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Featured Store: The Stamp Cellar

My names is James Styrin and I run my BidStart / Stanley Gibbons Marketplace store The Stamp Cellar. I discovered stamp collecting maybe a little later than some, at the age of 15. I bought a stamp starter kit from a stationary shop and was immediately hooked. My original collecting area was Great Britain, particularly the four Kings period. I loved those designs and I found the inverted and sideways watermarks very interesting. Since that time, I have expanded into collecting British Commonwealth and France. Over the last few years the collections have been growing at a rate of knots! My collecting areas are now my main selling areas too.

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Some of the things that stand out in my history of collecting are those surprise “finds”. I remember I won an auction lot of Great Britain pre-decimal commemoratives mint. When the lot arrived there were two stamps the same and I found myself asking, “Why two?” At this point I noticed one was missing the face value, in fact “missing black,” something I would never have expected to find. By strange co-incidence, I bought a similar lot about three months later and found exactly the same stamp. I sold one and put the other aside for the future.

 

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My approach to my store is simply to offer a level of service that I would expect as a buyer. I scan the front and back of every single item that is offered; why would anybody buy a stamp unless they can see exactly what is being offered? Another thing that I feel is very important is that purchased items are well packed and posted quickly – after all, once purchases have been paid for, they are no longer my property. My “all about me” page states that I post within two days but I frequently post the same day if there is time to make the postal collection.

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Feedback is also very important to me. After five years of internet trading, it is still a pleasure to receive positive feedback and know that buyers are happy with their purchases. I am very proud that, at the time of writing, I have never had a negative or neutral star. That is why Stanley Gibbons Marketplace has been a wonderful venue for internet trading.

View TheStampCellar` Marketplace Store at: http://marketplace.stanleygibbons.com/store/TheStampCellar

 

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Featured Store: Jer’s Stamps

Hi everyone,

I am Jeri Stathas, better known as Jerbear, and the owner of Jer’s Stamps. My interest in collecting stamps started with soaking stamps for my father for 25c a week. At times, he would purchase huge bags and boxes of collections and it was my job to soak all these stamps. As I handled all these stamps I became enthralled with the beauty and history of these “pieces of paper”. I loved looking through my father’s albums with all his stamps in mounts and neatly arranged on pages. He would explain to me why some stamps, while looking identical, were actually different and why certain stamps were unique. It was back then that I knew I had to have my own collection. I soon became obsessed and for over 60 years my passion still burns brightly.

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One highlight of my collecting and selling career was when I finally became accepted in the stamp community as a knowledgeable philatelist.  I spent years going to shows and from one bourse to another as a buyer and seller. Unfortunately, in the late 50’s and most of the 60’s the hobby was dominated by male sellers and a female seller/buyer was not the norm.  Today, it is nice to see so many female philatelists contributing a wealth of information and expertise to this hobby.

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Having been a collector before becoming a seller has assisted me in my approach to selling.  Every stamp I offer is carefully examined and identified before listing and a high resolution image provided.  A complete description, such as watermark, perf’s or any other pertinent information, is always included to distinguish between similar varieties. Buyers always have plenty of information to make an informed decision on their purchase.

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I also wanted to approach selling individual stamps not just collections or lots. Many collectors are looking for that elusive, perhaps common, stamp to fill a hole in their album without having to buy an entire lot. Stanley Gibbons Marketplace has provided me a platform for this approach. With its low fees, ease of use and superior customer service this is the perfect site for selling collectibles “My Way”.

View jerbear722 Marketplace Store at: http://marketplace.stanleygibbons.com/store/jerbear722

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Featured Store: Avion Thematics

Hello, my name is Roger B West and I run Avion Thematics together with my wife Sue.

My philatelic life is quite long and eventful. I started working at Stanley Gibbons in the catalogue department, then a spell of working as a one-man mail order business. I then set up my auction business (Phoenix International). I had two partners during this time but eventually bought them out. I then set up a wholesale business (Es-En Agency) and later incorporated this into Avion Thematics.

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As a collector I formed a fine collection of St Helena for which I set up the St Helena Supplement for the West Africa Study Circle where I produced the first ten issues and still make occasional contributions. Apart from numerous articles on St Helena I have produced two handbooks, one on the Perkins Bacon 6d Plate and one on St Helena Forgeries, both having received awards. In 1994 I edited Madame Joseph Forged Postmarks which was published by the Royal and I believe became their fastest selling publication.

I belong to three local Societies and am currently Chairman at Matlock PS.  With advancing years I’ve recently resigned from the American Topical Association, The West Africa Study Circle, Indian Ocean Study Group & British West Indies Study Circle.  I am currently a member if the Internet Philatelic Dealers Association where I serve as a director for GB and Europe.

So I would like to share with you some memorable moments over 60 years selling stamps: when I had my wholesale business (Es-En Agency) my stock was housed in an old church hall of 5,000 square feet with dozens of bays of Dexion shelving. Just before I vacated the premises I invited my local Philatelic Society to come along and see my ‘Aladdin’s cave’. I gave them free access and for about two hours all I heard was “bloody hell!’

