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Author Topic: Stamps as hot selling stock photos?  (Read 8981 times)

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« on: November 08, 2008, 10:36 »
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Some photographers were discussing what were selling well in a forum. One photographer said one should shoot the right kind of stock photos, and not just good ones. Out of curiosity, I took a look at that person's portfolio, and found that many images in that person's portfolio were cancelled stamps. They were doing exceptionally well, even the top sellers, for that person.

I must say I was amazed. It was said that cancelled stamps were not protected by any copyright law nor did they need any model or property releases. All you need to do is to get a cheap fixed focal lens (such as Canon 50mm and shoot on a flat surface. Besides, the stamps are usually created by recognized artists so the technical quality should be impeccable. You don't have to incurred travel expenses except a regular trip to the stamp fairs to get a grab bag of cancelled stamps at low costs. The list goes on and on..

I wonder whether or not this is the best kept secret in the stock photo industry.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2008, 10:50 by Freedom »


Roadrunner

  • Roadrunner
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2008, 10:54 »
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If what you say is true, that no copyright or property right infringement exists for a cancelled stamp, then it would seem tha tphotographer has no copyright protection either.  Seems to me the original artist would have the copyright; whether or not hey choose to exercise a clain is somehting else.  Copyrights mean little if the originating artist does nothing to the infringer. ::)  Unfortunately most artists and photographers have a difficult time keeping an eye on just how their image is being used.  Especially since most of their images can be used on a myiad of web sites where they can be grabbed by anyone.  Also, how many images are purchased without the Extended License but are resold as greeting cards, T-Shirts, calendar shots etc.

 Just a thought from a newbee.

« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2008, 11:23 »
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It can lead to some bizarre competition:

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/concepts-and-ideas/communication/6698846-women-support.php?id=6698846

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/industry/manufacturing/5315093-women-at-work.php?id=5315093

(these two stamps appears on the first 2 pages of my search; I could have used many more examples because there are lots of.  So please do not start a debate on which one was the first one!   ;)   )

Claude


« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2008, 11:43 »
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Roadrunner, I have no idea since I don't have any stamps in my portfolio, not yet. But if you do a search on any major micro stock photo sites, you'll see plenty of stamps, featuring celebratities and properties.

If what you say is true, that no copyright or property right infringement exists for a cancelled stamp, then it would seem tha tphotographer has no copyright protection either.  Seems to me the original artist would have the copyright; whether or not hey choose to exercise a clain is somehting else.  Copyrights mean little if the originating artist does nothing to the infringer. ::)  Unfortunately most artists and photographers have a difficult time keeping an eye on just how their image is being used.  Especially since most of their images can be used on a myiad of web sites where they can be grabbed by anyone.  Also, how many images are purchased without the Extended License but are resold as greeting cards, T-Shirts, calendar shots etc.

 Just a thought from a newbee.

« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2008, 11:46 »
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Wow, Claude, if you look at the cancellation mark on the stamp, the two images appear to be the same..  ???

It can lead to some bizarre competition:

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/concepts-and-ideas/communication/6698846-women-support.php?id=6698846

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/industry/manufacturing/5315093-women-at-work.php?id=5315093

(these two stamps appears on the first 2 pages of my search; I could have used many more examples because there are lots of.  So please do not start a debate on which one was the first one!   ;)   )

Claude


« Last Edit: November 08, 2008, 11:56 by Freedom »

RacePhoto

« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2008, 12:19 »
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It can lead to some bizarre competition:

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/concepts-and-ideas/communication/6698846-women-support.php?id=6698846

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/industry/manufacturing/5315093-women-at-work.php?id=5315093

(these two stamps appears on the first 2 pages of my search; I could have used many more examples because there are lots of.  So please do not start a debate on which one was the first one!   ;)   )

Claude




The egg was first, I know it!  ;)

Back a year ago I was looking for things to shoot that I had. Wow, that's easy... Collectors Postage Stamps! Searched, looked at sales, saw that about 100 other people had the same idea and most of them, including the old stamps from 50 years past and longer, had minimal sales, I gave up on the project.

http://www.bigstockphoto.com/search.php?photo_name=us+postage+stamp&x=14&y=14 Searched US Postage Stamp, 1266 many were not US stamps by the way.

