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gabriel 1

How much is it worth? part 2

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gabriel 1

Hi All


I saw this article on a blog and just had to share it again with you all


The value of old postage stamps is a question that never seems to die. If you’ve been involved in stamp collecting, you’ve probably encountered this question numerous times. The scenario is almost always the same: someone inherits a collection or finds one from a relative of some sort and wants to know if they are worth anything. Almost without fail, there’s a major look of disappointment to the inevitable response of “It depends, but probably not a lot.”


There seems to be an assumption amongst the uninitiated that old is somehow equivalent to rare and valuable, and that is simply not the case. Just because a particular stamp is old does not mean that it is rare or valuable. In fact, most of the time the exact opposite is true: the stamp is quite common and not valuable at all. The real problem is that this is not ALWAYS the case. There ARE rare and valuable stamps out there, and some of them might just reside in collections that have been forgotten and passed on to someone who does not know what the collection might be worth.

As with almost everything else in this world, the value of any particular postage stamp depends on supply and demand. If a stamp is rare AND there is demand for it, then the stamp will be valuable. It should be noted that this is the case whether a stamp is old or not. Age has no relevancy when it comes to determining the value of postage stamps. The only reason that there are more valuable stamps that are old than are new is that the scarcity of those stamps increases with time due to loss from a number of factors, including normal usage as postage, loss from damage thru poor caretaking or accident, theft, and just plain being misplaced and lost.

Most postage stamps were issued in quantities that are sufficient to satisfy the demand for them in perpetuity. This even includes stamps that were issued early in the history of postage stamps. The truly rare stamps were mostly the result of varieties that were issued without notice to collectors or in small quantities due to low anticipated demand. The latter is why the top values of most sets are worth far more than the common values that were used on daily mail.

Now, back to the original question… it takes knowledge and experience to determine the value of old postage stamps (or newer ones for that matter). This remains true even if you provided the person that wants to know with a catalog. Many stamps that are worth fabulous sums of money look almost exactly like stamps that catalog at minimum value. Even highly experienced collectors often have to rely on experts to tell them whether a particular stamp is really the stamp they think it might be.

If you happen to be one of those people that has inherited a collection or accumulation of old stamps and don’t have a clue what it’s worth, do yourself a favor: start with the assumption that it’s probably not worth anything. This way, you won’t be disappointed when you find out that the stamp collection your grandfather gave you isn’t going to pay for that new house. If the opposite turns out to be true, then so much the better! Chances are, however, that if the collection was really worth that much, you would’ve known about it long before your relative passed on to the next life.

Please also realize that no stamp collector or stamp dealer, no matter who they are, will be able to tell you how much that stamp collection is worth without first seeing the collection and spending some time on it. You should be prepared to compensate that collector or dealer (even if it’s just a beer or dinner) for their time and knowledge in helping you, even if they don’t ask for it. You wouldn’t ask a doctor or lawyer to provide you advice for free, would you? Chances are that collector or dealer spent a lot of time and money to gain the experience and knowledge that will allow him to give you an informed opinion of the worth of your new stamp collection, and he should be regarded the same as any other professional who provides opinions.

Finally, if it should turn out that your new stamp collection doesn’t have much value monetarily, please don’t consider it a bad thing. Perhaps that collection might just give you the most valuable thing of all: a relaxing and very rewarding new hobby. After all, it is likely your predecessor got many hours of enjoyment and relaxation from building the collection. You might get just as much enjoyment from adding to and caring for that same collection.




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