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  Space covers: Buying low and listing high

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Author Topic:   Space covers: Buying low and listing high
MikeDee
Member

Posts: 45
From: Staten Island, NY , USA
Registered: Mar 2013

posted 01-30-2018 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MikeDee   Click Here to Email MikeDee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been a dealer of space covers and first day covers for over 20 years. Mostly on eBay but privately as well. I see a lot of customers who buy from me on this forum. In the field of space covers I am by no means an expert with tons more to learn.

I sell most of my covers in the 1 to 2 dollar range which I consider dollar box stuff and I do not charge for shipping unless it is an international order. With those I try to be as fair as possible. As I look through the space cover listings on eBay, I see covers I sell for a buck or two relisted for upwards of 20 to 30 dollars. Can I be that far off? I don't think I am.

I will never mention any names of the dealers, they know who they are. I think my point being, collecting space covers or having the word "space" in the title doesn't and shouldn't mean it is automatically a high priced item.

I know in the past I have sold items below what a market value might be, but if I'm holding 20 of them, maybe I can be a little more liberal with the price. I enjoy the hobby very much and always have. From my dad and my brothers who are also philatelic dealers we consider this more than just a hobby. I'm not trying to solicit anything here. Just a rant of my 2 cents. Happy collecting everyone.

SkyMan1958
Member

Posts: 736
From: CA.
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 01-30-2018 01:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While I'm not a cover collector, let's face it, buying low and selling high is as American as apple pie.

I'd also like to point out that while the items might be listed for $20, that does not mean they are selling for $20, or even at all. I'm a coin collector who trolls eBay semi-regularly, and there are plenty of coins listed at ridiculous prices that just sit there month after month, year after year.

If you think you are passing on the profits of the items, you might just try and sell the items at some sort of intermediary price... say instead of $1 to $2 and watching them potentially go for $20, you might try and sell them for $10 to $15 and see how well they sell. If they don't sell in that range, you might try dropping them to the $5 to $10 range.

Eddie Bizub
Member

Posts: 45
From: Kissimmee, FL USA
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 02-03-2018 07:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Eddie Bizub   Click Here to Email Eddie Bizub     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The prices of space covers posted on eBay always amazes me. I have been collecting space covers for over 35 years. I have also been a very very part-time dealer for almost as long. It amazes me to see a cover such as a Project Mercury FDC with an ArtCraft cachet listed for $19.99. Its an extremely common cover and is worth maybe a couple of bucks. I do agree that it is just the listed price and not the selling price. You can ask whatever you wish for an item. But is that what dealers really think that is what it is worth? Lately I have been focusing my collecting on Whitney covers. They are rubber stamp cachets and are worth maybe $2. But I see Polaris launch covers with Whitney RSC's listed for $9! No way is ANY Polaris launch cover with $9.

Back in 1988 we purchased the balance of stock of Space Craft Covers. We had multiples of almost every cover. We set prices that were somewhat below market value. Our prices then became the market value. I'm sure there were collectors or dealers who purchased from us and then attempted to resell those covers for the previous higher market value. We were happy with the prices we got for the covers. If they were able to get a higher price for them, then more power to them. In the end, the market will let you know if the price is right. When you see the same cover listed with a high price over and over again I guess that should indicate that the price is too high. In the end, set the price you want. If it sells its money in your pocket!

Skythings
Member

Posts: 222
From:
Registered: Jun 2014

posted 02-04-2018 08:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skythings   Click Here to Email Skythings     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why don't you list them on eBay with an opening bid of $1 or $2 and then if the bidders go higher, you know the market values the bidders have set and you know you're not leaving any money on the table.

nasaliftoff
Member

Posts: 13
From: FL
Registered: Apr 2017

posted 02-05-2018 08:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasaliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
eBay's space cover category has unfortunately become a wasteland. The same 18,000 covers are seemingly listed over and over and over again. The latest craze is selling $1 covers for $2 with free shipping — hoping that the seller will sell four covers for $8 instead of for $4 plus some nominal shipping charge.

