by Jeffrey Strain
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Time to Tighten the Belt
One area where many people don't realize that they can save money is with postage stamps. If you send a lot of mail, postage stamps can cost quite a bit of money. There is a simple way to get postage stamps at below their face value. Discounts can be 3% to over 10% below face value depending on the number of stamps you purchase.
The first question you're probably wondering is why would anyone want to sell stamps at less than their face value? Stamp dealers buy huge lots of stamps at estate sales, stamp auctions and from other stamp dealers going out of business. Among the valuable stamps the dealers want are large numbers of unused stamps that have little or no resale value to stamp collectors. In order to quickly get rid of these stamps and get back some of the investment they put into the lots of stamps they purchased, dealers are willing to sell them at under face value.
The stamps are postage stamps issued by the US government and can be used to send any item through the postal system. Some may be older (even 50 years old), but all are still perfectly legal to use. In fact, if you like having your letters or packages stand out, they are fantastic as many of the stamps are no longer in production and are rarely seen on postage today making the mail you send instantly recognizable.
There are a few issues that you should realize when buying stamps like this at below face value:
Requests: In most cases, you can't request a specific value stamp. Some dealers will simply state the total value of the stamps while others may tell you the general values of the stamps in the lot (for example, all stamps range in price from 5 cents to 20 cents). If you want specific valued stamps (for example, all 10 cent stamps), you can usually get an interesting assortment, but you'll usually have to pay face value for them.
Minimum Amount: When buying the postage stamps at a discount, there is usually a minimum order. Most dealers sell the postage stamps in $100, $200 and $500 lots, although you can find a $50 lot of low denomination stamps from time to time. The more expensive the lot, the bigger discount under face value you'll usually receive.
Disadvantages: If you send mainly packages, then there isn't usually a problem of space. If you only send letters, however, low value stamps can take up a huge amount of space on the letter face. While many will find this fun and interesting, it may also look unprofessional if your mail is mostly sent for business.
If you are interested in getting these lots of below face value stamps, there are a few ways that you can do so. You can look for advertisements in stamp collecting periodicals (your local library may carry one or two of these), which will usually contain offers for below face value stamp lots. You can also find the stamps at below face value being sold on Internet at places such as hgitner.com/postage.html. With the advent of online auction sites, you can also find stamp lots at below face value on sites such as eBay.
If you use a lot of stamps and know that you'll be using them all, getting stamps at below face value is a great investment. You get a guaranteed rate of return higher than you can find with any checking account, and you'll get to put on a lot of interesting stamps with all your mail.
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