How to tell if your stamp collection is worth anything


You might have inherited a stamp collection from a family member or friend who decided to give everything away. Now, you are stuck wondering if what you received is really worth anything. If you know next to nothing about stamp collecting or philately, do not despair. Finding the value of your entire stamp collection or just a single postage stamp is not that nerve-wracking.

First things first. You ought to know that you can obtain a general idea of stamp collection values simply by adhering to a few common sense rules. That said, you also have to accept that those rules merely serve to help you determine what is invaluable in all likelihood, which means you have to be willing to perform your own research to achieve precise value assessment.



While you can find countless stamp collections everywhere, you have to understand that the majority of them were generated simply for the fun it elicited in those who created them. So money-wise, don’t get your expectations too high regardless if what you have looked really ‘ancient’.

During stamp collection fairs or shows, you are likely to encounter plenty of dealers intending to see stamps. There may also be expert stamp collectors there who provide free collection valuations. You might be able to get some valuable advice on what your own set is possibly worth during such events.

Be realistic. During such events, despite plenty of participants lugging their collections to be assessed, a tremendous majority of them, or 99 percent of cases, learn that what they own is actually not worth that much at all. That would be a letdown if you only came to these occasions hoping to fetch big money for what you have put together.


You can start the valuation by yourself by first determining if the person who passed the stamp collection to you was a serious collector, a stamp club member, or was in the stamps business. This certainly points to someone who knew valuable stamps when they saw them. However, if the person was in it purely for fun, think again.

Some value indicators include multiple stamp albums, which mean the person was a serious collector, ergo, a potentially more valuable collection. The more stamps in each album, the better. This demonstrates thoroughness about the items.

Because most stamp albums are chronologically created, the older and more valuable items land on the first few pages. If there are more stamps on those first few pages, the higher the potential value of the collection is.


If the collection has more used stamps than unused ones, don’t expect a high value.

How the stamp is mounted in the album also shows value. If the item employs a device called a stamp hinge, which is a little glue cellophane that attaches the stamp to the album page, it means the item is of little value.

Mounted stamps are those that are placed inside some kind of plastic envelope, with a clear plastic front and black backing. With plenty of the stamps in the album mounted in this costlier manner, you could be looking at higher value items.

An even more expensive type of stamp mount is the full-page one. Slid into rows, the stamps are placed in pages with black plastic behind them plus clear plastic up front. This protects the more valuable ones because no glue is used to prevent damage. This indicates the stamps are valuable enough not to be mounted by ordinary means.

Full sheets of a whole series of stamps placed as one complete piece, without separations, and mounted in the album, exhibit some value. It also indicates the collection, in general, is of some value.

It is still best advice to have a trusted expert in stamp collecting assess your collection even if none of the above indicators show up.

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