I don’t have a crystal ball.

Occasionally someone comes along with a book or pamphlet predicting that certain stamps are going to increase in value. You should buy these stamps and become wealthy. If these folks were truthful, I think they would admit that they make more money selling their book or pamphlet than they make buying and selling the issues they tout

In my opinion, it’s impossible to tell for certain which stamps will go up in value. Historically, stamps that sell for tens of thousands of dollars (or more) have increased in value over time. There are rare exceptions though. Overall, the most valuable items have steadily increased in value. Whether the increase in value has kept pace with inflation is another matter.

Most of us don’t have huge sums of money to spend on stamps. “Experts” come along with stamps that are in the hundreds of dollars or a few thousand dollars. With some hard work, those stamps are attainable in time by collectors. These experts believe they have the magical formula on what stamps to buy and when to buy them. It’s just like timing the stock market – you try to buy low and sell high.

I buy and sell stamps all of the time. You would think that I have the best idea of what stamps are going to suddenly increase. I don’t have that insight. And no other dealer has come to me with the “inside secret” on what stamps are going to increase so that the greedy dealers buy them all and make millions at the expense of collectors who now have to pay more to acquire these stamps. The truth is: there is no trade secret on how to make tons of money as a stamp dealer. If there was a secret formula, why are so many dealers going into business and they are out of business a short time later?

Stamps are no different than any other potential investment tool: stocks, art, coins, gold – they all have their “experts” that can predict the market conditions. A few people have done very well in the stock market. But there aren’t millions of people doing well.

In 2014, I remember an advertisement on the radio from a company that was pushing gold as a good investment. Their expert predicted that gold would pass $2000 per ounce by the end of the year. Well, it’s 2015 and that never happened. Funny, I don’t hear that ad on the radio any more. But they have new ads on there about buying gold.

For those who invested and the price didn’t go past $2000, where do they go to get their money back? Like all investment advice, it comes with the caveat that results are not guaranteed.

I have one challenge for experts who claim that they can predict the stamp market with certainty. Ask them to back up their prediction with cash. If the stamp doesn’t go up in value as they predict – can you take the money out of an escrow account? If their predictions are so foolproof, then they should be willing to back it up with cash. If they can’t, run the other way.

I have no crystal ball. Neither does any other dealer or so called “expert”. Always buy the stamps that you want because you enjoy them. If you are buying to make a profit – sorry, I think you are going to be disappointed with the end result.