Make more money on your sales by buying stamps in advance!

Castro

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Here's one you may not have considered - if you are a regular online seller did you know you can give your profit margin a boost by buying your postage in advance?

It's possible to buy unused stamps for a massive discount - I tend to aim to pay about 60% of face value, which is a little more work but if you aim for 70-75% you will find this very easy. If you spend £100 a month in posting ebay items you could easily save yourself upwards of £300 a year!

There's levels to this game so we will start out with the easiest and most basic method; although this won't save you as much money as other tricks!


Easiest thing to do is use a website like philatelink, for example:

https://www.philatelink.co.uk/100-x-1st-class-67p-discounted-picture-stamps-1816-p.asp - 100 x 1st Class stamps for £58, representing a 13.5% discount.

https://www.philatelink.co.uk/30425-face-value-bag-of-stamps-20p-to-68p-26-off-2327-p.asp £304 of stamps 20p to 68p for £225 - a 26% discount


The next step up is to find listings for mint unused stamps on ebay. Search for terms like "mint" "unused "MNH" -aka "Mint Never Hinged'. Presentation packs, and presitge booklets can also sell for well under face value.

Look for lots which either give the face value of the collection or which have clear enough pictures you can tot up the total; then divide by the saving you want to achieve and take off any postage - eg. £100 worth of stamps with £1 P&P - you want to pay 70% face value max so £100 * 70% - £1 postage = max bid of £69.

Some lots I've bought with this method:

Book with stamps - I still use the stamp book and it also contains a few pages of pre-decimal stamps I haven't got round to selling yet - Face value of the decimal £95; I paid £67 so a 30% discount plus a free stamp book and pre-decimal stamps to sell!

50 x 76p stamps - they were a bit crumpled but were all fine to use, Face value £38 I paid £20.50 so discount of 46%!

A lot listed as "over £60 face value" - paid £40 when i totted up the FV when I got home it was £71,85! Get in! Discount of 44%!

Maybe you're looking to buy a really large amount of stamps, or like me you're hell bent on getting the biggest discount possible and keep getting outbid on ebay by people happy with a 25% discount! You need to look at some specialist stamp auctions!!

I've bought a few lots now from Somerset Stamp Auctions - they're a very reputable business but in a sense it's a little riskier; you'll not see the stamps you are bidding on and have to calculate for the auctioneers premium and postage in your bids. Bids can be submitted in advance via email. I tend to look at the text catalogue and search for the words "face value". I've paid about 60% of face value whenever I have used Somerset Stamp Auctions - I've had a couple better results on ebay but it's a bigger time commitment on ebay when i consider all the lots i've manually added up and not won.

Common pitfalls:

Being flooded with very low value stamps - I've got quite a bit of low value stamps now! Aim for newer issues where possible and avoid buying lots which are exclusively 1970s issues as you won't get any stamp values higher than about 14p! Also try to use one or two low value stamps each time you post to avoid building up too big a collection!

Don't buy any pre-decimal lots! Usually pre-decimal lots won't list a face value; and they are in old money so 4d, 1'9 etc instead of 4p, £1.12 etc.

Don't buy any dodgy overseas territories! I'm talking about Channel Islands, IoM, etc. The discounts on these can be huuuge but unless you plan on going to Guernsey every time you sell something on ebay then you're wasting your money as they won't be accepted at a UK post office. General rule is if it has the queens head and is in £ and p it is a British stamp UNLESS it has the name of another state on the stamp.

Posting:

The best thing to do is work out how much you need before hand, find that amount in stamps and affix on package before you go to the PO. They will weigh at the counter, sometimes double check your counting, sometimes not, postmark the stamps and off it goes! It's helpful to know when you get to the counter how much postage/what class of postage each item is, sometimes i jot it on the front of the package.

If you're feeling lazy you can always overpay slightly rather than working it out exactly eg you affix 5 x 30p stamps (£1.50) to a letter with £1.40 to pay - you lose the 10p you overpaid.
The other option is to underpay, you will then need to make up the payment at the PO counter - eg affixing 4 x 30p stamps would leave you with 20p to pay at the PO - obviously you buy this at 100% face value so both of these shortcuts will cut into your profit margin.

