Selling stamps online is an excellent alternative to the traditional methods of attending stamp shows, bourses or public auctions. A big advantage is the ability to reach millions of interested customers worldwide. You also have hundreds of stamp dealers' and auction websites literally at your fingertips. There are many online educational resources available to help you grade and determine the value of your stamps.
Look up the value of your stamps online or in your local library to determine if they're worth enough to justify selling them. Price guides give suggested retail prices, usually 60% of what they will actually sell for. Check dealers' price lists or popular auction websites for current stamp values.
Research your stamps thoroughly. You will need to describe and categorise them as accurately as possible when selling them online, as your customers won't be able to directly view them. Determine the country of origin, age and condition of your stamps.
Sell your stamps individually, or all together as a wholesale lot. Selling an entire collection at once requires less labour and time, but is less profitable. Breaking your collection into small lots of related stamps or single stamps gives the option of selling to a wider variety of customers. Selling to different dealers or collectors who specialise in your type of stamps will bring you more money.
Photograph or scan your stamps to obtain a clear, true colour picture of your stamps. Use the best quality scanner available, or set your camera on a close up setting with good lighting and sharp focus for best results. Include an image of the back of the stamp, as gum condition is important. JPEG images of 640 by 480 pixels are ideal for e-mailing or posting on the Internet.
List your stamps on one or more of the popular online auction websites, or send your written description and pictures to dealers for their offers.
Sell your stamps through an online auction trading assistant or philatelic society if you don't have enough information about your collection to do it yourself. Experienced experts can grade stamps and know the various price structures. Expect to pay a 20% commission for this service.
Package your stamps carefully, once you've sold them. Selling stamps online is similar to running a mail order business. Ship your stamps after you receive payment through a secure online payment system or with a money order. Wait for a personal check to clear before shipping. Send the stamps in archival polyester plastic (mylar) sleeves and album pages, or wrap them in acid free paper. When using paper, sandwich the stamps in thin cardboard to prevent bending. Mail them out in a stiff or padded envelope.
Get rare, older stamps in good condition professionally graded to considerably increase their value. All unused U.S. stamps are worth at least their face value and can be used as postage. Certain stamps are worth more cancelled than in new condition. Most used common stamps are worth a nickel or a dime apiece.
Do search engine checks of dealers or websites you choose to deal with. Negative feedback or uncomplimentary comments about their business practices will help you weed out the small minority of bad apples. Use delivery confirmation when mailing stamps to unknown persons.