by Robert Taylor
Appraising stamp collections is something I am very familiar with and I happen to do many almost on a daily basis.
More often than not, the stamp collection I am called upon to appraise was handed down or inherited and so, the current owners have very little knowledge of any financial value of the collection.
In the stamp business, the older the stamp is, the more apt it is to have some kind of value. Now “old” in the stamp collecting and appraisal business normally means stamps that were produced prior to 1930 (both U.S. and other countries). Even better, stamps produced from 1899 and older stand a better chance of having some collector value.
Used stamps from the 1930’s on up normally do not have any collector value. Notice I said “normally”. I still need to look at the used stamps for any error stamps that are known to exist and a few stamps from this era that do have some value.
Mint (unused) stamps from the 1930’s on up always retain their printed postage valuation and although many are not worth much to collectors, they can always be used as first class postage.
Certain postal sheets (intact and not damaged) can have some valuation to collectors. There are certain sheets of stamps, even modern day sheets, that can have value above the face value of the stamp sheet. In addition, there are “error” sheets out there that have good value if the sheet is undamaged.
Any qualified appraiser can spot an error sheet and determine the value for you.
One segment of stamp collecting made popular in the 1970’s to the 1990’s was First Day Covers or First Day Issues. These were heavily marketed to collectors. Many people today still collect them. Be aware that the resale value for these modern First Day Covers is virtually nil. Just like stamps, legitimate covers from the 1920’s and older, can have value. Each has to be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Lastly, never think your old collection of stamps is worthless. Contact a competent appraiser for an evaluation (often times at little or no appraisal charge). If there is little or no cost involved, by all means, get the stamps properly evaluated.
Should you have a question about any stamps you have, just email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.