I have been a user of the APS Sales Division for three decades. The Sales Division provides a service for members in circulating booklets which contain selections of collector's excess material to interested collectors.
Generally, one receives a group of 10 books of material from several collectors with a retail value of $1000 or so. The circuit follows a list of people who have signed up for such material and it goes from the APS to the first person listed to the last one who returns the remainder to the APS. The collector mails it within seven days to the next collector on the list insuring the package for $100.
When the APS receives the circuit, it makes up a new one, moves everyone on the circuit list up one position -- the first one on the last circuit moves to the bottom of the list -- and sends out a new circuit. You also pay a $1 insurance fee to the APS when you fill out your accounting for your purchases and return it to the APS after you've forwarded the circuit.
For me, it has the benefit of bringing a special selection of stamps to my door for me to review at leisure. Generally, the quality is worthwhile -- not all superb, of course -- and with a wide variety within the category. Since the offerors are APS members, you are dealing with bona fide stamp collectors. Material is generally accurately identified, properly graded, and fairly or even advantageously priced.
You must use the APS circuit books to submit material. Several varieties of booklets are available for sale and they work quite well. The Sales Division also sells supplies for mounting mint stamps which are quite helpful. After about a year, a booklet is taken out of circulation and a settlement is is forwarded to the owner. The APS does take a commission for their operations but I doubt if it does much more than pay the overhead, if that.
I am currently signed up for two circuits. One is 19th Century U.S. covers and the other is Jamaica. I enjoy perusing the offerings in both when they arrive. The cycle is about 90 days. I am currently enjoying going through the latest Jamaica circuit which still has a number of nice stamps to fill in or replace some of the used stamps in my collection.
The APS circuit has been a principal source for my Jamaica collection. While the mailing cost seems high, it is much cheaper than the cost of driving an automobile to a number of dealers who often have only limited supplies of what I am interested in. There are only 3 dealers who are within 100 miles of me now. I have to go to Sarasota or the East Coast Strip -- Miami to West Palm Beach -- to find any more dealers.
I would certainly recommend that you give consideration to this method for finding stamps the easy way. It's also a fun way to sell stamps even if the settlements are off in the future. It's also a nice way to help your fellow collectors.
Posted August 1, 1999