Oct 21, 2019 - The Future Of Investing In Stamps On eBay

GUEST COMMENTARIES BY: Eric Jackson Philatelists and Markest Inc.
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In his recent letter to the APS American Philatelic Society, Warren Buffet said {paraphrasing} 'he can hardly remember what he did yesterday but can remember with clarity the many joys of stamp collecting 75 years ago!'. As one allows the magnitude of that statement to absorb, one is struck by the sheer power of what binds us and drives our industry. Regardless at what level we pursue the passion we call stamps, we are all collectors, we are all investors, eager to validate our own self-worth in whatever tangible or intangible form it may take to call it achievement.

On a certain parallel, the amount spent on a stamp crosses over from collectible to asset class investment. A collector could certainly spend from pennies to millions of dollars to add a single stamp to his collection. In between a penny and a million dollars lies a threshold that determines the ROI (return on investment) of a collection. Are one million penny each stamps worth a million pennies? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
What we do know is that according to the data, the market describes potential investment value brackets in $100's, $1,000's and $10,000's of dollars. Not in $10's of dollars. $10's of dollars more adequately describes a collector market than an investor market. Collector accumulations at lower values may amount to sizeable quantities, it would then be for the sum total to prove its worth. Not so at investor levels - the fluctuations swing like a pendulum because they are determined by a wide set of market conditions as well as individual stamp characteristics. In the case of stamps worth $100's of dollars or more the collector / investor makes a very distinct un-mistakable transition from a cursory catalogue valuation to precise tangible data.

Due to the fact that catalogue valuation is so thoroughly academic it serves little purpose in establishing true worth at levels that matter. When collector's/investors are about to spend serious money for stamps, - they reach for historical prices realized. Catalogue value may or may not be helpful. Normally, the help ends there.
Staunch collectors will argue, and rightfully so that collector brackets at lower values maintain relatively consistent higher proportions of catalogue value realizations. That is true. And, those values remain consistent over longer periods of time. That's because those supplies of commonality support consistent quality levels compared to older classics. Supply and demand at these lower values exerts an only moderate upward yield curve over a disproportionate period of time that it does over rarities. This curve is called the collector curve. ROI value driven stamp investments shape a very different yield curve. It's called data driven sustainability.Performance. 

Without historical prices that frame the precise relevant impact on price of characteristics such as authenticity, condition, popularity - a $10,000 catalogue value stamp may be worth mere pennies in the real world. So, when speaking of investment class rarities, catalogue value is often the least relevant factor. No more than a guide, when catalogue value fails to illustrate performance, it serves little other utility. Neither can catalogue value determine rarity, in which case it may often under or over value rarity. Rarity may or may not be an indicator of value. Rarities may introduce themselves to test a fresh market; however, rarity is not a concept, it is an analysis. Authenticity and condition are the primary determinations of tangible value. 
The only place one can find the precise level of information required to assure maximum accuracy is in historical prices realized. The higher the sample set, the better. eBay's stamp sales data is simply unparalleled. The only place to find historical prices realized of eBay's data that encompasses the highest volume sample set is StampMarketIndex.com
Therefore, as time marches on, so does data. As data marches on, it becomes ever more central to the essence of the stamp industry. True incomparable data. With 200 million transactions embedded in history, of the entire spectrum of stamps sold from $10 to $500,000 eBay's place at the fore of stamp collecting and investing is assured well into many decades to come into the future.
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Our 2 Guest eBay Dealers in This ISSUE:
We have been buying and selling on eBay since 1997. Our specialty is revenue stamps, telegraph stamps, local posts, cinderellas and other unusual items. We offer these items on eBay as well as postage stamps, covers and other items that come along in collections. eBay is a wonderful marketplace for both buying and selling and the stamp market is much better for it.
Stamp collecting is stronger today than it has ever been in the history of the hobby. There are two major reasons why the hobby is so strong today, efficiency and access. Efficiency is due to the use of computers for inventory and website management, communications, money transfer, document creation, and so much more. Access to the marketplace has expanded globally because of the internet, making it much easier to buy and sell stamps. This is why eBay has become a huge player in the stamp market because today, in a matter of minutes and at minimal cost, a dealer can place a stamp for sale and reach a huge worldwide audience of stamp collectors. And at times that stamp will sell quickly, payment will be made and the stamp packaged and shipped to the buyer on the same day it was listed. Those of us maintain active websites and utilize eBay have seen this happen many times.
I became a stamp collector in 1962 and began buying and selling as a teenager about 1970. Revenue stamps caught my attention from the beginning and I remember collectors and dealers telling me that they were junk and to stay away from them. But they were interesting and cheap in those days and I kept pursuing revenue stamps. It is fascinating how things change.
The hobby and business of stamp collecting has changed dramatically since I got started as a stamp collector and later as a dealer. It is imperative upon all of us to adjust and react in order to remain relevant within the constant of change. And it will. I wonder what will be different 10 years from now?
Eric Jackson
member: American Stamp Dealers Association
eBay auctions: http://stores.ebay.com/Eric-Jackson-Revenue-Stamps?refid=store
Leesport, PA
Click here For:  Markest Inc STORE ON EBAY
Mark Eastzer of Markest Inc     ---   THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF PHILATELY
When I became a bidder on eBay in 1997, if anyone back then had asked me what I thought about the future of philately. (After all, I had,been an extremely active philatelist for over 40 years.) My thoughts in '97 would have been that the hobby had a very bleak future. We were stagnating quickly! All stamp collecting seemed to be in a "train wreck" stage. All stamp organizations were losing members in large numbers (the American Philatelic Society had seen its membership sink from 58,000 members in 1995 to below 40,000 in 2005). Scores of dealers were going out of business, and attendance at stamp shows was fast shrinking. And of course, the circulation of ALL key stamp publications was getting to be so low that many of them were actually heading toward oblivion. But unbeknownst to everyone, tens of thousands of longtime collectors and tens of thousands of new collectors were heading underground onto the Internet. By 2010 it had become obvious that philatelists were not at all dying out---they had simply migrated (and continue to migrate) to eBay at first, then to thousands of other philatelic sites (there are now over 10,000 of these). Essentially,  our great hobby had found a new place to live where people, no matter where they live, could interact with tens of thousands of new and old
stamp collectors without ever leaving their  homes. Most of all, "the business of stamp collecting, rather than dying off, is more populated and vigorous than ever. Bottom Line: Philately is very much STILL the King of Hobbies. And the Internet is now the New Nassau Street, the Giant of Our Pastime.
Thank You,
Mark Eastzer
Lynbrook,NY 11563
Next month, more interesting stamp data and statistics on eBay and more guest commentaries from professional eBay dealers.
Thank you,