Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

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Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by abutukit »

In Australia I am familiar with the situation where mint stamps ("post office fresh" from the 70s and 80s) would be sold at 70-80% of face value. Those are commonly used by philatelists on modern postage.

Is this a phenomenon experienced in other countries? Is it limited to affluent ones? If it was experienced in counties like Germany or France, I am curious as to what kind of dynamics happened when the currency was changed over.

As I said in Australia you feel it very much in philatelic mail, and it creates a conundrum for "in use" collections. In a way this new usage is a phenomenon of philatelic interest in my mind, even if it does not fit the more conservative views on the meaning of commercial usage.

Do Australian traders/collections feel that the phenomenon is wider than the philatelic market (i.e. do firms buy bulk older cheap postage stamps for commercial use)?

I am asking out of pure curiosity (and some ignorance) and I am hoping to hear what others think or might share on the topic.

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Re: underface older mint stamps

Post by mikestein »

I think 'real' commercial businesses have other options to reduce their postage bills - bulk mail discounts etc. Even with a 20% discount it probably wouldn't be seen a worthwhile (in terms of paid working hours) to have your staff sorting through and licking stamps to make up the current postage rate.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by crosscrescent »

As far as I know, this is not practised in Malaysia.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by GlenStephens »

abutukit wrote:
Do Australian traders/collections feel that the phenomenon is wider than the philatelic market (i.e. do firms buy bulk older cheap postage stamps for commercial use)?
I sell quite a few $1000 a month face value to companies who want under face value stamps.

I get the feeling most are small businesses, where the few $100 saving is VERY attractive, even if it takes staff time to sort the values.

One regular buyer says he simply gets his secretary to affix stamps to envelopes in her quiet times .. so he says he is paying her anyway, so cost is really no more than if she doodles on her blotter or chat with friends on facebook. :

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by fromdownunder »

Since you specifically cited Germany, AFAIK, all pre Euro stamps have been demonetised and cannot be used as all. (My understanding is that they are now worth about 20% of face - I am willing to be corrected on this figure)

Anything I buy from New Zealand is always accompanied in discount postage (10 - 30 year old stamps). Some of my purchases from USA contain the good old 3 cent commemoratives as fill ins and these were superceded around 1950, so I guess, wherever people can legitimately reduce costs via discount postage, they will.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by OttawaMike »

I understand that locally in Ottawa, some of the largest buyers of obsolete postage are charities. Their labour is volunteer, so the savings are real. Also, it is claimed, people are more likely to actually open mail, even junk mail, if it is franked with postage stamps rather than a meter or similar device.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by kerailija »

It's happening in Finland too. Especially collectors have taken advantage of it (and I confess being guilty :lol: )

The main reason is that Finland joined EMU ("eurozone") in year 2002, and old markka valued stamps will become invalid by the end of 2011. Due to this a LOT of dealers (mainly small ones) are trying to save their assets by selling mint sheets below face. I think the movement started after the millenium with roughly 20% discounts, now 40-50% discounts from face value are somewhat common.

And no - not everything gets sold below face. It is usually specific issues / sets that are heavily overstocked.
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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by waroff49 »

An interesting topic. There is one gent, who continually buys $$$$$'s of mint Aust at underface at Prestige Auctions, then simply takes all the stamps out of the hagners and fills up his suitcase and flings the hagners (but usually they only get as far as old Harry, who eagerly helps him to empty the stamps).
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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by Armarantine78 »

I wonder if this will cause a collecting trend in a few years when collectors will find the need to hunt down used stamps from the period in which they were released :lol:

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by GlenStephens »

OttawaMike wrote:
Also, it is claimed, people are more likely to actually open mail, even junk mail, if it is franked with postage stamps rather than a meter or similar device.
An absolute FACT Mike. 8)

1000 mail shots with stamps will be far more opened, than with 1000 meters.

Reader's Digest were acutely aware of this and at one time got Royal Mail to create for them a strip of 3 or so different colour machins in vast numbers to use on their mailouts ... their logic being 3 or 4 stamps is FAR more likely to be opened than one with a single stamp.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by crosscrescent »

Unfortunately, Reader's Digest in Malaysia does not do that for us Glen.
What a shame.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by GlenStephens »

Andrew .. I doubt they have done it for decades ANYWHERE .. which is odd as it WORKS!

