Buy Stamps for Hobby or Investment

How to Buy Stamps is a complex question - there are many choices, each with its own pros and cons.

This guide will break out ways to purchase stamps with links to more detailed pages that you can click.

This is a guide only but we also sell high quality United States and worldwide stamps on this website, Buy Stamps (click to open in a new window or just click the 'Buy Stamps' link in the navigation bar).

Buying stamps online has become more popular and safe over the years and as long as you buy from high feedback sellers with no reason required return policies you can find some great deals - the column at right has some current ebay auctions you can click on to purchase stamps.

Whether you're buying postage stamps to use on mail or investing in rare stamps, there are strategies that can save you time and money.

Buy Postage Stamps for Mail Use

US Postage Stamps 3 Cent Plate Blocks from the 1940s through 1960s

If you are looking to Buy Postage Stamps for use on Mail, getting them direct from your local Post Office is a quick and easy option.

Stopping by a local branch office is still preferred by many though the ease of internet purchases and availability of discount postage have changed that to some extent.

Most countries allow you to buy postage stamps online which is a great time saver if you want to buy the newest stamps without the hassle of picking them up in person. For example, it is very easy to Buy US Postage Stamps Online from the US Postal Service.

Another option is to buy discount postage - basically old stamps that are still valid for use on mail. You can buy these from most stamp dealers and, in addition to brightening up your mail with all manner of colorful designs over the past 75 years, you can save money.

Discount postage can usually be bought for 70% to 90% of the face value depending the denominations and condition.

Even Forever postage stamps sell at a slight discount to face value.

Canada Souvenir Sheets about 225 of them with a total face value of $375 - unfortunately, they sell for way less than that

Why can you buy stamps for less than the face value?

The simple truth is that supply outweighs demand. There are more unused stamps saved by collectors over the past 75 years than there is demand for using it on mail today.

This causes prices to fall - great for anyone that wants to buy stamps!

Collectors and anyone that uses modern postage stamps make out well but it does mean that discount postage is not a good investment. It can come as quite a shock to someone trying to sell stamps to find out they're likely to get 50% of what they expected.

Buying to Build a Stamp Collection

Most stamp collectors want to buy more postage stamps than those currently available at the post office. To find collectible stamps will require finding an alternate supplier.

How to Buy Collectible Stamps

1. Stamp Dealers - great for building a collection and you'll receive better prices over time as you build a relationship.

2. Stamp Auctions - perfect for buying entire stamp collections and high-end rare stamps.

3. Online - buying from online dealers and auctions can be a great way to add stamps to your collection as long as you are careful, deal with reputable sellers and sites, and inspect whatever you buy. 

4. Direct - the cheapest way to purchase stamp collections is directly from collectors and estates. Criag's List and newspaper ads can generate some leads but also check estate sales, antique shops, and yard sales.

5. Mail Order - Receive stamps by mail for review and purchase in the comfort of your own home, such as from the American Philatelic Society (APS).

Investing in Stamps

A gorgeous Scott #12 could be anywhere from a worthless stamp to investment grade depending on its condition, centering, faults and eye appeal

This is hard to hear for many, but when you buy stamps there are very few that would be deemed as "investment quality". Basically, you are limited to the most popular countries and have to specialize in flawless, faultless, well-centered and rare.

What this means in practical terms is that the most expensive, high quality stamps are likely to be the best investment.

Rare Stamp Rules of Thumb

  • Buy Faultless and Well-centered Stamps
  • Require a Certificate of Authenticity
  • Be Patient and constantly watch for deals at high-end dealers and auction houses
  • Generally, stick with the most popular and rare stamps of the most collected countries
  • Don't buy error stamps
  • Stick to the main Scott numbers - no specialized varieties except for some inverted stamps
  • Follow the market to understand price trends
  • Properly protect and store your stamps
  • Insure any high value stamp investments!

There are exceptions to these rules of thumb, like any rules, but these hold for the vast majority of investment grade stamps.

Beyond that, it's like any collectible investment - buy high quality, in-demand material when you think it is on sale at a fair price.

Return to the Main Stamp Collecting page from this Buy Stamps page.

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