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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Step 1 Straightening Out the Mess and Organizing the Home Office

I'm going to veer off the topic of why I chose to leave my profession and discuss what I did in my first week: straightening out the mess that is my office. To illustrate I will show you my office and what it looks like now. Then I can describe how it looked earlier in the week when I officially started as a full time dealer:

The china cabinet above is where I have kept all my inventory. When I started this week, the left side of the cabinet was crammed full of albums and collections that I had bought. My job this week was to break these down and get all the stamps out of the albums, and on to cards, where I can more easily track them, cost them, inventory them and work with them. There is a lot of glare on the left side unfortunately as these were just quick shots I took with my Iphone, but everything on the left is organized Nigeria and boxes of envelopes priced and ready to sell. The black and red boxes on the right contain cards with stamps in them. Each red box holds 1000 cards and there are 26 full boxes, The black boxes contain large cards with larger items and there are about 500 to a box and approximately 12 boxes. The bottom shelf  and on top of the cabinet is Canadian stuff that I have identified, catalogued, graded and priced, while the upper 2 shelves are Canada that I rough sorted onto cards, but have not done anything with. My next task is to sort the cards in these boxes and re-order them so that I can begin to make a comprehensive inventory spreadsheet and then I can begin the detailed work of listing on e-bay. 

My desk - a humble number from Ikea with matching lack shelf above the desk which holds my scanner and accessories for identifying various stamp attributes. When I started this week the scanner was piled about a foot high with unopened mail from stamps I had bought in the six months after I had told my partners of my upcoming departure. 

This wall shelf contains what I believe to be one of the largest stocks of Nigerian stamps and postal history in the world. It was my personal collection until I decided to leave accounting to pursue full time stamp dealing. 

A box of empty albums left over from cleaning out the china cabinet. I can't really sell these because the shipping costs would be prohibitive. So I will probably donate them to my local stamp dealer colleague in the city who can give them away to his customers. 

These are the cards I am talking about. At the moment, there are several kinds of stamps in each of these cards because this was a rough sort by country. Eventually these stamps will be more finely sorted so that each card contains one type of stamp - maybe several copies, but only one type. There is space on the top to write the identifying characteristics, price etc. Even the e-bay item number can be written right on the card, which makes tracking the stamps a cinch. 

This Iphone image does not do it justice, but the above is an example of one of the rarer items I will be selling. It is the first Special Delivery issue of Canada that appeared in 1898 and was in consistent use until it was replaced in 1922 by a 20c stamp. It is a difficult stamp to find in pristine mint condition, and the above is a block of 4. Once I get this scanned, I will replace the picture with a better one. 

So all in all, this was a successful first week. Very time consuming work, but very necessary to being able to figure out what I have and work with it efficiently in the weeks and months to come. 

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