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by kerailija »

Armarantine78 wrote:I wonder if this will cause a collecting trend in a few years when collectors will find the need to hunt down used stamps from the period in which they were released :lol:
Actually it's happening in Finland already... In certain circles "late use issues" are considered equally desirable to CTO-used stamps :lol:

But then there are also collectors who cheerfully mix older markka stamps and Euro-era stamps on same cover to create postal history "rarities". :lol:

Go figure. They both must be right. :lol:
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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by gavin-h »

fromdownunder wrote:Since you specifically cited Germany, AFAIK, all pre Euro stamps have been demonetised and cannot be used as all. (My understanding is that they are now worth about 20% of face - I am willing to be corrected on this figure)
Norm,

That figure is probably about right - the bottom has completely dropped out of the market for DM-denominated issues from about 1955-2000 (with a few exceptions such as later West Berlin mint definitives) :shock:

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by lithograving »

(with a few exceptions such as later West Berlin mint definitives)
Actually Gavin many of the used West Berlin German Women series, showing in period postmarks are worth a lot more than mint and are being sought after by German collectors. I wonder how long it will be, if not already, before somebody starts applying fake cancellations. Read somewhere that genuine post office cancelers are sold on ebay.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by abutukit »

kerailija wrote:20% discounts, now 40-50% discounts from face value are somewhat common.

Are these lower values reflected in anyway in catalogue values? For Australia, the catalogues still price those abundant mints at ~150% of face value.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by figmente »

abutukit wrote:
kerailija wrote:20% discounts, now 40-50% discounts from face value are somewhat common.

Are these lower values reflected in anyway in catalogue values? For Australia, the catalogues still price those abundant mints at ~150% of face value.

Seldomly

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by kerailija »

abutukit wrote:
kerailija wrote:20% discounts, now 40-50% discounts from face value are somewhat common.
Are these lower values reflected in anyway in catalogue values? For Australia, the catalogues still price those abundant mints at ~150% of face value.
Some (already low value) mint issues have lost about fifth of their cat. value in recent years, so I think re-adjustment to markets is happening.
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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps

Post by stampchris »

fromdownunder wrote:Since you specifically cited Germany, AFAIK, all pre Euro stamps have been demonetised and cannot be used as all. (My understanding is that they are now worth about 20% of face - I am willing to be corrected on this figure)
I know you can see use French Franc denominated stamps in France - nearly all the letters I receive from dealers and collectors have franc stamps on them (guess they are trying to use them up before they become worthless). I believe guilder denominated stamps are still valid in the Netherlands as I've received mailings from dealers with a mixture of guilder and euro stamps. I think Belgium and Finnish pre-Euro stamps are still valid too. Can't help with the other countries.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps

Post by stampchris »

abutukit wrote:
kerailija wrote:20% discounts, now 40-50% discounts from face value are somewhat common.

Are these lower values reflected in anyway in catalogue values? For Australia, the catalogues still price those abundant mints at ~150% of face value.
I believe the catalogue value for a set is namely that, just for that set. A dealer needs to include a profit margin. However, when you buy a collection or a large lot then you can expect to pay a percentage of face.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps

Post by stampchris »

kerailija wrote:
abutukit wrote:
kerailija wrote:20% discounts, now 40-50% discounts from face value are somewhat common.
Are these lower values reflected in anyway in catalogue values? For Australia, the catalogues still price those abundant mints at ~150% of face value.
Some (already low value) mint issues have lost about fifth of their cat. value in recent years, so I think re-adjustment to markets is happening.
kerailija - when I offered to send some modern Swedish stamps to somebody in Sweden as payment for a item I was told that modern Swedish stamps sell for 40% of face value, and that it was not worth sending them. Is this true?

