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Your thoughts on APS "Circuit Books"  
 

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
973 Posts
Posted 09/30/2016   09:09 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add mobilman44 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Message
Hi,
While I am a member of the APS, I'm asking these questions here because I feel I will get "more complete" answers from the user point of view.

I sense that the process is like the approvals that were sent so often to me when I was a kid in the 50s. If this is correct, how many books are sent, and how often. Of course for everything sent, that means a trip to the PO to return them.

If you purchase stamps from the book, do you return the book with the funds, or are the purchases charged to your credit card?

Is going thru this process worthwhile, and are the prices fair?

Are there any other questions I should be asking?

Thanks all for putting up with me, I do appreciate it!

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1117 Posts
Posted 09/30/2016   10:01 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add littleriverphil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
When I was in/on the APS sales circuit, about 4 times a year The box of sales books would arrive, Usually 10 booklet per shipment. Because you ship every thing that you didn't buy to the next person on the list, you are requested to use stamps to mail the securely wrapped package.
The stamps are priced by other member who are selling their duplicate material, so are reasonably priced. I don't think that there is a better way to see the lower catalogue valued stamps.
I picked up a lot of nice items thru the sales circuits.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
3788 Posts
Posted 09/30/2016   10:11 am  Show Profile Check Petert4522's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Most of the info you need would be in the monthly "Sales Talk" in the APS Journal.
You will receive a box of books as Phil mentioned, with about ten books per box. It depends on the area you collect how many times a year it comes. Since the books are sent to you from another member ( it is called a circuit ) you pay the APS directly by check or credit card.
You should just go ahead and try it for yourself - you will like it. In my opinion it is better than the approvals that stamp stores send out.

Peter
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Valued Member
United States
345 Posts
Posted 09/30/2016   10:22 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Freibergs to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Having bought on circuits I picked up some nice stamps that I would not have seen otherwise at a very reasonable price. Having sold, I lucked out a couple of times when the circuit got lost somehow and I received a check from APS for the full value I had listed. So I was happy there too.
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Pillar Of The Community
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United States
820 Posts
Posted 09/30/2016   10:23 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Al E. Gator to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I've used APS circuit books for some time. They arrive 2-3 times a month. Of course that depends upon how many circuit categories you want to receive as well as their availability. You are give about 10 days to review, purchase and forward the books. Its not a hard-fast 10 day rule; I've, at times, kept the circuit a bit longer. Usually there are 9-10 books received per mailing. You do not send funds in the circuit when you forward it. You mail payment separately to the APS via credit card or personal check. Fair price? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Depends on how the seller of the book prices the items. Generally I find many items offered to be lower quality items, i.e. off-centered, heavily cancelled, heavily hinged, faults etc., but there are some good items too. I had an interesting "conversation" on another board about 2 yrs. ago, which involved the folks at the APS who are responsible for circuits management, about my disappointment with fraudulent and mis-identified Washington/Franklin issues in circuit books. Many W/F coils I'm seeing in booklets are not genuine coils. The gist of their response was that they just don't have the man-power, expertize or time to properly vet the circuits, but that they do a cursory inspection. It's disappointing the APS and its members who initiate circuit books aren't better at it. Having said all that, there is good and bad about the circuits as with all other avenues for acquiring items. There are many times that I find nothing worth buying; items worth buying but over-priced in circuits, but then there are times I find some good buys too. You can try it and see what you think. You can always discontinue getting them or change what you want at anytime.

I should add that I collect the classic era U.S. and do not get anything in circuits beyond the 20s-30s so I am not addressing the quality etc. of newer U.S. issues or world-wide issues.
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Edited by Al E. Gator - 09/30/2016 10:27 am
Pillar Of The Community
United States
812 Posts
Posted 09/30/2016   10:24 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The only issues I've heard about are:
-- You have to pay to send the box to the next person even if you found no stamps of interest in the shipment, or few stamps, so the cost of first class parcel (to get tracking) postage has to be factored in to your overall costs.
-- Especially for specialty areas, there may be few books available, and by the time you get one it may be "picked over" and then you have the cost noted above. The "Sales Talk" column mentioned by Peter regularly lists these "scarce" areas.
-- Some have reported delays of far more than 1 month in receiving first books, or subsequent shipments.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
832 Posts
Posted 09/30/2016   1:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Trainwreck to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I re-started receiving an APS sales circuit last November (Worldwide CLassics pre-1940). I believe I have received four since then. So, about every 3-4 months you will receive a circuit (give or take on several variables). You have one week to review the material (generally 10 books prepared by the sellers) and make your purchases. You remove the items you want, and mark the empty space with your name/APS number. I use a rubber stamp. There is a form to fill out to record the number of purchases from each sales book. The completed form is sent to the APS with your payment.

