This article shows how an entrepreneurial stamp collector can market commemorative stamps to millions of stamp collectors around the world at very little expense.
Exports of collector items including antiques, artwork and stamps represent a thriving niche market in international trade. America shipped US$8.5 billion worth of collectibles to its trade partners, up 12.7% from 2014 according to the US Census Bureau – Foreign Trade Statistics.
Many countries issue commemorative postage stamps to honor special events, sports heroes and other celebrities. While superstar series stamps may be readily available in their country of issue, those same stamps will be scarce and possibly in high demand in other countries.
Whether new or used, exporting postage stamps is a virtually risk-free way to profit from a product uniquely made in the exporter’s home country.
Examples of Special Issue Stamps
Back in January, Australia issued stamps to celebrate Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Geoffrey Rush and Russell Crowe – all Aussie winners of Oscar awards. With each celebrity stamp costing only AUD$0.55 (US$0.39), the expenses for selling 4-stamp sets of Australian Oscar winner stamps to stamp collecting fans in North America, Europe and Asia would be minimal. Shipping costs would also be small since an exporter could use lettermail to send collectible stamp sets, rather than have to rely on more expensive parcel delivery.
If the US Postal Service issues a set of commemorative stamps to celebrate the life of pop star Michael Jackson, American stamp collectors will be presented with an opportunity to export Michael Jackson stamp souvenirs to collectors and fans around the globe.
Canada has released a set of domestic postage stamps that feature competitive sports for the upcoming Vancouver Winter Olympics. These include bobsleigh, curling, freestyle skiing, ice sledge hockey and snowboarding. Canadian stamp collectors can easily set up an export business selling these special stamps to collectors in the more than 80 nations that will compete at the Winter Games.
Stamps are Free from Export Restrictions
As confirmed with Canada Border Services Agency, collectible stamps are non-restricted goods for export purposes. Similarly, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Services website excludes postage stamps from its list of prohibited and restricted imports.
Export documentation for collectible stamp shipments will be minimal, with no requirements for extra permits and certificates. In Canada, shipment of rare stamps valued at C$2,000 or above would require the exporter to fill out an export declaration form. Exporters should also consider insurance for higher value shipments.
Collectors’ pieces including postage stamps are duty-free in countries like Canada. Exporters should research whether other importing country charges any customs duties on stamps under tariff item code 97050000.
Other Advantages of Exporting Collectible Stamps
Partly due to small size, collector stamps also enjoy the following advantages as export products.
- Stamp collecting is a hobby that people of all ages around the globe can enjoy
- Very little storage space is required for inventory
- Unlike perishable food products, postage stamps are durable if properly stored
- Unlike technology product exports, collectible postage stamps never go obsolete
- While many products depreciate, stamps can appreciate in value over time
- Variety of stamps available enables exporter to creatively mix and match stamp sets
- Stamps encourge repeat business as international hobbyists expand their collections.
The Competition Bureau of Canada has no labeling and packaging regulations that apply to exported postage stamps.
Marketing Stamps and Stamp Collections
A large percentage of the population in more developed countries are Internet users. Collectible stamp exporters can reach that international audience by tapping available web resources. Below are ideas for prospective stamp exporters to consider; most of these are free.
- Amazon.com collector item sale listings
- eBay sale listings on main (eBay.com) and local websites (Australian eBay site)
- Craigslist collectibles listings in city sites of the target country (8 Australian cities)
- YouTube videos that educate consumers about special stamp issues
- Google Ads that target keywords pertinent to stamp collections
- Blogger site where one can post articles promoting collectible stamps
- Trade portals like Alibaba and Kompass allow free business-to-business listings.
Collectible stamp exporters can also tap into popular social networking sites in target foreign markets. For example, an American entrepreneur looking to sell stamps to Australian collectors might join:
- Facebook Australia
- Twitter Australia.