It used to be that there were 6,000-7,000 covers listed at one time and you could check in twice a week and spend 15-20 minutes and see everything that was new. Additionally, there was more turnover of the covers being listed so you saw more "new" covers.

The end result is that fewer folks spend their time looking to buy, resulting in less good covers being listed, resulting in fewer folks spending their time... and on and on. Unless eBay does something to change the status quo, it will remain a wasteland.

There will always be dealers that charge outrageous prices. I wouldn't lose sleep over it. Most of the successful stamp dealers I know turn over inventory relatively quickly. Quality material at good prices backed up with outstanding service.

There will always be a grandmother looking for a gift, or father looking for something for their son, or someone with more money than brains — that will occasionally buy the seriously overpriced items. That is their choice. They aren't interested in spending their time learning — not much different than when I buy a toy for a grandkid. I'm not spending hours upon hours looking to save every last dollar. That said I don't think its a long term winning business strategy to try to sell overpriced items via eBay.

Forget about what else you see that is outrageous. Just focus on your customers and increasing your sales. If your making money then your doing something right.

MikeDee
Member

Posts: 45
From: Staten Island, NY , USA
Registered: Mar 2013

posted 02-05-2018 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MikeDee   Click Here to Email MikeDee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I value all of the input here. And you are all correct. I should just concentrate on what I sell and how I sell it and not spend time focusing on others.

My business is pretty successful and I attribute that to my pricing and good customer service. I know I can never please everyone but I try my best.

As far as the pricing of covers going to two bucks with free shipping. I must confess I am one of those dealers. I didn't have a lot of choice. The eBay and PayPal fees have become so high it became harder and harder to price and make any money on an item. But unlike a lot of other dealers I still have make an offer on my covers priced at $1.98 and $1.78 with free shipping. When I have a collector making offers on multiple items I am much more lenient on accepting offers. I try to be an honest dealer with fair pricing.

Thanks everyone. I look forward to more comments on this topic.

nasaliftoff
Member

Posts: 13
From: FL
Registered: Apr 2017

posted 02-06-2018 03:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasaliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Then why not offer free shipping for all orders over $10 but charge for any orders under $10. I see a guy that has his listings say something like buy five get one free. Yours could be buy $10 get free US shipping.

Seems like a good deal to me. I can tell you that the couple of dealers I'd point to as being the better dealers that sell via eBay charge for shipping (now they are also generally not selling dollar box fodder either, and they provide excellent service — and by that I mean they pack material very well — its obvious they put time and effort into it).

Think your bigger worry should be the next generation of space collectors — as I see fewer and fewer younger folks with any knowledge of the US space program.

abgoodies18
New Member

Posts: 7
From: Atlanta, GA
Registered: Feb 2017

posted 02-07-2018 12:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for abgoodies18   Click Here to Email abgoodies18     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I will happily buy a cover for $2 that some may think of as a dollar cover. Where can I find it for $1? With free shipping it's a great deal to me!

Local stamp shows and even the two major American Philatelic Society shows each year rarely have any dealers who sell space covers.

I see so many dealers selling space covers and tradition First Day Covers that charge $1 or more for shipping. I tend to stay away from them since that extra $1 adds a lot to a $1, $2 or even $4 or $5 cover.

Free shipping entices me to look at that seller more and more. Those dealers seem to sell their covers on the lower end and then re-list sold covers if they have inventory. Makes sense to me.

There is even one dealer that I see starting his auctions at .01 with free shipping. Who can look past that?!

Gone are the days when Swanson, Rank, Colorano, etc. Space covers can command more than $5. I readily add these to my collection at $2-$5 for when I see the ones I need to fill in my collection.

I have picked up really nice Colorano covers and Space Voyage covers with multiple cancels for $2.

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