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. For information about joining Stamporama, click HERE
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.
NOTE: All posting and closing times for auction lots are United States Eastern Time Zone.
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 your profile, click HERE. The EDIT MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION page opens. Scroll down the page and verify that all information is correct, especially the following fields:
- 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.
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.
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.
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", or "Exclude".
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 category that include the "Buy It Now" option.
Clear - resets all search parameters to the default.
Help - provides additional instructions.
To view a You-Tube video about using 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 are available 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 - displays auction lots with 7 or more bids. (Find this search under the BUYERS link.)
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".
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.
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:
Carefully review the listing.
Enter the maximum bid desired in the "Your Bid" box if a bid higher than the minimum bid displayed is wanted.
Click the PLACE A BID button.
- 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.
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 one or two pictures of the 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, 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 (current date and time); Closing Time (date and time 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.
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 item is really the one that you want to bid on. Once a bid is placed, it cannot be retracted, and if you are the high bidder, you have to pay for it. 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.
Bidding Errors - 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. If you entered too high an amount that you intended to bid for an item, you can correct it by placing another, lower, bid. In the previous example, if you unitentionally bid $175.00, you can change that to $1.75 by submitting the corrected amount in the same manner that you place any bid. Note, however, that you can only place a lower bid that is no lower than the minimum bid amount indicated by the system.
Late Bids - 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.
Proxy Bid - A proxy bid and an automatic bid are the same thing. 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 email.
When placing a bid, buyers should enter the highest amount they are 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 - Tie bids go to the earliest bid placed. If a lot closes with two identical high bids, the bid placed first, including proxie bids, wins the lot.
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 and moved to the Items Won list by the auction lot closing program within the next fifteen minutes.
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.
Monitor your 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. Sellers found to be acting alone or with others in such a manner will have their membership immediately terminated.
To view your 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 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.
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 provides information on the item won, and the seller.
A daily email is sent out to successful buyers that sumarrizes all successful buying activity for that day.
Paying For Purchases - Sellers must send an invoice to a buyer within 30 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 business 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 5 business days of receiving a cleared 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.
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.
Auction lots are limited to philatelic-related items, including stamps, covers, supplies, catalogs, albums, album pages, literature, and other philatelic ephemera.
Items not permitted in the auctions. The Auction Rules do not permit the following auction lots to be listed:
- item offered for sale is not related to stamp collecting
- item offered for sale is also for sale elsewhere (no cross selling)
- seller does not have possession of the items being offered for sale (no third party sales)
There are other restrictions regarding what and how to sell. Read the Auction Rules for full details. Remember, sellers are responsible for their selling activities. Submission of an auction lot acknowledges that the seller has read and will abide by the rules. Failure to follow the rules, may result in your auction lots being closed without prior notification, you could be suspended from selling, or you may even be expelled from the site.
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 total fees being charged, then only the actual cost of postage needed to ship a purchase may be charged to a buyer.
The auction lot creation process involves three data entry screens through which a seller is led in a relatively easy step-by-step series to create and post a new auction lot. Helpful instructions are available for each section. If a mistake is made during the creration process, an error will appear at the top of the screen. The errors must be fixed before the system moves to the next screen, or posts the auction lot.
To begin, from the blue menu bar at the top on the screen, click on AUCTION. The Auction screen appears. Move the cursor over SELLERS. A drop down list appears. Click on POST A NEW ITEM, and begin creating the auction lot. The steps below follow the data entry fields in the order that they appear. Most entry fields are required. Those that are not are indicated as "optional".
1. Title/Item Name. Enter the name of the auction lot, for example "US Scott 65" or "Czech collection". There is a limit of 80 characters and spaces that can be used. HTML code is not allowed in this field.
2. Country (Optional). Select the country from where the stamp is from, if applicable. Instructions how to do this is provided on the screen. This selection helps potential buyers find the item in country searches.
Note: About 1/3 of all auction lots do not have a country selected. If you do not select a country, your auction lot will not appear in a country search.
3. Categories. This may seem redundant to the country search above, but it is not. Categories provide sellers with additional ways to make their auction lots appear in different searches. Select as many categories as are appropriate to adequately describe the auction lot. The auction lot will appear in each of the categories that are chosen. Do not select categories that the auction lot does not belong to. Buyers do not appreciate unrelated items appearing in their searches.
4. Pictures/Images (Uploaded from an Image Hosting Site). Images are required for evey auction lot, except lots consisting solely of literature or supplies. Remember that people like to see a picture of what they are considering to buy. For that reason, your images should show all of the stamp or stamps in the set. You should not put stamps on top of each other to try to save space. Stamps in sets that are not clearly shown are resumed to be in the condition as stated in the item title and/or description. Note that this does not include larger bulk lots of stamps.
