Is buying an expensive stamp a good investment? Do stamps go up in value? Thank you.

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  • From a goggle search of your question::::

    Invest in Stamps For Love, Not Money

    Unless you are wealthy enough to invest in ultra-rare stamps, it’s probable that the time for stamp collections as a personal investment has passed. Those who continue to invest in stamps in the middle to lower tier of value should do it solely for the love of these historical objects and their stories, and not with the hope of future financial return.
  • Even the ultra-rare stamps provide no assurance of a good return on your investment, as the recent 1c Magenta auction showed.
    It had a pre-sale estimate of $15 million, and only realized $8.3 million, a 12.6% loss on the $9.5 million paid by the previous owner, Stuart Weitzman.
  • edited July 17 3 LikesVote Down
    Ted forgot to mention the last owner signed the back in ink and put his tuxedo logo on it which was a huge no no otherwise it would have likely sold for more. Fortunately for Stanley Gibbons they might have got a good deal and will not likely be selling it
    again instead put it on permanent display.
  • No doubt it would have sold for even less, without those embellishments.
  • Each previous owner left a mark in the name of provenance, adding to this stamp's allure.
  • If one collects stamps for "investment" purposes, it is a risk because like most collectibles, stamp investment takes a really long time to appreciate in value, probably 200 years in one respect. Don't think stamps are like Bitcoins where their values go way up or down every week. I think that stamps need lots of time to be of value. And that time works against you, as the stamp investor. Why? Cause you'll have to preserve them, store them in non-humid conditions, etc so they'll reach maximum resale value.

    Now, you didn't say how much money you thought about spending. If you're thinking of spending $1,000-$20,000, then you might consider talking to a stamp investment broker. Such world of stamp investment exists, but it's not cheap and often requires steps. To make it a sound investment, stamp investors appraise and certify your stamps. This is practically a pinnacle to the prestigious world of stamp investors. Many rich stamp buyers seek stamps to have fancy certificates and such. The idea behind this level of investment is that if you invest 10,000$ on a block of extremely rare and CERTIFIED stamps, that you have a $10,000 piece that can move around easily (Say in your briefcase as you travel around the world) and can cash out your investment as needed or even use it as tender for transactions. You can resale that 10k investment for 15k or so, but you have to find the buyer.

    If you want to buy stamps like $20 here and $9 there for each one, that's doable. In my opinion, i think a collection holds more value as a collection, instead of one by one.
  • All good answers here... my 2 cents (pun intended).
    Stamp collecting as a hobby is NOT a good investment. Real estate is a good investment, precious metals, gemstones, even coins. The most exclusive stamp just LOST a million dollars. I spend good amounts of my resources because I LOVE stamp collecting it makes me happy. Philatelists are a struggling tribe, gently declining in number. Times and cultures change. If you concern yourself with money, it's a tricky way to invest.
  • edited July 18 2 LikesVote Down
    I've collected so many things in my life that when HRH learned that a "collection" was 25 of anything, she went through the house with a legal pad to list our collection of collections. And I never really profited materially, only spiritually and intellectually.

    Years ago I learned from a wise antiques dealer that we never own these things, we only rent them.

    Would I ever spend $1000 on a stamp or a piece of glass or a die cast car? Maybe. Would I expect to sell it for a profit? Only to a greater fool than I.
  • The way to profit from stamps is the same as for anything else, "Buy low, sell high."
    Two ways to do that:
    1. Buy wholesale and sell retail, like the sellers on HipStamp do.
    2. Find and buy only the very best uncertified examples of desirable stamps and get them certified, then sell them. This only requires you to become an expert first.
    But, buy, hold and wait for it to appreciate? Nope.
  • I'd imagine the real money is in supplies.
  • There are a lot of issues around the 1c Magenta "reducing" in value. I haven't looked deeply into it, but I think the $9.5 million figure was the full amount of sale, after buyers premium was added. I believe the $8.3 million was actual-bid, and usually there is a 18%-20% buyers fee tacked on. That would bring the total sale to around $9.7 million, which would be an increase of $200,000 in 7 years (sold in 2014). Which brings me to the next point, the Stuart sold at a bad time, and didn't hold the stamp long enough.

