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How To Join the Exchange Packet
UK RPG Members only: CLICK HERE to join the Exchange Packet as a seller or a buyer (or both)
What is the Exchange Packet?
The Exchange Packet is a way in which RPG members can sell their unwanted material to other RPG members – a bit like a modern day version of the Approvals booklets which stamp dealers of old circulated.
‘Selling members’ send booklets of material to the Packet Secretary, who assembles them into packets. Packets are then circulated amongst ‘circulation members’ who have asked to be included in the circulation of material covering topics of their choice (but there is no compulsion to buy at any time).
There could be up to three Packets (or none at all) in circulation at any time. Each Packet is made up of between 3 and 12 Booklets, with each Booklet having 10 single-sided pages. Each Booklet contains material from a single seller, so the Packet could contain material from several different sellers.
These circulating Packets have long been one of the most popular activities of the Society. Members now use the RPG Exchange Packets to buy and sell Railway Postal History as well as Stamps. This is of great benefit both to those who have duplicates they wish to be rid of, and to collectors who want to fill gaps in their collection … usually at lower prices than they would have to pay commercially.
What kind of material goes into a Packet?
Broadly speaking, a Packet will normally comprise a number of Sellers’ Booklets all of which will contain material from one of the Collecting Areas below (i.e. all booklets will normally cover the same Collecting Area):
• Railway Thematics / Railway Thematic covers
• TPO postmarks (covers, or on piece)
• RSO postmarks (covers, or on piece)
• Railway Letter Stamps (modern)
• Railway Letter Stamps, Parcel & Newspaper Stamps (early)
• Railway Postcards
• Other railway documents & items not covered above
Who can participate in the Packet?
This facility is limited to RPG members only. It is further restricted to UK members of the RPG only because:
a) Material for Packets cannot be accepted from RPG members outside the UK. Such material may attract VAT on entry to the UK, and the RPG cannot accept liability for VAT.
b) Packets cannot be sent outside the UK because the terms of the Members’ Compensation Scheme do not cover material sent abroad.
Any UK member of the RPG can participate as a seller only, as a circulation member only, or as both a seller and a circulation member.
How does a Packet work … for Sellers?
Material for sale is assembled into 10-sheet Booklets. The booklets are approximately 8 inches by 5 inches (so that they fit into the travel boxes we use to post them out in). Empty booklets can be obtained from the Packet Secretary at 60p each (plus postage), or you can make your own up. You will normally use cellophane strips or stamp hinges etc to hold items on a page (though it is obviously preferable not to use stamp hinges on unmounted mint stamps). Once made up, you can re-use booklets for fresh material in later Packets.
You can also use plastic wallets for larger items such as covers or manuscripts (but they may be folded to go into the boxes if they are larger than 8 inches by 5 inches).
The seller will first acquire some booklets and assemble his or her material into one or more of these booklets. Each booklet will normally contain material from a single collecting area only (see above). Large covers or other documents can be submitted in envelopes or plastic wallets the same size as the booklets.
The seller will briefly annotate each item in the booklet, and write a selling price next to it. Stamps are better presented by using just one side of each sheet in the booklet, but manuscripts or covers work well mounted on both sides of the sheets. The better the presentation, the more likely it is to sell!
When a booklet is ready, the seller will forward it to the Packet Secretary. The cost to the seller for each booklet sent in will be:
(a) a 1% Insurance Charge based on the total price specified by the seller for items within that booklet, payable to the RPG, and
(b) a 12.5% Commission on total sales achieved for that booklet (to cover administration of the Packet Scheme), payable to the RPG
The Packet Secretary will then group together a number of booklets into a Packet (usually between 3 and 12 booklets per Packet), pack them into one of the travel boxes, and start the Packet off on one of the Circulation Lists. Packets will usually cover just one area of interest (see above list), but mixed Packets can also be provided. Each Circulation List is made up of circulation members with similar declared interests.
Each Packet will be accompanied by a Master List of the contents for that Packet, and also a number of Purchase Slips to be completed by buyers.
When a Packet is returned to the Packet Secretary, sales fees are forwarded to the seller (after the small commission and insurance charges have been deducted), and the booklets returned with the seller paying the return postage.
How does a Packet work … for Circulation Members?
UK members of the RPG may join the Packet as Circulation Members simply by sending a request to the Packet Secretary and declaring their own areas of interest (see above list). If you become a circulation member the Packet Secretary will then assign you to one or more circulation lists, according to your declared area(s) of interest. A circulation list will typically contain between 8 and 15 circulation members.
On receiving a Packet, you can browse it to see if you wish to make any purchases from that Packet (but there is no obligation to buy).
If you make any purchases, you sign your name in the gap you have removed the item from, and also annotate the Master List for the Packet accordingly. When you have completed your purchases (or if you have made no purchases at all) you forward the Packet to the next name on the circulation list.
To ensure that packets don’t get ‘stuck’, you should move the packet on to the next member within 2 days (48 hours) of receiving it. At the moment, posting the Packet onwards will cost approximately £ 2.95. A certificate of posting (or a written receipt if delivered by hand) must be obtained.
If you did make any purchases, you must also complete a Purchase Slip, giving the relevant details. You then make out a cheque to The Railway Philatelic Group for the total of your purchases (plus a 20p Insurance Fee) and send the slip and cheque to the Packet Secretary.
Why not join a circulation list or become a seller NOW?