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Stamporama Auction Tutorial

Note that the Selling section is being revised.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Keeping Member Profile Up-To-Date

Problems Receiving Email

Buying

Searching For Auction Lots

Main Auction Selection Bar

Search Tips

Sorting Search Results

Bidding On Auction Lots

Viewing Auction Lots

Taking Action On An Auction Lot

Buy It Now

Bid Increments 

Monitor Bidding Activity

Watch List

 Winning/Buying Auction Lots 

End of Auction

Paying For Purchases

Problems With Purchase  

Selling

Listing and Selling Auction Lots


Introduction

The Stamporama Auction Tutorial page describes the process of buying and selling philatelic items on Stamporama's auction platform. This tutorial, along with the Auction Rules and Auction FAQ, provides an understanding of how the Stamporama auction process works, and states how members are expected to conduct themselves when using the auction platform. Failure to follow auction rules and tutorial instructions may result in temporary or permanent loss of buying and selling privileges (auctions and approvals), or termination of membership.

While anyone may view auction lots, only registered members can buy and sell on the auction platform. Click HERE for information about joining Stamporama.

Stamporama's auction platform may look like other online auctions. However, there are some differences. Stamporama is not a commercial site, and does not charge any fees for its use. It allows members the opportunity to buy and sell philatelic material in a "club-like" atmosphere. Stamporama does not impose any upper or lower limits on the value of what can be bought or sold. The only restriction is that everything offered for sale must be related to stamp collecting.

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Keeping Member Profile Up-To-Date

It is important to keep member profile information current at all times. With out-dated contact information, buying and selling notifications, and invoices sent by the Stamporama system may not be received. Also, purchases and payments may be sent to the wrong address. 

To update one's profile, click HERE. The EDIT MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION page opens. Scroll down the page and verify that all information is correct, especially the following fields:

- name

- email address (sending buying and selling notifications, and invoices)

- mailing address (sending payments and purchases)

- phone number (administrative purposes only)

- home address (administrative purposes only, if different than mailing address)

Also make sure that the auction and approvals fields are set to provide the desired information.

Problems Receiving Email

Sometimes an email service tags email sent from Stamporama as spam, and automatically blocks the messages. The MEMBERS WITH EMAIL PROBLEMS screen may help clear this problem. To view this screen, click HERE. The list of members whose email service may have blocked Stamporama email is arranged alphabetically. However, it is not necessary to view the list. Click on the CLEAR MY EMAIL FILTER button to clear the block.

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BUYING

Searching For Auction Lots

Before one can buy something, one has to know how to find it. This section lists the various search methods available, and provides a brief explanation on the use of each.

Entry to the Auction platform can be achieved by clicking on HOME or AUCTION on the blue main selection bar at the top of every screen. If clicking on HOME, the Main Menu appears on the left side of the screen. Links to the auction and associated features are located there.

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Main Auction Selection Bar

The links in the blue main selection bar at the top of the Auction Page lead to searches that are broad in scope. Additional filters can be used to narrow the search results. For better results, always clear old search parameters before starting a new search.

1. Categories - displays a table containing all the categories in which auction lots can be listed. The table also shows the number of lots listed in each category, and the total number of lots. Clicking on a category displays all the auction lots listed in that category. Directly below the name of the category is the following group of filters that can be used to narrow searches:

Inc/Excl - (Include/Exclude) permits the search to "Display All" (default); "Display Only" using the addiitonal filters to the right; or "Exclude" using the additional filters on the right.

Catg - (Category) searches within other categories where an item from the primary category may also be listed. To return to the original search parameter, click the CLEAR button.

Sellers - searches for items by seller. Highlight the seller's name, and then click the REFRESH button. To return to the original search parameter, click the CLEAR button.

Country - Clicking on the SELECT button opens a group of lettered buttons. Clicking on a letter opens a group of buttons with the names of countries that start with the selected letter. Use this filter to search more specifically under a country that has several embedded categories within it. Note that selecting a country outside of the primary search category will probably produce no results. To return to the original search parameter, click the CLEAR button.

