These make me chuckle. If you ever aspire to be a dealer, you’ll understand.

I received a form letter from a gentleman who said that he was in a psychiatric ward in a prison (I’m not making this up!). He had limited funds, but was planning on spending up to $10/year on stamps. I was instructed to send all of the free information about stamps that I could to him. Whichever dealer sent him the best batch of free stuff would earn his business. Guess where his form letter ended up?

Another gentleman sent me an email. He’s looking for modern used US stamps. They are difficult to find because so few are used on envelope anymore. Most of the ones he needs, I don’t carry. He added that he doesn’t expect to pay 20 cents per stamp either. I need to spend my time hunting down all these stamps he needs for maybe a few dollars in sales? I’m not out to make millions, but I don’t want to work for pennies per hour either. I could get a job at a fast food restaurant making more money than that. His request went into my circular file too.

A “dealer” once called me on the phone looking for early US mint sheets. He must have been a used car salesman because he was a smooth talker. He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. His example was, “You sell the sheet to me for $100. I’ll sell the sheet for $200. You make $100 and I make $100.” This assumes I get the sheet for free, right? Please let me know if you have any early US sheets you want to give away for free. I’m especially interested in any Scott #245 ($5 Columbian) or #C3a sheets you may have. This dealer is waiting for my return phone call. Please hurry.

On a similar note, a show organizer asked if I would take a table at their show. It was a small local club with about 15 dealers in the bourse. I was just getting started in the business and declined for that year because I couldn’t be ready, but maybe I would do a table next year. This person advised me to sell my stamps at 10% of Scott catalog value because “that’s what they are selling for on eBay.” That show is declining. Hmmm, I wonder why! I decided not to risk my money in starting a business to have someone else tell me what I can sell my stamps for.

A local “collector” brought his gold stamp collection to me to examine. This was early in my career before I learned to ask callers exactly what kinds of stamps they were selling. Anyway, he was willing to “make a sacrifice” and let me have it for the couple thousands of dollars that he spent in purchasing this junk. He had all of the original invoices. I would have been the one making the sacrifice because in my experience, this junk doesn’t sell unless it’s pennies on the dollar. Even then it’s a hard sell. He left with his gold stamps. He probably still has them. If you want to buy them at his original cost, let me know and I’ll hook the two of you up. I know he’ll be delighted!

A guy called me on the phone. He had graded stamps to sell. I asked if he had graded certificates. He did not. I asked where he bought the stamps from. He got them from a company that has a reputation of selling (at best) F-VF stamps and claiming them to be Superb quality. This company charged a hefty price for their stamps too. I steered clear of this train wreck by explaining that I don’t carry many graded stamps. He would do better contacting someone who handles mainly graded material. This guy still has his stamps too. Or he took a big loss when he sold them.

One of my favorite (and frequent) offers is an email from someone with stamps for sale. They want an offer on what they have. They send images of the stamps. And from those images, I’m supposed to make a fair offer? I don’t see the stamps, so I don’t know if they are damaged or not, especially thins which you can’t see from the front of the stamp. Sometimes the images are fuzzy. Sometimes the images look like they were lifted from an online auction site. Do they even own these stamps? Sometimes the email says that other dealers have made “substantial offers” followed by some inflated figure on these same stamps. Such people could shorten their email to, “Send me a big fat check and MAYBE you’ll see some stamps.” The Delete key on my keyboard gets a lot of use for these kinds of emails.

Do people think twice about what it is they are offering? If they were the one receiving this offer, would they accept it?

These are just a few examples of offers I get. I shake my head and move on. I save them because someday, I’m going to compile all of them into a funny book about stamp dealing. That will turn more of a profit than these offers!