have to meet a money-driven collector yet. I have never met a collector "primarily concerned with the dollar return" of his/her collection. In earnest: where are these presumed collectors? I have never met one, don't know one, and don't know anyone knowing one. If you read this, and you collect for the financial return, please identify yourself. I don't believe you exist.

Stamp investing, however, exists. It starts at $100,000 for individual items (only single stamps qualify) and is not done by collectors.

Like
Login to Like
this post
michael78651
Members Picture

27 Aug 2013
02:10:28am
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Quote:

"First, I don't understand your point that "It is up to them to do as they want. It is a hobby that is to be enjoyed, not worked." Are you saying that building a nice, clean collection and properly caring for your stamps, is less enjoyable than accumulating junk in a shoe box?"



No, I'm saying that people, based on their "skill levels", if you will, enjoy the hobby in the manner that they can. As they broaden their knowledge of the hobby, they move up to making their collections better, but still maintain the "fun" factor of the hobby. You can have alot of fun soaking stamps off paper and putting them into stock books, boxes, whatever. One day you may decide that you only want to collect unused stamps. You slowly replace the used material for what you now want. The fun is in the pursuit of what you want to collect.

I think that those who focus on the "value" aspect who are not investors will be mostly the newer people in the hobby who don't have a good grasp of that term.
Like 
3 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.

www.hipstamp.com/store/the-online-stamp-shop
Rhinelander
Members Picture

Support the Hobby -- Join the American Philatelic Society
27 Aug 2013
11:11:34am
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Michael,

Yes, of course, we agree. All collectors enjoy the hobby the way they wish.

I was following up on what you said only because of two distinctions that you mentioned and that you in fact hear all the time (1) the division of collectors into a fun group vs. an advanced group, or (2) a pure collectors group vs. a money-oriented group. Both of these categories mix. "Advanced" is frequently equalized with money-oriented.

Labeling usually does not help; I believe the categories simply do not exist. As for the first differentiation, it does not exist because every collector I have met, regardless of the collecting approach, collects for fun. As for the second differentiation, it does not exist, because there actually are no money-driven collectors. There exits of course differences in experience, knowledge etc., but this is not a classification, but a sliding scale.

The statement "I am not interested in the value of my stamps, I collect for fun" is a very widespread sentiment, and like I said, I don't see these as conflicting goals. The key point I am trying to make, is to refocus the meaning of value, emphasizing that value really is a consequence of the appreciation and admiration of other collectors. Of course, if a collection is held in regard by fellow collectors, market value will follow as a consequence, but it is not the purpose of forming a collection. But I am repeating myself.

I am not the authority on this, and if others do see these separate groups, who knows, perhaps I am wrong. These categories are deeply entrenched after all.

But here is my conundrum, Michael: If us collectors value collections consisting of generally good condition stamps, preferably uniformly mint or used, reasonably organized, appropriately protected etc. etc., why are these types of collections so "few and far in between"? Is it education? Or am I underestimating the forces of individualism, and therefore I am wrong after all?

Arno

Like
Login to Like
this post
michael78651
Members Picture

27 Aug 2013
01:30:01pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Quote:

"But here is my conundrum, Michael: If us collectors value collections consisting of generally good condition stamps, preferably uniformly mint or used, reasonably organized, appropriately protected etc. etc., why are these types of collections so "few and far in between"? Is it education? Or am I underestimating the forces of individualism, and therefore I am wrong after all?
"



Those are questions that I have often asked myself as well. Stamp collecting is historically a single (closet) endeavor. Not many share their interests or hobby with others. The fact that there is monetary value in the collection and the threat of the collection being stolen dissuades many from sharing with others.

Could also be the nature in which collections are returned to the market place when the collector (or heirs) sell. The lower quality collections/accumulations are too costly for a dealer to work through, so those are wholesaled out in box lots. The better collections are easier to separate and sell to collectors who are specifically looking for such material, so they often don't come to the market but are sold direct to someone else. A more knowledgeable collector with a better collection also may dispose of the collection in their own way.

Of course most of this is speculation. No way to know for sure.
Like 
1 Member
likes this post.
Login to Like.

www.hipstamp.com/store/the-online-stamp-shop
cdj1122
Members Picture

Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
13 Nov 2013
05:59:04pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

The United Dichotomists of America

"..... There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don't..... "
– Robert Benchley

Our main interest is to isolate a group of things, label them, then divide them into two groups and label each until the late hour of the night, or perhaps early morning hour mellows the mind enough, or perhaps it is the Scotch, or Gin and Tonic and we pass out.