For circuits held over 7 days, you will be fined $1.50 per day (I think that's the correct amount). You send the circuit to the next person on the list, unless you are at the bottom of the list, then you send it directly to the APS. Your name moves up the list with each circuit, so eventually you get to the top of the list with first pick of any new material. Then your name moves to the bottom of the list to start the process all over. Payment is made directly to APS by check or credit card.

You are responsible for the postage cost to send the circuit onward. APS also charges $2.00 as an insurance fund fee, and 5% as a buyer's fee.

I like the system and look forward to receiving each circuit.

Cheers, Robert
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1423 Posts
Posted 09/30/2016   2:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add sdtom to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My experience has been I signed up well over a year ago and received nothing.
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324 Posts
Posted 09/30/2016   4:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add 1840to1940 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
My experience has been I signed up well over a year ago and received nothing.


sdtom, unless you know you signed up for a circuit with a long waiting list, I would definitely email the APS. I've always found them very responsive.
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479 Posts
Posted 09/30/2016   9:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add oldguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am on 5 circuits. No problem. Each box of boxes also contains an instruction sheet on what to do with the circuit when you are done. Most of the circuits I am on use USPS Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Shipping mailer boxes.

1. The boxes themselves are free at the post office. I keep a supply on hand so when a circuit arrives I just put the books in a new flat rate mailer ready to send. I also put some postage stamps on them for the next collector to have.

2. If I am the last person on the circuit and the box is going back to the APS, I put my Report Sheet and payment in the box also. Otherwise you mail the Report Sheet and your payment directly back to the APS.

3. The Report Sheet (yellow paper) is included in the circuit contents and list all the books with space for you to indicate what you purchased. You have to send the circuit with a USPS tracking number which either comes with the flat rate box or you have to purchase extra if you use a regular box. That tracking number also is entered on to the Report Sheet.

4. There is also a Route Sheet (pink paper) in the circuit contents that tells you who to send the circuit to next. You have to put your APS mark on the report, when you received the circuit and when you mailed it to the next addressee.

5. There is also a set of pre-printed gummed labels addressed to the next person on the circuit so you just have to stick that on the outside of mailing box.

6. It takes me about 3-4 minutes to do the paper work and seal up the box. Not difficult at all.

7. The only circuits I have a hard time getting are the their "close out" circuits. You have to specifically request each one, then you only get them if APS stuff available. I told APS I would like a "close out" circuit at least quarterly, but if I get one a year, that is surprising.
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Edited by oldguy - 09/30/2016 9:27 pm
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Posted 09/30/2016   9:38 pm  Show Profile Check TheArtfulHinger's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add TheArtfulHinger to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
" You remove the items you want, and mark the empty space with your name/APS number. I use a rubber stamp."

Is there a hard and fast requirement on what this rubber stamp has to be? I'm an APS member considering circuts as well. I'm just wondering if I have to order a custom made rubber stamp or if I can cheap out and go with something off-the-shelf with movable numbers.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
792 Posts
Posted 09/30/2016   10:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bookbndrbob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't think there is any "hard and fast" rule on the rubber stamps. You just want to keep it to a size that fits inside the stamp space. If it is 3/4"x3/4" or so in size it would work very well.

Most people incorporate last name or initials + their a.p.s. # into their rubber stamp. A few people get creative. It's a personal choice.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1117 Posts
Posted 09/30/2016   11:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add littleriverphil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Is there a hard and fast requirement on what this rubber stamp has to be?

I believe that the rubber stamp can't be any larger than 7/8 of an inch. That's how large mine is. Name and APS # in a circle.
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Posted 10/01/2016   12:19 am  Show Profile Check TheArtfulHinger's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add TheArtfulHinger to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Well, I decided to take the plunge. I signed up for circuits for German States, Baltic States and French Colonies, and I ordered a personalized rubber stamp online from the company APS linked to. Figured I might as well take advantage of an APS service being that I'm a member. I figure if I don't like it or if it doesn't work for me for some reason, I can always cancel.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
792 Posts
Posted 10/01/2016   11:43 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bookbndrbob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As a "flyspecker", the circuits have been very useful for me. The $6.80 forwarding postage is certainly high, but that is just a necessary evil.
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Valued Member
United States
297 Posts
Posted 10/01/2016   7:52 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add knuppster59 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Agree with what a majority of posters on here have said already. It is a nice way to get a large assortment of stamps sent right to your door. I subscribe to the US and Canada general and might branch out into a few more categories. Some of the books you get are full of filler, but some sellers do put forth some good material at a decent price. Also the general category gets me exposure to some things I would never look for on my own. The last Canada circuit book had Yukon airmail stamps and booklets. Didn't even know such items existed.
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