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps

Post by kerailija »

stampchris wrote: kerailija - when I offered to send some modern Swedish stamps to somebody in Sweden as payment for a item I was told that modern Swedish stamps sell for 40% of face value, and that it was not worth sending them. Is this true?
I don't follow Sweden's stamp markets that closely, so I can't comment otherwise than stating it's possible.

As Sweden is not an EMU country (meaning they still use crowns as their currency), all older stamp are (and will remain for a long time) valid for postage. In that sense they are worth precisely their face value for non-collectors.
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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by nico_jnk »

Spanish stamps in "pesetas" are not valid anymore since 2002
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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by fromdownunder »

nico_jnk wrote:Spanish stamps in "pesetas" are not valid anymore since 2002
Just out of interest, what is the going market rate for the demonetised Spanish stamps. I imagine that they would be much like the rest of the world, 20 - 40% face?

Even stamps still valid for use in Australia only bring 50% - 60% face wholesale, so stamps that are no longer valid for postage must be worth considerably less.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by malcolm197 »

It is a shame that peseta stamps are no longer valid. At least 50% of recent Juan Carlos definitives and a fair number of commemoratives harvested from holiday postcards and kiloware by myself are unfranked. I was hoping to be able to offload them to needy Spanish collectors in exchange for postally used ( and franked ) examples.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps

Post by doug »

stampchris wrote:
fromdownunder wrote:Since you specifically cited Germany, AFAIK, all pre Euro stamps have been demonetised and cannot be used as all. (My understanding is that they are now worth about 20% of face - I am willing to be corrected on this figure)
I know you can see use French Franc denominated stamps in France - nearly all the letters I receive from dealers and collectors have franc stamps on them (guess they are trying to use them up before they become worthless). I believe guilder denominated stamps are still valid in the Netherlands as I've received mailings from dealers with a mixture of guilder and euro stamps. I think Belgium and Finnish pre-Euro stamps are still valid too. Can't help with the other countries.

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Got this last week from a German who posted it from France because it is MUCH cheaper to post from there.
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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by Dorian »

This is something I've wondered about recently when I've received post from Belgium with old Franc stamps attached. How come some of the Eurozone countries can still use the old currencies but in others they're not valid?

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by kerailija »

I think it's a national decision... Same way like banks in some countries still take old pre-euro currency, and exchange it to euro's.... But it has a timelimit. For example Finnish Post invalidates all the pre-euro stamps (issued after 1963; older are already invalid) on the end of 2011.
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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by gavin-h »

kerailija wrote:Finnish Post invalidates all the pre-euro stamps (issued after 1963; older are already invalid) on the end of 2011.
Good opportunity to create a few "Last Day Covers" and sell them on to Stampboards members :idea:

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by kerailija »

gavin-h wrote:Good opportunity to create a few "Last Day Covers" and sell them on to Stampboards members :idea:
Actually I had thought of making just one "special cover" for my own memorabilia :oops:

Interestingly, 31.12.2011 will be Saturday. So only very few post offices will be open (and for limited time I fear, as it will be new years eve). Fortunately a lot of postal services have been outsourced in past decade, and groceries and alike (which serve as postal agencies in rural areas) will be open and accept mail... I'm not just sure if they will have any time/resources to cancel any mail, as it will be one of busiest days of the year (selling beer and other important goodies for celebration)... So possibly these will become truly rare items :lol:

But I'll think about... In any case I won't be making many of these, as philatelic hand cancelling (especially in larger quantities than a cover or two) is officially a "paid additional service" :shock: (I bet a lot of folks didn't know about this either :lol: ... they do know how to milk all the money from stamp collectors and dealers :lol: )
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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by ecwk »

In Hong Kong, stamps issued before 1997 when we returned to Chinese rule are invalid for postage. And several commemorative issues as well as the last definitives bearing the Queen's head that were massively over-produced saw their prices drop through the bottom to around 5-10% face value. On the other hand, there is a ready market for stamps issued after 1997 which offer 90% FV or so mint for postage purposes, excluding some that have gone up in prices, of course.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by opkedia52 »

As an Indian I wonder how can the stamps be sold below face value.

Indian stamps issued up to 2003 is sold at least at 200% of face value and some may go upto 2000%.

