After seeing the high prices of new rubber stamps in local craft stores I decided to check out eBay.
I casually looked online and happened to see a slew of rubber stamp “lots” with auctions ending that evening. As I read the auction’s information I was surprised to learn that the rubber stamps being sold were part of an estate. A woman had died suddenly, leaving thousands of rubber stamps. A relative and a friend were working together to sell the rubber stamps in lots (large groupings) and the money was going to the estate. (What a story!)
Since the sellers didn’t know details such as the brand of stamps, I have a feeling that these went for quite a bargain price.
I saw designs exactly like I was looking for, eclectic and interesting images which could be used in collage, for ATCs and in altered books. I bid on a few auctions and won two. I was thrilled.
One thing that had me worried was that the stamps were listed as unmounted. There was not a photo of the actual stamp, just of the imprinted image. I did some research on the internet and through an ATC chat list inquiring what was involved in using unmounted stamps. I learned that I’d have to buy a cushion material and special adhesive glues, and cut out the rubber stamp image first, glue it to the cushion, then later cut the cushion. Whew, that sounded like a lot of work. I also was told I could mount the rubber to a piece of wood or to a clear acrylic block with double stick tape to use it, then remove the solid backing when finished. It was recommended to save storage space, that they are stored unmounted.
I was pleasantly surprised and happy to see, when the stamps arrived in the mail, that the former owner had already mounted the stamps onto cushion. This meant that there was less work for me to do. Additionally they were actually worth more in value since the lucky buyer would not have to buy the cushion material or the adhesives. Therefore to me, these stamps (which are in “like new” condition) are actually worth more than the new full retail price. (I’d rather spend my time making stuff than preparing unmounted stamps for use.)
Immediately after those auctions ended (all within minutes of each other), more auctions were listed. Over that next week I really scrutinized the “lots” and decided which I really loved, in an attempt to limit myself. I immediately recognized some stamps were from Zettiology,(and I loved them and wanted them) so I could compare the new retail price to the price of the eBay auction.
I really thought about how much I’d want to spend on each lot and decided which lots to not bid on. This was a very hard decision to make. I figure I will take Christmas money that my relatives will give me to buy gifts for myself and allocate that to buying these stamps. If my husband were employed I’d have bid on more auctions than I did, and I’d have bid higher prices to try to ensure that I’d win. I’d also probably be splurging on buying rubber stamp catalogs and buying brand new stamps from said catalogs.
I also corresponded with the seller before the auctions closed, and learned that this was their last round of auctions for rubber stamps. Apparently they had been selling lots of these rubber stamps for months. They would list a bunch on one evening and then when those auctions closed, they’d list another batch of auctions.
I will confess to not advertising to my fellow ATC’ers on the chat list or even here on my blog, that these great rubber stamp auctions were taking place as I didn’t want competition for them. I figured if anyone wants to buy rubber stamps on eBay they’d already be browsing the eBay auctions!
(I also was told that there were two rooms of scrapbooking materials that they are getting ready to begin listing! Holy Moly. I don’t do scrapbooking but many of the same supplies and papers can also be used for collage and ATCs and altered books. There is a chance that these auctions may go for low selling prices if the sellers don’t do detailed enough descriptions of the materials because they don’t know much about the scrapbooking industry, company names, proper terms, etc.)
Today I was looking at a website for the company “Above the Mark” and the stamps that I purchased were very similar to these unmounted rubber stamps. I wonder if my stamps were made by this company? (The stamps don’t indicate what company made them.)
By the way, "Above the Mark" is a great website with a wonderful explanation of doing transfers, with instructions and color photos of the process.
Also there is an explanation of how to do transfers on top of painted surfaces.
The site also has a projects page with directions on how to make lovely projects. I am going to try the “art marble tiles” . If I can get it to work, I will give some to people for Christmas gifts.
The site also has some free vintage images that you can download and print off to use as you wish.