Saturday, November 21, 2009

Now selling on E-bay

This afternoon, I listed a few lots on E-bay. I am trying to reduce my sizable duplicated pile to something more manageable, and provide some more funds to purchase some items listed on E-bay that I need. Bid often :)

  1. A designer autographed presentation folder for the 1978 Wild Flowers stamp. Somehow, I ended up with 2.
  2. A page of the first revenue stamps. This includes some of the higher values from the set. This came as part of a collection I bought a few years ago, and I already had these in my collection.
  3. A page of the second revenue stamps. This came as part of the same collection. Again, most of the higher values are included.
  4. A nearly complete Israel Mint singles collection. This includes everything from 1948 until 1978, except for a few issues in the seventies. All the key values are there, including 7-9, 16, J1-5, C16, 241a. These are mounted on White Ace pages. I only spot checked the collection, but it appears to be MNH. Unfortunately, #9 has some damage on the back, but the others look fine.
  5. 8 pages of Palestine (British Mandate) stamps. I am not sure where these came from, but I was holding on to them in the hopes that I would one day have time to go through and identify the various varieties. They are all different shades, perfs, papers, and cancels for the various pictorial issues. I finally admitted to myself that I don't want to get that into the Palestine stamps. I figure someone out there might want to.
  6. The last item has nothing to do with Israel. These are 200+ US stamp announcement sheets. I have no idea if these have a different name, but they appear to be publicity sheets printed by the USPO to publicise the stamps that were coming out. They contain a bunch of information about the stamp, and say POST ON BULLETIN BOARD. I have ones covering the late 60's and the early 70's. These include all kinds of subjects for stamps, as well as postal stationary.

Hopefully, there is something for everyone there. Good luck.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New booklet variety

Well, I thought I was running out of stuff to say in the blog, but now I find myself posting something new for the third day in a row. I guess you never can tell what you will find.
What I found is a new variety of "The Israeli" booklet. One of the stamps (lower right) in the pane is missing the Arabic text. I have seen this offered by 2 separate dealers now on E-bay. Both dealers confirmed that the booklets they have are from the recent 4th printing of the booklet. Both show the same stamp missing the same text. Both lots appear to have been listed within a few hours of each other, and both had the same start price, $89. One booklet sold for a best offer price of $69, the other is still available on E-bay (at least, it is as I am writing this). I am not sure how common this variety is. The 2 copies of the 4th printing of the booklet I have (1 mint, 1 FDC) both do not have the variety. I have asked a few other dealers in Israel about it, and they are looking into it for me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Revenue Redo?

Yesterday, I was looking at some stamp sites, and found something I wasn't even aware existed. Apparently, last year, Israel re-printed the latest revenue stamps, which were originally printed in 1986 (the same design as the 1984 revenues priced in NIS instead of Shekels). The new printing is a slightly different color, and the Arabic is noticeably different. In addition, the new printing apparently include phosphor, which I believe would be a first for Israel revenues. As far as I know, there were 8 values printed (as opposed to 10 from the original set), with the 80, 100, and 150 NIS values not being reprinted, and a 4 NIS value added. I have asked one of my contacts in Israel to see if he can find a set for me at the post office. Hopefully, I can get the set at face value.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2006 Plateblock set, at half face value?

Today, I was the winner (and only bidder) on a set of 2006 Israel plate blocks. The face value of these was listed at 140NIS (~$37). The starting price was $19, roughly half of face value. Since I started collecting plate blocks in mid 2007, I am missing most of the early parts of this decade (older plate blocks were filled in by buying a collection that went through 1996). I am mostly baffled over how I was able to buy stamps that are still valid for postal use for half of there face value.

One possible explanation is that the seller made an obvious mistake in the listing that caused it to miss my normal search. My normal search is to got o and look for all stamps with Israel in the title. That brings up about 2000 listings, 100-200 new ones a day. This item was not present in that search. In an attempt to cram as much info into the title as possible, the seller removed the space between Israel and 2006 in the title. E-bay's search engine fails to recognize Israel2006 as matching the string Israel. I am not sure why, but I am glad I did some deeper searches to find this item.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Does anyone collect Doar Ivri plateblocks?

