Stamp dealer
A stamp dealer is a company
A company is a form of business organization. It is an association or collection of individual real persons and/or other companies, who each provide some form of capital. This group has a common purpose or focus and an aim of gaining profits. This collection, group or association of persons can be...

 or an individual who deals in postage stamps and philatelic products. It also includes individuals who sell postage stamps for day to day use or official stamps for use on court documents.

Stamps on Approval Basis

A stamp dealer generally has a large stock of used and unused stamps
Mint stamp
In philately, a mint stamp is a stamp which is in its original state of issue, is unused, has never been mounted and has full gum, if issued with gum. The term applies equally to postage stamps and revenue stamps.- Variations :...

 for sale to stamp collectors. Many of them have a system of sending stamps to customers on approval basis. When a customer gets stamps on approval basis from a dealer, he has got the choice of either returning or retaining the entire lot, or retaining that part of the lot that is of interest to him and return the rest back to the dealer. Payment is made only for such stamps that the customer has desired to retain with him.

The advantage with this system is that, the dealer gets to show his stamps to a potential customer and hope for a sale, and for the customer the chance to choose which stamps to purchase and to inspect them before paying.

Specialising in Topics

Since the scope of stamp collecting is very large, dealers necessarily will have to specialise in some part of the hobby. Most often a dealer will be stocking the stamps of his country. Besides this he might keep some stock of stamps of neighbouring countries.

He might also specialise in stocking stamps on specific topics
Topical stamp collecting
Topical or thematic stamp collecting is the collecting of postage stamps relating to a particular subject or concept. Topics can be almost anything, from stamps on stamps, birds on stamps, to famous physicians, to the history of England.- Background :...

, such as stamps having the images of national flags, animals, birds, and so on.

Yearwise Country Packets

To encourage collectors in buying stamps of their country (or other countries), dealers may stock stamps of their country in year packets. Each packet will contain all the stamps issued by that country in that year. For a serious collector who wants to have a set of stamps of his country, this becomes the easiest method. Obviously there is a limitation to this. Stamps from early years that are hard to come by will either not be available in a packet, or would be very expensive.

Usually year sets are available both in mint unused condition and in used postmarked condition. The packets containing used stamps will usually be priced less than the unused mint stamp packets, though some of the larger premium dealers would price both packets without any difference or with a fractional difference.

Used stamps pertaining to earlier years, and those that are hard to come by are priced as high as the mint stamps or in some cases priced more than the mint stamps.

Stamp Packets

Stamp packets are the easiest and cheapest method for a person to start his hobby in stamps. Dealers usually pack used stamps into packets of 50, 100, 200 each or more. These, in turn, are categorised into countries and topics.

Method of Selling

While most of the stamp dealers cater to the clients in their locale or town, the larger dealers will necessarily have to extend their sales reach outside their region. To this effect some of the larger dealers come out with a printed catalogue
Stamp catalog
A stamp catalog is a catalog of postage stamp types with descriptions and prices.The stamp catalog is an essential tool of philately and stamp collecting...

 of stamps in their stock. These are mailed free of cost to customers or would-be customers on a regular basis.

Increasingly dealers are adapting to the internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

, by setting up website
A website, also written as Web site, web site, or simply site, is a collection of related web pages containing images, videos or other digital assets. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet...

s which offer their stamps to anybody around the world.
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