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Another memorable moments was during the time I was collecting St Helena, Stanley Gibbons Auctions were offering the I.D. Lampart’s Postal History of St Helena (5/12/86). One of my colleagues wanted to buy several of the star items but to do so he would have to sell his St Helena stamps. Through the help of a sympathetic American dealer I bought the stamps and was given three months to pay. The purchase price was probably three times what I’d spend in an average year so I too had to start selling other parts of my collections. I remember I drew up a large thermometer, rather like you see outside churches when they’re trying to pay for a project. I sold pretty well everything I had (except St Helena) and miraculously met my dead line. It was an amazing rush to take on such a commitment but I was younger then and the reluctance to sell quickly changed to a pleasure.

I cannot forget during our early days of running Avion Thematics, we took a stand at the Gibbons exhibitions which were held at Wembley. Other dealers will no doubt remember seeing me and my stock arriving in an old black London Taxi while my wife Sue made her own way in the car. The Gibbons shows were fabulously well attended and Sue and I often reflect on how we were each serving maybe 6 clients at once and the crowd in front of us were 3 or 4 deep.

Also, during the period when we ran our auction Phoenix International, one of our sales featured a near complete run of British Commonwealth Specimen stamps. Our auctions really were international and most of my bids were postal from clients who couldn’t attend in person. This particular sale only had a modest number of room bidders but did include four auction agents. The ex-owner of the collection witnessed 85% of the lots selling (which was a record for us) but the memorable thing for me was after the last lot was sold, the room all clapped.

And another interesting thing to share, twenty years ago we set up a philatelic competition open to all members of the Derbyshire Societies. An attractive plaque depicting the 1929 Postal Union Congress £1 stamp is awarded to the overall winner. Later this year (May) we will be celebrating our 21st Phoenix Competition.

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One thing that make us different from other dealers is that from the days when we did the shows, it became obvious that ‘thematic’ collectors will collect almost anything that depicts their theme and this is particularly so with smaller and more obscure subjects. To this end, I started dealing in match-box labels, Locals, Cinderellas, Forgeries and the like. It was even apparent that Gulf States and the so called ‘illegals’ also have a big following. These items now form a popular part of our stock.

One comment I frequently hear is how our stock is ‘awesome’ and by that, collectors are referring to the inventory that now tops 100,000 items with vast majority being unmounted mint (mnh). Apart from that, I get the satisfaction knowing that the vast majority now have good quality images.

We are very happy selling our items on Stanley Gibbons Marketplace. Because we have so many other things to do, we leave all the setting-up and uploading to my webmaster who tells me the Marketplace system is easier and with fewer rules than several other sites. On the odd occasion when we’ve had a problem, the Stanley Gibbons technical people are on hand to help and anyone who’s ever had such problems will appreciate how nice it is to talk to a real person.

It seems that the good name of Stanley Gibbons and the unrivaled stock of Avion provides the thematic collector with the perfect market place.

View rogerpo99 Marketplace Store at: http://marketplace.stanleygibbons.com/store/rogerpo99

 

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Featured Store: Downtown Stamp Company

Hello, I am Mark and together with my brother Michael we run Downtown Stamp Company. The business has been in the same family since it started in 1926. Both of us grew up in the business and even worked as kids both in the store and at home soaking and sorting stamps.

The Downtown Stamp Company was founded by Rudolph Nowell in 1926 in Downtown Newark, NJ.  Years earlier he had been building a stock and dealing stamps out of his mother’s house in Newark while he was an accountant on Wall Street.  In 1926 Rudy decided to devote all of his time to his own business – stamps.  The close proximity to New York City allowed Mr. Nowell to supplement the inventory by successfully bidding in philatelic auctions and by buying dealer stocks.  When the famous Nassau Stamp Company of New York was sold, the Downtown purchased the entire stock of foreign stamps.

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The business flourished in Newark for 66 years in five different stores as it grew from a modest shop to a formidable holding of stamps.  In fact the last Newark location of 48 years, 44 Academy Street, became fondly known as “The Archives” to serious stamp collectors.  Stock books, auction lots and collections adorned the 12 feet high walls.  And yes, the loyal collectors from the “old country” would sometimes be treated to a shot of whiskey!

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By being in business so long once in a while we would stumble upon something that had been buried for years. One time, we stumbled upon a trunk that had been buried under a table and we had no idea what was in it! Upon opening we found a trove of worldwide zeppelin covers. It was like finding a hidden treasure chest! It was just a natural that we continued on with the business to keep the family tradition going.

The last transition for the business occurred in 1992 when the inventory was moved to its current Whitehouse, NJ location.  The stock is more organized than ever and is still in the capable hands of our family.  Good quality material at fair prices and great customer service is what make us to stand out from the crowd. The number one thing that most of our customers comment on is the great service we provide. I think it is the main reason we have been in business for almost 90 years.