The 2004 bale catalog lists the Doar Ivri plate blocks in 157 different groups (not including sub groups). The groups are separated by Denomination, Type (Slug, Star leaning Left, Star Leaning Right, or No.), Paper type, Perforation, and Distance from the top of the stamp to the control. Of these 157 groups, I have 48 in my collection (30%). I have seen an additional 32 of the groups (20%) listed on E-bay at one time or another. The remaining 50% I haven't seen on E-bay yet (at least, as long as I have been tracking this).

Recently, I decided to look at the these plate blocks in more detail. I started tracking all the listings of these on E-bay (and even checked Delcampe and Stamp Wants). There are 85 plate blocks that came up in my search. 6 of these had significant errors (4 were double perf, 2 were imperf). If I exclude these, the start price of the listing was on average 60% of the Bale 2004 catalog value. However, only 7 of these blocks sold. 3 of the lots that sold were from the batch of 4 with double perfs. The other 4 sold for only 37% of catalog on average. This doesn't even tell the whole story, since of the 4 that sold, 2 sold for less than 20% of catalog value, and 2 sold for just over 50% of catalog value.

It is also interesting that only 18 of the 85 lots were listed in the traditional auction format, while the rest are listed in the store format with buy it now prices. The 2 plate blocks that sold for under 20% of catalog value were both listed in the traditional auction format. That isn't to say there aren't bargains available in the store format. There is a 50 mill plate block, group 141, listed at $19 buy it now. The catalog value of this block is $160. It has been listed since June at this price, and there have been no takers, even at 12% of catalog value. There are 3 other plate blocks listed at less than 25% of catalog value, so this is not an isolated case.

One of the benefits of looking at plate blocks is that they each have serial numbers that make identifying them easy. This allows me to get a more complete look at what is going on with the price of an individual item. For example, one seller listed the 15 mil plate block from group 94 with serial number 1030 3 separate times before it sold (to me). The first time, it was listed in his store at $27 (54% of the $50 catalog value). It went unsold until 10/20/09, when the listing ended. The seller than listed it in a 7 day traditional auction with a start price of $12 (24% of catalog value). Again, it went unsold. It was then listed in another 7 day traditional auction with a start price of $9 (18%). I was the only bidder. I could have taken a chance that it would have been re-listed lower, but I decided to buy it.

There is also a significant benefit to shopping around. There are 10 copies of the 50 mill plate block in group 141 currently for sale. They range in price from $19 to $130 (12% - 81%). Some of the blocks in the middle are listed as LH, while both the high and low priced ones are listed as MNH.

I also see one seller listing the same plate block on E-bay and Stamp Wants. The prices on each site are very different. The 20 mill group 123 plate block is listed on stampwants for $1300 (with the make offer option enabled), and the same plate block is on E-bay for $1400 (again, with the make offer option enabled). The same seller has a 50 mill group 139 plate block for sale on E-bay for $399, while on Stamp Wants, the exact same block (identical serial number) is listed at $500. The same seller also has an imperf plate block of the 5 mill for sale on both sites. It is listed at $900 on Stamp Wants, and a staggering $1200 on E-bay. It definitely would pay to shop around if you are in the market for these high end plate blocks!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Too much of a good thing

These last few weeks, I have seen a ton of material I need listed on E-bay. My watch list is normally 20 items or so, recently, it has topped 75 items. Many of these are store inventory items listed with a buy it now price that is usually not as good of a deal as I can get on an auction, or are just not worth the price plus the shipping. When I buy something at auction from a seller, I will see if there is something on my watch list from the same seller that I can add to the order. This way, I can get the item without paying the added shipping. Sometimes, I will e-mail the seller asking them to make a deal at a lower price for the second item.

Some are very good deals, but I need to wait until my budget will allow me to buy them. Some I am watching just to see if the seller can get that much for an item (Bulletins for $15 each? I hope he gets it, I would be willing to sell 100's at 15 cents a piece if I could get it!).

In order to avoid cluttering up my watch list, I actually bid on a few lots right as I saw them, rather than wait until the last minute like I usually do. One reason I did this, is that if the item goes above the minimum bid, I probably wouldn't bid on it. So, rather than let someone else make the decision for me, I just made the bid and now if someone wants it, they will have to decide if it is worth more than the minimum. I will see how well this strategy works.