cddstamps on stamps

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

 First let me say I really do not want to come across as being unnecessarily unkind to sellers who appear to know little about philately and, from the way they list stamps for sales show they really do not care about listing their stamps in a very professional manner. Everyone has to start somewhere I agree and perhaps  if people are prepared to learn that will be good.   Also, I really want to help collectors understand what it is they  face when looking to buy stamps on the internet.  

Some years ago, I was in a stamp chat room. I had been there for a while having a pleasant chat when someone asked me If I was seller. I said yes and he was very rude to me, calling me all sorts of names and saying how we internet sellers were crooks.  His exact word.  He said we sold stamps way overpriced and we took advantage of collectors.   I will never forget it. Of course even now there are some sellers who fall into that group and I think they basically stand out like a sore thumb, so to speak,  but many and I hope most sellers are not like that.  His words were, and still are, one driving force behind me believing passionately that where we can, we should he helping collectors to understand the many aspects of buying stamps on the internet. Yes, and helping sellers as well.

With that as a long opening comment let me say a recent experience has reinforced something I wrote in my recently published book.   It got me to think I should reinforce one of the chapters from the book, “Caveat emptor and other advice for collectors”.

The more I read and study what is for sale on the internet the more I realise there is a need for greater awareness about what is being sold and how it is being presented especially if the potential buyer is not a very experienced collector or internet buyer.

The chapter I am referring to is Chapter 6 -  “Imagers and all of them”

In the chapter I wrote about sellers who advertise a stamp with a quantity number added to the listing. In other words, they have let’s say 2 copies or 5 copies of the stamp for sale.  I am not going to repeat what was in the book but add this real-life example that was sent to me today.

Rather than buy one copy the buyer bought both copies when the listing said Qty 2. The image shown in the listing was of a reasonably well centered stamp.  It is the left-hand stamp in the image below which shows both stamps received.

Yes, the right-hand stamp was the other stamp purchased and yes, it is very obvious it is nowhere near as well centered.  Had the buyer bought 1 copy, which one would they have got?  We will never know but we can be sure, either the first buyer or a second buyer would have received the copy that was not very well centered.  A stamp which could not in all good faith be said to be priced the same as the one listed in the for-sale listing.   Yes, buyer beware.

I should add here the seller is not a well-established seller or a known dealer but clearly someone selling some stamps, maybe from a collection or from some they picked up somewhere along  lifes path.   You think I am being too harsh and unkind. maybe. but I did my due diligence when I was sent these two stamps as examples of my book chapter.

Also good for me – there was one other thing I learned, or should I write learnt for my UK readers, from this experience -  something unexpected and something  I have not seen before.  This concerned the packing. Both stamps came in black mounts.    Very nice you might say and again, as I write in the book, this one way how Mint stamps should be packed in my view.  What was not expected was the fact that both black mounts were dirty and creased.  Mounts that immediately went into the garbage.  It is hard to scan to show was these but the below is the front (lighting slightly adjusted to show the state of the mount) and the reverse of that same mount.  


This mount was most likely torn from the page of a stamp collection and sent as shown. Not the sign of a reputable philatelic dealer in my view and not the sign of someone who was trying to impress the buyer.  Just someone selling a few stamps because they can in today’s internet age.

Fortunately for the buyer the stamps were sound except for the centering on one of them.

So, there we have a real life example. I am grateful someone shared this with me, especially as I have another learning to share with you if you are a seller -  use clean mounts.

The  book can be found as an eBook  or in a rather nice soft copy version here

Treat yourself for Christmas, or a friend who collects and buys stamps on the internet

Or, if you are starting to sell on the internet I think this will help you be successful and very quickly establish credibility with your buyers.  I am confident you will both learn and maybe smile at much that you read.

Stay safe.     Michael  cddstamps 



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