Auction Woes

assorted colored vietnam postage stamps

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With only one day to go until it ended, I succumbed to the temptation of another stamp auction.  This one had lots of early Canadian stamps that would go so well in my collection, and help me fill up all those empty pages at the beginning of the book.

It sounded great. However these was some reluctance on my part.  The shipping cost was rather high.  It was about seven US dollars, plus 50 cents for the next stamp, and 50 cents for every subsequent stamp.  I know most of these people send it with postage they got at a reduced price, so I thought this was a bit out of line.

The temptation proved to be too great and I plunged in on the night before it ended. I reasoned that I had better win a bunch of stamps to make it worth the shipping costs.  So I dropped a bunch of bid on the stamps I thought I could afford.  I also put down some higher maximum bids to discourage poachers.

This morning, just after I got to work, my phone dinged that I had been outbid on one of the items. This continued throughout the day.  By the time I got back home, my bidding had been whittled down to three items.  It was then I felt a bit of a conundrum. The three stamps didn’t even amount to 50 cents.  However, I would have to pay 8 dollars in shipping.  I either had to up my bids on some of the items, or just accept it.

Well, before long, I was outbid on the remaining three items and I was free of this auction. I wanted the stamps, but I wasn’t able to get them.  I have to say I was relieved.

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My First Auction

assorted colored vietnam postage stamps

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It wasn’t my first….exactly.  I bought some stamps from eBay that were being auctioned.  I was the only bidder and won the lot (all the Italian stamps published in 1970) for the minimum bid.  So why make a  fuss over this one?  This was the first one where I had active competition.

So, I have bought a few stamps on HipStamp.  I have enjoyed the experience–except waiting for my stamps to appear.  I have bought a number of stamps for my 1970 collection, and despite it being in US dollars, have felt okay about the money I have spent.

I had never gotten into an auction though.  I am not really up on the prices and I don’t want to blow my budget.  In this case, some Canadian stamps were up that I knew had a heftier price tag, and I want to see how much of that album I can fill up.  These were pre 1935 stamps.  I didn’t have any of these in my album.

So, I took a deep breath and started bidding on four lots.  In some cases, I was beaten automatically by pre-registered bids.  In other cases, I had to wait a day before someone beat my bid.  Like most of us, I worried that someone was just bidding me up to raise the price–but then I thought they might be thinking the same about me.

Another bad thought struck me.  If I won only one of the lots, then I would have to pay shipping which almost equaled what I paid for the stamps.  Then again, I worried that if I became “desperate” to win the lots, I would over spend.  I have to admit, it caused some inner turmoil.

In the end, I waited until the last day and put in my final bid.  If it got beat, then I would just accept it and try again later.  Luckily, I won the four lots I bid on at a price I was quite comfortable with.  I even found a few stamps by the same seller to include in the sale to rationalize the shipping cost.

Will I do it again?  Absolutely.

How to Collect the Collection

stamp collection

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At the last show I attended, people asked me, “What do you collect?” on more than one occasion. When I answered 1970, they all seemed to pause, waiting for me to explain.  After I did, some said “Oh, I see.” A few, thought that it was a good idea.  The muttered ideas like;

 big enough without being too big

some good variety

interesting

not so old as to be very expensive

This makes me ponder a bit. I suppose stamp collecting all the stamps of 1970 will be much like other forms of collecting.  Some stamps will be easy to get and other will pose a bit more of a problem and then there will be those ones that will prove very difficult.

That difficulty will either come because of scarcity or expense. Thanks to the internet, stamp dealers, and stamp shows,  scarcity isn’t such a problem.  I can cast my net far and wide to find the stamps. However, can I pay for them?  French Antarctica seems rather expensive…..

Still, there will be some that will both be expensive and hard to find. North Korea, I suppose will cause a problem.  I wonder.

Stamp collectors far and wide, I have some questions for you.

What stamps from 1970 will be hardest to find, do you think/reckon?

What stamps are you desperately wanting to add to your collection?

Poking Around a Stamp Shop

In the quest to increase my 1970’s stamp collection, I visited a local stamp dealer. Actually, local is just a term I use to denote a stamp dealer I can get to.  The truth is that there are no local stamp dealers.  A big stamp auction house is located in my town, but they do not do any retail operations.  In this case, this one was located in Toronto and was within walking distance of the subway.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked in. I figured that the store would be set up somewhat like their booth is at a stamp show.  I have seen their booth, and even talked to them at the show.  The store was a little more chaotic…in a fun way.  Basically, they had a lot of different stuff in all manner of places.  It kind of reminded me of American Pickers.  There was organization, but I would need a guide.

The owners are a husband and wife team, but only the wife was there at that time. She was quite helpful in guiding me around the store, but there were a couple of times when the layout seemed to exasperate her as well.  I had fun poking around, but I am trying to avoid becoming a collector of piles of stuff.  There were lots of commemorative stuff, but nothing jumped out at me.

Sadly, I was really off my game. After not finding what I was looking for, I started looking at some stamps from Laos.  Having not brought my own numbers, I quickly checked the catalogues they had lying around the store.  I researched the numbers, but didn’t compare the catalogue images to the stamps I picked out.  I confused the semi-postal Scott numbers with the regular postal numbers.  Now I have Laos stamps from 1961 instead of 1970.  It just goes to show you that you need to be prepared.

Looking to put a positive spin on things, I must say that the stamps look rather beautiful.

Covers

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In completing the 1970’s stamp project, I know that there are a few ways to tackle the collection aspect of it.