Min. Bid - lists all lots from the selected category that have a minimum opening bid equal to or higher than the amount entered in this field. Enter the amount desired and press the REFRESH button. There are no minimum or maximum amounts that may be entered in this field. To return to the original search parameter, click the CLEAR button, or delete the dollar amount and press the REFRESH button.

Plus - provides results pertaining to what was entered in the box.

There are four buttons located below the search filters:

Refresh - activates a search based on the chosen parameters.

BIN - displays all lots in the cateogry that include the "Buy It Now" option.

Clear - resets all search parameters to the default.

Help - provides some additional instructions.

To view a You Tube video on how to better use these filters, click HERE.

2. Countries - displays a table that contains the single country categories in which auction lots may be listed. The table also shows how many items avilable in each country category. Clicking on a country name displays the available lots for that country.

3. Search - permits searching for items by Seller, Buyer, Key Word, or Lot Number. Select the desired filter from the drop down box, and enter the appropriate information for the search in the box to the right. Click on the SEARCH button to display the results. To clear the search parameters, click on the CLEAR button.

4. Closing in 24 Hrs. - displays all auction lots closing within the next 24 hours.

5. All New Items - displays all auction lots listed within the past 24 hours.

6. Last 30 Posted - displays the last 30 auction items listed. (Find this search under the BUYERS link.)

7. Hot Items Hot- displays auction lots with 7 or more bids. (Find this search under the BUYERS link.)

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Search Tips

For better results, always clear old search parameters before starting a new search.

Sometimes the best search results are obtained using partial words or phrases. For example, using "rail" instead of "railroad" will return results such as "railroad", "railways", "RPO", and "Montrail". This is useful as sellers may use different spellings, including misspellings, to describe an item.

Be careful when entering search parameters. Check the spelling of all data entered in the search filters. Remember that sellers come from many countries, and may use their own languages, such as "Nederland" instead of "Netherlands".

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Sorting Search Results

Each table that displays search results has a top bar that contains several headers. The headers are: Items; Seller; Closes; Num Bids; High/Min Bid; Bidder. The information in each column can be sorted either alphabetically or numerically. To sort, simply click on a header.

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Bidding On Auction Lots

Bidding is meant to be fun, but remember that each bid placed is a binding contract. The one with the highest bid when the auction lot closes purchases the item, and must pay for it. Stamporama takes this very seriously in order to maintain the quality, integrity and value of the auctions. Do not place a bid or use the Buy It Now feature if not willing to pay for the item. Before placing a bid, read all the details contained in the listing. 

Here's how to bid on an item:

  1. Carefully review the listing.

  2. Enter the maximum bid desired in the "Your Bid" box if a bid higher than the minimum bid displayed is wanted.

  3. Click the PLACE A BID button.

  4. Review the bid, and then click the CONFIRM BID button. (Click on the CANCEL button to return to the listing without placing a bid.)

Before placing a bid contact the seller for clarification if information is unclear or missing.

Keep track of all bids and purchases. It is easy to get in trouble by over-spending or over-bidding. Remember, the highest bid wins the lot, and that bidder must pay the seller.

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Viewing Auction Lots

To view an auction lot, click on either the item title or the image. The auction lot will open. Scroll down the screen to see the details. An auction lot displays information in the following order:

Auction Images - shows picture(s) of the actual item being sold. Sellers are not allowed to provide "representative" images.

Description - provides information relating to the item, including condition and any defects. Sellers must disclose all defects on the item being sold, and may not use the image as the sole means of describing defects. Most sellers use standard abbreviation/codes in their descriptions. Some of these are detailed in the Descriptive Terms FAQ page.

Lot Information - provides information relating to the item, including Lot Number (a unique number for the item assigned by the system); Country; Categories; Offered By (seller's username, and button to use to contact the seller); Posting Time (date and time lot was listed for sale); Current Time (Eastern Time Zone in the United States); Closing Time (time, Eastern Time Zone, when the lot will close); The High Bid Is (shows the current or opening bid, the Buy It Now price, if any, and a help button for information about the Buy It Now option).

Bid History - shows who has bid on the lot, when the bid was placed and the bid amount.

