Selling Stamps On The Internet

The prospect of trying to sell unwanted stamps to others seems difficult regardless of the method used.

Selling stamps not wanted to a dealer is the easiest and least profitable method.

The club auction can be helpful to get rid of unwanted stamps.

Selling stamps to fellow collectors at club meetings will take forever.

Selling stamps to others at a stamp show is labor intensive, expensive, and may not result in much profit after seller expenses.

Selling stamps on the internet will require constant attention to detail but will result in the best return.

So, if you want a profit when selling duplicate stamps, if you would like to sell off the stamps you do not want in this lifetime, if you do not like the idea of possibly losing money while selling stamps, then the internet may be just right.

Stamps On The Internet

An excellent method to use to learn about selling stamps on the internet is to observe what others are doing. Here is a collection of stamp seller links. Visit as many as you have time to visit to see how others are doing what you hope to do.

Here is a list of stamp dealers at eBay. Check them out. They can be an excellent source of knowledge as you enter this hobby business. 


Computer Skills Needed

This is a minimum set of computer skills needed to pursue the hobby business of selling stamps on the internet through eBay. They are entered in no certain order. But all are essential a hobby business.

If you find a skill listed which you do not understand, then seek help from others or from online tutorials.

1. Typing skills slightly better than hunt and peck.
2. Search the internet with Google.
3. Open email program like Outlook Express. Update it from time to time..
4. Reply to email messages.
5. Print messages.
6. Use drafts in Outlook Express
6. Paste text from drafts into messages.
7. Create and send new email.
8. Create shortcuts and favorites on desktop.
9. Follow hyperlinks. Use back button to return.
10. Use refresh button F5.
11. Scan a stamp image at about 200% and save to a folder.
12. Descreen images
13. Follow online tutorials.
14. Access online banking account.
15. Access My eBay account.
16. Access PayPal account.

Organizational Methods

Determine how you will organize the items you plan to sell so you can match pictures with listings with the actual item.

S numbers work great for me. Each stamp has an s number. Starting with s001, I now have pictures up to about s3100.

When a listing is typed, the title of the item starts with the s number. The item s number in the title helps to locate the item when it sells and needs to be sent.

When the description is written for the title, a scan is made of the stamp(s) so a picture can be added to the listing.

The picture file number is the s number. So a scan of stamp s001 will be s001.jpg I also have folders for each 100 stamp scans to make finding them easier. See a list of my scans for stamp numbered s100 through s199 HERE.

The cards are then filed in numerical order. How original is that.When an item sells, a record is made of the sold s number. Months after the item is sold, a different item is listed with the same s number. The s numbers get recycled over time. The same boxes can be used to store the stamps. When a new stamp is added to the store, it is put in the appropriate numerical order box for ease of location when it sells. And on and on.

Now all of this takes time, and effort. You may find a system which works better for you. Well have at it. Develop a system that works for you. The important details are to have as many items in your store as possible, don't sell the same item more than once, replace pictures and descriptions as stamps sell, and be able to find and send an item when payment is made.

Banking Aspects

For security reasons, your personal finances need to be kept separate from your hobby business finances. Do this by establishing a bank account near where you live. Find one that offers online banking, free checking, debit card, and banking by mail. Do not tie this new account to your personal account. Do not use it as a backup to any personal account. It should be independent of all other accounts you may have.

When you find a bank which offers these features, and most do these days, gather up $100. Go to the bank. Set up your hobby business account. Use your name. Do not use a business name, ever.

Why online banking? With a computer connected to the internet you will be able to access your account to track deposits and withdrawals from eBay and PayPal.

Why free checking? This is obvious.

Why banking by mail? You will not want to run to the bank to deposit every check you receive. But you do need to promptly deposit checks you receive. Now that PayPal is used by most buyers, you may not receive many checks. But when you do, then stamp the back of the check with a "Deposit Only" rubber stamp, fill out a deposit slip, and drop it all in the mail every few days.


Shipping Methods

Single stamps or small groups of stamps can be sent in a business envelope with a stiffener.

Have a postal scale handy.

Print the postal rates for first class then tack it up where you can see it easily.

Use priority mail envelopes when you have 100 or stamps to send. The flat rate is $7.35 regardless of where the item is going in the USA, and regardless of what the weight it. Pretty much what ever you can fit into the envelope is OK.

Be sure to have a few flat rate envelopes on hand.

When an item sells, postage can be purchased at ebay or paypal. This is a very handy aspect of selling. Tracking is also available from these websites. This is much slicker than in the olden days when standing in lines at a post office were necessary.

If you have several stamps to send to the same address, mixtures and the like, then you want to investigate the flat rate boxes offered by the post office. For $8.10 you can really get quite a bit of material in a flat rate box. There are three sizes. Keep a few of each size on hand. Plus, be sure to have a stock of stamps as well.

