If you are just looking for stamps and trades you can skip this page,
it has nothing to do with my offer. If you have a taste for light sarcasm you
may want to take a glimps of the following. Attention : it is complete
fiction, real life is different!
How to make many friends among stamp collectors
After several years of collecting stamps I still have only some 20 nice
regular and reliable trade partners but not more. It's obvious that I must be
failing in many ways, there are so many collectors who do not want to trade with
me. Feeling the same? Well, so disappointed about my results so far I analyzed
how other collectors proceed and what they are doing so much better than I do.
And yes, just follow the results of my analysis and you will get more trading
It starts with your entry in various trader databases. Say clearly what you
want and what you offer. It should read like this:
Offer: US used
Want: Aland, Faroer, BIOT, Greenland, Liechtenstein, Austria pre 1860,
Horta all in mint, Chinese boxer war covers
Note: you send first
This is a good attempt. There are so many collectors out there waiting to
send their Faroer stamps for US definitives of the 80s with killer cancellations.
1 for 1 of course. It doesn't have to be US, any other very common country will
also do. It is important that the material you offer is cheap enouh to make sure
you will profit from trade.
Thus this first attempt can still be optimized. Here are some suggestions:
Submit your ad multiple under different names
Do not always submit the right email-adress; it's better if your potential
trader has some personal thrill to hunt you
You found out that you forgot 7 other very scarce countries/topics in your
want (Acores pre 1910, Diego Suarez, Ross, FAT, Falklands, Zeppelin covers of
the 30s, WW I fieldpost). Just take a breath and do not make beginner faults
here. The beginner sends only one email to the siteholder of the trader
database and politely asks for alteration. I'm sure you will not want to stand
same level with those deliriants. The right procedure is : send 7 single
requests, wait for say 2-3 weeks between the demands because it's necessary
that your ad will always find its way into the latest newsletter of the trader
US used for Liechtenstein mint is much too general. Be more specific and
save time. Note in your ad that you will answer with packets of 50 and only
accept Liechtenstein submissions according to your wantlist.
To amateurs the ad above doesn't seem to be very realistic, does it? You know
'birds of a feather stick together'? Absolute nonsense in stamp trading. I did
not believe it, but now that I compared it to usual personal ads for private
pleasure it's obvious that there is a similar but simple pattern with same
success. Translate the stamp offer above to a personal ad and it will read:
55, female, 250 lbs, likes a good drink or two, smoker, 12 kids, suburbian
household, seeks high potential millionaire male, not older than 30, athletic,
academic, endurant, romantic, dominant but still obedient, much spare-time,
very generous, with properties in the caribbean sea absolutely preferred
Or: 69, male, retired, two operations, smoker, drinker, poor but own car,
simple but rather honest looking for the sister of Julia Roberts (90-60-90),
not older than 20, well clothed, submissive, good at cooking and cleaning,
modest, able to save money
It's so simple : opposites attract! When you are young you feel to have so
much in common with your future wife / husband. Let us be frank : divorce
statistics never lie.
Most amongst us are married or living in some kind of partnership (with
husband / wife, mate, cat, dog, VCR). [If you have spent the last two days in
your room sorting your special collection on perforation variations of French
#823 without basic hygene routines you should sacrifice two minutes and quickly
check whether your wife hasn't left you in the meantime.] But ... some of us are
feeling lonely, and feeling lonely is a sad situation. Many people are lonely
without any personal fault, but some of them are stamp collectors and only a
handful of specialists are really clever. They post a listing like this:
Want: Female trade partner not older than 25, asian preferred with stamps
from Straits Settlements, Malaya, Borneo, Thailand pre 45
Note: Please send photograph before we begin to trade.
So far for now on how to place optimized ads in trader databases. Next step
is how to optimize time until you get your first letter or your first offer.
In very rare cases it may happen that your offer/want does not attract any
requests. Be sure that is has nothing to do with your ad, of course there have
to be problems with your internet service provider which leads us to the
decision that you should connect to a different. If technical problems continue
and you still get no offers you may use the waiting time to spend some additional
effort. There are two ways in doing this : sending out requests per email - or -
a bit more sophisticated : build your own collector web site.
If you send out emails to other collectors to support your listings and
notify others you again need to consider netiquette for effiency. Many other
authors have written good articles on this topic, so I will just deal with the
most important facts specific to stamp trading offers.
Never ever tell your full name, your potential partner must develop
interest to ask you for it
Avoid any greeting formulas like 'Dear XY' or 'Kind regards'. This makes
your text too complex and almost unreadable to many people
Time is money! Your perfect email is a one liner like this 'Want Faroer,
Aland, BIOT, Liechtenstein. Give worldwide. Waiting for your packet.'
Do not further explain your wants and offers, time to read simply annoys
your potential partner.
Never begin first with what you can offer and then add what you want. This
is oldfashioned courtesy and will be regarded as extremly slimy. You will not
make any deal with that.
Do not type any subject line, this is only confusing. If you reply to an
email make sure to hit the reply button without changing the subject. The
subject line in perfect communication between absolute professionals should
read 'Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:'
If you follow these rules your mail notification is quite good for the
beginning. But like always in life there is still some room left for
Add your wantlists in your first email. Add more than one wantlist
specially in those cases when your potential partner has in his listing
'NO WANT LISTS PLZ' in capital letters. This shows him/her your strong
dedication for making a trade and is always positive.
Don't make the mistake to send short wantlists, remember to never include
any cheaper values there (below 20$ Scott) or you may get them.
