Update on the Two-Person Niche Market

Good Morning Ted and Jody:

I wrote yesterday about my buyer of used US coil multiples.  Yesterday, I had a problem with his order and wrote to tell him about it.  This morning I awoke to a note from him.  Here is his note;

“I can imagine the curiosity of the postal clerks but do you tell them all about what is inside the envelopes and how most all of them go to an old coot whose wife will probably trash them when he dies? I pray that she and my son have listened to me about my US singles collection which is mostly unused and quite complete. There is value there and they have been told to be careful about selling it in an estate sale. Of course, then there is my American Flyer Train collection, my coin collection, my post card collection, my gun collection, and on and on it goes. At least by selling to me, you avoid having to package and address your sales to many different people — saves time and hassle and you know where to come if you ever want some coils again.

“But, I have to ask, where do you get all these used coil multiples? I’m not going to try and get them from under you but getting single coils is one thing but all these multiples is quite another thing — I am really curious — nobody else sells them. I find it a curious thing that some sellers specialize in fancy cancels, or MNH or plate blocks. How do they obtain them without buying large collections and how do they sell the remainders of the collections if that is what they do.

“Anyways, I do appreciate your using the coils on the mailing.

“Take care”

Here is my reply:

“Good Morning:

“Most of the postal clerks in Toutle and Castle Rock know I send folks stamps for their collections.  That has caused them to take note of the stamps I use on my mailings.  Using a precancel permit makes them notice more.    One clerk has taken to buying sheets of stamps as they are issued.  I helped her pick out a serviceable stock book for her sheets.

“I have been buying and selling stamps since I retired very late in the last Century—over 20 years now.  Most people who are not collectors have no idea of what they have either in numbers of stamps, used/unused, kind of collection or accumulation or its value.  The few stamp collectors who have wanted to sell, in contrast, knew exactly what they had and what they wanted for it.  Twice I have run into notes in collections I have purchased telling heirs what to do.  One was a specific dealer’s name and number, summary of what the collection was and a ball park figure.  It was undated, but I guessed it was over 20 years old given the ball park figure.  The other note was for the heirs to call the American Philatelic Society.  I suspect there are many collections I was not able to buy, indeed never knew about, because of notes that sent the heirs to specific dealers or collectors clubs, groups or friends of the collector to help the heirs sell the collections they inherited.

“When my kids were growing up, I regularly bought 20 and 40 pound mixtures of used US on paper by mail from of a firm in Indianapolis-Harbor Town as I recall.  Money was tight and I was able to sell off the uncanceled for more than the mixture cost me.  In those days the cost of stamp collecting was a real limiting factor. I primarily looked for very minor varieties, EFOs, and set aside the remainder in categories: commemoratives, high values, precancels, coil pairs/strips, blocks, cut squares, foreign and seals.  So, some of the coils you get were collected by me, generally on a Sunday afternoon/evening while listening to Roy Madden’s color commentary of a football game on television, or a number of other sports televised on Sunday.  The bulk, of the coils I sell, however, come from a large lot of coil pairs and multiples I purchased, at auction, late last year.  I still look for minor miscuts, perf problems and shifts, inking varieties and the like in this large lot of coil multiples.

“I suspect the specialized dealers do buy large collections or accumulations and then resell to other dealers what they do not use.  I do know small dealers spread the cost of buying a collection across several of them; and, when there is specialized material they look to specialists to assist in the purchase.  I also suspect, from talking to some at shows that they started collecting specialty stuff like fancy cancels and had a start from their collections.   I have known, in my short 20 years of buying and selling stamps, dealers who left instructions to their heirs where to sell off parts of their holdings and those were generally to specialists.   Also, there are collectors who leave specialized collections for heirs to sell.

“Warmest regards,”

He did bid on the new coil listings I put up yesterday.  Now we wait and see if this much communication disturbs the arms-length, two person, niche market we have been in for close to a year.

Warmest regards, Ed


About democratizemoney

Retired University Professor
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4 Responses to Update on the Two-Person Niche Market

  1. Well as this is now an ongoing dialogue I felt the need to google coil stamps. I am quite surprised that people collect so many, I can only assume they have huge far flung families and friends, non of whom have email facilities.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are a lot of throwbacks who still insist upon using snail mail. Those folks provide a sufficient flow of used postage stamps to keep up with the stamp collector market, and then some. Then too, until we figure out how to send “stuff” electronically through cyber space (my money is on 3-D printing until the “Scotty, beam me up” device is perfected) postage stamps may still have a “valid” purpose—to avoid having to use private carriers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. beetleypete says:

    Your man appears to be a collector of many things as well as stamps. Despite your honesty, he is still bidding. He likes to let you do the sorting and the hard work, obviously.
    Best wishes, Pete.


    • I suppose, collecting is a way of life for him. I have wondered, given that he has a nearly complete unused collection of US stamps what he does with them. Other than adding new issues and filling in the odd stamp he had not previously obtained does he look at them periodically? I know specialists look for variations of what they already have. For example, in collecting the first national issue (The Penny Black of your fair Islands) collectors plate it (collect all the letters in corners), find cancellations by city and in some cases colonial franks, and those are just the obvious possibilities. In the 1840s some were known to paper their parlors with used Penny Blacks. So, specialists tend to be very active with their collection as it serves as a reference. So, I wonder what he does with all these coils and with his nearly complete unused US collection. I suspect he gets more active mileage with his American Flyer Train collection (assuming he has a track layout). In the past I have attempted to offer coil multiples in bulk and he has not bid on them. So I am guessing that the auction and not the bulk is one of his hobbies in and of itself. It also turns out that my sorting is not all that difficult nor taxing as I find little goodies such as partial plate numbers from time to time and then there are joint line pairs and plat number pairs and strips. Sort of like separating the wheat from the chaff. But then, I’m a specialist who tends to accumulate until I get enough for an exhibit. Perhaps, that is his game—making an exhibit for a stamp show.


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