Selling Your Collection

Selling Your Collection

Sidney is at the north end of the Saanich peninsula about thirty kilometres north of downtown Victoria. I first attended a Sidney Stamp Club meeting in January and was asked to give a presentation on selling your collection and will do so at the April meeting.


Cuba 1958 Nicolas Esperado “lyre” progressive proof

My quick acceptance of the request reflected what had been my usual approach: jot down a few points to be made, organize them in a logical sequence, estimate the timing so I don’t talk too long, then when the presentation starts get up and retell anecdotes which illustrate the points, answer a few questions, and try to have an overall theme emerge on the subject. Preparation time about ten minutes.

This time, I will take a different approach. My audience will include collectors with decades of high level experience and others unfamiliar with the jargon of our hobby. As I jot down the areas to highlight, a serious challenge will be to keep the introductory remarks to about ten minutes.

I have a lot of experience buying collections. In my Ottawa store over the last few years we averaged just over two purchases a day. The store was open more than 9000 days (30.4 years times about 305 days) and including my active participation in auctions, that adds up to a total of more than 10,000 collections purchased. This experience gives me a perspective very useful in buying.

But selling is a different matter. I have obviously sold a lot of inventory, but only three of my collections. My Newfoundland pre-Confederation postal history was sold to a customer in the late 1980s. I needed the money and both of us were happy with the transaction. My two collections of the postal history of P.E.I. and Nova Scotia were fairly recently sold in separate transactions several years apart to the same respected postal history dealer. I set a price and the dealer paid. Both were very pleasant stress-free transactions. I believe that most collectors contemplating selling their collection do not expect “pleasant” and “stress-free” to be part of the equation. I will try in subtle ways to address that.


Cuba 1958 Felipe Poet butterfly trial colour die proofs

One approach I will try is a handout for the audience to fill in for their own personal use. In “bullet-point” form it will outline options and the ways in which a collection is desirable (or not) to a prospective purchaser. If this works, collectors should have a better idea where their own material best fits into the options available.

Putting together my thoughts on all of this is taking much more time than I would have ever allowed back in the East. This is one of the advantages of semi-retirement!

Trips in the past weeks have brought most of a cold winter week in Ottawa for the successful Sparks Auctions and a trip to the interior of British Columbia where I viewed six collections in a day and a half. Activity at local stamp clubs continues to be interesting. In January at the Greater Victoria I gave a mini-presentation of the development of thermo-graphic printing of stamps by the Fernandez printing firm in Havana and show some scans from that presentation, and in February a very brief talk on diverse Denmark items. Coming up is Egypt, British Forces in Egypt, and the Suez Canal. April with letter “F” has many possibilities. Also coming up are Victoria’s biggest show and bourse on March 14th and 15th, Vancouver’s biggest on the 20th and 21st, and the Edmonton Show the following weekend.

I hope to meet many friendly collectors in each location.