    I can also tell you this. I saw a C20 Graded 100J (Scott CV $180 graded 100) sell for over $4,000 about 3 months ago. "Investment grade" stamps DO exist. And while some go up and down in value, usually not by more than $100 year over year, they are a long term hold. The longer you hold, the better probability you have to a gain. Also, the better the centering, clearly the better the probability of it appreciating in value. If you're buying VF stamps... most aren't going to move much in 5 years, but in 10 - 15 they will. If you're stamp is damaged, forget it. Unless it's a unique item (like the 1c magenta, or something that is known only in flawed condition like the 164) it's not going to increase much in value. The biggest issue is the false belief that your 292 is worth $3,750 when it's lost some gum, has centering that is close to reaching the perfs and is toned. I think the biggest issue I see with "valuing" stamps is that people see a big number and say "That's how much my stamp is worth" without really taking in exactly what the condition has to be to meet that measure.

    I bought a 532 last week for $325. Scott CV for MNH: $70. Stamp market quarterly (SMQ) value for a 100J: $400.
    Ask me in 5 years how much I get for it...

    Also... if you really want material that is moving, get out of the front of book.
  • @John Maloney where is this "wholesale" stamp store???
  • edited July 27 1 LikesVote Down
    where is this "wholesale" stamp store???"

    I can answer that - it's dealer to dealer sales to keep the cash flow moving amongst those full time dealers who have to pay the bills. 95 per cent of my stock has been purchased from full time dealers (usually in large lots) - over the years probably 75 per cent of my sales have been to full time dealers.

    All outside of Ebay / Hipstamp / etc. Listing a few items on here now and then is my form of relaxation.

  • Hi Carol,
    Interesting. Out of curiosity, what would you say the average cost (amount per "large lot") do you buy/sell?
  • Scott,
    Buying "wholesale" takes a lot more than going to the store. Finding and buying lots, collections and accumulations at good prices is hard enough, then you have to sort through them all to find the ones you can sell. Then you have to wait for customers to buy them, all the while having your cash tied up in inventory.
    My point was not that it's easy to "buy low, sell high," but rather that it is a lot of work and not for the feint of heart.
  • "Hi Carol,
    Interesting. Out of curiosity, what would you say the average cost (amount per "large lot") do you buy/sell?"

    Generally $500 to $5000 or so. I have not been in the loop for a long time as i still have a few bankers boxes of stuff that haven't seen the light of day in a couple of decades or longer. Just looking - I see one box with 1987 written on the side - gee - it seems like yesterday.
  • Has anyone ever tried to corner the market on an issue by buying them all up (ala the Hunts and silver) or anything juicy like that?

    Wanna try? Can we "GameStop" a stamp?
  • It's tough. You'd have to go after something that is scarce to start with, and that would suggest a fairly high buy-in to get to them. You don't have to get them all, but making it difficult could be enough to move the value.

    Probably better to focus on a back-of-book issue than front. Or focus on 1875 reprints or the like. If you wanted to go full crazy, you get 75% of the market, then do a YouTube video of setting fire to all but one of them... Then sell that one.
  • The stamp collecting hobby took a catastrophic hit in the 1980s when hordes of people decided to "invest" in stamps only to get bludgeoned with serious losses later on. The major periodicals like Linns Stamp News also suffered. At the time, it boasted over 100 pages in a newsprint format. Now, it is slightly larger than a church bulletin in any give week..
  • @Carol Brooks. I do some bidding on stamp auction lots. I recently won (4) lots with thousands of stamps. Picked them up from the auction house on Wednesday. I sort through the lots, pull out what I need and then put together the remainders as consignment lots to the same auction house. In other words, I recycle the lots.
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