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Buying Discount Postage Stamps

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Tons of postage stamps on a box.Did you know that you can buy postage stamps at a discount? It’s 100% legitimate and there’s nothing unethical or dishonest about it.

Stamp collectors often buy collections at a discount and sell all the non-collection quality stamps at a discount to be rid of them. You can buy postage stamps at a discount by buying these non-collection quality stamps from them. The savings aren’t astronomically huge, usually around 10%, but every little bit counts.

What’s the catch? From what I can tell, nothing. The collectors buy them in bulk at a discount, sort through to find anything of value, and then get rid of the extras. We know the post office isn’t losing money, so where is the loss? The person or estate selling the stamp collection to the collector is the one that bears the brunt of the loss, then it’s the collector if they get with a bunch of junk.

How much? I found one very informative seller, Henry Gitner Philatelists, Inc., and they had some pretty good prices:

Face Value % of Face Value Shipping
$100-$400 86% $3.50-7.50
$500-$1999 85% FREE
$2000+ 83% FREE

As you can see, the discount starts at 14% and ends at 17%, with some shipping costs. The prices I listed were for gummed postage (where you have to lick it) and with stamps being six to thirty-nine cents. You can see their whole PDF price list here. It may or may not be worth the effort of buying stamps from a complete stranger, but I wanted to throw it out there if you ever wondered about this kind of stuff. I have no idea who these guys are, I never talked to them, but they were the only people I could find that clearly explained how it all worked. If you do a lot of shipping and don’t get discounts otherwise, buying discount postage stamps may be the way to go.

I’ve never bought discount postage stamps because I was a bit overzealous in buying Forever Stamps when they were first introduced. However, now that I’m going to be doing a lot of shipping because of the Bargaineering Bucks store, I’m trying to find ways to save a little extra on postage.

Have you ever bought discounted stamps?

(Photo: doctorow)

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33 Responses to “Buying Discount Postage Stamps”

  1. I don’t really use postage stamps these days. I pay all my bills via my banks online Bill Pay. So I guess I don’t know who would actually benefit from this. Don’t businesses already get a discount for bulk quantity shipping anyways? Does anyone send enough mail to warrant this?

    • Nina says:

      Ever heard of Christmas Cards???

    • ramon says:

      Business can get a discount if you are using a printed stamp. But if a business would rather use first class to increase the professional look of the letter that they have to pay full price.

      I usually buy 30,000 44c stamps at a time and pay full price. No discount no matter how much u buy.

  2. freeby50 says:

    I guess the only problem with this is that the stamps you’d be buying are generally lower denomination. So you’d be dealing with 6, 8, 12, 20, 29, 32 cent stamps. It could be a hassle to mail something with weird number combination like this.

    If you’re just mailing regular 1st class letters then that could be pretty hard to get the right 44c postage amount. Say you bought $200 worth of stamps through such a service and you end up with a pile of 29 cent stamps. How do you use those? Or maybe you’re mailing some books via media mail. So you put the book in a 8×10 envelope and its $2.38 to mail it. But all you’ve got are 6 cent stamps. Will 40 x 6c stamps fit on the envelope?

  3. freeby50 says:

    I should say that I do think this is a great tip. It just has to be the right situation for it to work.

  4. Oh interesting avenue towards purchasing stamps. I didn’t even know you could purchase stamps at a discount. I don’t send much mail out but if I ever do this sounds good. Also nice that there is no catch!

  5. Caitlin says:

    Are the savings from buying discount stamps grater than those offered by places like Endecia or PayPal Shipping or though any small business discounters offered by the post office?

  6. Jonathan says:

    I haven’t seen any official USPS discounts greater than 5%, unless you’re sending bulk mail.

    However, there is no way I’d do this as a consumer, piecing together enough stamps to add up to the correct postage would be annoying, and if you’re forced to use incorrect postage – there goes your discount!

  7. CK says:

    But the time involved seems like a waste. You can save so much time and be exact with electronic postage. Plus you don’t have to worry about losing or damaging stamps.

  8. thomas says:

    Wow, I actually forgot about gummed stamps. For the casual mailer, the forever stamp is probably the path of least resistance to head down. Business owners might take advantage a little more.

  9. Martha says:

    This could be a really cool and cheaper way to get stamps for wedding invitations. Since it normally costs more than what the forever stamp will cover you have to buy specialty $0.58 stamps (or whatever the costs are now) but this way you could get some cool looking stamps and save some money! Cool tip, thanks Jim!

  10. Why not try stamps.com? You would be able to print stamps online. I think they provide free stamps when you first sign up and a free trial too!

  11. I have done this before– I get them at stamp shows (I am a collector).

    The nice byproduct of this is it encourages collecting because some of the stamps are older and catch the eyes of young collectors.

    • Linda says:

      I see you are a collector. I have a lot of duplicates and a lot of holes in my collection of U.S. stamps. Any interest in trading? Linda

  12. Patrick says:

    I could never see myself buying that many stamps. I do love the idea of Forever Stamps though and I buy them whenever I need stamps. I agree with matthew in that stamps.com is a great way to save time by printing stamps at home.

  13. Paige says:

    Wow, what a lazy society we have become. It would only take an extra 2-3 minutes -maybe- to piece together and lick some stamps. My dad collects stamps and I LOVE to get his envelopes. They are so neat, half filled with stamps, I usually save the envelopes. I never thought of doing it myself. Thanks Jim!

