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Mint Sheets

I have a question to which I would appreciate responds. I am a collector of US mint sheets. I have been collecting for about six or seven years now. When I started, I purchased later 20th century sheets at or below face value, as well as buying new issues from the post office. My purchases have escalated since then. I am now at the point in my collection where I am buying late 19th century and early 20th century sheets. Needless to say, most purchases are well into four figures. The problem I have been having is coming to a fair price with the dealers on the sheets. Each dealer seems to approach the pricing of the sheets differently. Therefore, every purchase becomes a protracted negotiation session, more than I really want to get into. However, I cannot afford to make mistakes at the price points I am dealing in. As you probably know, sheets cannot be graded. So, my approach is to analyze the sheet in this manner: first, I check the sheet out for faults. Then I try to calculate the value of the components of the sheet; the plate block(s), straight edges, imprint blocks, etc. Then I look over the stamps, and try to see if there are stamps significantly below f-vf or significantly above f-vf. If so, I use the PSE pricing guide to value the stamps. After doing this, I add up the values, and price the sheet accordingly. I usually like to pay at least 20% below retail, since I feel I am buying the stamps essentially at wholesale since sheets usually contain 50-100 of the same Scott number.

I have found that many dealers believe they can add a premium over catalog, for the fact that it is a sheet. I have found it difficult to research auction realizations for mint sheets, so I am not sure where I am price-wise.

So, this is my question: How much should I be paying for these sheets? I do not expect to buy them from dealers and be able to sell them in short order for a profit, I know better than that. However, I am trying to protect myself that in the event I have a need (or desire) to sell the sheets, let us say 10 years from now; I am not going to take a big bath. Of course, nobody can predict the future, but if I pay a fair price today, that is the best I can hope for. Please, I would really appreciate anyone's insight into my dilemma. Thanks for reading this lengthy post.


Brian
[email protected]
looking for OLD US Sheets

Comments

  • coinpicturescoinpictures Posts: 5,345 ✭✭✭
    I'm neither a sheet collector, nor a plate block collector, so take my advice for what it's worth. On 19th-century material I would expect there to be huge premiums on sheets as opposed to discounts for quantity. Why? Multiples are much scarcer than single stamps and thus are worth more, and the larger the multiple, the more scarce it usually is. That's why a plate block of zepps is worth more than the price of individual stamps x the number in a plate plock. Full sheets of 19th-century stamps are quite rare.

    I wouldn't be expecting a wholesale discount for quantity when attempting to buy this type of material...
  • Hi Brian, you may want to turn on your PM function (orange lock). Anyway, you have a lot of forces working against you right now when it comes to buying sheets. Have you been paying attention to prices lately of the graded stuff? You should expect each dealer to approach not only the pricing of sheets differently, but EACH sheet differently. More attention is being paid to individual stamps inside the sheet for break outs to be graded. Thus sheets in the area you are looking into now may not be that good. Meaning the centering of the stamps and gum of the sheets may be such that someone wouldn't buy them if they were singles. Sheets are out. PSE 90 pluses are in.



    Jerry
  • Jerry, thanks for your comments. Yes, I am aware of the grading situation. But while a sheet may have a PSE 90 or so in it, there are lesser graded stamsp usually on the sheet as well. Many panes which are cut from sheets have 10 or so straight edged stamps (which I believe PSE considers faulty, with a maximum grade of PSE 50), as well as off center stamps. So, breaking up sheets for one stamp ( unless it is a 100J) is probably not worth it to a dealer. All in all, it is a wholesale sale, with the wide spectrum of grades. I mean, its still better to sell 100 stamps, then one higher graded stamp, and be left wiht 99 less graded stamps for inventory. Also some dealer state that they would not break up an old sheet, becuase they are relatively rare. Whether that is the truth, is another story. All in all, 100 stamps of the same scott number, with varied grades, is a wholesale transaction in my book. Please correct me, if you think I am missing something. Thanks so much for your help, Brian.


    Brian
    [email protected]
    looking for OLD US Sheets
  • I agree, full sheets of 19th century stamps are rare. Other than a couple of Columbians and a sheet of 266/267, all the sheets in my collection are later. The sheets I am focusing on are early 20th century sheets (pre-two cent reds). I respectfully suggest that there is only a premium, if there are collectors who are willing to pay a premium. How many sheet collectors are there out there? I don't mean people with 20 sheets of Elvis stamps, I mean people who collect the full range of US stamps in sheet form, and paying the kind of prices these sheets sell at. I wish I knew. Sometimes I worry I'm the only one. I know that a lot of the old sheets I have purchased have been sitting in dealers' stocks for a long time, which suggests to me there isn't much a demand for them. But if there are other sheet collectors like myself, I'd like to connect wiht them, and share experiences.

    Thank you for the time responding to my post, and I would appreciate to hear your thoughts on my response.

    Brian
    [email protected]
    looking for OLD US Sheets
  • dougwtxdougwtx Posts: 566 ✭✭
    I'll throw in my 2 cents, but I admit, I am not a collector of sheets. I would probably place some calls to the larger auction outfits and get their opinions. I'm sure their are other sheet collectors and those guys would probably know the market or could point you to someone. I agree that it may help in having a gem single or more for grading, but the ones I have seen, you would have to destroy the other 8 touching stamps to get that gem. Goes without saying, you better be pretty sure it will get a gem grade as you would have destroyed several stamps which could have been sold as singles, blocks, or panes.

    I don't know how many of these early sheets exist, but I would guess a lot of dealers would have no problem tearing them down if they were the "common" issues; thus making it hard to sell for a premium.
  • KentuckyJKentuckyJ Posts: 1,871 ✭✭✭

    I collected mint sheets back in the mid 1980's. I stopped mostly because increasing postage values made it too expensive for me to continue buying current new issues at face value. Our local brick and mortar coin shop (Hoskins in Paducah, Kentucky) had a great inventory of early issues. I bought sheets whose art appealed to my eye. I sold most of what I had, with the exception of US Christmas issues. I love Christmas. My Us Christmas sheet collection is almost complete.

    I respect early sheets. Some of them are incredibly scarce. I can't see how you could go wrong in the collection you've described, assuming you don't focus too much on making a profit from your 'investment.'

    KJ

  • KentuckyJKentuckyJ Posts: 1,871 ✭✭✭

    Brian, I forgot to add ...
    image

    Have fun! Enjoy image

    KJ

  • KentuckyJKentuckyJ Posts: 1,871 ✭✭✭

    There are some really nice mint sheets in this upcoming sale! image

    Shreves July 2007 Collector's Series Sale - July 20-21, 2007

    KJ


  • I only casually collect sheets, just buy em if I like the issue when it comes out and then only one for postage and one to save. I can't afford to chase early issue sheets. I would think some issues would be EXTREMELY hard to even find, let alone buy them! Some early stamps it's hard to find a well centered, recognizable USED copy, good luck with your quest! Welcome to the board, by the way.
    What's the earliest issue you've been able to find as an intact sheet, just out of curiosity? image
  • i do have some sheets in my collection, all modern though, some plate blocks too. Unless it shows up in a collection that I buy, then I'm not likely to be able to afford a 19th century sheet. Even with faults it would be cool to have. If you locate a sheet of 19th century stamps (or early 20th century stamps for that matter) that is relatively well centered then I don't think you have to worry about the value going down. Rare today is still rare in 10 years.
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