You will need to speak with your route letter carrier to let them know you will be sending items from your home from time to time.

Try to mail every paid order out the next day after payment is received. That is only efficient business. Getting behind is painful.

ebay gives a seller two days to ship an item before they get upset. These two days do not include weekends.


Sequence of Events

Selling Sequence

Below is a flow chart to offer suggestions on steps to follow to become a seller of stamps at eBay on the internet. Expect to modify this list as your need requires. Follow the links you find if they seem interesting to you. Other venues have similar steps. But keep in mind that ebay is the only game in town for maximum exposure and maximum sales, in my opinion.

eBay Quick Start

Here is a checklist which will aid you in getting an eBay hobby business up and running. Please consider this my personal advice. It is worth more than the nothing you have paid to use it. Ask advice of others who have an eBay account to make sure these are the right things to do for you.

1. Realize that this will be a time consuming activity which can not be successful unless you have adequate time on a DAILY basis to answer email questions, put things up for auction, and fill orders promptly. Don't believe the TV hype promo commercials about making big money right from the first day. Learning any new skill takes time.

2. Set up a separate debit account at a bank which has the ability to give you free checking, free debit card, and online banking. Deposit $100 in it. Be sure to ask for the debit card.  A lot of times the bank worker will need to be told this more than once for it to sink in. You definately need the debit card. Do not use a credit card you may already have. You will need to record the pin number when you get the card.

4. Determine what you want to sell. Determine what the minimum price is that you can sell each item so you will not have sellers remorse.

5. Start accumulating the items you plan to sell. Make sure you have a place where organized storage will not be disturbed. Finding items in a hurry is important to fill orders promptly.

6. Print post office rates for the class of mail you plan to send. If you plan to use USPS Priority Mail, then go to this suite to order FREE shipping materials. Here is the URL for shipping materials: 

Set up an account at the post office page and order a beginning supply of the sort of packaging you will need. Make sure you have an accurate weight scale for the weight you expect your items to ship at.

7. Make sure you have a computer connected to the internet available to you. You will also need a scanner, possibly a digital camera, and a printer.

8. Go to the office supply store and buy pens, pencils, file folders, mailing envelopes, bubble wrap, peanuts, boxes, and any other sort of item you think you will need.

9. Buy a supply of postage of the denominations you expect to need. Meet with your route carrier to tell that person you plan to be sending items by mail. Make arrangements for the carrier to pick up USPS Priority Mail if you plan to use that method. Consider getting a larger mail box for the front of your home.

10. No longer necessary to write a paragraph about yourself for the ME page.

11. Consider setting up a web page or even a separate web site for your merchandise. Then look into FrontPage software. This will take effort. Perhaps this is something to consider for a year from now. But begin thinking about it now.

12. Make sure you have computer skills needed to answer and generate email, print, scan, down load programs, and save pictures.

13. Establish a place where you can store the images you generate. This might be at a memory space which is yours through your internet provider. Or it may be at a web site that you create.

14.  Down load a WS_FTP95 LE Program. It's the FREE version. This program may be needed to send your photographs to your memory. If you only need one picture per item you sell, then this will not be necessary. You may need to google this. Here is a URL which works for now: 

15. From a pay phone without giving your name, call the office of the licensing department for the town where you live.  Find out if you need a business license to do this eBay hobby stuff from your home. Stress the word hobby in the telephone conversation. Then do what you feel is right. 

Get some sort of book keeping set up to record expenses and receipts.

16. When you have received your debit card, go online to sign up for PayPal. Use the debit card as your account number. Have your checks handy. You will need those numbers for the day when you will want money sent from your PayPal account to your checking account. You may never do this but it is part of the process.

17. Log on to eBay and set up an account with the PayPal numbers and debit account you have.  Read the tutorials about anything you do not understand.

18. Start taking pictures or scanning and then saving them to a folder for eBay images, to your web site or to your ISP account.

19. Turbo Lister Program no longer available to new sellers. Bummer. New sellers get up to twenty free listings each month. This number changes from time to time.

20. Establish a numbering system so you can identify each item you plan to sell. This is the number you assign so you can quickly find each item when it sells. Some call it a lot number.

21. Determine what you plan to use as a selling model. For example, listing on what day and what time to close on what day and what time, how many items will you plan to have listed all the time. Will you want to move unsold items to an ebay store? Probably yes so you can build an inventory.

22. List one item with the default settings. Look over the ad before submitting it. Do this by clicking Preview. See if everything came out as you expected. When you are pleased with the result, then submit it with Turbo Lister.