Other people don't bother.

Like
Login to Like
this post

".... 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. .... "
philb
Members Picture

14 Nov 2013
12:57:11pm

Auctions
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Whats the topic ? Oh, i collect used with some mint exceptions which are extremely difficult to find in used condition .

Like
Login to Like
this post

"And every hair is measured like every grain of sand"
bobforrest
Members Picture

15 Nov 2013
06:05:55pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Topical collectors collect both we like mint the best because the subject on the stamp must be clear,then we collect used especially on cover. When we exhibit we get lots of extra points for a postmark of our subject more then a stamp. There was a rule that only mint or used should be on any given page but the collection as a whole can be mixed. I haven't exhibited for some time now partly because I don't like all the rules and you start building your collection to please judges instead of your self. For example they don't like page borders or black mounts and I like both. So topicalists do both Cheers

Like
Login to Like
this post
dani20
Members Picture

16 Nov 2013
10:42:12am
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Wow what a discussion! Since this is the 'Newcomer' posting board I'd like to add a thought or two for that group new to the hobby.

Dear Newcomers,
Welcome. What you are reading here is wisdom generated over many years of collecting, and from this you are expected to distill guidelines to help you along your journey. I am personally impressed with what I have read so far,and applaud the writers for their advice. Strangely though they have not quite fully addressed my situation, and wonder if they are addressing yours as well.

I've been an active collector for over 70+ years, am older than dirt,and have earned my wife's disdain for my collecting habits.She values the postal historian above all, and the writers of the original comments are very knowledgeable in that regard.I do admit that I too have the greatest respect for the postal historian, but that is not how I roll.

Sadly, or happily, I am an accumulator. All sorts of things grab my attention and consider this-how wonderful to have a hobby that continues to challenge you for your entire lifetime! I honor those who approach it differently from me, regardless of how/what they collect. The key that I have found is that the single element that stokes the furnace is knowledge. The more you know, the better off you are.

For those who approach this hobby with an eye towards $ return, know that through knowledge alone one can make it so.For those who approach the hobby from the historian perspective, yours will be the richest return of all. To those who like the hunt and value the search as much as the end result, a lifetime of adventure awaits you.

This is a hobby not for the faint of heart but for the pioneer- and you are to be congratulated for your choice. I sincerely salute you. I have spoken.

Dan C.

Like
Login to Like
this post
Asur84
16 Nov 2013
11:13:26am
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Right now my collection is mixed.

I am sorting through an impressive collection me and my dad started when I was young (late 80's) and he carried on until he passed a couple of years back.

After all the collecting though he never did quite put the in any form of order and I still have the old hand made albums we spent hours making (these are mostly art pads labelled and having stamps hinged to them).

After I have sorted through them all (into countries) I will then look to build from there. I am also going to be investing in new albums and catalogues to try and get it all into order.

Like
Login to Like
this post
dani20
Members Picture

16 Nov 2013
01:29:01pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Dear Asur84,
You do not have a mixed collection. You have an heirloom.And perhaps the most important of all are the albums created by/with you and your dad. Those are precious, and when passed down to your heirs will be even more treasured.

Will you improve upon the organization, of course. Will you attend to making it neater and more presentable-of course.Will you increase the possible monetary value of the total collection-most likely so. Can you put a monetary value upon your memories? Of course-the value is priceless. Never lose sight of that.

All good thoughts,
Dan C.

Like 
1 Member
likes this post.
Login to Like.
Asur84
16 Nov 2013
01:51:36pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Thats deffinately the case, all the albums we made will remain.

As for all the unsorted stuff, well, thats where the new chapter begins for me.

Like
Login to Like
this post
philb
Members Picture

16 Nov 2013
03:41:32pm

Auctions
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Organization ? That can be a touchy subject..and fellow accumulator Dani has been collecting for 70+ years and has time on me ...i only started in 1948 or 49 !!

Like
Login to Like
this post

"And every hair is measured like every grain of sand"
TinMan
Members Picture

24 Dec 2013
07:32:36am
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Dan & Asur. I started to collect stamps when I was 13 years old. I am now 68. I have the first Album my Parents bought me for Christmas when I was 14 years old. It is an H.E Harris
U.S. Stamp Album. It still has the original stamps my parents and I put in it together sitting at the kitchen table. Then life got in the way and I didn't collect for 43 years. Then I resumed the Hobby on my 64th BD. I now put my stamps in Mystic Heirloom Collection Albums my wife bought me. The Precious memories I have of my Parents and Me putting stamps in the old H.E. Harris sitting at the kitchen table far out way the monetary value of the contents of the album. It will never be sold or changed as long as I live.

