How to Evaluate your Stamps


Dec 18, 2013 Europe/London

Stamp collecting is considered by some a ‘dying hobby’, but did you know that there’s real money in stamp collecting? Just recently, it was reported that a stamp enthusiast from Canada revealed that he has in his possession a rare stamp, one that has not even been seen in stamp auctions - a two cent large ‘Queen Victoria on laid paper’. According to experienced collectors, this item can fetch as much as $1 million. Now, who can say that stamp collecting is a boring and worthless activity? But before you start counting dollars, first things first - how do you know if your stamps are valuable? Here are some tricks and tips on how you can assess the stamps you own and evaluate their worth without having to rely on professional help.

Take a Good Look at the Condition of Your Stamp Collection

Do you see damages or a tear on the side? In this business, the condition of the stamps will be defined by the state of its preservation, and damages will affect the overall value of your stamps. If you possess mint stamps that have been stored in old albums held by hinges, they may lose some of their value due to damages that may be caused to the gum. Moreover, if the gum has been severely damaged or has been soaked off, the stamps can be considered almost ‘worthless’. Other things to watch out for that can compromise the overall value include creases, a dirty, ratty appearance or that generally worn off look. If there are messy cancellations, then it can also bring down the value of stamps, whereas light cancellation marks or none at all may yeild a higher value. Here’s the thing- it’s best to extend extreme care to your stamps, never lick the gum and store them in high quality stamp albums.

Gum Condition and Precise Centering Boost Stamp Values

A valuable set of stamps are those that are designed and centered to precision. Look for vibrant colors, as if these stamps are freshly printed. Pay attention to the gum on the mint stamps- these should be almost perfect and unhinged. If you can find the Circular Date Stamp or CDS cancellations, then these will mean better prices in postage stamp auctions.

Origins of Collector Stamps Will Affect Values

Even the country of source of the stamps will greatly affect its value. This is true especially if the source country is historically-significant or the stamps were printed during a time of unrest or celebration. For example, a stamp collection that was printed in commemoration of the Jubilee of Queen Victoria will be in high demand in Europe, hence will fetch higher prices.

Assessing the values of stamps requires great attention to details and a sense of history. With some research skills, care and patience, you can soon find out the true value of your stamps!