Selling On The Internet
Read this chapter if you want to know about selling stamps on the Internet.
15.1 General Information
The Internet is a computer network originally set up by the U.S. military. Now it is “public domain,” and it is accessible to anyone with a computer.
The Internet has grown by leaps and bounds, and online auction houses such as eBay (www.ebay.com) have revolution how people buy and sell things -- including stamps!
It is beyond the scope of this book to teach you how to be a successful seller on eBay. Chances are high, however, that you or someone you know is already using eBay to sell stuff.
Here are some general tips on selling stamps on eBay:
1. Make sure whoever is doing the selling has a good eBay feedback score. The higher your feedback score, and the fewer negative entries, the higher your credibility as a seller.
2. You will need a good digital camera that can take clear close-up shots of what you are selling.
3. You will need to be able to accurately describe what you are selling. For example, the listing might be for "$1,000 in MNH USA stamps ranging from 3 cents to 37 cents." The more accurate your description, the better.
4. Study completed auctions to see what prices people realized for similar items, in which category the item was listed, and how the sellers worded their listings.
5. Be a good seller. If there is any problem, cheerfully take the item back. Refund all of the original price, and cover the postage both ways. Avoid negative feedback!
15.2 Messages that work and ones that don’t
Here are a variety of messages I have seen on the Internet along with opinions on their effectiveness.
1. World-wide collection. SCV $50,000. Asking $40,000.
[Comment: Good luck!]
2. Recalled Legends of the West $125 + $5 shipping
[Comment: Should have no trouble selling it.]
3. Pitcairn Island 1/8 and 20/30. MNH. $45 for the lot.
[Comment: The 1/8 means Scott number 1 through number 8, by the way. These may or may not sell. The asking price is about 50% of SCV so someone may want them. The two sets should have been priced separately as a buyer may already have one or the other, and may not want duplicates.]
4. I have a birthday card from the early 1970s with a “First Man on The
Moon” stamp. I don’t know what it is worth.
[Comment: Forget it. Used USA stamps from the 1970s are pretty much worthless.]
5. I have 1,500 stamps from Spain for sale at 5 cents each + $3 shipping and
handling. That’s $78 total. There are 70 from the 1800s, 145 from 1900 to
1930, 200 from 1930 to 1940, 103 from 1940 to 1950..... Some of the stamps
are stuck to the pages. Stamps have not been cataloged nor picked over. You
will more than likely find many $1 to $4 stamps.
[Comment: I sold a lot of countries using this kind of message, and had a lot of happy buyers.]
TIP: Check your albums to see if the collector changed his/her stamp collecting strategy after a certain date. Some collectors collected a mixture of used and MH stamps up to a certain period and later switched to collecting just MNH. If that’s the case, you may want to consider selling all of the MNH stamps as a group. You can frequently find a buyer who will purchase all of your 1980 and later MNH world wide for 25 to 35% of SCV. If you find such a buyer, leave the stamps on the album pages and just fill in the prices in the margins. Then add up each page and mail the album pages. Because of rising postage rates world wide, MNH stamps after 1980 generally have significant face values. As you move back into the 1970s and 1960s, you will generally find the stamps are worth less. However, if you have stamps from these decades, and you wish to take the time to add them up, you can usually find a buyer for them, too.
15.3 Getting money from overseas
The Internet is global. Don’t be surprised if someone overseas wants to buy stamps from you. There are two things you need to keep in mind: 1) your postage costs to mail the stamps will be higher, and 2) the person overseas will have to send your payment in a form that you can use (normally US dollars).
eBay allows you to specify a shipping cost for shipments within the United States and a separate shipping cost outside the United States.
As far as receiving money from overseas, the easiest way is to simply accept Paypal (www.Paypal.com) as the only form of payment from non-USA buyers. Other than that, trying to handle foreign checks, money orders and currency tends to cause a lot of problems.
Be careful of accepting Canadian postal money orders even if they are denominated in United States dollars. I have had several banks refuse to cash them unless I paid a substantial fee.