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Monday, October 24, 2016

Sales for October Pass $3,000 With A Week to Go, Massive Listings This Week & Starting a New Collection

After a very busy week with sales, our total for October has now passed the $3,000 mark with a full week to go before the end of the month, which is a fantastic result. Volume of items sold is up and at the same time we are seeing sales in areas which have previously been quiet. Some of this may be attributable to the fact that just over a week ago we placed approximately 25% of our store items on sale at 25% off. Instantly, we saw some increased sales, not only of that material, but also of other stamps that were not on sale.

I spent all of last week scanning and uploading images for material covering the period from 1930-1935. In all, I scanned close to 800 stamps, representing what is probably the most in-depth selection anywhere of this material, nearly all of it mint. This week I am looking forward to getting it all listed and taking our store item count above the 6,000 item mark. That will leave us in striking position to hopefully get all the material from 1935-1937 listed as well. I will be one very happy camper if I can have all our material to the end of King George V listed before we leave for New Brunswick, as the bulk of this material is NH and the kind that is popular with collectors.

All of this handling of 1930's mint stamps has re-awakened in me a desire to begin collecting again. I just love the colours, designs and freshness of the stamps. But there is one problem: I do not want to compete in any way as a collector with my customers. I have to make sure that what I collect is completely different from anything I am currently selling. I also don't want to spend a lot of money on my stamps - at least not for a long time. Why? Because I simply cannot justify it when I am trying to build a new life with Steph.

After much thought, I decided that the time is right to try my hand at United States stamps issued between 1922 and 1971. Apart from the fact that they are attractive, and plentiful, they are very inexpensive. There is very little pretense of these ever being worth any significant amount of money. Collecting material like this completely frees me from any worry about how much I am spending and instead I can enjoy it for what it should be: a hobby - just like going out at the end of the week fora nice dinner. Below are some examples of what stamps from the US during this period look like:

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The Washington Bicentennial Issue of 1932.

 Image result for us commemorative stamps

The FDR memorial issue of 1945.

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The American Credo Issue of 1960.

Nice looking stamps, aren't they? I just made my first purchase of them over the weekend and I must say that I am looking forward to having fun with them and seeing what I can discover in terms of printing varieties and neat postal usages. 


  1. Great to hear how your sales are scaling new heights Chris.

    One point (I don't think) you've discussed yet though is overall profitability...and how you are measuring this. $3000 sales is great but only if your initial costs were significantly less.

    How do you track this? Say you sell a stamp for $100 that you bought in a collection two years ago for $2500. Unless you can link back the sales from all the stamps that were broken out of that original collection, how can you tell whether the initial purchase was profitable in the first place?

    As ever, great blog!


    1. Hi Nick.

      I thought I had alluded to this earlier, but I guess I hadn't made it clear.

      My costs are about 1/3rd of revenue for the early better material, and significantly less for the modern material. So the overall profitability is very good.

      I actually do keep track of all my inventory as I list it. One advantage to listing everything on E-bay is that every single item has a unique 12-digit ID number. So I track my purchases in Excel and then I track my listings in Excel as well. Then once I have everything listed, I can apportion the costs to the inventory using relative catalogue values.

      So for example, if I buy a collection for $1,000 that catalogues $10,000, my cost is 10% of catalogue and I can assign this to the inventory when it is listed. This information is critical, as it allows me to determine how much of an offer I can accept from a buyer for a particular stamp.

      10% sounds ridiculously low, but when you factor in the labour involved in preparing the stamps for resale and the time it takes to sell them, it really isn't. You need a very high markup to make a living selling individual stamps at retail - much, much more than you need if you are wholesaling, since the turnover with wholesale is much more rapid. But with wholesaling, you are not getting to service collectors individually, or as closely, and a large part of the satisfaction for me is helping collectors enjoy their experience of this hobby.