Shipping for Appraisal - Avoiding Disappointment

We have received many inexpensive stamp collections that have cost $50 or more to ship to us. We don't mind looking at these but feel bad that they wind up not being worth much and/or we don't want to by them. It costs the client $50 to ship here,  $20 for the appraisal and $50 to ship back. Some people opt for this expensive option, while others are ok with donating it to the Sarasota Philatelic Club - this option means that they don't have to pay for the appraisal.

One way to avoid this is to look at our website home page regarding sending pictures. Paying $20 for us to look at up to 50 pictures will give you the information to make a decision to send the collection at all.

Before shipping, there are a few questions you can ask yourself;

If you're the collector, did you spend substantial money on the collection? If you inherited the collection, did the collector spend $100 or more on one stamp or set of stamps? Sometimes there are invoices or an appraisal that may help you if it's an inheritance.

Is there a lot of modern mint US? Discount postage can raise the value of a lot, but only if the denomination of the stamps is high (.20 or higher) and are in sheets, booklets or coil rolls. It is becoming difficult for us to justify the time it takes to strip collections of plate blocks and singles for resale at substantially less than face value. (As an example, taking a .10 stamp out of a mount, counting it into a package of a hundred and selling it for.065 is very time consuming and unprofitable.)

Are there "expensive stamps" without certificates of authenticty? They are generally not counted in a collection. I'm not talking about a #1 or #2 US or a high value Columbian issue where there are no other similar looking examples, but rather a .02 red Washington stamp where there are a dozen varieties that look very similar to the extremely scarce variety. The scarce varieties are only saleable when certified.