SS Editorial Only - See below.

IS http://www.istockphoto.com/file_search.php?text=us+postage+stamp&action=file 1634

If you want to shoot postage stamps, just concentrate on Elvis, Babe Ruth, Kennedy, Boy Scouts, Uncle Sam, Statue of Liberty, patriotic, and commemoratives with people or subjects which may be used for illustration of a topical nature. Except for Rosie the Riveter and Uncle Sam, you may get 10-12 downloads of the good ones, in the next two years.

Or maybe IS will reply, too many like this already?  :D  7396 matches for Postage Stamp

Just some thoughts on this. Maybe I should go back to photographing an entire stamp collection and I'm just trying to throw you off?

By the way... to answer the other question.

The Post Office holds the copyright for all stamps issued after January 1, 1978. All stamps issued prior to that date are in the public domain.

The Uncle Sam 32c stamp is copyrighted. If you want to shoot it, you should have a license from the USPS. That brings up a couple of things. If this very popular stamp is being sold RF without permission, they could be infringing. Maybe the photographers or the sites have blanket permission? I can't assume anything, since I don't know what rights the photographer or agency may have arranged for from the postal service. If they don't have permission, these photos (stamps from 1978 on) are a copyright infringement.

Just when I thought life was getting easy? Another wall of copyright restrictions.

« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2008, 12:25 »
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Racephoto, there are stamps issued by foreign post offices. I saw many of them with various stock photo agencies.

Looks like a secondary benefit from a hobby!  ;D

RacePhoto

« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2008, 13:35 »
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Racephoto, there are stamps issued by foreign post offices. I saw many of them with various stock photo agencies.

Looks like a secondary benefit from a hobby!  ;D


No doubt about it. If they sell and it's worth your time, do it!  ;D

I don't even want to think about researching foreign copyright issues for stamps. I don't understand the US laws.

The way to go at US stamps would be scanning them, by the page, cropping and uploading. Just in case someone wants to do it, I believe that might be the easier way to go, rather than taking photos of each stamp. Maybe if I get snowed in some night and I'm bored?  ::)

One more upside. Every time you sell a photo, it's worth more than 99% of the stamps that most people have in their common US stamp collections. Canceled US stamps have almost no collectors value. Selling a photo for 25c, now that's a good value. http://values.hobbizine.com/stamps/index.html

{Inflated value price guide above: 7 cent William McKinley $25.00. Actual value on eBay $9.00}

No one answered Roadrunner. The photograph itself is copyrighted, in this case, not the subject of the photo. Stealing someone else's photograph is still illegal regardless of what it was they took a photo of. Example, Lincoln Memorial, public domain, but you can't take someone else's photo and use it, just because the subject isn't copyrighted. Hope that explains it?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2008, 13:52 by RacePhoto »

cascoly

  • Photography, travel & online games at cascoly.com

« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2008, 15:07 »
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i sold stamps on ebay for awhile, and looked into stamps as stock, and my conclusion was the same as others -- not enough sales potential when i have other projects in the pipeline.

scanners work fine - i've had success with foreign currency, and scanning tapestries and other textiles -- they're accdepted as easily as macro shots and are a lot less work.


 http://pix-now.com/main.php?g2_itemId=1756&g2_imageViewsIndex=1

http://dreamstime.com/passport-and-foreign-currency-image4708034
« Last Edit: November 08, 2008, 15:09 by cascoly »

« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2008, 15:44 »
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Like Racephoto/Claude said, it's important to choose your stamp subjects cleverly. There are many hot selling stamps with the micro agencies, especially celebrities, and important events.. I also notice that some people do not use the "keyword" stamp so if you take that into consideration, there are indeed many stamps online.

Anyway, it may be worth a try.

RacePhoto

« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2008, 19:30 »
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Like Racephoto/Claude said, it's important to choose your stamp subjects cleverly. There are many hot selling stamps with the micro agencies, especially celebrities, and important events.. I also notice that some people do not use the "keyword" stamp so if you take that into consideration, there are indeed many stamps online.