The only other thing I can think of right now is NVIs (non value indicators, eg 1st, 2nd and E) - I tend to save them as long as possible using other stamps first, I'll tend to buy more stamps if I'm flush rather than use my NVIs. Reason for this is NVIs go up in value! Take the first link I posted a 13.5% discount on 100 1st class stamps - in March the price of 1st class will go up again, probably by 2p, meaning those stamps which were worth £67 are now worth £69 and the discount you achieve is effectively gone up to 16%.

Hope you guys enjoy this post and it helps you make even more money!

Happy to answer any questions :)
 
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homie

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Some interesting ideas. You are right about the NVI stamps. I bought 100 1st class stamps from ebay 3 years ago and still have some left, the price has gone up 3 times since so its a good way of capping your postage costs for a while.

If you're confident you know the exact cost of your package and it is small enough to go in a post box then the extra advantage of having lots of different denominations of stamps is it can just go straight in the nearest post box and save a trip to the post office.
 

fraserbooks

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I belong to the Royal Mail monitoring panel. Panellists get 12 x first class stamps and 4 large letter stamps a month. It works out at about £12.70 a month. You also get a presentation set from time to time. I also used to bulk buy padded envelopes from E.bay in my book selling days.
 

Castro

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I belong to the Royal Mail monitoring panel. Panellists get 12 x first class stamps and 4 large letter stamps a month. It works out at about £12.70 a month. You also get a presentation set from time to time. I also used to bulk buy padded envelopes from E.bay in my book selling days.
That's great! What's the Royal Mail monitoring panel? :D

Can i play? ;)
 

fraserbooks

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https://postalsurveys.tnsglobal.com/ Here is a bit more about it. It is run by Kantar. I used to sell books on Amazon so I found the stamps useful. Basically you go live for about 6 months and then rest for six months. When live you have to post letters and parcels to other panellists and record those you receive. Usually four or five a week. You receive stamps, love to shop vouchers and a certain amount of packing material which can be recycled.
 
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Castro

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just bought an obscene amount of postage at auction - better get selling!!
 

homie

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I have a strong suspicion the Royal Mail will cancel all the old QE2 stamps quite soon after the Queen dies and new Charles ones are issued. Although I have a fair hoard of QE2 stamps too I'm mindful not purchase too many for the future just in case.
 
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I have a strong suspicion the Royal Mail will cancel all the old QE2 stamps quite soon after the Queen dies and new Charles ones are issued. Although I have a fair hoard of QE2 stamps too I'm mindful not purchase too many for the future just in case.
That is a very good point!
 

Castro

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Hmm, a valid concern but I don't think it's very likely as it would be a PR disaster and quite possibly not legal and/or against the terms by which RM was taken private:

from that Martin chap's website, emphasis on the "fair and reasonable":


"Will 1st class always be valid?

Almost certainly. Before yelling it, we had of course checked with Royal Mail. It says…

Stamps without a specified monetary value are described as Non Value Indicator (NVI) and are typically first and second class stamps. These do not have an expiry date, therefore can be used regardless of the length of time you’ve had them.
"Stamps with a monetary value also do not have an expiry date and can be combined to make up the value of postage required. This has always been the case with stamps and we have no plans to make any changes to this."
Then we checked with Ofcom. It says:

Any changes to terms and conditions for Royal Mail’s customers have to have to be fair and reasonable, which is a regulatory obligation we have imposed as part of this week’s decision on securing the UK postal service."
This pretty plainly means that Royal Mail aren’t planning to pull the rug from underneath people’s feet. If they did, they would then have to prove it is fair and reasonable, or the regulator could kibosh it.

As there is no sell-by date on stamps, my view, and that of people in the know I’ve spoken to, is that it’s an almost watertight argument that it wouldn’t be fair and reasonable if they did start moving the goalposts (at least not without many years of notice)."
 
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