Two recent events reminded me of why small dealers, like me, matter to collectors.

A customer submitted his order and included a note. I suspect heís an older gentleman without access to a computer. His note mentioned that he was collecting United Nations. He wanted to know if I could provide him the contact information for other dealers of UN stamps. He was not happy with the dealer he was currently doing business with.

No problem. I went to the APS website and found 14 other dealers who deal in UN material. I sent the list to him. He can decide who to contact. My time spent on this task was under 60 seconds. Iím sure he appreciated the list since he doesnít have a computer to look up this information.

Try posing that question to one of the larger mail order dealers and see if you get a response.

Another customer ordered a single copy of Scott #2580. This is the Santa Christmas stamp from 1991. Because I have filled many of his orders and answered some of his questions, I know he is working from a printed album. This stamp is usually sold as a pair with #2581 to show the subtle difference in the chimney.

I emailed him and asked if he really only wanted a single stamp or did his album show a pair of stamps as I suspect? He replied that it was a pair of stamps shown. So I put the pair of stamps into his order. He got the right pair of stamps and didnít have to return the single with, ďI canít use this. My album shows a pair of stamps.Ē I was able to go the extra mile for him because I know how he is collecting.

Try that with a larger dealer. One time Tom fills your order. Next time itís Mike. By the time Denise gets your order with just ď2580Ē listed, thatís exactly what youíre going to get. Denise has no idea how youíre collecting. This may be the first time she ever filled an order for you. She gave you what you had on the order form.

This is not meant to be a slam against larger dealers. Itís just that their mode of operation is much different than a small dealer like me. Sometimes I am able to help customers in ways that other dealers cannot or will not.