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Collector and Trading Site for Neopost Web-Enabled Stamps

The Early Days...













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My Initial Involvement
















My involvement with the Neopost TM Webenabled stamps started in June 2001. On June 15, 2001, a weekly Company bulletin (distributed each Friday) announced that a new e-ticketing platform (kiosk) would be set up at a lobby at a Company building. This bulletin also indicated that the postage label dispensed from the kiosk are distinctive and unique. I was curious, but had to wait. I had planned to do homework for a summer graduate course during my Friday lunch hour (this was my eighth course of a graduate program at Johns Hopkins University).

During my lunch hour on Monday (June 18, 2001), I visited the West*Quest*Lobby kiosk for the first time. My first purchase was a single-sheet ($1.36). Followed by a two-sheet purchase ($2.72). And finally a five-sheet purchase ($6.80). I was not aware of the philatelic significance of these purchases at the time.

Note: The West*Quest*Lobby is what is printed on the sheets dispensed from kiosk # 6 (or machine #6). This kiosk is also known as the Baltimore kiosk. 

I have been an active eBay TM user since 1997. I used eBay TM to buy and sell and various collectibles (Hawaiian coins/medals/tokens, US coins, US error coins, US web notes, Hawaiian Kingdom/Territory/Statehood items, Hawaiian railroads, McDonalds Corporation TM memorabilia, MONOPOLY TM memorabilia, etc.). So it was inevitable that I would place an eBay TM auction ad for Neopost Webenabled stamps.

 

On June 19, 2001, I listed my two-sheet purchase. It appeared as eBay TM item 1248247650. The auction was titled as "34c Self-Adhesive Postage Under Consumer Test". The starting bid was set at $5.44 (twice the face value of the sheets). Here is the original auction description.

This auction is for a set of 8 uniquely designed self-adhesive postage stamps. These stamps have been approved for use by the U.S. Postal System in place of conventional first-class postage stamps. These distinctive labels are currently under consumer testing (can be currently used in lieu of first-class postage stamps) and are not readily available to the general public. The photo has been modified with yellow areas to blank out the company's name that will provide these postage stamps. National rollout at USPS locations is expected in 2002. Buyer to pay shipping. Good luck!

Eagle Motiff Image used in Auction
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Image used in First Neopost Auction Apperance
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I did have some reservations in placing these sheets on eBay TM. My concern was that this would be traced back to my employer or me. As a precaution, I sanitized the pictures by removing purchasing information (reason for yellow areas in the picture). Also, sheet 2 was placed over sheet 1 to hide the selvage information on sheet 1.

This auction ended on June 25, 2001 and the result was overwhelming (at the time). Approximately 1420% profit (not including eBay TM fees). Six bids were made on these sheets. Mr. William C. Peters purchased the initial public offering (to collectors) of Neopost TM Webenabled stamp sheets. The results of the auction had clearly shown interest by stamp collectors.
















June 2001

I began to make additional Kiosk purchases when I could during my lunch hour. I took my time in listing these items on eBay due to my work and class schedule. After monitoring the stamp collecting activity on eBay TM. I decided to make a few covers. I would used a single 4-stamp Eagle design sheet to make four covers. These covers would be sold on eBay TM as needed. I was unaware of the significance of making these covers. I just wanted more Neopost TM material to sell on eBay TM.

 

July 2001

On July 3, 2001, I made a purchase that was strange. See the picture below. That same day I contacted the e-mail address in the Company bulletin and described the problem. I was soon contacted by telephone. He inquired about the back markings and discribed to me the process of how the stamps were made: Adhesive paper (from roll) printed with stamp information, paper advanced until the markings passes an optical device, guillotined and dispensed. Once I became aware of the process. I could here the cutting of the sheet from the roll each time I made a purchase. I was told to destroy the sheets, but did not (lost of $2.72). I kept the sheets and sold them in an auction at a later date.

 

Error
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At the ending of July, a big surprised occurred. They had changed the design of the stamp from an Eagle design to an American flag design. I was disappointed. My Eagle design inventory could not be replenished. So I decided to sell only what was dispensed from the kiosk at the time, making sure I had some current design sheets in my inventory.
 
While taking inventory of my Eagle motiff stamps, I noticed differences. See picture below.

diffstamp.jpg

The last item of interest for the month of July was the making of a single cover for an eBay TM  purchaser. After this collector won the auction, he requested that I affix stamp to an envelope and mail it to him. As a courtesy I did. This resulted in another rare cover. See the image below. The remaining three stamps are still on the original sheet. This sheet now resides in the Cerizet collection (refer to variety a of his hard copy catalogue. 

eagle1.jpg

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Comments:

I have been involved as a purchaser and reseller of the Neopost Webenabled stamps since June 2001. During the June - July 2001 period, West*Quest*Lobby kiosk operations changed frequently. I was inexperienced with the stamp-collecting hobby and was not monitoring the stamps as closely as I should. I let several philatelic opportunities slip by.

I provided collectors with the initial supply of the early Neopost webenabled stamp sheets. I also created five rare covers with the Eagle design (Four of these covers reside with other collectors. I have a single remaining cover in my collection.).

Note: As an interest to collectors, I am in the process of reconstructing and compling the events of interest during the 4-stamp sheet period. I expected to compile sales records and images. I can identify collector JL (initials of collector) made regular purchases from me until I temporaily stop selling on eBay. This story will continue in future updates to this website.