Selling Your Stamps? - cont. Part 2 - Tips Of The Trade

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Selling Your Stamps? (Continued) Part 2:

Summary Tip #19:  5 Different Ways to Sell your Stamps: Choose with Care.

Dear Collector,

Following the first article in the 'Selling your Stamps?' series we present the advantages and disadvantages inherent in each of the 5 different ways to sell your stamps.

1. Direct Sale: To a Dealer - or Stamp Auction buying on their own account.

The merits of 'direct sale' are often under-estimated by collectors. Direct sale, intelligently handled, may yield considerable benefits. For example we recently purchased a modest collection at a major London auction which was estimated at £4,000 to £5,000. Remember in our last article #18 when we talked about 'know the strength of your collection' ... this collection was the kind that no public auction house could afford to 'break' on behalf of the owner - so it was offered intact as one lot. Inevitably no
collector would purchase such a diverse collection - so the 'trade' was bidding against each other in order to purchase. Finally we purchased the collection for £8,158 including 20% buyer's premium.
The collection actually sold for £6,800. The auction's commission charged to the buyer was £1,358.

But that's not the end of the story. Did the seller receive £6,800? ... NO. The seller received £6,800 less the seller's commission which unless specially negotiated was a further 17.62% inclusive of VAT. That's a further £1,198 to be deducted from the £6,800 sale price. The owner will have received £5,602 upon a collection soldto us for which we paid £8,158 !

45% MORE was paid for the public auction to sell the collection to a stamp dealer.

£2,556 more was paid that the collector did not receive.

I can hear you saying that Auctions exist so that buyers compete to pay more for your stamps - it's true - but some collections simply are not suited to being sold via public auction. All you are doing is paying an auction to ensure that dealers compete to purchase your collection ...

BUT - there are imaginative ways that you can obtain more from dealers without going to auction - and have the benefit of certainty too, whilst not waiting up to 6 months for your money ...
for example -

... a valuable collection was offered to us earlier this year. We're allowed to write what happened without revealing any confidences. Unfortunately the Father had died leaving one of his two Daughters £25,000 and the other Daughter his Stamp Collection - a very difficult situation as you might imagine. Believing the collection may be valuable, unusually, 3 different dealers visited to value it. All 3 dealers incurred costs - in our case 6 travelling hours and 260 miles - so none was happy to leave an offer on the 'table' for the next dealer to pay £50 more and purchase the collection -

..... what was the client to do allowing fair play to all?

We suggested an 'auction' monitored by the owner of the collection - not hard to conduct in the age of landline and mobile phones... and opened the bidding with a £20,000 bid.

The 3rd Dealer dropped out - the 2nd dealer had just finished viewing the collection so was actually on the client's premises. He bid £21,000, we bid £22,000 ... and so it went on until bidding 'narrowed' to £500 increments and finally we purchased the collection for £27,500 and travelled 260 miles again to collect it and pay for it.

The client thanked the 2nd dealer for his time and participation with a small ex-gratia payment. Fortunately a happy ending for the client - amazingly, more than her Sister ... it could so easily have been a different outcome.

But what if that collection had been publicly auctioned as one lot or 7 volumes + residue? For the client to have been better off - the trade would have had to pay more than £40,000 ... an unlikely scenario. The moral - know the strength of your collection and 'pick' the right people to participate in its purchase.

In our next article we'll discuss alternatives.

Happy collecting from us all,

PS. If you find this 'tip' interesting please share it with a philatelic friend. Sign up to start receivng the whole series of Free Stamp 'Tips of the Trade' at

Andrew McGavin

Managing Director: Universal Philatelic Auctions, Omniphil & Avon Approvals, Avon Mixtures, UniversalPhilatelic (Ebay)

STAMPS! WE LOVE THEM! Buying or selling your stamps? Collectors - we have four different departments that can help you find all the stamps you want. Our Auctions have up to 16,241 lots in our famous quarterly auctions.

Visit our website when you want to buy or sell stamps.

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