Some M/sheets are valued at many times of their face value. Stamps are issued by official agency and sold at face value and selling at below face value is demonotising your currency.

Every country should follow indian practise to keep value of their current stamps intact.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by stampchris »

Unfortuantely it is a case of supply and demand. During the 1980s many people bought large amounts of Australian stamps, thinking they would maintain their value or even make them rich. Unfortunately the market collapsed and when it came to sell them nobody wanted to buy them. If you wish to dispose of them you have to be prepared to sell them under face.

The only way to maintain their face value is to use them as postage.

Perhaps in India people are chasing stamps from the 1980s to 2000s, which explains why they cost more than face value?
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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by opkedia52 »

In India it is pure demand and supply and supply side is always weak.india generally print 4,00,000 to one million stamps per issue and during 1980-2000 very few people invested in stamps, hence the value of some issues have skyrocketted.

Some issues of 1992 are being sold at 200 times of their face value. For philatelists this is a dream condition.

Everyone should now invest in Indian stamps if they want to appreciate their holding.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by kerailija »

opkedia52 wrote:Some issues of 1992 are being sold at 200 times of their face value.For philatelists this is a dream condition.Everyone should now invest in Indian stamps if they want to appreciate their holding.
How is this a dream situation for philatelist? Dealers will definitely benefit from such steep prices, but for most regular stamp collectors and philatelists (with limited budgets) I fear such price increases are nothing but cause for headache and another obstacle in completing their collections.

Each coin has two sides...Yes, such increases will definitely attract "investment minded" collectors to hobby. But how many of them will remain when the prices stabilize and there is no more easy money on offer? Mixing a hobby & investing is a good idea IMHO.
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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for postage

Post by Agrome »

Hello,

in Italy it's possible to use stamps from 1965 circa, also in LIRE.

I normally do it.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for post

Post by toregro »

In my collecting area it common to buy and sell mint stamps below face value. Probably due to declining interest in stamp collecting and in particular for collecting modern mint stamps and a lot of collections being sold of without enough real collectors to provide demand.

In addition used stamps without cancellation is ashed of from kiloware and sold in huge quantities for reuse as postage. The postal service probably find it cheaper not to cancel all stamps and risk a reuse rather than take the extra work of canceling the stamps.

My assumption is that common mint stamps issued the latest 40 years would sell for 40-50% of face value for Norway, 70-80% for Sweden and Denmark, and 80 - 90% for Germany.

Used or "non gum" stamps without cancellation would probably be at 20 - 25% of face value for Norway, 60% for Sweden, 70% for Denmark and 70-80% for Germany. These objects are easily obtained on the local internet auctions.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for post

Post by Wolfgang »

Agrome wrote:Hello,

in Italy it's possible to use stamps from 1965 circa, also in LIRE.

I normally do it.

Andrea
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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for post

Post by dukeprince »

Having just read all these Postings , may i say , thank God I collect used stamps pre 1950, I am fairly immune from this Roller Coaster.

But I love Discounted old Mint , I use it to claw back some of ebays fees through postage charges on send outs.

I think the Price outcome on any given Stamp mint or used is due to market forces of supply and demand , see India posting in this subject at double face, see other countries at half face, its always been thus, has it not.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for post

Post by Agrome »

Wolfgang wrote:
Agrome wrote:Hello,

in Italy it's possible to use stamps from 1965 circa, also in LIRE.

I normally do it.

Andrea
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why not !
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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for post

Post by GlenStephens »

Agrome wrote:Hello,

in Italy it's possible to use stamps from 1965 circa, also in LIRE.

I normally do it.

Andrea
Yes I see some from FRANCE with the old stamps for sure!

And none got cancelled - anyone here live in FRANCE?? :lol: :lol:

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for post

Post by Chinola »

Are previous United Nations issues still a gold mine for cheap postage?

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for post

Post by stampchris »

Chinola wrote:Are previous United Nations issues still a gold mine for cheap postage?
Yes and no. Yes they can still be used, but a few years ago the UN Postal Authority and United Nations building security put a raft of new security measures into force, which effectively limited the use of old stamps.