Now I collect for the fun of it not for how much money my collection is worth or someone will be able to sell it for. After I pass from this life into life eternal it won't matter one bit how much my collection is worth. My Heirs can do whatever pleases them with it, whether they Sell it, preserve it or burn it. Whatever pleases them.

Like
Login to Like
this post
dani20
Members Picture

24 Dec 2013
09:27:23am
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Dear Tinman,
You have the model to follow with your heirs. As your folks did with you so too can you do with yours. That which was precious to you in memory will also have the chance to be so for your heirs.Make it so, my friend. That is a gift of no small proportion. Your journey awaits, and your path will generate a specialness that can/will be appreciated.
May all good thoughts guide you on your way.
Dan C.

Like
Login to Like
this post
philb
Members Picture

24 Dec 2013
10:42:38am

Auctions
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

On my shelves i have the 1949 Scott Modern..my first album and one called the Geographic postage stamp album the girl next door gave me when she lost interest..they are in such sad shape..the years have not been kind to them..taped and tattered..they are not pretty..just like me..but they deserve to exist !!

Like
Login to Like
this post

"And every hair is measured like every grain of sand"
Les
Members Picture

26 Dec 2013
04:06:49pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

Like Dan C., I am a bit of an accumulator, perhaps too much of an accumulator. However as I pore over the collections that I have purchased from eBay, Regency-Superior and others, I have noted that many collectors frequently do not identify their stamps correctly. I try to study the stamp and identify and classify it correctly, whether used or unused.

So in response to the topic: You should collect what interests you without regard to condition. But you also should make the effort to upgrade your collection based on condition, centering, and affordability. When all is said and done it is the rarity and the demand that determines the price of your collection when you sell it. No dealer is going to buy a collection on its attractiveness, completeness, or whether it is all mint, all used, or mixed. He buys it based on what he can sell.

For example, I have a complete set of mint hinged 1893 Columbians, but a Dealer would only look at the 30c-$5. I would venture to say that most of the MNH Columbians on the market are regummed. Condition is important in setting the value. Dealers used to stick them to cork boards with pins, collectors soaked off the gum before the advent of air conditioning, and collectors used hinges as the recommended way to mount the stamp. However lets look at the rarity, according to Brookman, only 21,844 complete sets can exist unused or used. To me that was a worthy goal that I set for myself in 1980. Now I contend that it would be harder to assemble a used set of Columbians than a mint set. Remember that there was no legitimate postal use for the $1 to $5 when the stamps were issued.

Collect what you are interested in, but also do your best to preserve the stamps you have in the best possible condition for posterity.


Like
Login to Like
this post
postmarks
Members Picture

I still have more questions than answers
27 Dec 2013
07:57:22am
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

I only collect used. Perhaps I started that way when I was younger because that was all I could afford. I did buy mint US in the 70's. These days I use that for postage. I still have some mint stamps in my collection. They are space fillers until I find a nice used copy. I also mainly pursue covers these days. I like the story that goes along with a stamp that has been postally used. To me collecting mint stamps is like collecting stickers. I do however have friends with amazing mint collections. They are clean, pretty and interesting. We all have the right to our preferences. The only stamps I really dislike is the cancelled to order crap that the mail order dealers flooded the market with in my youth. I like to hear about peoples collections and their passion for it whether it be stamps or bottle caps.

Like
Login to Like
this post

pjsstamps.blogspot.com/
Greek
25 Jan 2014
08:02:44pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

I probably screwed up before I knew any better. All my album mounted stamps, except for a few that I purchased the last year, have been hinged. Of course now that I know better a mint stamp never hinged goes onto a mount before putting it in the album. However, that does not help all those 40-80 stamps that I mounted with hinges...I still have sheets from the later issues as well as the annual sets from the PO etc but I guess value wise I have not been doing the right thing. I do enjoy looking at my stamps whether mint hinged or not and the newer issues are not worth that much anyway. Most of my older US mint were already hinged so those will not be affected much...

Like
Login to Like
this post
michael78651
Members Picture

25 Jan 2014
09:29:10pm
re: Collecting used, mint, or mixed?

You can always upgrade the hinged US stamps to never hinged and use the hinged stamps for postage.

Like
Login to Like
this post

www.hipstamp.com/store/the-online-stamp-shop
        
Please Note:
Postings that were loaded from the old Discussion Board cannot be edited.

Contact Webmaster | Visitors Online | Unsubscribe Emails


User Agreement

Copyright © 2021 Stamporama.com