An older gentleman who lives close to where I grew up called me on the phone. He got my name and phone number from someone who knew me. He had a collection of stamps from the 1940s and 1950s where he and his mother removed stamps from envelopes and saved them. In 99.99% of these cases, itís common material with little to no value. I offered to visit him when I was back in Somerset and I would look over his collection and see if anything was there. That sounded fine with him.
The next day, he called back. ďI mailed the stamps to you today. You can spend as much time as you need to look at them. Iím in no hurry.Ē Great! He sent me a bunch of common stamps and now Iím going to have to spend a couple bucks to mail it back to him.
But I understood his position. He thought that I would need hours to view all of these stamps. When I came back to Somerset, Iíd be tied up for quite a while. To help me, he mailed the stamps to me. I could take my time and review them in the leisure of my own home.
The package arrived. There were a few hundred loose stamps in a padded envelope. All of the stamps were from the 1930s to 1950s. They were all torn from envelopes. Many of them were damaged. Honestly, it took me about a minute to realize there was nothing of any value.
It took me 2 weeks until I called him back. Why so long?
I didnít want to break his heart. He saved these stamps with his mother. They had sentimental value to him. He would have been devastated if I told him that I looked at them for a mere 60 seconds.
I called him back. We had a friendly chat. He seemed like a really nice fellow. I explained that the stamps didnít have any value and I put material like this in a box and give it away to kids. Eureka! He said that sounds fine with him and I can keep the stamps and give them away to kids and maybe make a new collector. His grandkids had no interest in the stamps.
The story had a happy ending. I didnít have to spend money shipping the stamps back to him. He felt happy thinking that I poured over his stamps for 2 weeks before calling him. I donated the stamps to a local club. They can sit them out at their youth table. Kids pick out stamps for free. Everybody won.
Sometimes itís important to make the seller feel good. All it cost me was a minute to look at the stamps and a brief phone call. No sweat!