According to the American Philatelic Society, there are over 20 million stamp collectors worldwide, each with their own unique collection of stamps waiting to be explored.
If you find yourself curious about the value of your stamps, fear not!
In this article, we will guide you through the process of uncovering the hidden worth of your treasured philatelic gems.
With 20 DIY tips at your disposal, you’ll gain the knowledge and tools to confidently determine the value of your stamps. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or new to the world of philately, prepare to embark on an exciting journey of stamp appraisal and discovery.
How to Find the Value of a Stamp: 20 DIY Tips
Check the condition of the stamp corners
● Introduction: The condition of the corners of a stamp affects its value, as collectors prefer stamps with perfect or centered corners.
● NOTE: Inspecting the corners is helpful in assessing the stamp for any damage, such as bent corners or creases, which could affect the stamp’s overall condition and desirability.
● Operating steps: Put the stamp under good light and check every corner carefully. Look for any signs of bends, creases, or damage. Ideally, all four corners should be sharp and intact.
Evaluate the glue or adhesive of the stamp
● Introduction: The quality and condition of the gum or binder of a stamp affects its value, especially if it is unused or new.
● Description: Collectors prefer stamps with pristine, undisturbed gum that has not been damaged or discolored.
● Operating steps: Carefully check the back of the stamp where there is glue or adhesive. Look for any interference, discoloration, tint or missing gums. Stamps with intact, clean backing are usually more valuable.
Consider the centering of the stamp
● Introduction: Centering of a stamp refers to the positioning of the stamp within the edge of the perforation or within the boundaries of the design.
● Explanation: Stamps with beautiful central designs are usually more popular with collectors.
● Operation steps: Observe the design and perforation of the stamp. Check that the design is symmetrical and that the margins are equal on all sides. Stamps with centered designs are usually worth more.
Assess for the presence of the watermark
● Introduction: Some postage stamps feature a watermark, which is a subtle design or pattern embedded in the paper.
● Description: Watermarks can increase the value of stamps because they indicate special features or production differences.
● How to do it: Hold the stamp up to the light or use the watermark detector to reveal any hidden watermarks. Identify and study the importance of watermarks to the value of postage stamps.
Make a note of any cancellation flags
● Introduction: A cancellation mark, also known as a postmark, is an ink mark printed on a postage stamp to indicate that the stamp has been used or mailed.
● Description: Some collectors prefer stamps with clearly legible cancellation marks, while others prefer stamps without cancellation.
● Operating steps: Check whether there are any traces of cancellation on the stamp surface. Assess the clarity, visibility and impact of the cancellation on the stamp. Depending on collecting preferences, cancellation marks can increase or decrease the value of a stamp.
Check the piercing type
● Introduction: Perforations are small holes or perforations in the edges of stamps for easy separation.
● Note: Some stamps have different perforation sizes or patterns, which can make them more valuable to collectors.
● Operation steps: Check the perforation of the stamp with a perforation gauge or ruler. Compare the measurements to known standards for that stamp problem. Variations in piercings can indicate a rare or unique breed.
Evaluate the color accuracy of stamps
● Introduction: The accuracy and vibrancy of a stamp’s color contribute to the stamp’s overall visual appeal and value.
● Description: Collectors value stamps in colors that match the original design and printing specifications.
● Operation steps: Compare the stamp color with reference materials, catalogs, or expert opinions to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of the color. Check for any fading, discoloration, or typographical errors that may affect the color quality of the stamp.
Determine the age and historical significance of stamps
● Introduction: Older stamps and stamps related to major historical events may have higher value due to their historical and cultural significance.
● Explanation: Stamps from specific periods or commemorating important events may be more popular with collectors. Historical background can increase the value of a stamp.
● What to do: Research the date the stamp was issued and any historical events or people associated with it. Consider how it fits with a broader historical narrative.
In addition to the information check of the stamp itself, you can also perform the following operations to determine the value of the stamp:
Compare prices at stamp auctions or online marketplaces
● Introduction: A realistic estimate of a stamp’s value can be made by checking actual selling prices through stamp auctions or online platforms.
● Description: Auction results and online markets reflect current market values and what collectors are willing to pay for a particular stamp.
● How to do it: Participate in stamp auctions, monitor online auction platforms, or explore specialized stamp marketplaces to find comparable stamps and their actual selling prices.
Explore online philatelic marketplaces and dealer sites
● Introduction: Online philatelic marketplaces and dealer websites offer a wide variety of stamps along with their prices and descriptions, allowing you to assess comparative value.