Payment and Shipping Terms - states the seller's terms and conditions relating to the sale of that item, what payment methods are accepted , how to make payment, and any exceptions or other information (such as possible countries the seller will not ship to). Read this section carefully. Sellers sometimes have different terms for different items. Note that these terms can only be changed by the seller.

Place a Bid - Shows the opening or current bid, the minimum amount of the next bid, and the Buy It Now price, if any, along with a help button for information about the Buy It Now feature.

To exit from an auction lot, click on the browser back button to return to the auction list, click on any link along the selection bar at the top of the screen, or click on the action buttons at the bottom of the lot description.

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Taking Action on an Auction Lot

At the bottom of each lot description are several buttons:

Place a Bid - lets one place a bid to open the bidding, increase one's maximum bid, or attempt to outbid the current high bid. Note that the system prevents sellers from bidding on their own lots. To place a bid, enter the bid amount, and click on the PLACE A BID button. All bids are in United States dollars. The mimimum amount that can be bid is stated in the "Lowest You May Bid" section. The bidding system will accept any bid entered that meets or exceeds this amount. 

WARNING!! Bids can not be retracted. Make sure that the bid amount is correct before submitting it. For example, if the desired bid is "1.75", make sure that "175"  is not entered. If it is, the system will enter a bid of "$175.00". Mistakes do happen, and sometimes obvious bidding errors may be able to be corrected by contacting the Web Master. When a bid is submitted, the system informs the bidder if the bid was successful (became the high bid) or was unsuccessful (not high enough to beat the current high bid). The bidder can decide to bid again, increase the high bid, come back later, or give up and look for another lot on which to bid.

Late bids placed within 10 hours of a lot's scheduled closing that become the high bid will extend the closing time for that lot for an additional 10 hours from the time that the new high bid was placed. The 10 hour time extensions continue as long as a new high bid is placed. Otherwise, the lot will close on the extended date and time stated in the lot.

A proxy bid and an automatic bid are the same thing. In auction-style listings, Stamporama's automatic bidding system increases one's bid in increments as the highest bidder until it reaches the maximum bid. It is more convenient than manual bidding because one does not need to monitor the auction as closely. If a proxie bid is beaten, the system will send an outbid notification.

When placing a bid, enter the highest amount willing to pay for an item. This is one's maximum bid and is not visible to the other bidders or the seller. One won't necessarily pay the maximum amount bid. If no one else bids as high as the maximum amount bid, one will pay less.

Tie bids go to the earliest bid. If a lot closes with two identical high bids, the bid placed first, including proxie bids, wins the lot.

Buy It Now - Buy It Now Image- is an optional feature. It remains available even after a bid has been placed on the lot. Auction lots using the Buy It Now feature can be purchased at any time while the auction lot is active. Bidders with active bids on an auction lot that has the Buy It Now feature will lose the lot if another bidder selects the Buy It Now feature. A bidder who places a bid on an auction lot that is equal to or greater than the Buy It Now price immediatly purchases the auction lot at the Buy It Now price. An auction lot purchased with the Buy It Now feature is immediately removed from open auction status, and is closed by the auction lot closing program on its next update usually within the next few minutes.

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Bid Increments are the minimum bid amounts that must be made after the initial bid has been placed on an auction lot. Bid increments increase as the dollar amount of the current high bid increases. The table below shows the bid increments.

Bid Increments
From To Increment
$0.01 $0.99 $0.05
$1.00 $3.99 $0.10
$4.00 $9.99 $0.25
$10.00 $19.99 $0.50
$20.00 $49.99 $1.00
$50.00 $99.99 $2.50
$100.00 $249.99 $5.00
$250.00 $499.99 $10.00
$500.00 $2,499.99 $25.00
$2,500.00 $4,999.99 $50.00
$5,000.00 $99,999.99 $100.00

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Monitor bidding activity by clicking on BUYERS on the Auction Activity Bar at the top of the screen, and then clicking on VIEW OPEN LOTS. Note that items in this list cannot be deleted, but are removed when the lot closes.

Shilling is the act of placing bids on a lot for the sole purpose of attempting to decoy or entice others into bidding higher than they normally would for a lot. Shilling is illegal, and any seller or others acting alone or together in such a manner will have their membership immediately terminated.

