How Your Dealer Can Help You

How Your Dealer Can Help You - by Tony Shields

Most stamp dealers have been collectors before they began trading in stamps and many continue to collect throughout their years in business. Many dealers have exhibited their stamps in competitions and several have gone on to win gold medals at national and international exhibitions.

This factor, plus experience gained from everyday business and market knowledge, helps make the dealer a philatelic expert and able to help people at all levels of collecting to improve their collections and get greater enjoyment from the hobby.

Beginners - Whether you are a child aged five or an adult aged seventy, it doesn't matter when you begin to collect stamps. Your local stamp shop can help you choose suitable albums, catalogues, tweezers and other equipment needed for your hobby and to suit your budget. Your dealer can also give you advice on how to collect, how to soak stamps off paper, sort them, display them and care for them. Most dealers are particularly helpful to beginners - especially juniors as the newcomers are the future of our hobby and business. Dealers sell handbooks which identify the country a stamp is from plus catalogues which tell you its value, age and history. Your dealer can give details of where the local stamp club meets and when, and stamp clubs can give further assistance to the novice collector.

On top of this, the local stamp shop SELLS STAMPS , big ones, small ones, cheap ones, dear ones, in an endless range of shapes, sizes, colours, subjects, countries and prices. You can buy stamps you choose from their Browse Boxes for a few cents each, packets of world stamps from $1 upwards and bags of stamps on paper (sold by the kilo) for endless hours of sorting pleasure. You never know what treasures lurk in them! Dealers also have collections for sale to get you off to a good start.

Advanced Collectors - Eventually, collectors aim to complete their collection of one country (usually Australia) or several countries or particular subjects, eg. stamps issued by Antarctic countries or stamps portraying birds. They know from catalogues and literature what stamps they need (their 'wants list') and dealers are usually able to supply these items from their stock or from other dealers' stock throughout the world. Some stamps are very difficult to obtain, but over time dealers can supply most items the collector needs. A good dealer will remember or record his clients' quality requirements, budgets and interests.

Exhibitors - With strong worldwide contacts, specialist dealers are able to supply exhibitors with significant stamps and covers. Stamp auctions also sell rare items to add to collectors' exhibits and dealers can provide suggestions for the exhibitor, plus introduce them to other collectors with similar interests. The wider the range of dealers who have been advised of your collecting interest, the greater the amount of stamps, covers and other exhibitable items you will be offered - better medal levels result.

Do You Have Stamps to Sell?

Dealers can provide accurate market valuations on whole collections or single rarities for insurance, probate, property settlements or just collectors' curiosity as to 'What is it worth?'

Most dealers are keen to buy scarcer stamps, collections and even the messy accumulation in the attic that Grandpa saved off mail for 50 years. Don't tear the stamps off old envelopes and postcards it will reduce their value, so leave them on as they are. Ensure that there is no wildlife in the collection, eg silverfish or spiders. They always make me reluctant to check a collection carefully. Only show the dealer exactly what you want to sell and try to work out a price you want for it. Be realistic, as a dealer has to make a living reselling material just like yours' and the dealer may have it in stock for many years without disposing of it. Few dealers will pay more than half their selling price for most stamps, and sometimes much less, depending on saleability, stocks on hand and their finances. Whilst Post Offices sell more stamps to collectors than dealers do, they don't buy them back, so collectors always look to the trade when it comes time to sell. Remember the dealer is the expert and may value several different collections every day. In a few moments, the dealer can determine if the stamps for sale are worthwhile. It is usually uneconomical for the dealer to buy beginners' collections, as they will only be worth a few dollars. Don't interrupt the dealer when they are valuing your collection, as it can lead to errors in the valuation and it may take a longer time. Ask your questions after the valuation has been finished.

In conclusion, remember that your dealer can be a friend, advisor and supplier of nearly all your philatelic requirements and will buy your collection when it comes time to sell. Many serious collectors have made a good profit when they sold their collection, but remember that the aim of any hobby is to enjoy your leisuretime and any money that you make is a bonus. Dealers, however, have to make money from their business.


Tony Shields ©