  14. Smokey says:

    I’ve done this before, buying stamps at collectors’ shows for 85 – 90% of face value. Take my advice: it’s not worth the trouble.

    I still have hundreds of 3¢, 4¢, 5¢, etc. stamps that are a pain to use. You’re not likely to get 29¢ stamps from a dealer by mail. Figure on plenty of very small denomination stamps.

    It was fun using the old stamps at first — but that got old real quick. The only exception I’d make is for Christmas stamps, if you want to add a personal touch to your Christmas cards. But you have to go to a collector’s show for them; no dealer will take time to sort out Christmas stamps to fill your mail order.

    You only have so many minutes in your life. Don’t waste them sorting thru a box of old stamps, in order to save a few percent. Word up.

  15. joe says:

    This works well if you are shipping stuff. I sell books and put on about 2 to 2.50 worth of stamps then let the post office weigh the package and put on the remainder. There is a special on now where you can by $500 worth of stamps for $425. It’s worth a little time licking the stamps, (maybe takes a few minutes) and I’ll tell you this.. people like getting packages with old stamps. I have very good feedback on this.

  16. Jeremy says:

    I do ship a great deal. You could probably say I’m a high volume shipper. I need to save wherever I can. Even if I have to pay full price on small denomination stamps to make it work, this is a good tip for me. If anyone else has postage saving tips, I’m all ears.

  17. XR says:

    All US postage stamps issued in past years are still valid for postage. At any stamp show or auction, mint postage (either loose stamps or in sheets) can be purchased at below face value, sometimes as low as 50% depending on activity at the auction. Only drawback is that you may get a lot of 3 cent stamps. Stamps you get will not be current postage rate stamps.

  18. DWIGHT says:

    I found out about discount postage and then I went on a buying binge and bought a few hundred dollars worth. Mixing and matching to get 44 cents is easy and fun. There are other suppliers than hgitner. There is cincycollectibles and Ebay. In Ebay, just go: buy, stamps, U.S., postage; ending soonest; 200 items per page; study each offer carefully. I set my highest bid at face value minus shipping cost minus one cent. Stamps usually sell for about 75% of face value. The most fun part is that all of the sources above include stamps that are too nice to use as postage. I now have two albums of stamps full of beauties that were catagorized as discount-potage. Lastly, if we don’t use the post office over email, veterans might be unemployed after our wars. They could starve to death. I love using my 1940′s and later discount stamps. Dwight of Renton, Wa., USA

  19. Olivia says:

    I’ve used Henry Gitner and am really happy with them. Mixing and matching stamps is not huge problem as they are divided into smaller envelopes by value. So you’ll get 100 20centers, 100 17centers, etc. Since the PO is constantly changing postage anyway and you have to add a cent or two fairly often to existing stamps, it doesn’t seem to be that much different. I’m even using them to mail gift packages, (with rave responses).

  20. Victim says:

    There is a catch to many of these “discounted” stamps. Credit card thieves steal your credit card number and use it to purchase mass quantities of stamps at post offices. They go to the automatic machines after hours so that the likelihood of getting caught is lower. The post office began restricting the number of stamps that could be purchased at one machine to slow the fraud problem. Now the criminals max out each machine and trapline throughout a city. They then sell the stamps on ebay (what bigger audience) at a 10-30% discount. It is all free money to them, so what does it matter? The scam originally started on the West Coast by Armenians but has since spread to the East Coast since it the profit is high and the risk is low. How do I know? Unauthorized postal charges on my credit card of over 500 bucks in one day. There is no free lunch. You are buying fenced stamps no matter what they tell you. There are no “discounts” for non-collectible stamps. It is called “bulk rate” or stolen stamps.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sorry that you were ripped off, Victim, but there are a LOT of stamps out there that people bought thinking they were going to be valuable one day. The USPS sold them to would-be collectors knowing that if not used, they would be almost pure profit. If you were running the Post Office, wouldn’t you encourage Stamp Collecting? Anyway, the ones that have the highest discounts anyway are the gummed ones that were sold before credit cards in the modern sense existed. I just picked up some stamps printed in 1981. Are you going to tell me that someone in 1981 got credit card scammed?

  21. Lauren Kennison says:

    I have purchase discount postage from Mr. Gitner several times. This is no ripoff. I used to do 300 auctions a week on eBay, and now do about 100, so this has benefitted me greatly. Sure it takes extra times piecing together the right amount from all of these stamps, but I figure the person receiving the envelope will enjoy looking at stamps from as far back as the 30′s (2c, 3c etc.). I still buy first class stamps and $1 stamps from the post office, then fill in the exact amount by using the discount stamps. It’s actually kind of fun making the postal workers add up all those stamps!

  22. loco44 says:

    I sent out 10-15 flat rate priority boxes a week at $11 to $16 each. I’ve had no trouble buying discount postage at 70-80% face — less sometimes on large lots. On average I can save 30% on my postage costs — easily $50/week. The time involved is very small. My customers often call to buy some stamps for themselves!

  23. Ken Jacobus says:

    I tried discount postage for awhile. You need to consider the time that it takes to apply this postage in comparison to the amount saved. Using these odd denominations and licking them is quite a bit of work. My secretary actually told me what I could do with my discount postage when I thought that it might be a good idea to use it. lol


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