Add to Watch List - permits one to monitor bidding on an auction lot without placing a bid on the lot. Click on the ADD TO WATCH LIST button to add the lot being viewed to the watch list. To go to the Watch List, click on BUYERS on the Auction Activity Bar at the top of the screen, and then click on VIEW OPEN LOTS. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. The Watch List appears after the Open Lots list. Items in the Watch List can be deleted by clicking on DELETE in the far right cell of the row for the lot to be deleted.

Return to Auction List - displays the most recent auction list that was viewed.

Return to Category List - displays the main Auction Category List.

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Winning/Buying Auction Lots

All transactions conducted on Stamporama are made exclusively between the buyer and the seller. Stamporama only offers the platform from which the sales are made. Stamporama does not collect payments or oversees shipment of items purchased.

End of Auction - When an auction lot closes, the bidder with the highest bid, or who used the Buy It Now feature wins the lot. Items won can be viewed, and are sorted by seller, in the VIEW WON LOTS page located under the BUYERS menu dropdown list on the Auction page. This list can be sorted by time period by selecting the desired time period and clicking the REFRESH button.

Only successful bidders receive an email with the auction lot closing results. The email shows STAMPORAMA MESSAGE SYSTEM as the sender, and states "Stamporama Auction Close: (auction lot name)" in the title. The message reads similar to the following:

PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL MESSAGE

Congratulations! You are the winner of Auction Lot number 1234567.

Your winning bid was $0.25.

Please contact the seller at:

John Smith
PO Box 123
Any Town, State 12345
jhonsmith@email.com

Stamporama Auctioneer.

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Paying For Purchases - Sellers must send an invoice to a buyer within 5 calendar days of purchase, unless other arrangements were made between the buyer and seller. A buyer should contact a seller with whom additional purchases are being made or on whose lots bids are still active to avoid the unneccesary sending of invoices. When no more purchases are being made, the buyer should contact the seller so that an invoice can be sent.

Invoices are sent to the buyer's email address. A copy of the email is also sent to the buyer by Stamporama Private Message. Follow the instructions in the message to complete payment for the items purchased. Buyers must send payment for items purchased within 5 days of receiving the invoice. When payment has been made, use the link contained in the message to indicate that payment was made, and what payment method was used. A message box is available to provide any further information to the seller.

Sellers must ship the items purchased within 10 days of receiving payment. An email and private message is sent to the buyer indicating when shipment is made, if the seller marked the shipment on the invoice.

When the shipment is received, return to the invoice notification message and mark the shipment received. A message box is available to provide any further information to the seller.

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Problems With Purchase - Sometimes misunderstandings or other problems may arise with a purchase. This is usually caused by either or both the buyer and seller not communicating or following auction rules. Should this happen, contact the seller to discuss the matter. Keep the discussion strictly on the facts of the transaction. Avoid adding immaterial or uncivil statements. With civil and business-like communication, most problems can be quickly resolved.

If no satisfactory resolution can be achieved, it may be possible to request assistance of the Auctioneer. See the Auction Rules for details on how to file a dispute against a seller.

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SELLING

Listing and Selling Auction Lots

Shipping and Payment Terms. All sellers must create their default shipping and payment terms. Take care when entering the information as it will apply to all lots. There can not be any "hidden" charges. If shipping and payment terms do not specify the toal fees being charged, then only the actual cost of postage needed to ship a purchase may be charged to a buyer.

14. Sellers are led through a step-by-step series of up to three screens in order to post a new auction lot. The following information will be required after you click on "Post A New Item":

15. Title/Item Name: for instance "US Scott 65" or "Czech collection". You are limited to 80 character (HTML is not allowed).

16. Categories: Choose as many Categories as appropriate to adequately describe the auction lot. Your auction lot will appear in each of the categories that you select.

17. Images: You can add two image URL's (optional). You can either upload your images to the Stamporama website or you can paste or type in the URL address of the image stored on an image hosting site. if you don't want to have an image displayed on your auction lot, note that images are required for most lots, click on the "No Image" checkbox.

