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Getting rid of coin and stamp collections
Old 06-17-2013, 05:32 AM   #1
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Getting rid of coin and stamp collections

Back in the 60's many families used to collect coins and stamps. Seems like much of what I know about history and geography came from coin and stamp collecting. Dad would bring home the office coffee money. We would go through it looking for coins we did not have. Lincoln pennies started in 1909, therefore I know Lincoln was born 1809. Washington quarters in 1932, hence 1732 birthdate. See?

Now I have boxes and boxes of minimal value items. Every few years I buy or borrow books on valuation. I have isolated a few items that have value such as silver coins and 1 rare stamp. The rest has no value. I have maybe 50,000 used foreign stamps from the 60's. A complete TJ nickel set. Hundreds of US plate block stamps, hundreds of first day issue, 100 proof and UNC sets (not even worth the $5 I paid originally). Indian heads, you name it, I got it.

Price of silver is down 40% from 6 months ago. Dealer will give me $2 per proof/UNC set. And that is the good stuff.

If it were used power tools or household items I would throw away, but because of the emotional attachment (Due to spending so much time collecting), I cannot seem to sell. No local charity would want. My kids do not want.

Total value is way less than my portfolio's one day's market activity.

Any bright ideas on feeling good about disposing of it?
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:58 AM   #2
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I went through my childhood stamp collection to make sure there were no real valuable stamps in there (took about 2 hours). There were none, as expected.

But the collection was substantial and I advertised it (craigslist) as something good for a kid starting out. And it was a good deal for them ($80).

An out-of-state dad bought it from me, sight unseen,and paid the postage (USPS media mail which is cheap). I followed up with him to make sure his son liked it and the dad said his son was thrilled.

I, too, had kept it for sentimental reasons. But I had not looked at it in years so obviously I was not really that sentimental about it . . . this was all after checking if anyone in my family was interested in a free stamp collection but they were not.
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Old 06-17-2013, 06:11 AM   #3
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I also have a coin collection and a stamp collection. I have a pretty good idea what the coin collection is worth and have been thinking recently of cashing it in and adding it to the portfolio (it's nothing really, probably $500). The stamp collection I have no idea of value on. I don't think I have the patience to go thru all of the stamps to see if there are any of value (there are quite a few, think a shoebox full but fairly organized. I might have to see if I can get it appraised.

I too am not sure how to go about getting rid of this stuff. The easy way is to just sell it to a dealer and take the wholesale hit. Hopefully someone here has a better idea....
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Old 06-17-2013, 06:52 AM   #4
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You can google this, but for a stamp collection basically there are no valuable US stamps after about 1932, give or take. So take all your pre-1932 stamps and compare them to a Scott's stamp book (I may have the name wrong) at the library. It can be done pretty quickly.

Depending on your sources of foreign stamps, there are probably no valuable ones there, but you know where you got them so you should have an idea.
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Old 06-17-2013, 06:59 AM   #5
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I know we have a local stamp dealer that does 2 stamp auctions/year for local collectors. You could check and see if that's an option. You can work with them to decide if it should go in 1 or multiple lots and then they get a cut.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:35 AM   #6
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Problem with many of the catalogues including Scotts is that they are really only for comparison purposes. A stamp with a value of $10 is only worth that if you can find a buyer. Maybe the $10 is what the dealer would charge. Ebay is about the best way to value/sell things. I guess I could sell a chunk per week.
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:04 AM   #7
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Problem with many of the catalogues including Scotts is that they are really only for comparison purposes. A stamp with a value of $10 is only worth that if you can find a buyer. Maybe the $10 is what the dealer would charge. Ebay is about the best way to value/sell things. I guess I could sell a chunk per week.
Yes, but it can give you an upper bound. And it helps you to properly identify the stamps in the first place -- with that information you can also pursue other sources. I think I had 2 or 3 stamps worth about 2 bucks each and that was it. Nuff said
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:31 AM   #8
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You may want to try and sell the coins at a coin show where there are a lot of dealers. Most dealers like to buy individual coins that have some real numismatic value but there are usually a few dealers, at most shows, that will buy the bulk common stuff too. If you haven't already, you may want to educate yourself on what coins are considered to be rare "even within" what are considered to be a common series of coins. Examples, for Lincoln pennies look for a 1909-S vdb, for Mercury dimes look for a 1916-D, for Washington quarters look for a 1932-D or 1932-S... There are a few others in each series that have some value too but those I've mentioned above are considered some of the key dates and mint marks for the specific series. If you find one of these, then grade (condition) becomes very important. (The difference in grades with coins like these "can be" many thousands of dollars) Note, the coins I mentioned above are also some of the most counterfeited and/or altered coins in the common series. So coins like these are often (but not always) certified by companies like PCGS or NGC before being bought or sold.
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:54 AM   #9
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Grandchildren?

