In his 1957 book, Standard Handbook of Stamp Collecting, Richard Cabeen describes the purchasing of stamps on approval as “one of the most important methods used in buying and selling stamps”. In fact, Cabeen discusses stamps on approval first over all other methods of acquiring collectible stamps. So, what is the “on approval” thing and why is it so important?
Most collectors do not live close to a stamp dealer. Nor do they have access to huge numbers of U.S. and Worldwide stamps. Even if they do live close to a stamp dealer, who can find time with today’s hectic pace of life? Enter Approvals. Stamp approvals bring the stamp dealer stock directly to your door. The dealer mails you a quantity of stamps for you to view and hopefully approve. You keep and purchase those stamps you like, or of which you approve, and mail the rest back to the dealer.
You can see why approvals are so important for seasoned stamp collectors. But they are also great for those just beginning the stamp collecting hobby since they can very quickly and easily view a number of collectible stamps they’d never otherwise see.
– James the Web guy