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Collecting Stamps: Stamp Disposal
WHENEVER A NON-COLLECTOR finds material of philatelic worth, or receives a collection in an estate, and when a collector decides to dispose of his collection, the problem is, how best to proceed. In the case of the non-collector the problem is greater. He, or she, doesn't know stamp values, and there are unfortunate rumors about how poorly stamp dealers treat such unknowing people. Close to twenty years of association with stamp collectors and stamp dealers has assured the writer of the basic honesty of both, and the dealer, especially, generally does not deserve such an unkind opinion.
Some non-collectors turn their material over to anyone who comes along, and therefore pay the penalty. To the one having stamps to sell, the best possible advice is to seek the guidance of the head of a stamp club-and they are everywhere-or to find the name of a newspaper stamp editor, or a stamp magazine publisher. Not one of these people can betray a trust, and each one is certainly capable of giving excellent advice. The non-collector can also go to a dealer, or several dealers, and request a valuation. In some instances the dealer will make a charge for the service, refunded if he buys the material. In almost every case the dealer will say the material is worthless-or has a value-and will not charge for that guidance.
The use of the designation dealer, naturally, embraces the retail dealer and the auctioneer. The retail dealer, if so inclined, will buy the stamps outright, or will attempt to sell them for the owner on a consignment basis. This is a speedier operation where time is an element and money is needed. The auctioneer, on the other hand, offers to sell the material in competitive bidding, and charges a commission on the sales price. He will on occasion make an advance against what he believes the material will bring.
There are dealers' groups, such as the American Stamp Dealers' Association, and the Canadian Stamp Dealers' Association, which require a pledge of fair dealing from each member.
In the case of the collector, there are several avenues of disposal. The first two, naturally, are the retail dealer and the auction house. Others are direct sales to fellow collectors at a stipulated price, sales through club circuits such as the American Philatelic Society, Society of Philatelic Americans, and Rutherford Stamp Club offer to members, and, finally, entrance into the stamp trade-full time or part time. Many of the most prominent dealers were collectors originally, and drifted into the trade through the demands of fellow-collectors or the need of disposing of surplus material.
A final method of disposing of stamps and stamp material -and this applies to collector and non-collector-is to use advertising space in stamp magazines or newspaper stamp columns. Many stamp finds and collections have been sold in this manner.