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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sales Pass $3.100 With A Week To Go in March And Some Bad News

Sales for this month continue to be good, with another $1,100 or in the week since I had said that our total stood at around $2,000. What is particularly encouraging about this month's sales total is that there were no large sales inflating the total.The entire amount is made up of sales under $200. I checked my sales spreadsheet and I see that we sold just over 200 items so far, which is excellent. By far, the best category continues to be the Wilding Issue with items from that issue selling every week to a variety of customers. What's more, our realizations for that material as a percentage of catalogue value continue to amaze me. Also, I can see sales beginning to pick up on the 1908 Quebec Tercentenary Issue and the Admiral Issue, just about a month or so after posting the material for sale. A month seems to be about how long it takes for the market to digest the material to the point of being ready to start buying it. Although we have not had any sales on Bonanza as yet after two months of membership, I can see that traffic to view our items is increasing, which is excellent.

However, this week also had its share of seemingly bad news:

1. One of our investors has told me that he no longer has the money to proceed with his investment. So I now have to find someone to replace him if I want to follow our original business plan, as it called for a certain amount of investment capital. Without that capital, we may have a hard time bringing our store inventory up to the level  of depth and breadth that we feel is necessary to fully serve our target customers.

2. E-bay just announced that they are phasing out US currency listings on This means that I am going to have to re-do almost 4,000 listings before August, or they will end and I won't be able to renew them. That is potentially a HUGE problem.

The funny thing is that I saw both these things coming. My investor had indicated that he might not have the cash to proceed several months ago, but because he was interested and also because I just didn't want to believe it would fall through, I chose to be optimistic. Of course, I should have been looking for potential replacements back then. Luckily for me, I have established a lot of contacts in the past 10 years and there are a large number of people I can talk to who either could invest, or could suggest someone who would be interested in becoming a shareholder. The e-bay thing, I could sense, as soon as they changed their tune about the desirability of pricing in US dollars. Forever, they have said that listings in US dollars get more traffic and better views. So of course practically every Canadian seller uses US dollars. Now the grand pooh-bahs at e-bay have decided the time has come to get rid of this choice for Canadian sellers.

This wouldn't be such a bad thing if there weren't sellers like myself with thousands, or tens of thousands of listings to change. They are saying that they will have a bulk editing tool available in May, but it appears as though this tool is going to be extremely cumbersome to use, as it will create duplicates of all my listings, so that I will still have to go back and end a bunch of listings separately in order to avoid getting hit with duplicate listing violations. Apparently, I am one of the lucky ones though because I can actually afford to convert the currencies on a 1:1 basis, as it just means that I will require a higher percentage of my asking prices for offers now. But many other sellers are not so lucky - some have come to depend on the U.S. exchange differential for a portion of their profit margin. For many of us who buy in U.S. dollars, it is going to mean that we lose the natural hedge against exchange rate fluctuations that selling in U.S dollars gave us.

I went onto the community discussion boards and expressed my concerns, but I can see they fell on deaf ears, as neither of the two e-bay reps responded to my posts. Many have suggested moving the listings to, but I think that selling on probably constitutes doing business in the US for income taxation purposes. Of course the rules of nexus are extremely complicated, so I do not know what the correct answer is. However, I would not simply just go ahead and start selling on without checking with a cross-border tax expert, as the IRS penalties for non-compliance can be huge.  I raised this concern on the community boards and the general response I got was along the lines of "Oh I'm sure its not a problem. I've been selling on .com for years and I've never heard of this issue before." Yeah that's reassuring. If I've never heard of a problem then it must be OK right? I mean, those guys at e-bay are international tax experts and if there was a problem, they would have told us right? Unreal.

Anyways, after a couple days I calmed down and have come up with a plan to spread the required work over three months. With any luck, lots of the stamps will sell,  reducing the amount of work required.

Anyways, happy Easter everyone!


  1. always check and double check, because you could be the first.

  2. Hey Dale. How's it going? Not quite sure what you mean by your comment. I could be the first in what sense?