Many stamp collectors who like to invest in their collections will usually sell their stamps when the best opportunity hits. But what are the best places to sell a stamp collection?
Some of the best places to sell a stamp collection include The Philately and auction houses like Sandafayre or Apfelbaum, Inc. Also, a popular option is selling through e-commerce sites like eBay, Mystic Stamps, and Mercari. You could also sell stamps at stamp fairs or to a stamp dealer.
If you’re planning on selling your stamp collection, you’ll need a wide variety of the best places to do that. In this article, I’ve listed all the best places where you can sell your stamp collection, from physical establishments, like auction houses, to online spaces with e-commerce websites.
1. The Philately
The Philately is a website that deals in selling and buying stamps. What’s great about them is that they have a category for almost every country, grouped by continent. So, it doesn’t matter if you only have a collection of German stamps, as long as they’re good quality and follow the requirements.
Regarding their requirements, The Philately limits some stamp collections according to the country and years. For instance, they’ll only accept US mint stamps produced after 1925, so no used stamps.
However, they’ll accept both mint and used stamps made before 1925. The same goes for Russian stamps, but the year mentioned is 1960.
You’ll need to reach The Philately via email, where you’ll have to upload high-quality pictures of your stamps. They offer payments after their appraisal through Paypal and checks.
Many of these websites are extremely strict regarding low-quality photos. They can only appraise your collection if they can zoom in to see all the details. That’s why many collectors decide to scan their stamps to have high-quality pictures.
2. American Philatelic Society
American Philatelic Society (APS) isn’t only the leading stamp-related organization that just promotes stamp collecting as a hobby. They also deal in selling stamps (kind of).
APS developed a system called “Stamp Circut Mail Sales,” which means once you send your stamp collection to them, they rearrange the collection to a specific category. After that, they send “circuits” to potential buyers.
An important distinction about APS is that they don’t buy your stamp collection. Rather, they only play the role of a “middleman.” If you’re a member of APS, you can send your collection to their staff, and they’ll help you sell it.
They do this primarily through home delivery mail sales and online sales on StamStore.org.
If you decide to sell with APS, here’s the process:
- Fill in a Submission Form.
- Ship your collection to APS’s headquarters.
- Wait for an email response from APS.
APS states that you must put a price of at least $1, so be careful about that. Also, the fee for every item they sell is 20%.
3. Mystic Stamp
Mystic Stamp Company is one of the leading stamp dealer companies. They’re a great place to sell your stamps because they accept big (“professional”) and casual stamp collections.
More importantly, their website says they pay “full market prices for your stamps.” This is a huge plus since not many dealers and websites do that.
Another great thing about Mystic Stamp is if you have a small stamp collection, you can send it to their headquarters in Camden, NY, where they’ll evaluate it for you.
When you decide to sell your collection to Mystic Stamp, you’ll need to fill out a form on their website or call them.
Additionally, this website offers a form for “casual stamp collectors” who may have inherited a collection and aren’t sure if it’s worth anything. If you’re one of those, it doesn’t cost you anything to fill out the form and see if you have some valuable pieces.
Sandafayre is located in the UK (England), but they’re still one of the world’s leading stamp dealers and auction houses. No matter where you live, it won’t be a huge problem to do business with Sandafayre.
You have two options when selling a stamp collection with Sandafayre. Either you sell it directly to them or they will sell your collection at their auction.
Of course, you’ll need to pay a fee if you choose the second option. As for the auctions, Sandafayre holds its regular public stamp auctions every two months. Apart from that, it also has Mail Bid Sales every week!
The great thing about Sandafayre auctions is that you don’t have to be there in person. They broadcast the auction in real time over their website, so you can watch the fate of your stamp collection from the comfort of your home.
If you want to sell your stamp collection to Sandafayre or through its public auctions, they’ll need to see your collection first. You have three options:
- Send a few pictures of your collection via email.
- Ship the collection to Sandafayre’s office in England.
- Bring the collection yourself.
Here’s a brief video made by Sandafayre describing their approach to buying and selling stamps:
5. Sell Unused Stamps
As the website’s name implies, Sell Unused Stamps deals only in mint stamps, though they don’t accept all mint stamps. They also don’t accept canceled stamps or stamps that were used. If an unused stamp is damaged and can no longer be used, you can’t sell it to this company.