Using an Image Hosting Site:

18. Enter the complete URL to the image's location on the internet. Note that some free picture-hosting services will not allow pictures hosted on their sites to be served to another site like Stamporama. Check the rules of your hosting service if you are uncertain.

19. Choose the length of the auction. You must enter any number from 1 to 14 days.

20. Provide a Description: This may include HTML. Please provide an accurate description of the material that you want to sell. If you make a mistake, don't worry because our system has an editing facility, which you can use to change the details of your auction lot at any time. Be careful if you use HTML because errors in your HTML may make your lot unreadable. Your description should include any relevant notes about the condition of the item, its centering (or grade, especially if not pictured), and any faults, whether visible in the picture or not, catalogue value (and catalogue used), payment and shipping information and any other information the buyer should know. Note: You do not have to include shipping infomation or payment terms because you will have setup your default Payment and Shipping Terms which will be automatically included in each of your auction lots.
 

21. Enter your starting bid: Do not use dollar signs ($) or commas(,).

22. Press the Next Step button when you are satisfied with the information you have entered. If you left the images fields blank, the program will now display the File Upload screen.

23. Uploading Images to the Stamporama Website:
The File Upload screen allows you to upload up to two images files. Press the Browse button to start the file upload process. Some internet browsers display this button as Choose a File or something like that. On pressing the Browse button, the program displays the file structure on your compter, allowing you to navigate to the directory where you have the images stored. Click on the image file that you want to upload and press the Open button. Some internet browsers may call this button Select or something like that. The program then returns you to the File Upload screen and you will see the address of the image that you just selected displayed on the screen in the first entry box. If you want to upload a second image, repeat  the process by clicking on the second Browse buttom. When you have selected the image/s that you want to upload, press the Upload button. The program will now upload the selected images to the Stamporama server and will display the Review Posting screen.

24. The Review Posting screen:
This screen displays everthing that you have entered back to you so you can check that it is correct. If information that you entered is correct, press the Complete Posting button and the auction lot will be posted so everyone can see it. If you find you have an error in the information entered, press the Edit button, and you will be passed to the Edit function where you can correct the error. If you have a number of auction lots to post and want to copy the information that you have just entered into the next auction lot, so you can change the appropriate information but not have to re-enter everything, press the Complete Posting and Copy button.

25. Posting Lots and "On Hold":
If you are posting a large number of auction lots one after the other and you want to be able to activate them all at the same time and to have them closed by the system all at the same time you can.  At the bottom of the Review Posting screen (described above), you will see a list box to select the status that you want to post the lots as.  Using this list box select "On Hold".  Once you have selected "On Hold" the first time the program will remember the selection for the remainder of your session. Once you have posted all your lots into "On Hold" status, run the "Activate On Hold" program found in the Sellers dropdown menu, which will change the Status of the lots "On Hold" to "Active" status and will update the posting and closing dates so that they will close all together.

26. Buy It Now:
All you have to do to make a lot available for the Buy It Now option is to enter a Buy It Now Amount as you post the new auction lot. If you enter a Buy It Now Amount it must be equal to or greater than the Starting Bid Amount. 

27. By placing an item up for bid, once a member has placed a bid on your item, you have a contract between you and the buyer. Prior to a bid being placed on the auction lot, you have the ability to delete the auction lot if you find that you have posted it in error. After a bid is placed on the auction lot, the lot cannot be deleted. If you don't want to sell it, don't place it up for bid!

28. There is no limit to the number of lots that you may have active at any one time.

29. Unsold lots may be relisted up to a maximum of two times.

30. Sellers are not required to use stamps when they ship purchases. However, many buyers would appreciate seeing recent commemoratives and other interesting postage used on the packages that they receive.

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Page last updated June 19, 2016

In auction-style listings, eBay's automatic bidding system increases your bid in increments so you’re the highest bidder until it reaches your maximum bid. It’s more convenient than manual bidding because you don't need to monitor the auction as closely. 

Here’s how it works:

  • When placing your bid, you enter the highest amount you’re willing to pay for an item. This is your maximum bid and isn’t visible to other bidders or the seller. You won't necessarily pay your maximum. If no one else bids as high as your maximum, you’ll pay less.




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