|Guidance notes on evaluating a
We are often asked to provide valuation/evaluation on single
items or small collections that have very little to no commercial
value – in order to help you decide whether your collection
warrants any time spent on it,
we offer some guidance notes below.
It is worth noting that it is highly unlikely that rare
and valuable stamps can just be found unexpectedly in a collection – even
if the collection appears ‘old’ and ‘looks
valuable’ - You have more chance of winning the National
Lottery than stumbling over a hugely rare stamp in a general
If, however, rare and valuable stamps are there, most owners
will have indicated this by notes, verbal comments to others
or some other visual/verbal communication.
Additionally – your local library will always have
the latest stamp catalogues available for you to carry out
your own research on single/lower value items.
Below are some pointers (to higher or lower value) that you can use to determine where in the scale of market
value your collection ‘sits’
Higher value pointers/questions to ask:
- Are the stamps well organised and laid out in albums or
album pages (leaves)
- Has time been spent on making the collection look visually
attractive, with notes, or other identifying marks etc …
- Was a large amount of money spent on this collection? … if
yes it is likely that the collection value will reflect this.
- Most stamps are issued by the issuing country in what are
known as ‘sets’. These sets can comprise from
between 2 – 20 stamps (sometimes more). If the collection
appears to have a lot of sets, that are complete, particularly
with the higher ‘face’ values written on them
it is likely the collection will be worth more.
- Does the collection contain other items than just stamps – such
as Covers (envelopes with stamps on them that have been used
in the post) Stamp Booklets etc …. Most serious collectors
collect more than just single stamps.
- Even though you may not be an expert, do the stamps/covers
etc look to be in ‘good’ condition – there
is an enormous difference in value between poor or damaged
stamps, than for those in the best of condition.
- Do the stamp albums appear to be of a specific country
or area ? If yes it is likely that this would have higher
value than an All-World or general collection.
- The time period that the stamps are from does have some
impact: Mostly, older stamps tend to have more value than
recent years (last 40 years or so) although, as with all things,
this is not always the case!
- What catalogues or other stamp/philatelic related books
are there with the collection – most, if not all, serious
collectors will have a ‘library’ of reference
books that they have referred to over the years to ‘create’ their
Lower Value pointers/questions to ask:
- Is the collection a childhood or youngsters type collection
(… possibly collected with little financial outlay)
- Is the appearance of the stamps (or other items) in the
collection quite poor - even to an inexperienced eye ? (damaged,
heavily marked stamps – or First Day Covers that are
not in protective wallets and that have ‘bent’ edges
- The collection is a general accumulation of stamps from
all over the world with little thought given to layout, organisation
or ‘writing up’ and there are very few higher
face value stamps.
- There are a large number of unsorted, loose stamps in packets,
bags, envelopes or boxes.
- The collection has mostly modern looking stamps that have
been collected because the pictures were ‘nice to look
- There is a lot of duplication of the same stamps in the
If after reading this and comparing the notes to your collection,
you would still like to contact us, please click