Sell Unused Stamps also have varying degrees of paying for stamps they accept using the following criteria:
- 40% face value for partial or slightly damaged non-Forever stamps (or collection)
- 50% face value for complete sheets or collection of non-Forever stamps
- 70% face value for complete sheets or collection of Forever stamps
After you send them your collection for inspection, they’ll come up with an offer based on the criteria from above. If you’re happy with the offer, you can choose one of three paying methods Sell Unused Stamps have on its website:
- Check by mail
- Bank wire transfer
You’ll need to have either an entire collection of mint stamps or at least the majority of mints in your collection, which isn’t that rare since most collectors like to collect only mints. However, you’ll need to sell them at face value with this company.
And no, you generally don’t have to sell your non-Forever stamps at face value. That’s a common misconception. To learn more about this myth, head to my other article detailing whether you can sell stamps at more than face value: Can You Sell Postage Stamps for More Than Face Value?
The only downside of selling your stamp collection to Sell Unused Stamps would be that some of your mint stamps won’t go into someone’s precious collection. They’ll likely be used for mail. If you’re okay with that, you may want to consider this site to sell your collection.
6. Apfelbaum, Inc.
Another online place to sell your stamp collection is Apfelbaum, Inc., in Jenkintown, PA. If you have collectible stamps in your collection, Apfelbaum will certainly have a look, as they deal in:
- Selling stamps
- Appraising stamps
- Estate planning
Also, if you live in the US, the shipping is free of charge, though Apfelbaum offers its services worldwide. They provide cash as their payment method once the selling process is over.
One great thing about this company is that they travel to you to evaluate your collection free of charge. Apfelbaum will advise you if the market is good for selling your collection.
Before you ship them your stamp collection, Apfelbaum asks that you reach out to them via a call or email to get your code for a shipping label, so don’t miss that step.
You may also want your stamp inheritors to sell your stamp collection after you pass away. Apfelbaum also has an estate planning option whereby they offer a booklet with concise and informative suggestions on how to go about giving guidelines to your future stamp seller.
7. David Feldman
Although David Feldman is located in Switzerland, it’s an international auction house that specializes in selling stamps. So, no matter where you live, you can still do business with this company.
Since it’s an auction house, David Feldman takes only collectible and valuable stamps or entire collections. That means they won’t consider your collection if it doesn’t pass their criteria.
You’ll have to send them a description of your collection and pictures via email. You can also use their Dropbox option if the file doesn’t exceed 10 GB. After that, their staff will check the pictures, and if they’re happy with the collection, you’ll get an offer to consign with them.
The next step is to send them your collection, which they’ll prepare for an auction. Even then, you don’t have to leave your room because David Feldman offers a live-auction option for you to watch on your computer.
If you decide to reach out to David Feldman to sell your collection, you should read their Conditions of Sale first. They offer three currencies for their auctions:
Bonanza is an e-commerce site that is quite popular with stamp buyers and sellers. The main reason why some stamp collectors opt to sell their collection through Bonanza is because of its focus on promoting your product through different sites and sources and growing your customer base.
As you might imagine, this isn’t free. Bonanza lets you choose an advertising rate from 9% to 30%. Additionally, when you start selling on Bonanza, you’re required to pay the following:
- Transaction fee – $0.25, though Bonanza membership subscription members are exempt
- Final value fee – 3.5% of a product’s final price, though the minimum value is $0.50
Bonanza also has a feature that allows you to transfer the items from eBay to their site free of charge.
Additionally, through their “Customer Marketing Tool,” Bonanza allows sellers to view and group their online customers who visited their profile or bought some product. This way, you’ll be able to cater to larger groups of potential customers, so this might be a great place to start if you’re planning on selling multiple stamp collections.
The site itself is quite easy to use. Once you upload your product to your profile, you’ll need to add additional information about your product, such as:
- Information about shipping
9. Cherrystone Auctions
Cherrystone auction house is located in New Jersey and is one of the leading philatelic auction houses in the world. Cherrystone Auctions is big on US stamps, but they also sell stamps from other continents, such as Europe and Asia.