● Description: These platforms provide the opportunity to explore and compare the prices of similar stamps sold by dealers or collectors.
● How to do it: Visit a reputable online philatelic marketplace or dealer’s website. Search for stamps similar to yours and note the prices listed.
Consult stamp dealers or experts
● Introduction: Stamp dealers and experts have extensive knowledge and experience in the field of philately and can provide valuable insight into stamp value.
● Description: Stamp professionals have access to market trends, stamp authentication expertise, and can provide reliable assessments based on their knowledge and experience.
● How to do it: Contact a reputable stamp dealer or expert in person or through an online platform. Share details and images of stamps to get their evaluation.
Evaluate past auction listings
● Introduction: Past auction catalogs of well-known stamp auction houses, provide historical records of stamp sales and transaction prices.
● Note: Reviewing past auction catalogs can help identify similar stamps, their condition, and the prices they fetched at auction.
● Operation steps: Check out the previous auction catalogs of well-known stamp auction houses. Search catalogs containing stamps similar to yours and research actual prices.
Research news and trends related to stamps
● Introduction: Stay up-to-date with news and trends related to stamps, providing valuable information on market fluctuations, the latest discoveries, and emerging stamp values.
● Description: News articles, blogs, and trade publications cover topics such as major sales, new discoveries, or stamp-related events that could affect a stamp’s value.
● What to do: Regularly follow stamp-related news outlets, blogs, and industry publications. Stay informed about recent developments, notable sales, or changes in stamp values.
Join philatelic communities and forums
● Introduction: Interacting with other collectors in online communities and forums can provide useful guidance and collective wisdom about stamp values.
● Description: Stamp enthusiasts frequently share information, experiences, and insights about stamp values, market trends, and authentication techniques.
● Operation steps: join online philatelic communities or forums, and actively participate in discussions. Seek advice and opinions from experienced collectors.
Utilize online stamp databases and price checking tools
● Introduction: The online stamp database and price checking tool provide easy access to a large number of stamps and their associated values.
● Description: These resources aggregate data from various sources and provide users with detailed information on stamp values for easy research and comparison.
● Operation steps: Explore online stamp databases and price-checking tools. Enter specific details about a stamp to retrieve its value range or historical sales data.
Participation in Stamp Fairs and Exhibitions
● Introduction:The Stamp Exhibition brings together collectors, dealers, and experts in one place, providing an opportunity to gather information and evaluate stamps.
● Description: These events provide an opportunity to view a variety of stamps, interact with industry professionals, and learn about current market trends and valuations.
● What to do: Research upcoming stamp shows and exhibits in your area, or consider attending international events. Explore exhibits, interact with dealers, and gain insight into stamp values.
Consider historical sales data for postage stamps
● Introduction: Historical sales data, available from various sources, provides information on previous stamp sales, indicating their market value.
● Explanation: Sales data can help establish price trends, identify patterns, and determine the popularity and value stability of a particular stamp over time.
● What to do: Research stamp-related databases, online marketplaces, auction records, or philatelic archives to access historical sales data for stamps similar to yours. Analyze the data to identify pricing patterns and trends.
Utilize philatelic literature and reference books
● Introduction: Philatelic literature and reference works are valuable resources that provide detailed information about stamps, including their values.
● Description: These publications provide insight into stamp types, printing methods, and historical background to help collectors assess the value of their stamps.
● Operation steps: Consult philatelic literature, such as special stamp catalogs, reference books, or price guides. Find information about your stamps and their estimates.
Analyze completed eBay auctions
● Summary: By analyzing completed eBay auctions, you can see how recently stamps sold for, giving you insight into their current market value.
● Description: eBay is a popular platform for buying and selling stamps. Viewing completed auctions can help gauge market demand and price ranges for similar stamps.
● How to do it: Search for completed eBay stamp auctions similar to the stamp you are evaluating. Research the final sale price, noting condition, scarcity, and other relevant factors.
Consider stamp grading and authentication services
● What it is: Stamp grading and certification services provide professional advice on the condition, authenticity, and market value of postage stamps.
● Description: Certified stamps come with a grading report or certificate that provides assurance and transparency to potential buyers and enhances their value.
● How to do it: Research reputable stamp grading and certification services. Submit your stamps for evaluation, grading, and certification for an official assessment of their value.
By utilizing these 20 DIY tips for estimating the value of stamps, you can gain insight into the value of your stamps. Keep in mind that stamp values can vary based on market conditions, collector needs, and personal factors. It is always wise to seek multiple sources of information and, if needed, consult an expert to obtain the most accurate stamp estimate.