Each auction lot may include up to two images. The images can be uploaded directly from your computer to the Stamporama server (discussed in Step 10), or the images can be uploaded from an image hosting site. If you are going to upload images from your computer directly to the Stamporama server, skip this step, and go to Step 5.
IMPORTANT! The most common reason for an image not uploading to the Stamporama server is because the size of the image is too large. Make sure that the image is no larger than 1400 by 1230 bytes.
There are many image-hosting sites on the internet each with unique processes and rules. Consult the rules of your hosting service for more information.
To link an image from your image-hosting site you need to determine the URL (link) to use. For Photobucket, for example, go to the image to be used for the auction lot. To the right of the image is a box that states, "Link to This Photo", and four options are shown. Click on the URL (link) in the DIRECT box. A yellow "Copied" note will quickly appear and then disappear. Go to the auction lot creation screen and paste the link (Control-V) in the IMAGE #1 box. Repeat this process for Image #2, if applicable.
In the small number of auction lots where an image is not required, and you are not prividing an image for the lot, click on the "No Image" checkbox. Do not click on this box if you are going to upload images to the Stamporama server.
5. Days Until Close. Enter a number from 1 to 14. This is the number of days you want your auction lot to remain open for bids and/or Buy It Now purchase. The longer your auction lot remains open, the more chances it will have to be seen by potential buyers.
6. Description. Provide an accurate description, and include all relevant information that a potential buyer should know about what you are selling. The description may include HTML. Be careful when using HTML code, however, because errors in your HTML may make your lot unreadable.
Defects: All lots of single stamps and sets must include, at a minimum, descriptions of all defects. Reliance on images alone to show defects is not permitted. Defects include repairs, thins, creases, pulled perforations, scuffs, tears, stains, etc.. For large stamp mixtures and collections you may describe only the overall condition of the lot.
Catalog Values: Catalog values are fleeting and unreliable at best. Yet, some sellers choose to quote them, even when using long out-of-date catalogs. Catalog and/or reference values must be supported by citing the source and publication year of that value. Value estimations are permitted, but sellers must state the justification for the estimation.
Shipping Information: Do not include shipping information or payment terms in the Description Field. Your default terms are automatically included in each auction lot. See "Shipping and Payment Terms" at the beginning of the Selling section above.
If the auction lot requires terms different from your default shipping and payment terms, you will be able to provide that information later in the auction lot creation process.
7. Your Starting Bid. Enter the starting bid for your auction lot. Do not use dollar signs ($) or commas (,). Your starting bid should equal the lowest amount that you are willing to sell your item for. Remember that if someone bids on your item, you MUST sell it to the buyer at the winning bid price.
8. Your Buy It Now Amount (Optional). Enter the amount that you are willing to sell your lot for if someone wants to buy it outright without bidding. Do not use dollar signs ($) or commas (,). The Buy It Now amount must be equal to or greater than the starting bid. The Buy It Now amount is available during the entire time that the auction lot remains open. If bidding reaches the Buy It Now amount, the auction is closed and the item is sold to the bidder who reached the Buy It Now amount.
If you do not want to use this option, leave the field blank.
9. Review what you have entered. You have now completed entry on the first page in the auction lot creation process. Carefully review all the information that you have entered on this screen, and make corrections as necessary, including spelling errors. While mistakes can usually be edited later, once a bid has been placed, editing becomes very limited.
If you want to delete your work, press the CANCEL button.
When you are satisfied that the information you entered is correct and complete, click on the NEXT STEP button. If there are errors in the data entered, you will see an error message in red at the top of the screen. Fix the reported errors, and click on the NEXT STEP button. If errors persist, continue to fix them. Here is a sample error message with a list of some of the errors that may be encountered:
The following errors were found:
- The Title cannot be blank
- At least one (1) Category must be selected
- The Description cannot be blank
- The Number of Days until Close cannot be blank
- The Starting Bid cannot be blank
If you left the images fields blank, meaning that you are not using an image-hosting site, the program will display the File Upload Screen. If you did use an image-hosting site, you will go to the last page of the auction lot creation process.
10. Uploading Images Saved on a Computer. Page 2 of the auction creation process contains the FILE UPLOAD screen. When you are on this page, do the following steps to upload image(s) directly from your computer to the Stamporama server:
- Click on the BROWSE button for your primary image.
- Search your computer for the image file and click on it (on some computers double clicking will automatically add the filename to the right of the BROWSE button.)
- Do the same for the second image, if you have one.
- Click on the UPLOAD button. (If there is an error usually the size of the image being too large, the upload will not occur and an error message will appear. Fix the error(s), and restart this process.
To be continued...
Page last updated September 9, 2017