Thursday, October 14, 2010
So You Want Yo Be A Stamp Dealer
Let's say you want to become a part time stamp dealer. Let's say your reasons are the usual ones. You like stamps, everything about them. You like to find them and acquire them and you love thinking that you purchased something that in the vernacular would be called a good deal. But you have all the affordable stamps in the area that you collect and you are not all that interested in starting a new collection. Buying and selling is a wonderful way to keep doing those things in our hobby that are most interesting to you. But how can you best be a stamp dealer with minimum capital, minimum risk, and maximum fun? My suggestion is to become a small specialty seller in an area that is popular, hard to find and not overpriced. Several areas immediately come to mind such as Italian colonies, German colonies, French Colonies, or Spanish or Portuguese colonies. Here's why these work. These are stamps that are not routinely offered by every stamp dealer so that finding them will be a challenge (remember, you are a collector, you like that kind of thing). Next when you do find items for stock, the price point of each stamp or set is low enough that with a few thousand dollars you should be able to obtain a stock of several hundred items. And third, at auction sometimes stamps from these areas can be bought a bit cheaper than perhaps they are worth because small groups of them often don't get proper bidding coverage. Once you've established a stock you can offer a few items on EBay to gain some customers. But the real goal is to have a price list so you can sell the items to a collector who wants the convenience of buying a large amount of this material at one time rather than doing the leg work that you've done to establish the stock. Collections of the above mentioned stamps typically sell below 20% of Scott and singles retail at up to half, so there is plenty of profit potential. In my last auction, I recognized the bids of seven or eight small dealers who have been employing this strategy successfully for years.
Posted by John Apfelbaum