Maybe you have some stamps you want to sell. Or maybe you inherited a whole collection of stamps and you are wondering what it all is worth.
Or maybe even you want to buy some stamps or a collection and you just want to get good value.
So what do you do? How do you know what good value is for stamps whether you be selling them or buying them.
Well, maybe you grabbed some of those stamps and checked on them in one of the stamp pricing guides like the Scott guide to stamps. And yay! You are pretty happy about the stamp prices. You then start adding them up, checking more and more stamps. And before you know it you are very happy! But..... I hate to say it but you can forget about those pricing guides. They are way off. I never see stamps sell for those prices. Ten percent of that listed value is more in line with what stamps actually sell for.
The Bad News First
The overwhelming majority of stamps and stamp collections are almost worthless. Yup, sorry to say that but it is true. If you have boxes of stamps, albums accumulations of stamps the big stamp companies will buy that stuff but they buy it by the pound! Yup, by the pound! That is a bit disheartening.
But if those stamps are mint, uncirculated stamps that still can be used on letters you can get a little bit of a better deal for them. The stamp companies will generally pay about 60% of the face value! Yow! So, if the stamp has a ten cent denomination on it buyers will give you six cents for it.
If you have inherited a large stamp collection with lots of stamps, or lots of mint stamps you can get a pretty good check from stamp buyers for it. That's something to consider. You got a stamp collection for free and you got some money for it. Not too shabby and with very little work on your part.
Now the kind of good news
A lot of the value of stamps and stamp collections comes from the work that is put into it. That means if you want to make the maximum money from a stamp collection you are going to have to put some work into it.
There are stamps that start to get some value. Foreign stamps sometimes are in demand and 19th century stamps from the US can be of value. Then there are others. And there are rare stamps that turn up in collections. They can be worth hundreds of dollars and occasionally even more. But these stamps have to be identified and verified.
So, if you are selling a stamp collection you have to do your homework and your due diligence. Is it all organized neatly and understandably? Or it is hap hazard in a bunch of boxes and albums?
Are you willing to learn about stamps and stamp collecting? Then are you willing to do the work of going through the collection?
If you are willing to do the work and spend the time it is possible to extract more value from a stamp collection.
The Higher Value Stamps
This is a bit difficult to explain because value is relative and it is different for different people. But there are stamps worth 200 dollars, 500 dollars or even several thousand dollars. And these stamps do turn up in stamp collections. So, this may be big money for you! You should either do your research and/or get some expert help!
For example this is the One Dollar Columbian stamp. It was issured in 1892 and it is in spectacular mint condition. A stamp like this can currently sell for anywhere around a thousand dollars. Yup :) Even more.
And the five dollar Columbian stamp depicting the head of Columbus can sell for around four thousand dollars.
Stamps like these do occasionally turn up in private collections that people have inherited.
Doing your Research
The Scott catalog is one of the accepted means of looking up stamps, identifying them and finding their values:
Scott 2021 United Stamps Pocket Stamp Catalogue (Scott U S Pocket Stamp Catalogue)
This is the perfect catalogue to take along to shows, club meetings or just to have close by when searching on the computer. Features listings and values for more than 4,000 stamps, plus full color stamp illustrations all identified by Scott Catalogue numbers. Pages are designed to be used as a convenient inventory and checklist.
Top Dollar Paid!: The Complete Guide to Selling Your Stamps
Wondering how to get the highest price for your stamp collection? Best selling Top Dollar Paid! - The Complete Guide to Selling Your Stamps takes the mystery out of it and helps ensure maximum profit. It's a concise factual guide and an entertaining, revealing, behind-the-scenes narrative about the real-life world of stamp dealing written by veteran dealer, Stephen R. Datz, whose decades of experience include arranging for the sale of President Gerald R. Ford's collection-and making sure he got top dollar for it. Critically acclaimed, Top Dollar Paid! is an absolute must for anyone who buys, collects, invests, or is in the market to sell. Newly revised and updated.
Here are other Scott catalogs: Various Scott Catalogs including US, specialized Other Countries and more
Ebay: I also do searches on ebay to get a sense for what stamps are currently selling for.
Main Stamp Page on ebay
United States Stamps Home Page
World Wide Stamps on ebay
Mystic and Kenmore stamp companies
The stamp prices with these companies is high. But you are absolutely assured of good quality stamps. You can be confident with these companies. I have bought many stamps from these two companies. And I will often go to their websites to search for stamps and find out what they are selling a particular stamp for.
Mystic Stamp - Kenmore Stamp
Seek out impartial experts!
This is probably one of the best things you can do. Find experts, or long time stamp collectors and ask them for an assessment. They will have no financial stake in your collection so you could get pretty good advice. But how do you find these people? Well, you have to find a stamp club in your local area or in your city! A good way to do this is to check the American Philatelic Society Website. They have an easy search tool to help you find a local club. It is right here: The APS Search for a local stamp club