Many collectors spend a great deal of money on their hobby and don't have a great deal to show for It. Your money is yours to do with as you please (after all this is America) but most people take some satisfaction in getting their money's worth when they buy something and, if not always getting the best of all possible deals, at least getting product commensurate with what they have spent. If you wish to do that stay away from estate sales. Many of the worse collections and stocks that I have ever seen have been put together at estate sales where collectors sometimes get good deals but more often compete with other relatively unknowlegeable collectors for overvalued overgraded stamps. There are three reasons for this. First, as mentioned there is often no adult in the room and ignorant sellers selling to unsophisticated buyers is always dangerous. Forgeries are common and quality is often exaggerated . Second there is no warranty. The seller is not there tomorrow and the buyer has no recourse for forged or overpriced stamps. And third, "estate sales" are often shams, with poor value goods brought in to dupe sellers in a staged environment. If this sounds like the party line for getting people to buy their stamps from mainstream knowledgeable dealers like us, it is. But it also is true. Sure people have gotten great deals at estate sales. But more often they've been fooled. Collectors who never try to get the great deal find that a good fair deal is usually the best deal of all.
The Danger of Estate Sales