I was contacted by a local woman who wanted to sell her fatherís stamp collection. It was a roomful of stamps.
I went and reviewed the material. There were a few items of interest. But most of it was run-of-the-mill material. One of the main areas was a few thousand dollars in some mint US stamps bought from the post office. The other area was these confounded golden replica stamps a similar mass merchandized material that traditional philatelists shun.
Here is where the story takes a sad turn.
This man bought this material over many years of collecting. However, one of the reasons he bought this stuff, according to his daughter whom I bought it from, was to provide money for the care of he and his wife in their retirement years. He passed away before retiring. So the money should have gone to taking care of his wife.
Unfortunately, the material wasnít even worth what he paid for it.
I bought the mint US stamps for discount postage. So he lost money there. Not a huge loss, but a loss nevertheless.
Now comes the part that really bothers me. He ďinvestedĒ many thousands of dollars in these golden replica stamps and other mass produced products aimed to separate a person from their money. These mass produced products have little demand and little resale value.
I made a fair offer on the collection, but it wasnít near what they hoped to get for the collection based on what he paid for it and what he said it was worth when he was still alive.
I left many of the albums with golden replicas on the bookshelves. They were worth very little to me and she wanted to have something to give to the grandkids to remember her father by. I understand that and I had no problems leaving that part of the collection go.
His widow (her mother) was there the day I bought the collection and hauled it away. She was a very nice woman. Iím guessing she was in her mid to late 80s. Part of me was anguished that I bought the collection at such a low price and here I am hauling it away in front of her knowing that my check wasnít going to do that much to help her. But it was still a fair offer and if I didnít buy the collection, another dealer would buy it at a similar price.
What upset me so much though it that these companies (and there were several of them that he bought from) sent him all of this crap to buy. And he bought it. And they kept flooding him with offers of more stuff to buy. He must have kept every brochure they sent to him because I found a ton of these brochures and pitched all of them into the paper recycling bin.
He spent many thousands of dollars on this material over the years. It was the worst investment he ever could have made. And now his widow wasnít going to be able to reap any rewards.
If you like these golden replicas of stamps, thatís fine by me. But you can find many of them at online auctions and other sources. Buy them at a cheap price (which is all they are worth) and enjoy them. For goodness sakes, donít buy this material at $5 and $10 (or more) per item. The only person getting rich at this investment is the company that produces this stuff.
I still feel bad having offered only a small fraction of cost when I bought this material. Having met his widow, it is an image that will stick with me forever. I only hope she gets through the rest of her life without having to rely on what money comes from the sale of the stamp collection.