That's where my old pennies collection from the 60's will go.
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Old 06-18-2013, 04:54 AM   #10
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I also have lots of old stamps.
Mostly unused blocks of 4

Could I still use them on on a letter ?
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Old 06-18-2013, 05:26 AM   #11
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I also have lots of old stamps.
Mostly unused blocks of 4

Could I still use them on on a letter ?
With the cost of mailing today you might have to use quite a few to even send a post card.

Cheers!
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:06 AM   #12
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I also have lots of old stamps.
Mostly unused blocks of 4

Could I still use them on on a letter ?
Sure. (But if you really need to use many stamps to have the correct postage, it may increase the envelope's weight, thus increasing the amount of postage needed. )

omni
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:01 AM   #13
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I also have lots of old stamps.
Mostly unused blocks of 4

Could I still use them on on a letter ?
Put them on a package - that might be several bucks, so you can use them up faster, and there's more space. If you went to the counter with them, they might just credit you the value and 'ink stamp' the box?

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Old 06-18-2013, 03:29 PM   #14
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We had a rock collection we wanted to sell for pre-downsizing. We went to a rock and gem show with pictures and asked all the dealers if they were interested. We sold the whole collection that night to a dealer who stopped by our house after the show.

I think factoring in the value of our time compared to selling each item piece by piece on Craigslist or eBay, we came out ahead just selling the whole thing to a dealer for cash, plus he did all the packing. We did sell the cabinet on Craigslist.

It would probably be easier to sell something lighter to ship than rocks on eBay.
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Old 06-18-2013, 04:12 PM   #15
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I can relate to this. In my case it was collecting video games. For me the thrill was in the acquisition of things I remembered wishing I had as a kid. Actually owning the stuff was a drag. After minimal use (or sometimes none at all) it got packed away in storage, only coming out each time we moved to a new house.

I finally realized a couple years ago that owning all this stuff wasn't bringing me any joy at all -- it was just a burden and a nuisance. Hundreds of games and dozens of game systems, all taking up space, collecting dust, and for the most part, depreciating steadily. Yet, I still had a sentimental attachment to much of it.

I could have unloaded the whole lot at a dealer and been done with it, but I couldn't stomach the thought of seeing it all go at once and selling for pennies on the dollar to boot. I also couldn't stand the thought of listing each item individually on e-bay and dealing with the hassle of shipping. So in the end I began to list things on Craigslist bit by bit, and I've managed to sell off about a third of my collection in about a year. It's nice to gradually let it go, and I've made a decent amount of cash in the process -- though sadly, not nearly what I paid.

I also found a website dedicated to trading (and selling) of video games. I've sold quite a lot there, though shipping is involved. My advice is to list your stuff on Craigslist, and maybe see if there are any stamp/coin-trading sites where it will be easy to find prospective buyers. Good luck, and may you feel relief when your unwanted collection is finally someone else's problem!
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:24 PM   #16
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I can relate to this.
+1. We have several "collections" we'd like/need to divest. The sad thing is, we're probably going to have to take a beating on all of them.
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:02 AM   #17
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Know little about coins and less about stamps. BUT, as you point out, the price of bulk silver is way down right now. That indicates volatility which could (possibly) be used to your advantage. Suggest to hide the silver coins (or place in safe deposit box) until the price (almost) inevitably goes back up. Then sell if you don't find them valuable as a "buffer" to the markets. I've seen analyses of portfolios with 3% to 5% precious metals (used as a buffer) which did better and were less volatile than those without PMs. It's a crap shoot as is life, so go with your gut. PMs have kept my individual "ride" smoother over the past 10 years. Naturally, it is a personal decision and not for everyone.

If you do decide to sell your silver coins as "bulk" silver, check at least 3 local places (usually, coin dealers will buy just about any quantity of US silver coins). Typically, you will find significant differences between dealers. If you have a larger amount, you could check with one of the "big" mail-order places (Google for them or watch late-night TV, heh, heh). Don't forget that YMMV.
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