Even though I’m a stamp dealer, I still receive pricelists from other dealers because they got my name and address somewhere, but they don’t realize I’m also a stamp dealer.
I received one such pricelist from another dealer that just made me sad. On the front page of his pricelist in nice big, bold letters was, “Enjoy US Mint Stamps – An Investment Worth Collecting!” Everything on the pricelist fell into two categories. Either it was the common/inexpensive material selling for a few dollars or less per copy. Or the early material was in the few hundreds of dollars at most and much of it was under $200. Most of the early material was typical condition and centering, but there were a few faulty items too with appropriate prices.
I have never been a fan of promoting stamp collecting as an investment. To the vast majority of collectors, it is a hobby meant to be enjoyed. Very few people have been able to build collections that reaped large financial rewards when they were sold.
This dealer though is pushing the investment idea. Sorry, but I think he’s doing the hobby a disservice. If he had some really high quality material in his pricelist that maybe had some investment potential – maybe I could cut him some slack. In my opinion though, there was nothing in his pricelist that had any potential to rise substantially in price.
Collectors will buy this material with the thought of profit in mind. When they sell at or below what they paid for it, the hobby gets a black eye when the seller tells everyone how bad stamps are as an investment. All because he believed the other dealers advertising.
The other dealer is not doing anything wrong or illegal. He is free to try and drum up buyers for his business. At worst, I think he is misrepresenting what he is offering.
This is no different than insurance agents that try to sell you insurance that you do not need. Or financial institutions that try to sell you on products that have a horrible rate of return on investment. They are looking for your money.
As a dealer, yes, I am looking to make a profit. That is the whole point of being in business. I’m not looking to just take someone’s money though. I try to offer stamps at competitive prices based on condition and centering. I get more enjoyment out of knowing that I am helping others build their collections and get fun out of the hobby.
I just don’t want to be that pushy salesman type that forces material on you for the sake of only making a sale. That is not how I operate. Not now. Not ever.