23. Somewhere along the way you will need to make a payment to eBay in your sellers account. Use your PayPal balance to do this. Go to your sellers page and click on my account. There will be a PayPal box there for you to send money into your paypal account. You may not need to do this very often since buyers will be putting money in that account every time they buy something.

24. Answer emails as they come in about the item you have for sale. But do not answer email messages which request you to update your account. These are phishing emails and can be a problem for you. Report these emails to the authorities by clicking forward, then entering the email address of or and also 

25. Enter more items in your Turbo Lister program to be submitted later.

26. When you feel ready, submit more items. Determine how many you plan to list at one time. Then try to hold to that number for a while. Twenty seems ambitious enough to start with.

27. When an item sells, you will be given an email notice that the person has paid for the item through PayPal. Print a packing slip. Send the item that day or the next day.

28. If there are items that didn't sell, you may want to relist them once. If they still do not sell, then move them to your eBay store. Read the tutorial about eBay stores. It might not be profitable until you have a hundred things to put in it. But you will loose listing detail if you do not move items over within I think 30 days. So you will want to open the store right away.

29. Develop a rhythm. Listing certain times. Preparing items for listing. Answering emails. Submitting items for sale. Packing. Sending out items.

30. Review what sells and what does not sell by visiting eBay advanced search completed listings. Look over your items to verify that the price you start them at is within range of what they will sell for. Continue to modify your practices to refine the selling experience. This will never end.

31. Prepare to receive bogus emails requesting your password for eBay and PayPal. Never enter this information in response to an email.

Instead, forward the entire message to either or 

Security Concerns

When selling on eBay, expect a rash of emails attempting to get your password. Expect emails which look like they are from eBay and from PayPal.

The emails will say something like your verification of account information is required or your account will be frozen. Or that if you do not respond, your account will be removed from the list of approved sellers.

All of this is garbage. The people who do this have nothing better to do than try to steal from you. Consider it like shoplifting. 

So the best procedure to follow is to NEVER give out your confidential information in response to any email of any kind.

NEVER give out your confidential information to anyone on the telephone.

When you do receive a suspicious email, and every one will seem suspicious eventually, do the following:

Click on the Forward button in your top tool bar.

Enter this email address to send the email to: or if it is PayPal, then

Shortly thereafter you will receive an email telling you want to do. Here is a copy of that email currently in use:


You may have received a message attempting to solicit a transaction
outside of eBay or a message sent in an attempt to obtain your account
password or other sensitive information.

We recommend that you ignore all offers received through email that ask
you to complete a transaction outside of eBay. Please make sure that you
are the confirmed winning bidder on a listing before sending money to
anyone and make certain that you are dealing with the actual seller and
not someone else. eBay only recognizes the seller and the winning bidder
that appear on the listing page at the end of the listing.

Do not use instant cash wire transfer services such as Western Union and
MoneyGram when paying someone you don't know and decline sending payment
in cases where these are the only methods of payment offered by the
seller. Generally, if payment is sent using an instant cash wire
transfer service and the item is not delivered as promised, no recourse
is available for recovering funds. More information on the benefits and
risks of individual payment methods can be found at:

More information on Spoof and Phishing emails:

Messages known as "spoof" or "phishing" emails are sent by third parties
in an attempt to obtain your account password or other sensitive
information such as credit card numbers. If you receive an email about
your account that appears to be from eBay, check My Messages in My eBay.
If the same email is not in My Messages, it's fake.  Do not respond to
the sender.

To learn more, take the Spoof Tutorial at:

Additionally, you can help protect yourself from fake eBay and PayPal
Web sites by downloading the eBay Toolbar with Account Guard. The eBay
Toolbar with Account Guard is free and offers the following benefits:

1. An indicator that shows when you are on an eBay or PayPal Web site or
a known spoof (or "phishing") site.

2. Buttons to report fake eBay Web sites to us.

3. A password notification feature that warns you when you may be
entering your eBay password on an unverified site.

To learn more about the eBay Toolbar with Account Guard go to, and click on the "eBay Toolbar" link at the bottom of the


eBay SafeHarbor
Investigations Team

Then some time later you will receive a confirmation email telling you the message you received was not from ebay or paypal. Here is a sample of what it will look like:

Thank you for contacting us about a potential fraudulent (spoof) email
or Web site. We will investigate this situation immediately and inform
you of the results in a separate email. If you are reporting an email or
a Web site that is asking for personal financial information, it is best
to assume it is fake until you receive a response from us.

In order to reply as quickly as possible, we are sending you an
automated response about the following topics:


Please submit other questions or concerns through our Contact Us System,
which can be accessed by clicking on the "help" button on the top of any
eBay page. This allows us to dedicate our resources appropriately.

