cddstamps on stamps

my thoughts on stamps, stamp collecting, philately in general and maybe a few other topics !

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

What is a Sale ?

Hello and welcome to Part VIII of my series Caveat emptor.  This article is about a “sale”, because I saw something that literally shocked me into thinking,  “can this seller really think I am going to believe what they are saying”?


What is a sale?  One definition, simply put, is this: “a period during which a retailer sells goods at reduced prices”.


Is that a working statement I can live with?  Hmmm, maybe not.  Surely a sale is an event where the price being asked of an item is one that is reduced from a previous price which was in fact a price that was a reasonable price, with a  profit mark up,  being asked for the item in question.


Yes I am pedantic but then let’s take an example.  If the first time I offer something to be bought, I say for sale at 60% off, am I being a bit mischievous?   Perhaps deceiving? Perhaps misrepresenting?    Here is a $100 stamp offered at $40,    supposedly a sale at 60% off.   Well it was never offered at $100 in the first place so how can a seller say I am giving a sale price?  Confuses me for sure!!!!!  Did the seller really have a 60% mark up and is now selling at  cost,  let’s say. Or as a loss leader because they had a 50% mark up?    These thoughts cross my mind. Do they yours?


And yet that is what you will find time and time again in the world of selling stamps on the internet by many sellers.  Buyer beware. 


Why do I say this?  Simple. Think it through.   Item to be sold.  Let’s say $10 so I list as $11.50 and price it with comment, 15% off.  Price is $10  hey ho! Yes I know mathematically 15% reduction from $11.50 is not $10 but the seller is adding 15% to the $10 item and reducing.  That is the give away maybe? That is what happens and what we are given to thinking. It is all click bait really, isn’t it!


Talking mark up?  What is the mark up on stamps?  Obviously there is no one answer – it depends on so many factors but let’s for argument sake say 25%.   Humour me!  A rule of thumb.  Ok maybe a bit generous rule of thumb.


If we see 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 80%,  yes I have seen that, 80% off -   you will find them no doubt – the 80% I know of is off the catalogue price: is that deceptive?  a catalogue price for Mint Never Hinged stamp for example and  the stamp for sale that is mint hinged being advertised at 80% off CV?    Buyer beware – you decide.   In general though, have the prices been inflated to be able to state such high % reductions?   and draw you into thinking you are getting a great deal so buy buy buy!!!!! ?  Buyer beware.


Ok another aspect to look out for. When you see these “teasers”,  let’s call them what they really are, is the packing and postage cost, usually called “shipping”,  reasonable.  


Yes reasonable can be subjective but again, humour me and think reasonable. You may just find these are out of proportion to what could reasonably be expected.   Sellers cannot consistently sell at a price that is way below cost. It does not make sense does it?  So check “shipping”.


I know there are many costs elements;  portal fees, payment handling fees,  packing, postage,  paper for invoices and printing, yes all the p’s. But sometimes, perhaps, after all it is your call, you can say that “shipping” is out of proportion. You will just know when and then you will know the cost of sale is being cross subsidized by the “shipping” cost.  Buyer beware.


Just one set of images you may enjoy and hopefully to demonstrate the points I am trying to convey.  I am not passing judgement, I am just showing you what you can find when you look to fill a gap in your collection.  It is, as I say, your choice as to what is right for you. SG 478c with a Stanley Gibbons catalogue value (2020) of £26 Very Fine Used of course, also  Scott 275 with a 2019 cat of $20.



Where I say “ reduce %”  that is the % reduction shown on the listing.  The first three stamps do not show an image of the reverse but the fourth stamp included an image of the reverse, which I have to acknowledge shows honesty, because there are two very nice deep creases in the stamp and a 1mm perf tear. I guess a 25c spacefiller at best but hey, buyer beware!  If this one is what you want in your collection then ok.


All shipping is for items purchased in the USA and shipped to a USA address. As for the shade / colour of the second stamp well it was never issued in this shade that is for sure!  Buyer beware!


I hope you keep reading and I welcome  “caveat emptor” topics to share. I have two more articles to write in this series unless I hear more that I have missed.


Michael  visit us   here 


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