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Can you tell the difference between stamps that are worth a "pretty penny" from those that are only worth a few pence?

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Guidance notes on evaluating a stamp collection

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 collection !

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 collection.


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 etc).

    - 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 at’.

    - There is a lot of duplication of the same stamps in the collection.


If after reading this and comparing the notes to your collection, you would still like to contact us, please click here.

 

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