I am not a great “swapper”. I do not particularly like the negotiations around the simple act of sending 25 stamps to Belgium, Italy or wherever. Recently I exchanged with a contact in France. The reason was primarily that he is a nice guy and we have exchanged stamps before. It was a win-win situation. The 25 stamps, I will receive will all go straight to my World Collection and it will all be much appreciated.
But essentially I am two kinds of Collector. A specialist (and obsessive) Ireland collector and I am a collector of World stamps…and that’s “fun”.
So essentially I have two kinds of Duplicates. Stamps that are simply fairly common sitting around in boxes that I am happy to trade on a 25 x 25 basis. And better stamps that I would be silly to let go on a 1 x 1 basis.
Take these examples.
Mint stamps. Ten from the set of thirty self-adhesive stamps commemorating Gaelic Sport. A sheet of twelve stamps (six different) commemorating the Millennium. A sheet of sixteen Tour De France stamps (the Tour started in Ireland in 1998).
In terms of Trade or Negotiating (and I am a very bad at Negotiation) what is a reasonable exchange. My normal attitude is that these are surplus stamps and are available for surplus stamps from Belgium, Italy or Wherever cannot really apply in this situation.
I should perhaps start with a guide to monetary valuation. The self-adhesive sports stamps come from five booklets and although the face value is the same, the numbers of stamps produced varied so that there is a “catalogue price” of about £0.55 to £1.50 per stamp. Let us say that the ten shown have an average of £0.60…making a total of about £6.00.
The Millennium Sheets are usually available for about £12.00 at Stamp Fairs. The Tour de France stamps are catalogued at about £3.00 for a horizontal strip of four so the sheet is probably catalogued at about £12.00.
I would add in some other factors. In this context, “catalogue price” means very little. And these stamps …all mint…are now invalid for postage. They can never be “used” as they were issued in the period 1998-2000 before the Euro currency was introduced. In “trading”, mint stamps would normally be worth more.
Maybe I should try to answer this question of value by referencing the greatest philosophers of the modern age…The Spice Girls!. As they memorably sang “Just tell me what you want, what you really really want!”
Well I start with the premise that I collect stamps of Ireland. And my “wants list” is maybe 25 sets of stamps and Miniature Sheets issued between 2001-2005. So in that context, I think that the ten Sports Stamps equates to two or maybe three mint sets of Irish stamps, the Millennium Sheet equates to two or three mint sets and the Tour de France sheet equates to four mint sets.
Certainly …in a perfect world, I would like to trade the items pictured above for nine mint sets of Irish stamps. That would be an ultimate “win-win” situation.
But it is not a perfect world.
An alternative. Well, yes I collect stamps on Irish themes and joint issues which have been issued by other countries. And Id certainly like to add a used set of two stamps (2011) from Chile and a mint and used set of four stamps from Sweden (2004) to my collection.
And of course, the country which issues most Irish-themed stamps is Britain. And used British commemorative stamps are difficult to obtain.
And another alternative…Coins. Specifically USA “State” Quarters. Would the Sports stamps be worth $0.25? To me …yes…depending on the “State”.
But the bottom line is how many “used” stamps would be a fair exchange for the stamps in the above photographs.