Pat Herst mentioned in his books about letters he received that were copies (including mimeographs) or the letter was prepared using carbon paper. Many such letters are from “customers” looking for a freebie (send me everything you can that is free) or from sellers looking to shop their collection around for the best price.

Generic letters almost always go nowhere and end up being a huge waste of time. In this age of computers and email though, how do you know if a letter is generic or not?

I’m not going to give away all of the answers. Because then folks learn how to skirt around the usual signs.

One such email is when someone sends me an Excel file listing every single common stamp they have in their collection and they want me to go through the spreadsheet and fill out my price for every stamp and send the spreadsheet back to them. No thanks. When dealing with collections of inexpensive material, it is purchased based on a percentage of face value for mint material or weight/count if it’s used stamps. There is no way I’m going through a spreadsheet listing $0.03 here and $0.17 there on every stamp you have. Sorry.

I have been in business long enough to recognize when I am receiving a generic letter – be it printed and sent through the USPS or be it via email. I always reply with a courteous, “Thanks, but I’ll pass.” I know that I am but one of dozens (or more) of dealers on the receiving end of these generic missives.