Buy Ads

One of the several indices that I use to predict future stamp market strength is the ratio of the number of advertisements in Linns wanting to buy stamps to the number of ads wanting to sell. From 1975 (when I began tracking this) to about 2000, the ratio would vary from about 40% Buy ads in weaker market periods to over 60% in stronger periods. The Internet has changed the raw ratios as now a far greater proportion of selling is done on the Internet than in print ads. The reason is that quicker lead times and lower costs make the Internet ideal for selling. But stamp dealers who wish to buy stamps are trying to troll for customers who may not be as web savvy and who are not part of their normal customer base. Thus, traditional print advertising is the vehicle most stamp dealers use when they are trying to reach potential sellers of their collections. The latest Linns (Dec 13 edition) had nine full page advertisements, not counting the publishers ads for their own products. Of these eight were trying to buy stamps from collectors. This is unprecedented and, if the patterns of previous years hold, it means that there is a shortage of fine stamps in primary sellers hands which should filter through in stronger prices and better stamp market conditions in the early months of next year.

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