I can go to shows and depending on my preparation, I can score a number of stamps this way.  I can also be blindsided by shiny accessories and completely skew my budget.

I can go to shops and do pretty much the same thing I can do at shows, but with fewer people around.  I don’t know if this will mean better or worse deals, but it wouldn’t be a bad way to spend an afternoon…or a whole day.

I am on the Staporama forum/website.  They have auctions and approvals which sometimes yield some decent bargains (I missed getting the Tokelau stamps I wanted in a recent approval offering–but maybe someday they will appear again.

I can search eBay.  There are lots of people selling complete collections of 1970 stamps that look so inviting.  Other people have broken them down into smaller sets, but with persistence, tenacity, patience, and lots of checking, I can usually slap together the whole year.

The interesting thing about the last two ideas is that the stamps get sent to me in the mail.  This is pretty awesome because some of the dealers send the stamps in nice form and the covers are amazing.  I just wanted to share a few with you.

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Attending An Autumn Stamp Show

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I went to the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show yesterday.  I had already gone to the Spring Show and was expecting pretty much the same thing.  This time, however, I had a better idea of what I was looking for.  I could have done more research, but I got busy and put it off.  For my previous experience at this show, please click here.

I had five main goals in attending the show

  1. Fill in the gaps in my Canada collection from the 40’s to the 80’s
  2. Advance my collection of the year 1970
  3. Get two binders and a bunch of vario sheets–they had had such an amazing deal last time and I was hoping it would be repeated.
  4. Don’t start broadening my collection by starting to collect other stuff
  5. Don’t spend too much money.

How did I do?

Number one

This was an area that I spent a bit of time preparing.  I have the Canadian Catalogue so I was able to write down the numbers I needed and make a pretty decent checklist.  I probably should have scouted out the dealers a bit better to see which one had the best deal.  Instead, I picked one that I had good rapport with from the previous show and sat down at his booth.

I picked up a good number of stamps and with a couple of exceptions and things I overlooked, the 50-70s are pretty much done.

Number two

I managed to pick up the Poland stamps I was missing from my 1970 year collection. I had bid on them on eBay, and won. The seller contacted me and told me that the set was incomplete and hoped I would be okay with that.  I wasn’t and asked for a refund.  The seller granted the refund and after reading my explanation of why I didn’t like the deal (not just on the principle of the thing, but on my lack of clarity on how difficult or easy it would be to rectify on my own) he gave me a refund and mailed the stamps to me for free.

I also managed to get the Falkland Islands, Gambia, Ireland, Gibraltar, and all of Fiji except for four stamps (which I have located on eBay).  I also managed to learn that French Antarctica stamps are way too expensive.  There are only four of them, but they won’t be entering my collection in mint state any time soon.

This is an area which I wasn’t prepared for. I should have done my writing of Scott numbers.  I have the online site that has this information, but I found it difficult to wade through it.

Number three

 Sadly, the great deal on binders and vario sheets was nowhere to be found. That dealer didn’t show up to this show.  I was disappointed, but maybe they will be at the Spring show or some other show.  Maybe they will have a good online deal.  I did find someone selling the sheets, but the price was no where close to the other deal.

Number four

 I managed to mostly restrain myself. I did pick up a package of train stamps in a presentation pack.  It was a phenomenal deal …. and I like trains.  There are other stamps in the package, so I don’t know what I will do with them.

I also picked up a 1915 Canadian penny. These are the large cents.  I bought it because it wasn’t expensive, though considerably higher than the one cent price tag it had originally, and because I think they look good and I have always wanted to have one of the pennies.

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Number five

Well, this was never going to go according to plan. I spent modestly on the stamps, (except for the Falkland Islands and a couple of stamps in the Ireland collection), but I came across a set of 2015 Scott Catalogues. I was hoping that I could get them from my library when they were going to discard them, but I couldn’t count on that happening.  I was offered a very reasonable deal.  While they won’t help with the 2018 or 2019 values, they will help me do research for the 1970 project.  It will also give me a lot to look at.

Overall

I enjoyed the show and enjoyed talking to people at the show. I wish I had gotten there a bit earlier, or maybe paid the admission fee for Saturday.  The previous show had displays by the North Toronto Stamp Club that were interesting.  I wish they had had some of those this time.  However, the stamp club is having its open house in two weeks, so I can see that as some kind of conflict.

I have got to prepare more and I have to be better informed. Next time.

Cool Stamps

50-years-of-Color-Television

When I started this stamp odyssey, I told myself that I wasn’t going to get sucked in.  I was just going to collect Canadian stamps up to a year that wasn’t ridiculous.  I wasn’t going to collect all over the world and I wasn’t going to collect a million different themes.  Maybe bicycles.  That was supposed to be it.

The thing is, there are just so many cool stamps out there.  The one above caught my eye in a Stamp magazine.  There is just something so cool about it.  Maybe it’s because I remember the era of the test pattern.  Maybe it is because it represents a specific nostalgia from my childhood.

As for keeping to prescribed limits.  Well, every time I see a bicycle stamp, I want it.  Every time I see stamps that depict toys and games…well, I want them.  Every time I see a cool image, I want it.

I have started my 1970’s collection and I have already got more than ten countries done and quite a few more stamps on my eBay watchlist.  Sadly, I missed a good deal that ended today because I didn’t realize it was an auction–which nobody bid on.  Oh well.

Below is another example of stamps I find cool and would love to own.

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