What's it gonna take....?

Discussion in 'United States Stamps' started by Witty1, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. Witty1

    Witty1 New Member

    I started collecting U.S. stamps years ago, mostly plate blocks and interesting mint commemoratives, and then life's challenges interrupted my "nerdy" habit. I recently delved into the hobby again, admittingly for financial reasons. I am appalled at the loss and lack of value for these little critters since I stopped collecting in the 1980's. I mean, it's been 30 some years and most of these stamps have decreased in value! I was planning on donating these to my grandson but the overall value of my almost complete collection of U.S. plate blocks since the 1920's is hardly equal to my costs and I would be embarrassed to think they would be a worthy inheritance. I, of course, went to my local stamp and coin shop looking to sell these en masse and they offered .50 on the dollar for the entire collection! The shop owner says, "nobody ever comes in here and wants to buy stamps, period!"

    So my question is this: What's it gonna take for common U.S. stamps (1930-1980) to gain value again and at least be worth "face" value? Is it massive demand from the Chinese (which I don't see) the demise of the post office as we know it (which is unlikely) or some other event? Or is it a dead issue? Are these stamps the baseball cards of the 1990's and NOTHING is really gonna make a difference in our lifetime?

    I really want to know because I am deciding whether to slowly "use" the stamps on an occasional letter I mail or donate (give) them to a local children's hospital. I need some creative and meaningful input here, please!
  2. Peter T Davis

    Peter T Davis Administrator Moderator

    What it will take is more young collectors getting into the hobby. Value is a simple supply and demand question and stamps lose value because more and more stamps are coming out and less and less people are collecting them.
  3. Witty1

    Witty1 New Member

    Then maybe I should ask, "What's it gonna take to get more young collectors into the hobby?"

    To the contrary, they aren't making stamps between 1930-1980 anymore which means the "supply" is fixed, although I admit pretty high. So, in my mind, all we have to do is get enough"young collectors" interested in stamp collecting and hopefully they will buy up the supply. I ask you, ever asked the modern young if they'd like to collect stamps? If you could get them away from their computer, ipad or cellphone long enough, you might even get an answer!
  4. DonSellos

    DonSellos Moderator Moderator

    The other side of the coin is: "What will it take to get more middle aged collectors into the hobby. Stamp organizations and collectors have been trying for years to entice kids into stamp collecting with no luck. Maybe it's time to start going after the older folks who have both time and money. The older folks also aren't taken to electronic entertainment like our youth is. Not many agree with me on this perspective, though.

    In response to Witty1's basic question: will the stamp market turn around and will we see a rise in the value of contemporary stamps? No, probably not! Stamp collecting is a hobby on the decline. The interest is just not there compared to what it was in the 1920s, 30s, & 1940s, the so called golden age of stamp collecting. Paradoxically, there is more information about collecting and stamps in general via the web than ever before. I don't know what the reasons or answers are, but I don't think we will see a return to the number of collectors and the level of enthusiasm of years past. At the same time, there are collectors markets with small collectors bases for a number of highly specialized art works that sell for large sums. However, it's the good stuff that sells high, not common stuff. Again, paradoxically, one of the advantages of stamp collecting has always been the availability of low price stamps that are highly collectable.

    My advice to Witty1 is to move his contemporary stamps at as high as price as he can find -- which most likely would be discount postage. U.S. plate block collecting lost favor with the advent of those huge plate blocks in the 1970s.

  5. Peter T Davis

    Peter T Davis Administrator Moderator

    I don't think the fact that the supply of older stamps is fixed is the key factor there. The key factor is there are less people collecting and when collections come up on the market they go for pennies on the dollar. I think websites like this will help encourage people to join in because it will allow them to be in touch with others sharing the same interest. That's something I didn't have when I was younger. But, people won't find a website like this one unless they're actively looking for it. So, I think that it's down to people like us to reach out more to people who otherwise wouldn't consider collecting stamps. How to do that, is the hard part.
  6. Philactica

    Philactica Active Member

    >>I was planning on donating these to my grandson but the overall value of my almost complete collection of U.S. plate blocks since the 1920's is hardly equal to my costs and I would be embarrassed to think they would be a worthy inheritance.<<

    I do not know how old your grandson is but surely he is taught or being taught some history of the US.
    This would be a briliant opportunity to show history on stamps and how could one be embarrased by that beat me.

    Once you have the common stamp look for the flaws on the plate blocks and those that are damaged use them for postage. Though at this stage you would cover the whole envelope with stamps using the low values.

    The value of prices have gone down on the common item because they are in essence - common, worldwide.

