CUSTOMER SERVICE AND HEALTH
Everybody is receiving their stamps as promptly as ever and I am back at work. Enough said!
The increase in postage rates means I have raised the bar for free return postage to orders of £8. or more with 1 packet and £10.00 with 2. Hopefully you'll regard this as fair and still offering great value.
NEW "INTERNATIONAL" PACKETS - what's the difference?
The question as to whether the stamps in the international packets are sourced differently from the big packets is answered simply by "no". However, they are more work to put together and are better ordered, so are priced a little higher. It's simple as that!
NEW COMMONWEALTH PACKETS
These are much bigger with 750ish stamps and containing more post 1970 items, with quite a few high values and mint therein. I have dropped the price per stamp when you have taken over 100, to 4p. A couple of nice examples of post 1970 stamps below, The birds are pretty of course, but the Ghana surcharge (there are quite a few in one pack!) is interesting - these stamps were overprinted locally and there are thus many varieties but also "proper", (i.e. to defraud the post office), forgeries. GSM ran an article about them a while back, and there is the odd forum thread etc. to be found
RECENT AUCTION EXPERIENCES AND OBSERVATIONS (ctd.!)
The problems buying stock mentioned in the last post have eased somewhat by some fortunate purchases on Ebay and the opportunity to actually view some auction lots locally. Yes, a day before our glorious leader (unexpectedly?) froze the country again, I managed to view some lots at an auction whose premises allow for socially-distanced viewing though not of course socially distanced bidding. It was a case study in the importance of viewing. Several lots I looked at, although accurately described, were not as envisaged and if I'd bid blind I would have bid on something that wasn't quite right. As ever, I was outbid on most of the lots I wanted but came away with some good stuff. I say "came away" but the intention to collect the lots was ruled out and the cost of delivery exceeded the buyer's premium by some way.
As for Ebay, I have always struggled to find the right stuff there. It takes a long time to search and there is an awful lot of junk. Furthermore, many larger and mixed lots can make high realisations, a reflection of the fact that Ebay is after all, a retail marketplace. However, I recently stumbled on an excellent seller who regularly lists stuff that is just right for me (and you!) and that I've been able to "win" at the right price. However, as I write, I have been outbid on several lots and Ebay is encouraging me to bid more to "win what I want" or other such coarse consumer language.
Meanwhile auctions everywhere seem to be posting record number of bidders and realisations. I speculated in the last post that this might be due to people over bidding for fear of missing out, however, another theory is that the use of platforms such as EasyLiveAuction makes it very easy for bidders to get into competitive situations. For me, the cost of using these kind of platforms rules them out. Not only will you be clobbered by the auction house's premium but there's a cost to using the online platform as well.
Overall though, there are parallels, one might controversially observe, between internet bidding and internet gambling. Clicking is just too easy. Winning and losing are also too easily confused: if I have paid too much in the heat of the moment, is that winning, or losing?
As for realisations and the general climate, it's well worth reading what Grosvenor have to say here www.grosvenorauctionsm I really get why someone would want to bid over the odds on items in the remarkable Ken Carter collection as this was a rare opportunity, but on fairly routine mixed lots, well...........they'll come again, and if someone wants to bid a penny more than me on such stuff they can, as they say "have it!"
I'd be interested to know what others' thoughts and experiences are.
SOCIETY SPOTLIGHT - The National Philatelic Society
GIBBONSWATCH No. 1 Postponed!
That's it for now. I'll try and make the next one a bit sooner, without filling your inbox with the great unwanted.