They are affiliated with many important organizations in the stamp-collecting world, including American Stamp Dealers’ Association and Philatelic Traders Society.
However, this auction house is only interested in rare and expensive stamps. So, if your collection doesn’t have those, you’ll probably need to find another place to sell your collection.
According to their Consignment Procedures, here are two important factors that a stamp seller should know:
- Cherrystone Auction requires a minimum price of $5000 for a collection or an average price of $200 for an individual stamp.
- The commission for sellers is 10% of the final price for a collection.
eBay is probably the most popular e-commerce site for selling stamps. It’s a place where you’ll find the most customers worldwide. It’s also fairly easy to use, so you won’t have any issues.
Once your eBay profile is up and running, you’ll need to upload pictures of your collection and add relevant details for different eBay categories. After that, list your price and wait for potential buyers.
Like other e-commerce sites, eBay has two main fees you’ll need to pay per item, which are an insertion fee and a final value fee. If you list your collection as individual stamps, you’ll need to pay fees for each stamp.
eBay doesn’t require an insertion fee for the first 250 listings each month. However, after that, you’ll need to pay for each item on your profile. Final value fees include a percentage of your final price and $0.30 for every item you sell. The fees can reach as high as 12% or more, which is one downside of eBay.
Unlike other e-commerce sites, eBay offers many payment methods, including gift cards and wire transfers. Here are some of their payment methods:
- Apple and Google pay
- eBay gift cards
- Credit card
Mercari is another e-commerce site where you can sell almost anything, including stamps. It’s a great site if you want minimal contact with your buyer, as Mercari takes care of everything for you.
It’s similar to other e-commerce sites, such as eBay or Craigslist, because it doesn’t buy anything from you. It’s there only to facilitate a purchase between a seller and a buyer. That’s why they’re not responsible for any damage done to your item.
Once you set up your Mercari profile, you’ll need to upload your stamp collection’s pictures and add all the necessary details. Then, you pick a carrier and the best time for the pickup. Once the buyer has your product, they’ll need to rate the transaction, and you’ll be paid through Instant Pay or direct deposit.
Mercari offers shipping options, but you can always choose other carriers. Their shipping options are prepaid labels and Mercari Pack and Ship.
Also, Mercari has some fees both buyers and sellers need to pay. A buyer must first pay for your stamp collection’s delivery, which is $10.99, and sellers on Mercari need to pay the following:
- Selling fee – 10% of the final price
- Processing fee – 2.9% and $0.50 for every order
12. Stamp Fairs and Shows
Generally speaking, stamp fairs and shows are great places to try and sell your stamp collection. They’re perfect for collections that don’t have super rare and expensive stamps but mid-range stamps that many people can afford. That’s because ordinary stamp collectors and enthusiasts visit these fairs and shows.
While many auction houses prefer only mint or rare stamps, buyers at stamp shows aren’t usually that picky.
Stamp fairs are less busy these days due to growing technological involvement in the stamp-collecting world. Check my other article discussing whether stamp collecting is dead to learn about the state of stamp-collecting today: Is Stamp Collecting Dead? What You Need to Know
However, stamp shows aren’t gone yet. As a matter of fact, in the US alone, stamp shows go on throughout the year in various cities.
Pick a stamp show closest to you and travel there with your collection. Chances are you’ll find an eager buyer. If not on the first try, you can always find a new show and try again.
The most popular stamp fairs and shows in the US include:
- New England Stamp Expo
- Sarasota National Stamp Exhibition
- Philatelic Show
- Rocky Mountain Stamp Show
- Great American Stamp Show
13. Local Stamp Dealer
Although there are many online stamp dealers, you should always try to sell your stamp collection to a local dealer. One benefit is that the dealer can touch and examine your collection.
With online dealers or those who are far away, they rely only on pictures (in the beginning), and it’s sometimes hard to evaluate a collection like that. Because of that, the whole process takes some time, from sending pictures to shipping your collection.
Try to find the closest stamp dealer and see what they have to say about your collection. You should also evaluate your collection with multiple dealers to get the best price. While auctions are also a good idea, the process is much quicker with stamp dealers.