Sometimes you are not willing to write long wantlists. Make your children
do this for you. Or grandchildren. If neither available and your wantlist
would be too short you can improve your wantlists by some minor technical
skills as follows-
Always make sure that your potential partner gets this kind of eager
feeling of demanding expectation : when downloading your email his or her
modem must create disco light fever and the mouse cursor should display
hourglass for at least ten minutes or more
Thereby never use simple text or html format for your want list
attachments, never compress your files because you never can be sure that the
other side has tools available to decompress
More advanced traders do not send wantlists, but scan their haves or wants
with a scanner. Only beginners reduce their grafics to the minimum, be sure to
save your scans in highest resolution possible
If you should prefer a bit more design in your wantlists include the
scanned images into a WordPerfect document. Be sure to use most recent version,
you can expect each of your potential partners to have the same
application version. Again do not be so foolish and compress.
Virus protection is task of the receiver, not the sender
If you are computer wiz kid never use already known macro viruses. This is
regarded to be anything but innovative. Program your own.
If you have your wantlists on an internet page be careful to not spoil
your site with any navigation. Your potential partner should need at least
half an hour to find the entry point to your first web want list. This is very
important to create personal binding.
So far for email notifications of your wants and offers. As said before
collector homepages are a more sophisticated way to publish your interests. This
takes a bit of effort and again is a nice task for your children and
grandchildren when they feel bored during their summer holidays. There are many
good articels on how to build a perfect homepage, I will concentrate on the most
important specifics for stamp collector sites.
First impression is always deciding! So do not provide basic information
on the first page that appears, nor do not spend any nerve on creating some
navigation for your site. Your potential readers need information and they
need it fast. It's much better to include a large image on your first side,
highest resolution possible. You should avoid stamp images, because all
collectors have seen so many stamps in their lives to be already sick of stamp
images. Take something off-topic. You may use common cliparts to create the
feeling of trust in a well-known environment. Or paint something on your own.
Or include many smaller sized images and make sure to include as many colors
as possible to spread happiness.
If you are more advanced in web design the first thing in your site should
be some animated intros (e.g. Macromedia Flash). To increase thrill and
attention use components which need to be downloaded before the user can see
your animation. The 'Get-Into-My-Page' button to enter your page must not be
seen within the first two minutes of your animation. The best things in life
can always last forever.
Do not make information too complex : omit whatever is thinkable. As a
consequence leave out name, personal details, your offers, information on
trade modalities ('you send first' is absoluty enough), sitemaps, explanations,
samples or stamp specific content. Concentrate on your want.
Again to your wantlists : using Scott, Yvert or Michel numbers will
clearly identify you as beginner level. Use 'Huebli & Landauer Liechtenstein
Never include your email adress as hyperlink on your page. You potential
partner could use it.
If you are female or if you should feel yourself a bit female from time to
time you can profit from the fact that 98% of all stamp collectors are male,
further 50% of those haven't passed a certain age where hormones still play an
important part in their lives. If stimulated correctly male traders will do
anything for you except thinking. Ask the girl in the neighborhood or your
daughter's girlfriend for some bikini pictures and include them on your
homepage. Skip personal information like 'married, 4 children' and type 'single'
instead. Don't forget that you are aged 24 not 42. You can stop here if you
are rather conservative, your results will be fine enough. It's only important
to give your potential male trade partner a constant image of being a Britney
Spears look-a-like, open-minded but virgin temper.
You've done everything possible now to get the right trade partners. Maybe
you have to be a bit patient before the first envelope with your desired French
Polynees arrive (isn't it funny how quick those years go by in life sometimes...).
Hold on for a moment, the arrival of a letter is another key point in which you
can spoil a beginning longterm partnership seriously. According to my analysis
you have to take care as follows:
Never drop your partner a line that his or her letter has arrived. Just
another completely sensefree information in the opposite email inbox!
Your partner included a FDC from the late 1920s of Luxembourg. Never say
you liked it. In most of the world's cultures and religions it is regarded to
be completely out of place to show any kind of thankfulness.
Do not react at all in any way within the first weeks after the arrival of
your partner's letter. Your partner would be feeling stressed and thinks you
are bringing unnecessary hectic into to trader relationship.
After that pretend that you lost your previous correspondence and you do
not know what to answer and where to. Many partners forget that they have sent
out Aland, Faroers or Seychelles and are really happy for the attentive
Promise to answer within the next week. Repeat this promise at least 4 or
5 times, better more. Constant service to your partner strenghtens your trader
After 1 or 2 months your partner will show advanced resignation. Right
where you wanted him/her! If the received quality was good enough this
is the best moment for a postive surprise now, you may feel to really answer
the Maldives with your commom definitives (as an act of mercy of course)
You are preparing your envelope. Your TV
and stereo equipment, your car and the gadgets in your home office did cost a
lot of money so you must not make any mistake in this procedure and save any
penny possible. Do not use hardcover envelopes, they weight heavy as hell and
weight costs postage. It is important that your letter leaves your place in
approximately stable condition but you cannot be liable for what's happening on
the way to your partner. Sometimes you will send more stamps than your envelope
is prepared for. Don't worry if your envelope looks like a baseball after being
stuffed, this is only natural. Next step : be sure to use cheapest definitives
possible for postage. Postage has nothing to do with stamps, nor with philately.
You can save additional money if you keep some already used stamps without
cancellation in reserve for this purpose. Adhesives will help where gum has
diminuished. Do not give it to a postal clerk, he could destroy your work with a
This completes my comprehensive guide on how to optimize stamp trader
relations based on my analysis over my personal failures so far. I gladly thank
those who have finally opened my eyes in the past and hope this guide will be a
valuable contribution to your collecting future.