RPSC Sales Circuit for stamps explained

By Ken Lemke

As a result of the pandemic during the past year, I have had the opportunity to meet and speak to many collectors I may have not met otherwise.

One thing I found surprising is some collectors were unaware of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) Sales Circuit for stamps. I also discovered some collectors who are familiar with the circuit have some misunderstandings.

The Sales Circuit is available to RPSC-affiliated chapters and individual RPSC members.

Sales Circuit manager Sandra Foss says some chapters are taking advantage of the circuit. Those chapters pass the booklets around at chapter meetings; however, due to the pandemic, many chapters aren’t holding meetings, and members are unable to view the booklets.

I have been receiving circuits on a regular basis, especially during this pandemic, as the clubs I belong to are not holding meetings. I plan to continue receiving them after we resume meetings since I’ve found the booklets contain stamps I do not see at club meetings.

In addition to finding elusive stamps, the pricing is attractive: stamps are typically priced at 30 per cent to 35 per cent of their catalogue value, with some being 50 per cent.

HOW IT WORKS

The first step is to contact Foss at 250-655-1715 or circuits@rpsc.org.

She will work with you to put together a circuit that meets your collecting interests. You will also be able to determine the frequency at which you receive a circuit.

The circuits I receive typically contain 10-12 booklets. Smaller circuits, even of only one or two booklets, are also available.

Each circuit booklet contains 16 pages and typically one country (or associated countries like the British Commonwealth).

The booklet’s front page defines its contents, their condition (mint, used or both) and the year of the Scott catalogue used to determine the pricing.

In a few cases, I have also experienced the use of the Michel catalogue (Figure 1) for early German and German States stamps.

The booklet has spaces for up to 192 stamps (Figure 2).

You place your initial or mark in the space when you remove a stamp. You then record the page, space number and price on a tally sheet (Figure 3).

Circuit booklets are returned within 10 days of receipt along with the tally sheets and payment. If you need a few more days, this can be discussed with Foss.

SALES CIRCUIT BENEFITS

For me, the number one benefit is finding stamps I can’t find in club circuit books.

With the RPSC Sales Circuit booklets, I have time to examine the stamps at my leisure.

One area I collect is early German states, which often have forged cancellations. At home, I can use my various references or the Internet to determine whether I’m dealing with a fraudulent cancel.

I often find sellers will include entire sets of a stamp series, eliminating the need to search for a stamp that is missing from a set.

One of the concerns I have heard is the cost to return the circuit, which in my case is $35 (I live in Ontario). Contact Foss to determine your return cost.

The following should be considered when evaluating whether using the RPSC Sales Circuit is right for you:

  • How often do you want to receive a circuit, and would you spend enough money to justify the cost of returning the circuit?
  • Are you having difficulty finding certain stamps?
  • Do you like looking for varieties and shades? (It’s much easier to do in the comfort of your own home.)
  • Do you purchase stamps through the Internet? If so, how much money are you spending on shipping over time? How does it compare to $35? I know I was surprised, and it reinforced my use of the RPSC Sales Circuit.

I am an RPSC member for many reasons, but using the Sales Circuit alone justifies the cost of membership.

Contact Foss if you are interested in selling stamps through the Sales Circuit and are an RPSC member. Sales can help you dispense of extras and generate extra cash for you, and without the sellers, there would be no booklets to look at.

If you are not an RPSC member, hopefully, the benefit of using the Sales Circuit will be the impetus for you to join.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Foss or me at kwlemke@sympatico.ca.

Happy stamping, and stay safe.

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