Anyway, it may be worth a try.


Sounds right. Some stamps are better than others because of what's on them, and not because they are a stamp. Nice PD artwork. Maybe this was the guy, since all links seem to lead to the same stamps and images.  ;D

http://www.istockphoto.com/user_view.php?id=2377925&refnum=ecliff6

« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2008, 22:47 »
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I have quite a few scanned stamps in my portfolio. I think the day when you can make a lot of money off them are over. Too much competition. It was new about four years ago, now anyone with a couple of stamps is trying to get in... I don't scan them in anymore...

« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2008, 03:29 »
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It was said that cancelled stamps were not protected by any copyright law nor did they need any model or property releases.
By who?

« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2008, 04:46 »
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I have been photographing stamps for about a year now and some do sell well. I have been collecting stamps for about 45 yrs so I have a nice collection. Now as far as copyright goes, just because a stamp is canceled does not mean it's not protected by copyright laws and every country is different. United States stamps are public domain up to January 1 1978. Thats when United Postal Service ran by the government went public and became United States Postal Service. All stamps after the January date are copyrighted and owned by the USPS. On the safe side majority of stamps with 13c denomination or lower are public domain. But to be sure it is good to check a stamp catalogue. The photos linked above the ones that I have checked of US stamps are copyrighted Images.
Here is a link to use as a guide
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Stamps/Public_domain [nofollow]

« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2008, 10:38 »
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I remember when I saw risamay on IS had gotten many downloads for an Eiffel Tower stamp about four years ago and then I scanned in about 50 stamps and made some good money, but the downloads have stopped... I just did a search at IS and saw many new (after 1978) stamps being uploaded. IS better be careful! I always had uploaded old stamps (pre-1978).

I'll re-iterate that it's simply not worth your time. Unlike photographs where you think there can be too many "attractive woman using laptop" type photos, they are different. Stamps are identical. I just did a search on some of my stamps and for some there are 3-4 identical stamps. How do you choose? Now you are splitting downloads with four other people and the demand simply isn't there... Better to get your camera and shoot some stock.

« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2008, 10:52 »
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I have been photographing stamps for about a year now and some do sell well. I have been collecting stamps for about 45 yrs so I have a nice collection. Now as far as copyright goes, just because a stamp is canceled does not mean it's not protected by copyright laws and every country is different. United States stamps are public domain up to January 1 1978. Thats when United Postal Service ran by the government went public and became United States Postal Service. All stamps after the January date are copyrighted and owned by the USPS. On the safe side majority of stamps with 13c denomination or lower are public domain. But to be sure it is good to check a stamp catalogue. The photos linked above the ones that I have checked of US stamps are copyrighted Images.
Here is a link to use as a guide
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Stamps/Public_domain


Thanks for the info.  I, too, have been collecting stamps for about 45+ years, and have quite a collection of First Day of Issue covers.  As most of my "good" collection is MNH (mint, never hinged), I don't worry about postmarks, but as my next photographic project is going to be stamps, I'm really grateful that you posted that link.

As most of my collection is space/astronomy related, I've already anticipated a keywording nightmare.  I'll be sure to take the appropriate medication (a stiff shot of bourbon or single malt) before I start that bit.  groan!!

Regards and thanks,

Susan

« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2008, 08:21 »
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Your welcome Susan. I collect US mnh, but before 1920 is mixed U (used), mnh and mh (mint hinged) , PNC's (plate number coils) and a massive world wide collection. Recently I began collecting US digital color postmark first day covers.


"As most of my collection is space/astronomy related, I've already anticipated a keywording nightmare.  I'll be sure to take the appropriate medication (a stiff shot of bourbon or single malt) before I start that bit.  groan!!
An added note is the reproduction of a stamp must be used"

For a long time at IS the keywording was easy, but lately things have become weird I have received some keyword rejections that don't make sense like" postage stamp" or a Christmas stamp with Mother Mary and Baby Jesus  with the keywords rejected "Jesus, Mary" I don't know, maybe am wrong, but I don't understand. lol
Good Luck, If I can be of help let me know.


 

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