Buying and Selling Stamps
Mailorder is an invaluable way to buy stamps for people with specialist interests, especially when they don't have adequate local dealers to work with. This usually includes most people that collect Russian stamps, and the chances are that you, too, have purchased a fair amount of material through the mail.
Mailorder firms seem to fall into three broad categories. The first category are the semi-wholesale "cheaper in bulk" companies, some of which literally sell Russian stamps literally by the pound (and with a 5lb minimum order as well!). These sorts of companies generally don't specialise in any given country, instead their specialisation is in selling larger quantities of stamps at low price, and the chances are that the stamps you get from them are low value stamps. However, it is a great way of filling up your swaps inventory, and if your collection still has plenty of holes, especially in the period 1960-1990 (which seems to be the period that most "bulk" stamps fall within) then it is an inexpensive way of getting some fills and some spares. You usually can't get much of a discount from such companies - they say, and quite correctly, that their product is already heavily discounted.
The second category are the Russian specialists. Many times they'll send you out a stocklist/pricelist of the Russian material they have in stock, and you can pick and choose individual stamps or sets as you wish - adopting more of a "rifle shot" approach to collecting as contrasted with the "scattergun" approach of the semi-wholesale companies above. If you buy in large quantities from such companies you will generally get a discount off their pricelist prices.
The third category are mail order companies that send out collections of stamps "on approval". I haven't bought stamps that way since I was a little boy, but the practice seems to continue, which plainly means that it obviously "works" (ie is efficient and profitable) for the dealers that do it. If you have a regular budget set aside for stamp purchasing, then having approval stamps "automatically" appear in your mailbox might be a good way to have a changing mix of stamps conveniently appear for you to review and potentially purchase.
Needless to say, if you're looking at selling stamps, the Russian mailorder specialist companies represent as good companies to approach. The fact that they tend to sell their stamps for high prices means that (in theory) they can afford to pay higher prices to buy stamps in as well.
This page last modified on May 15, 2010