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Off-topic stamp collection story:

I knew a middle-aged gentleman (back when I was just approaching that age bracket) whop had become very wealthy because of stamp collections.

His primary business was as a commercial printer specializing in mail order "junk mail" pieces.

He found that when a stamp dealer bought a collection, most of the value was (as Alphawolf pointed out) in a small number of items and the rest of the collection came across for the ride.

The US post office will not purchase back unused postage which frequently left them with piles of unused sheets, plate blocks and stamps which, while having catalogue value, had little requirement in market demand.

He would offer this professional dealers to buy all commemorative stamps at $.85 on the dollar and ended up with large quantities of postage, which he used anyway, at a discount.

His master stroke was to sort the stamps and then solicit customers by promising to use vintage stamps that had to do with their product so that the recipient would hold onto the piece. Say the 1929 Thomas Edison commemorative for an electrical distribute, the Samuel Gompers stamp for a union or the Mercury capsule stamp for an aeronautical company.

He didn't charge a premium for the printing, charged full postage for the stamps (plus a fee to affix them - which was expected in the trade) and had customers lined up to use his printing business.

So stamp collections really do have a function after all :-)

Jeff
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