The true functions of a stamp are singular; to verify that the appropriate fees to handle and transport your mail or parcel from one place to another, has been paid. Today, they may be illustrated with historical and socio-cultural events, or national monuments of a country, at one point in time, these small pieces of paper were very simple and to the point. In fact, the Penny Black, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp, simply had a profile of Queen Victoria on it. With such an aesthetic makeover over the centuries, and the functional importance of stamps still in place today, it’s no surprise that stamps have become a valuable collector’s item.
For stamp collectors, the debate nowadays pertains to the best avenue for purchasing stamps and adding to the collection. While there’s no denying the nostalgic experience of going to the local post office and getting a fresh sheet of crisp clean stamps, the internet offers A LOT more! In fact, postal departments around the world, including the US Postal Service, now sell stamps online on official postal department websites.
We all know that the private collectors market is vast and demand grows every day. Taking advantage of this demand, postal department issue commemorative stamps each year, but these tend to run out quickly. However, with the option of numerous online vendors, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for online, with added elements of ease, convenience, and instant access. Some independent websites will also offer discounts and deals for bulk purchases. Working with OnlineStamp is great for a special occasion or your business needs as you can print custom stamps in bulk for your needs at discounted rates.
There are numerous advantages with going the online route and buying your stamps there. While the USPS website may be the direct source, chances are that they won’t always stock dated stamps. Finding them in the private market would be difficult if you’re looking for a piece that’s in good condition and doesn’t have the cancellation mark (it’ll cost a good amount too!). If you’re alright with the condition not being a hundred percent, then you’re in luck, as there will be sellers for the stamp you want on some website or forum that’s willing to part ways in exchange for money or another stamp.
Some argue that they prefer to use the local post office instead because they can get information from the officers at the counter about the stamp they’re buying and any new stamps about to be issued. Any reputable website will carry equal, if not more, amount of information that the post office could give. If you’re worried about the information being accurate, then all you need to do is use a recognized reference guide, like the Scott’s Catalog, to confirm whether all the stamp details are correct.
You’ll find websites follow different formats. There are online vendors that will stock stamps and sell directly. These websites should have detailed information on the stamps they’re selling along with actual pictures instead of stock images. Then there are auction type websites where interested buyers can bid on the stamp for auction, and battle it out with others for the right to add to their collection. These can be intense at times, so make sure you’re good with making financial decisions under pressure, to avoid overpaying. At times, shipping can be more expensive than the stamp itself, or the bid may not be worth the value of the stamp (actual or demand adjusted).
There are also some private forums where you can find interested buyers and carry out exchanges. These should be avoided as much as possible though, as there’s no way of verifying the product and no third party platform (such as the website) that could offer any protection. You should use reputable websites only and, for added measure, go through the terms and conditions. This lets you know how legit the website is and if the entire transaction process is something you’re comfortable with. You can also assess your rights in case something were to go wrong or if you’ve been scammed, and you’ll pick up tips on how to avoid falling into an unfortunate situation.
One sign of genuineness is that the website will ask you to register for an account and verify it as well. This not only helps you track the order, but the website will also be able to verify any complaints you make or any issues that you face when using the platform. You should also be able to check user reviews on the website to give you an idea of the level of user service. Google searches will give you a more independent review, letting you make a decision on unbiased points of view.
It’s not only the ease and convenience of the internet which makes it a better option to find stamps, but also the wide range of stamps you will have access to. USPS won’t be selling any rare dated stamps and while the local market may be covered by the USPS website, you’ll be able to find international stamps on independent online platforms. Foreign designs always help brighten up any collection and you won’t have to worry about verifying the information if you’re using a reference guide.
You may have to be a little more prudent in your dealings on the internet than you would in dealing with your local post office, but the ease, convenience, instant access and wide range of stamps available on the internet make it the obvious winner. The added measures of prudency are a small price to pay for all these advantages and the chance to expand your collection to the level of quality and quantity that you desire. Long waits and depending on a contact are a thing of the past now as your handheld device or computer will give you instant answers and much-needed gratification for the more meticulous stamp collector.