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Buying Stamps in Tough Economic Times

Money Saving Tricks For Acquiring Stamps

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Buy new issues from countries or agencies

While working for a large corporate stamp company I saw the markup placed on new issues. Didn't people know that they could save money by buying direct from the issuing country? But when your topic is a popular one and many stamps are issued each year by many countries, who has time to track them all down? Well, there are stamp agencies offering stamps from a variety of countries under one roof. Sold at face value, collectors can save money by using them.

Have a few favorite dealers

One thing that has always held true in the independent dealer stamp world is the more you buy the less you pay. You pay less percentage-wise of course. It works like this: You go to a dealer at a stamp show and decide to buy X. It costs $5. But then you see Y and you add it to your original purchase. More often than not I have found a dealer will automatically offer you a discount at this point. So, it is always good to buy more from an individual dealer if possible, rather than spreading out small purchases among the many. Try it -- it works. S (Stamps) x Q (Quantity) = V (Value)

Trade with fellow collectors

Want to save money? Then don't involve money at all. If you've been into the hobby for any period of time you certainly know others who collect similar material. Contact them to see if they are in the position to trade for your duplicates or stamps in your collection that no longer fit due to a change of your interests. If you're new to the hobby get on stamp boards to meet other collectors who may become your trading partners.

Buy lesser quality

I know this is sacrilege to some of you, but if you can stand to lower your standards a bit the savings can be significant. Don’t forget that in many cases what is wrong with a stamp is something that neither you or any of your viewers will see: anything on the back of the stamp, invisible faults, minor thins, the tiniest of tears, etc. Yes, condition is king, but when times get tough, the tough economize.

Buy for the future

You have to spend more now, but in the long run you will save money. About those expensive stamps that you’re drooling over now that you’ll buy someday, as you add the one and two dollar stamps to your collection now: Buy the good ones now, not the cheapies. The good ones will most likely get even more expensive. Cheapies will always be cheapies.

Buy in bulk

Yes, that expression is more often used in relation to commodities like sugar or potatoes. But like those items you will get a nice price break the more you buy. Buy collections, buy box lots, buy accumulations. Accumulations are particularly nice because depending on how careful the dealer is you may find some nice uncataloged items among the mish-mosh. I'm not saying buy the lots you see advertised as "Unchecked!!! Possibilities of Rarity Finds!!! A Fortune in Catalog Value for $25!!!" But if you find a trustworthy dealer (See Have a few favorite dealers, above) you can buy bulk lots in confidence and at a savings. And maybe even make a little money for yourself.

Possess the knowledge

Perhaps one of the simplest ways to come out ahead in stamp buying is simply to know your area from every angle. Join clubs, confab with other collectors, read stamp magazines and journals, and learn some history of the hobby for good measure. In short, generally have your collecting area down cold. You'll be able to see bargains and opportunities others will overlook.

Take care of your stamps and they'll take care of you

Keep them in the best storage options available. Don't economize when buying albums. Some of the bargain albums and stockbooks aren't archivally safe; keeping your stamps in them is putting your collection at risk. You want to maintain your collection in the best possible condition. This will not only give you great pleasure when viewing or showing off your stamps to others, it will mean that you will receive a greater return on your investment when you go to sell and the dealer actually does pay you “top dollar,” as his ad states.

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