Stamps At Below Face ValueFor those that send a lot of mail, postage stamps can add up to a significant amount of money. Although not widely known, it's possible to purchase postage stamps at prices that are lower than their face value. These discounts can be more than 10% depending on the quantity and face value of stamps being purchased.
Postage stamps are sold at below face value by stamp dealers. When stamp dealers purchase large quantities of stamps from estate sales, stamp auctions or from other stamp dealers closing their business, among the valuable stamps are stamps that have little value to collectors. Since the money to be made in stamps is with collectible postage stamps, dealers are willing to sell these non collectible stamps at under face value in order to get rid of them quickly.
All the stamps sold at below face value by the dealers are standard issued postage stamps by the US government and can be used to send any item through the postal system. The age of the stamps will vary by quite a bit and it is common to find stamps that are as old as 50 years, but all the stamps are perfectly legal to use no matter their age. For those that enjoy sending letters and packages that attract attention, the discounted postage stamps can achieve this since many of the stamps are no longer being produced and are rarely seen.
Purchasing below face value stamps can not be done like you would at your local post office. There are a number of issues which are important to realize if you think you might be interested in purchasing some:
Making Specific Requests: In the vast majority of cases, you won't be able to request a specific value stamp. It depends on the dealer how they will sell them so it pays to ask. Some will give the total value of the stamps in the lot and no other information. Others may tell your the general values of the stamps in the lot (for example, all postage stamps will have a face value of between 5 cents to 20 cents).
For those that want specific face valued stamps (for example, all 10 cent stamps), it is possible. You can usually request an interesting assortment from the dealers at a specific face value, but you'll usually have to pay full face value for these stamps and won't receive a discount.
Minimum Purchase Amount: There is usually a minimum order when purchasing discounted stamps from a dealer meaning that if you don't use a lot of stamps, purchasing them through a stamp dealer might not make sense. Most dealers sell the postage stamps in lots of $100, $200 or $500. If you spend some time, you can probably find a lot of stamps for as low as $50 consisting of low denomination stamps. In general, the more expensive the lot you purchase, the larger the discount you'll receive.
Some Disadvantages To Discounted Postage Stamps: Since the stamps in the discounted lots are usually of lower value and odd values, it usually takes a number of stamps to get them to add up to the correct amount of postage. If you send mainly packages, there is usually plenty of space and there isn't a problem, but if you mainly send letters, the low value stamps can take up a huge amount of space on the letter face. While many people will find all the stamps fun and interesting, it can also appear unprofessional if your mail is mostly sent for business.
For those interested in purchasing lots of below face value stamps, there are a number of ways that you can do so. Stamp collecting periodicals (your local library may carry one or two of these) should have advertisements for discounted stamp lots. Stamps can also be found at below face value on the Internet at places such as hgitner.com (If you live in the United Kingdom, you can find discount stamps at Stamp-Shop.com). Online auction sites such as Ebay also regularly have lots of stamps at below face value.
If you use a large number of stamps, purchasing them at below face value is a smart investment. By doing so, you get a guaranteed rate of return that's higher than you can find with any checking account plus you'll always have interesting stamps to place on your mail.