Non-collectors and even some stamp collectors donít understand what discount postage is. When reviewing collections of modern mint stamps and my offer is less than face value, the response is usually something like, ďAre you crazy? I can use them up for postage and get my money back. They should be worth at least face value.Ē
In some cases, if the seller only has a few dollars of mint stamps, yes, using them up on mail is a better alternative. But with electronic bill payments and people donít write letters like they used to, some people will die before they ever use up the hordes of mint postage they have.
Modern stamps (post 1935) are printed by the millions. Dealers already have a lifetime supply of mint, single stamps. They donít need the stamps for their stock. Because the stamps are so common, demand is very limited. The average dealer sells only a handful of mint singles per year.
The last alternative is to use them up for postage. Here are two scenarios. In one case, you can buy a coil roll of self-adhesive stamps at the first class rate at the post office. You apply one stamp to each letter. You could easily use up a coil roll within minutes. In the second case, you can buy older mint stamps that are usually not self-adhesive. They need to be licked. You apply several stamps per envelope to meet the first class rate. In other words, it takes much more time to lick and apply multiple stamps to an envelope than if you had bought the coil roll of self-adhesive stamps from the post office.
Why buy the older stamps which take much more work to use them up? You recoup the cost of your effort by buying them at below face value.
How much can you expect to sell stamps for? Many dealers buy mint postage at about 70-80% of face value and sell it for 85-90% of face value. If you have mint stamps that are loose, but organized by denomination (i.e., easier for the dealer to break down), youíll get a higher offer because there is less labor involved. If you have, for example, a collection of mint single stamps that are housed in mounts in an album, the offer will be less because the dealer has the extra effort of removing all those stamps from the mounts before they can be sold.
Customers sometimes remark that I use better stamps on my pricelist mailings where the mint stamps sell for more than the nominal catalog value. Yes, that is true. Many times, the stamps I use have perforation separations, disturbed gum, or they were previously hinged. No one wants damaged, modern mint stamps. The natural choice is to use them up as postage. Some customers enjoy the variety of stamps used.