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View downtown44`s Marketplace Store at: http://marketplace.stanleygibbons.com/store/downtown44

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Featured Store: SCView and Sons

My Name is Stefano (Steve) Neis and I own SCVIEW postcards store at Stanley Gibbons Marketplace. I am 57 years old, married (wife Linda), with three boys (Antonio 11, Marcello 11 and Angelo 10 yrs). I am a naturalized US citizen originally from the SAARLAND, Germany. I am an Ex-Submarine officer of the US Navy.

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I have collected stamps & coins since I was a child. Postcards are an extension of that. While in the U.S. Navy I obtained University degrees in Art & History. These degrees easily apply themselves to the content of postcard images.

I first got into postcards by accident. A stamp shop I was working for bought a VW bug full of postcards for $100 USD. All you could see was the driver and the postcards when the seller showed up at the shop. The store owner realized that most of the cards were foreign. Since my specialty was foreign stamps & coins, he stated I was the new postcard “expert”. Yippee…. I was not really interested at the time. I looked through the piles of postcards, found one of a black dancer (Josephine Baker) at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, called a customer and sold it for 100 USD within 15 minutes after we had bought the collection. I told the store owner, “Ok, I got your $100 back. Let’s throw the rest of the cards away and get back to stamps & coins. Luckily he did not listen to me.

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I attended a stamp show in Tacoma, Washington in the early 1980s. While looking at a dollar box of cards I came across a card of a black baseball team called the Cuban X-Giants. I bought it on a nagging hunch. There were three Baseball hall of Famer Baseball players in the image. One was Rube Foster the “father” of black baseball. The card was postmarked within 30 days of this team winning the first ever BLACK World series of baseball. The Card was mailed from a small all-white academy in New Jersey. The Note said “These boys sure kicked our butts yesterday!”. I sold the card 1 week later for $2,000 USD.

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Two years later that same card was sold for $6,000 at a sports auction in N.J, in 2011 it was listed in a private invitation auction in Dallas, with an opening bid of $10,000. It sold at an undisclosed price at that auction.

Now as a postcard seller, quality of items and customer service make us stand out from the crowd.

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67% of our customers buy with us again and our average basket is 11 items per sales. Also other actions we make to keep our customers happy is to offer free shipping if they buy ten items or more at a time and I run major purchases every month to keep the stock fresh and moving.

At one point of my journey selling postcards online I decided to leave a huge website where we used to be number #1 and look for other selling venues that would work better for us.

Stanley Gibbons Marketplace/ bidStart staff were very helpful and went out of their way to add categories & features that made it easy for us to sell. That combined with the Newsletter feature made the site a marketer’s dream. Our sales went through the roof and within three months our sales exceeded the sales on the other website plus our fees dropped by 5/6s of what we were paying before. That extra cash allowed me to hire more employees and increase my stock.

View SCView’s Marketplace Store at: http://marketplace.stanleygibbons.com/store/scview

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Featured Store: Noernberg Stamps

My name is Doug Noernberg and I own Noernberg shop at Stanley Gibbons Marketplace. I have been a stamp collector since seeing my older sister collect them when I was ten years old. Her new hobby didn’t last but I got hooked. I believe simply Romanian CTOs that got me started, as well as soaking stamps off of envelopes. The little old ladies at church loved saving their stamps for me!

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As a child of the 80s, I enjoyed having my booklets full of stamps, however times change, so I got involved at an early age digitizing my collection. It was mostly through the creation of spreadsheets to keep track of my collection and making up my want lists so I could take the printouts with me to stamp shows as I methodically tried to complete my mint U.S. collection and proudly show it around. Currently I am moderator of my own Stamp Collecting Community on Google+ Social Media website where people share their love of the hobby, which now has over 16,000 members across the globe!

In my history of selling stamps, a wonderful moment was when I participated in the 2009 American Heart Association Heart Walk. Not knowing what to expect, I used bidStart website forums to solicit donations/sponsors for my campaign, posted some pictures online and over the following years, many people got involved in the annual charity event, donating time, philatelic items to auction off, and a lot of good spirit to help me raise many thousands of dollars for the AHA. This was a time unlike any other, and really stands out to me as a very special time.

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Selling stamps is a hobby, and any money I make goes back into buying new items for my collection. I truly enjoy cataloging and scanning my stamps, and sharing this collection online with others. It’s a great pastime. I enjoy each stamp individually, each of them have their own special details that make them fascinating. Thus, when anyone visits my store the primary focus is to provide an experience for individual stamps as opposed to bulk or full collection sales, therefore visitors will be able to find less expensive varieties.

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Every item has a nice high resolution scanned image, sometimes with the back scanned when there is something noteworthy to point out, and I provide a lot of detail in the listing to help make items easier to find. Very few sellers are willing to put the time into it like I do, so I believe that makes me a stand-out in the market I cater to.

Visit Doug’s Marketplace Store at: https://www.stanleygibbons.com/store/noernberg

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