So you have a stamp collection you’re looking to sell. Perhaps you are a former collector retiring from the hobby. Or perhaps you inherited a collection and are not sure where start. Regardless, there are places where you can sell your stamps nearby. Here are some options:
Physical Stamp Shops
Brick and mortar stamp shops are nearly extinct. In their hay day (1970’s), you could find a stamp shop in nearly every city and town. Someone living in a metropolis had several nearby. The hobby of stamp collecting was the world’s most popular hobby for nearly 100 years. However, with the invention of the internet, the hobby entered it’s death spiral.
The Internet’s Impact On Stamp Collecting
The internet did a couple of major things to lead stamp collecting out of it’s renaissance and into it’s demise. First, it connected people all over the globe. Collectors could now buy, sell, and trade with thousands of others instead of relying on a local stamp dealer.
This drove down scarcity and with it, value. You were no longer a hostage of your local stamp shop’s pricing. Hundreds of copies of the stamps you needed for your collection were now a mouse click away.
The second thing the internet did was create hundreds of hours of entertainment for our youth. Kids were no longer interested in hobbies like stamp collecting. Video games, chatrooms, and then soon after social media, were the go-to solutions for bored kids. Youth-hobbies like collecting stamps, coins, and comic books slowly went by the wayside.
A handful of local stamp shops remain today. Mainly in the largest of cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco to name a few. If you happen to be nearby one of these cities, you may try including the city’s name in your search for “stamp shop” on Google.
Online Stamp Dealers
As the internet pushed more people and businesses online, the stamp dealer was no exception. However, not every stamp dealer made the transition online. Stamp dealers are generally older men, typically 60 years plus.
This demographic has generally been one of the slowest adopters of modern technology. Your grandfather may still carry a flip phone. Or moreover may not have a cell phone at all. That said, only a moderate percentage have migrated online.
While there are more stamp dealers available by website or email than 10 years ago, the market is far from saturated. An online stamp dealer should be able conduct communication online through their website, email, or text messages.
Stamp Appraisal Process
They should be able to accept photos through these formats and let you know whether or not your stamp collection has any value to it. At the very least, they should be able to get a good enough idea of the quality of the collection and let you know if it’s worth further review or request an in-person examination.
Selling Your Stamp Collection
Once the stamps have been evaluated, or a stamp appraisal has been provided, you can choose to sell your stamp collection. If you are unsure of the valuation, or if it’s not what you expected, you may want to approach another stamp dealer for a second opinion.
However, it should be noted that the stamp dealer community is pretty small and tight. Most dealers know each other, and standards are set high. This means that the likelihood of getting duped by a reputable licensed stamp dealer is slim.
Most dealers may specialize in certain areas of stamp collecting. If your material is not something they are familiar with, or are not interested in buying, they likely can refer you to another dealer who does.
Just make sure the stamp dealer is a member of the American Philatelic Society. They act as a watchdog for the stamp collecting community, similar to the BBB. If the dealer is not fair or does not adhere to general standards of stamp dealing, people can issue a complaint to the APS. After enough wrongdoings, they will likely lose their membership.
Local Stamp Clubs
Lastly, there are the local stamp clubs. Just as with the physical stamp shops, local stamp collecting clubs have shrunk in their existence. Try searching with your city’s name when searching for a ‘stamp club’ online.
Stamp clubs are made of collectors who generally meet in-person. They buy, sell, and trade with each other at a local venue. Most meet once a month. Here, you may be able to find a buyer for your collection, or at the very least learn more about what you have.
These clubs are also responsible for putting on stamp shows. Stamp shows are usually annual events where nearby stamp dealers gather to set up shop. Stamp shows are open to the general public, and can be another good opportunity for you to learn more about your stamp collection and potentially find a buyer.
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