Have you heard the one about Phil lately? No? Well, keep me posted.
That, my friends, was a stamp joke. Philately is the study of postage stamps and postal
If I haven’t already lost you, please keep reading, and I promise this will be a
Authenticating and Pricing Your Stamps
While it is possible to simply list your stamps on eBay or another marketplace, you may have difficulty attracting customers and you run the risk of undervaluing your collection. If you think you may have a
The Scott Catalogue, which comes in both print and digital forms, is the authoritative guide to stamps. Published each year, the Catalogue contains lists and images of stamps, along with estimated values and other identifying information. Collectors utilize the guide when buying, selling, and trading, so this is a great starting point when you’re ready to sort and price your stamps. The publisher also offers specialized guides, which focus on specific countries or stamp types. The cost of the catalogue can be prohibitive, so check your local library or any stamp collecting groups you might be aware of to borrow a copy!
The American Philatelic Expertizing Service (APEX) offers expert opinions on the genuineness of stamps and other philatelic materials (for a fee). APEX, which is a trusted service housed within the offices of the American Philatelic Society (APS): utilizes the services of more than 160 specialists and a variety of
It is possible to sell your stamps without having them evaluated, but certain sites and buyers will want to know that a stamp is authentic before purchasing anything at a high price point. Additionally, expertizing services grade the condition of stamps based on a number of criteria, including the condition of their adhesive (referred to as gum), their perforations, margins, and any faults. This grade affects the value of the stamp and is difficult for a
Before we move on, I’d also like to note that APEX isn’t the only expertizing service out there. The other major players in stamp expertizing include The Philatelic Foundation , Philatelic Stamp Authentication and Grading Inc., and Professional Stamp Experts. Each service has varying fees and submission processes so you may want to review each site before deciding.
Selling Your Stamps
After you’ve confirmed the contents of your stamp collection, it’s time to start selling! Depending on how
The American Philatelic Society (mentioned above) is the largest
The information you’ll need to provide includes the stamp’s country, Scott Catalogue number, year, color, condition, and the price at which you’d like the stamp to sell. APS will scan images of your stamps and upload them with descriptions. They’ll also handle advertising, answering buyer questions, payment processing, shipping, and any returns. You will remain anonymous, never having to deal with customers and collecting your earnings once the stamps sell!
Of course, APS includes a submission fee for each item ($0.25) and earns a commission (20 percent) on all items sold. It’s not required that your items be professionally certified, but you won’t be able to assign a grade in the description without having them expertized, and all items priced at $500 or more must include a certificate of authenticity. You can check out APS StampStore’s terms of sale and decide if this
eBay is home to a thriving stamp marketplace and makes a good option for sellers who are less interested in going through the expertizing process and may have
To get started, you’ll first need to create a seller account, which is an easy process that requires you to input your email, name, address, and telephone number. Next, you’ll create a listing. You’ll input a title for the item you’re selling, its country of origin, and various descriptors including the quality, particular features, a grade (if applicable), and the stamp’s certification status. You’ll also be able to categorize your stamp listing (historical, aviation, etc.) to ensure it can be found by customers with a specific search in mind. You’ll then upload photos of the stamp and write a detailed description making potential buyers aware of any unique features or flaws. Finally, you’ll set a starting bid for your stamp and customize your listing with the length of the auction, whether you’d like buyers to be able to make direct offers, whether the stamp can be purchased immediately (bypassing the auction), and other criteria.
Like all marketplaces, eBay does have fees associated with making sales on the site, but they’re not as stringent as some other options. While eBay does have an insertion (or listing) fee, they also offer 250 zero insertion fee listings per month. This means that if you upload fewer than 250 items per month, you’ll never have to pay to list your stamps! When an item sells, eBay retains a final value fee, which is calculated based on the price and type of item. A percentage of the total amount of the sale (usually between twelve and fifteen percent) plus $0.30 per order will be deducted from your profit.
Ecwid, an ecommerce platform where you can create your own online store, is a great option if you’d like to keep total control of your stamp selling. Set up a customizable website in minutes, upload stamps, and share your inventory across a variety of