I know several US based auction houses mailed out their catalogues through the UN, but this all stopped when the new regulations were put in place.

While visiting the UN post office in 2009 they only accepted letters and small packages. When I asked for my letters to be hand cancelled (as I had purchased some personalised stamps) I was met with a rather indignant refusal. Appeared to me that the 'public' part of the post office was solely for visitors to send postcards and the odd letter.
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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for post

Post by Jack »

As a postal history person may I say how much old postage used out of date is just 'wrong'.

I recognise the financial imperative but for those of us who collect current issue stamps used on cover in their time of issue it's really annoying to get old stamps on cover.

Mainly, after getting over my annoyance, the cover just gets 'woodchipped' in the Rod Perry term to stamps. And I hate doing that as my hobby is not stamps.

So do think about it. If, for example, you have sold stamps on eBay then perhaps old stamps used for packing is fine, but if you have sold a cover then send with modern stamps, please!

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for post

Post by Not Bruce »

I'm afraid that I'm guilty as charged - I buy lots of decimal stamps to use for postage at a big discount - but I also buy new issues too for the same purpose.

As I send-out around 250 packets a month all around the globe, I see it as a way of "adding value" (I hate that phrase) to what I'm sending and it increases the value of what's left mint, so ultimately helps philately I guess.


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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for post

Post by AMark »

Hello.

A lot of the mail that I receive, from sellers, has older postage which is used out of date. I wish that they would use new issues. But, if they buy older stamps below face value I can't really expect much.
Furthermore, a lot of the mail arrives without a cancel. I wish that the sellers would put in a little more effort in getting a nice cancel. It would be a nice bonus to the buyer.

So, back to mailing new issues to myself.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for post

Post by Not Bruce »

We in the UK don't have any say whatsoever when it comes to cancels, the Royal Mail either cancel or don't depending on the phases of the moon or whether they can be bothered or not, it's a total lottery.

If I'm asked for new issues on packets, I will always send them - trouble is that some of the packets I send can contain very valuable stamps and I don't want to draw attention to the envelope - or is that just me being paranoid?

I did spend £23 today on 50 of the ones with crowns on...

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for post

Post by Jack »

'If I'm asked for new issues on packets, I will always send them - trouble is that some of the packets I send can contain very valuable stamps and I don't want to draw attention to the envelope - or is that just me being paranoid?'

I'd go with paranoid. Sorry. If PO staff cant be bothered to cancel then they don't care about the inside (and their security is good). At least give me new stamps to soak off if they are not cancelled. Don't give me rubbish 1970s!!

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for post

Post by fromdownunder »

It's fairly simple for me.

If I am not paying postage, then the seller (or the Auction House/Postal Bid Sale/promo) can use whatever they want, as it reduces their costs (and ultimately) reduces overheads which would otherwise be passed on to me. Hell, they can use a passing Kangaroo's pouch or two African Swallows for all I care.

If I am paying postage, I anticipate receiving decent stamps on the package, not necesarilly 2011 issues but material which will enhance my collection.

As it happens, while I stopped actively pursuing used Australia around 1997, I still add such material to my collection when it turns up, and I have a lot of gaps. And a lot of post 1996 stuff seems to be now trickling into the secondary market and being used as postage. Which is filling gaps for me.

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Re: Worldwide use of older stamps bought below face for post

Post by jugoslavija_post »

Jack wrote:As a postal history person may I say how much old postage used out of date is just 'wrong'.

I recognise the financial imperative but for those of us who collect current issue stamps used on cover in their time of issue it's really annoying to get old stamps on cover.

Mainly, after getting over my annoyance, the cover just gets 'woodchipped' in the Rod Perry term to stamps. And I hate doing that as my hobby is not stamps.

So do think about it. If, for example, you have sold stamps on eBay then perhaps old stamps used for packing is fine, but if you have sold a cover then send with modern stamps, please!
I really agree with you.

Most of my incoming mail has 30 year old postage on it! I just end up throwing them out! :shock:

(Virtually all mail from the USA has 60 year old stamps used!) :cry:

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