Thursday, April 17, 2008

Guidelines for Successful Stamp Trades - Part 2

To see the first part of this post, click here.

Yesterday, I presented some guidelines that can help you conduct a successful stamp trade, from setting up the trade to selecting the stamps to send. Today's post will conclude this subject and will include tips on how to safely send your trade through the mail.

  1. Secure your envelope properly. If you've ever received a bunch of stamps in an envelope without some sort of stiffening cardboard around it, you know the frustration first-hand. The stamps in these envelopes get bent or creased while going through the mail system, especially if they travel from distant countries. Be sure to add something stiff on both sides of the stamps you are sending.

  2. Use sufficient postage. Make sure that you use adequate postage on your packet. If you fail to do this, you will either get the packet returned to you for additional postage, or the recipient will have to pay the postage due. Not a pleasant scenario either way.

  3. Always use stamps on the envelope. You are paying the same amount for postage whether you use stamps or not, so why not give your partner a bonus? Your stamp trading partner will appreciate you using nice stamps. Many stamps are very easy to soak off of the envelope and are a nice bonus to your trade.

  4. Ship your stamps promptly. Unless you are an established trading partner, or were advised beforehand, it is very reasonable to expect stamp trades promptly. Sometimes an overseas trade will take two or three weeks to arrive just due to the time in transit. It is important that you get your packet into the mail stream promptly. No one likes to see a stamp trade drag on for months.

  5. Use registered or insured mail, if appropriate. Some traders want you to send stamps by registered mail. They may live in countries or communities where theft might occur. Or they may feel that this prevents them from being accused of cheating their trading partners by (falsely) claiming to have not received a packet of stamps.

    Out of all the stamp trades that I have conducted, I can't remember one packet that didn't eventually show up. It will happen, although probably not as frequently as people fear, but a mailed packet does sometimes fail to make it to its destination. The bulk of these problems are probably due to insufficient addresses, missing return addresses, etc., and not to outright theft. However, once it happens you feel cheated.

    I have taken the approach that the extra costs of using insured or registered mail for every mailing will cost more than the very infrequent stamp packet getting lost/stolen. I'll just send a replacement packet and keep the money I've saved from using regular mail service to buy stamps. If you are trading high value or rare stamps, this might not be an option; insurance may be something you want to use.

  6. E-mail the sender when the packet is received. If you are conducting an internet trade, be sure to e-mail the sender to acknowledge that the stamps arrived. This is just simple courtesy.

Yesterday's and today's posts are just a dozen simple things that ensure successful stamp trades. If you will follow these suggestions, I think you will find your stamp trading more enjoyable.

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