    So take up the hobby with a different angle and forget what it cost you.
  7. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    It's gonna take a long time is the short answer to that question. I have watched over the past 50 years for the 3c commemoratives to achieve parity or a slight premium over parity. The modern commemoratives were printed in such vast volume that until most of it gets used up as make-up postage, if that is even possible, it won't be worth face value.
  8. Larry L. Taylor

    Larry L. Taylor Active Member

    Well, I've been doing my bit to prop up the market. I must have an 18-inch stack of duplicate plate blocks, and 800-1000 mint sheets. I use discounted postage stamps almost exclusively for any outgoing mail; maybe someone in some billing office will take the unusual stamps home to their kids?

    IMHO, much of the problems is lack of availability of stamp collecting supplies at the local level. I'm just worried about how much longer Amos Publications (a.k.a. Minkus) will continue to issue the supplements for their world-wide albums. That and the current diversions today's youth have available to them.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2014
  9. zararina

    zararina Simply Me! :D

    I think giving or passing it on to younger relatives or even on school could be a good idea to make more youth be involved on stamps.
    Stamps are getting more value on various reasons such as rarity.
  10. jim72051

    jim72051 Active Member

    I ran a stamp shop for years and I had to make those 50 cent offers. Actually the current rate is only 30 cents for postage with a face value under a dime. It is even worse for cover collectors that had them addressed.
    I recommended they send mint stamp packets to all their friends and let them use if for postage. I still do that to my family. Covers with addresses are not worth the postage to mail them to a charity. You are much better off selling what you have for what you can get. I suggest Ebay because a dealer needs to resell it again. Put what you get into one valuable stamp. Just like baseball cards, low value material (under $10) will always be low value material and high value material (over $100) will go higher.
    Witty1 likes this.
  11. derailed

    derailed Active Member

    Well, my grandma also gave me her stamp collection, and then I became a stamp collector. I suggest you to give him those stamps; it's a good start for him, and if they look good and he likes them, value doesn't really matter.

    And I guess it will take a few decades for those stamps to become rare, thus more valuable. You just have to wait a bit.
  12. Witty1

    Witty1 New Member

    Jim, thanks for your input. I think for Christmas this year, all my relatives will get mint stamps in their Christmas cards. Of course, I usually only send out 5 Christmas cards! But I will make an exception this year. Good idea.

    My grandson is 8 years old and he is a chess nut. I wonder what he would do with a bunch of stamps? I did get him some old .15 comic books once and he says to me: "but the pictures don't move!"

    There does seem to be a rather active stamp community on eBay and I've already started selling some of my common issues of blocks, although I can't see selling one block at a time for under a dollar which seems to be pretty common.

    Maybe I'll use the rest of my commons as wallpaper for my den! Hmmm
  13. Larry L. Taylor

    Larry L. Taylor Active Member

    If I can get a PayPal account set up in my name (have tried but haven't succeeded to date), I may start 'marketing' my plate block duplicates on www.stamps2go.com. To me, it's a very user friendly site and very responsive to purchasers. Payments are all made thru PayPal. As the seller, you set: (1) the purchase price of the item being offered for sale, (2) a minimum purchase amount for which you'll make a shipment, and (3) an indicated postage cost for any shipment made. Payment to PayPal is cleared before you have to ship the items, so payment is guaranteed. The site allows the seller to post images of what they're selling. The %'age stamps2go collects for transactions I think is fairly reasonable. You ought to be able to sell a little above face and at least break even.

    As to the working of the site, I usually work off a want list for various countries, and assemble bid(s) for the stamps I'm interested in, usually thru several different dealers. Price vary by dealer, and can range from 3 cents to 30 cents for the same stamp in the same condition, i.e. mint, used, CTO. Invariably, some of my desired purchases don't make minimum with a particular dealer, so those get voided. I usually get somewhere between 60-80% of any given wantlist filled and purchased.
  14. stampdad

    stampdad Member

    I think a good way to get young people involved in stamp collecting would be to get rid of all electronic devices { phones ,game systems , t.v. etc } and teach them that it takes alot of work and devotion to build a collection of any kind before you even worry about the big dollar value, or to continue to build something that a grandfather or other relative as built so far.
  15. visitor

    visitor Active Member

    I read somewhere that the two most popular hobbies are stamp collecting and fishing. Hmmm...
  16. Philactica

    Philactica Active Member

    I hope none of your young people known to you read your statement as this would be construed as heresy but yes, work and devotion gets the big dollar a concept the young tend to circumvent.
  17. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    It's a matter of simple economics supply & demand. There is more supply at the moment ten demand as our hobby dies. Even the so-called "rarities" have plummeted in value. Also, there is much better statistics on how much the supply is than in the 1980's. It's sad but a fact nonetheless.
  18. zararina

    zararina Simply Me! :D

    Good thing there is no young people in this forum? :p
  19. SATX Collector

    SATX Collector Remember the Alamo!

    I'd like to talk to you about getting some PB's, I have a large US collection but by no means complete. I am still buying...:happy:
  20. SATX Collector

    SATX Collector Remember the Alamo!

    I'd like to talk to you about getting some PB's, I have a large US collection but by no means complete. I am still buying...:happy:
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