The best defense against fake emails and Web sites is learning how to
spot them. You can learn more about fake emails and Web sites through
our Spoof Tutorial at the following Web page:

You can also use My Messages (located at the top of the My eBay page) to
detect Phishing emails. If an email from eBay affects your eBay account
or asks for personal information, it's now in My Messages. Any email
sent to your registered eBay email address from eBay that concerns your
account or requests personal information will now appear in My Messages.

One of the best tools to protect yourself from fraudulent (spoof) Web
sites is eBay Toolbar with Account Guard. The Account Guard feature
indicates when you are on an eBay or PayPal Web site and warns you if
you are on a known spoof site. To learn more about eBay Toolbar with
Account Guard open a new browser and type into
the address bar. 

We recommend that you keep your browser, operating system, and virus
protection software up to date. Check for updates at the "Windows
Update" link on and scan your computer for viruses

If you think your personal information has been compromised in any way,
you should take immediate steps to change your eBay, PayPal, and email
passwords. You should also contact your bank to see if there has been
any suspicious activity on your account. You can find more information
about protecting your identity at the following help page:

Thank you again for sending us your report. We appreciate your efforts
to keep eBay and PayPal safe.


eBay Trust & Safety Team

Items not to sell at first:

high catalogue value stamps
glass objects
anything of interest to young people
video games
play station stuff
comic books
no worldwide sales at first

Items that would be good to sell at first:

historic newspapers and magazines
original art
wooden objects that will not break
rubber objects for the same reason
stamps for collectors
greeting cards
household kitchen items
table cloths
place mats
candle sticks
guide books
sheet music
plastic flowers
small car parts
moror cycle anything
pine cones

Well you get the idea from this list.

Selling Tips For eBay

Here are random thoughts about selling on eBay which were not mentioned on previous pages of this website.

Consider including postage in the bid amount for a single stamp to any address in the world.

Do not have a huge postage amount in the listing. This will be seen as a scam by buyers and they will not buy or bid. Shipping should be just shipping, not most of the profit from the item.

Do not use threatening language in boiler plate. Nothing like if you don't pay, I will cut off your ear.

Do not enter negative feedback. Just swallow hard and move on.

Do not bother with buyers who have not paid after one month. Just wait a week after a one month notice then relist.

Do not try to get final value fees back from eBay for a non performing (nonpaying) bidder. It is a waste of time.

Refund the full amount without question when an item is returned.

Enter feedback for every transaction even if the buyer did not enter feedback for you.

Check PayPal daily to see if a payment was made but no email was received.

On large orders send a bonus item.

Automatically combine shipping when a buyer pays for several items at the same time.

Expect to encounter various problems from time to time. Approach each problem with a positive attitude.

Make sure the minimum bid you enter will be enough so you will not have sellers remorse if you get only one bid.

Hold back offering expensive items you might want to sell until you have a feedback of at least 50.  That way buyers will not be reluctant to bid a high amount.

Visit the seller soapbox forum now and then to see what other sellers are concerned about.

Encourage others to buy and sell on eBay to grow the community.

Become familiar with Global Priority Mail flat rate envelopes for orders going to foreign countries. They are a bargain depending on weight.

Be sure to include shipping for each item in the listing notice to minimize email questions about shipping.


List of other online selling venues in no particular order. Note all of them are dot coms.


Here are my thoughts on Do's and Don'ts for selling on eBay

Select from these lists as you see fit:


-send out items the day after payment is received
-print postage on eBay or PayPal
-include a thank you note with each order
-give  complete description with all features noted
-answer all emails
-organize stock in an easy to find location
-use a lot number system for small items
-research the value of an item to find a good starting price
-find a niche for your specialty
-use several pictures
-tell your postal worker about your plan to sell on ebay
-use turbolister program right from the start
-accumulate shipping supplies
-use an accurate scale. One to 5 pounds. One to 20 pounds.
-notify buyers when the item is sent
-leave feedback for all transactions
-keep the better stuff for sale later
-learn about IRS form Schedule C
-request a PayPal debit card
-buy a book about selling on ebay



-ask for feedback
-put dryer sheet in with order
-put music on a listing
-threaten a non paying bidder
-contact a non paying bidder
-expect everything to sell right away
-lower price so you have seller remorse
-ignore email questions
-send dusty dirty items
-take pictures with clutter in the background
-sell items you do not have control over
-sell any large difficult to ship items
-sell worldwide anything that needs a box to ship
-expect every item to reach the buyer
-expect every buyer to be honest
-call ebay customer service for anything
-sell expensive items at first
-sell for others
-go away on vacation with items for sale
-expect watchers to be buyers
-sell breakable items online
-start auction items at 99 cents
_expect huge fast sales


Have fun.

David U. Larson