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Collectible Stamps: Junk or Not Junk?

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Whether you’ve inherited them from a family member, bought them at a pawn shop, or were lucky enough to preserve the condition of stamps you bought as a kid, collectible stamps are definitely not junk!

Stamp Collections

While your everyday stamps aren’t usually worth a fortune, there are many that are highly coveted by hobbyists, some of which have been stamp collectors since the use of the very first postage stamp!

While not everyone will be able to get their hands on that first stamp – the Penny Black- most people are still willing to put time into this slow, but rewarding, investment.

Consider these factors when deciding if you want to frame it or Junk It!

How old is your stamp?

Age is an important fact to the value of a stamp. Unfortunately, unlike coins, the print year of a stamp isn’t always obvious. Look for clues like whose face is on it or which event it is in memorial of.

If you can’t identify the time period of a stamp and are unable to find it online, stamp appraisal experts will be able to give you an estimate on both age and value!

Gum quality

This is a factor that’s strongly looked at by collectors.

If the gum is unevenly spread, has cracks or is partially removed, it will be less valuable. For this reason, it’s best if the stamp is still attached to the envelope or paper, and better still if it’s unused completely.

How rare is the stamp?

As is the case with most collectables, this is the most influential quality of a stamp when it comes to determining its value.

The rarity of a stamp depends on how many prints of the stamp were made in the first place. Stamps printed in the last 50 years are generally worth only their face value to mail postage because there are so many of them in existence.

Look for stamps with celebrities, important events and anniversaries as there’s a higher chance that there were fewer of them printed.

Misprints and errors

A printing error is the most easily recognizable sign of value in a stamp to the untrained eye. Stamps that have slipped through inspection with errors (such as the famous ‘Upside-Down Biplane’) are very treasured by collectors.

Look for misplaced ink, wildly off-center images, and odd perforation.

What condition is the stamp in?

Condition is very important in stamp collecting. Stamp condition can be broken into seven grades: below average, fair, average, good, fine, very fine, and extremely fine. Since a lot of stamps are worth little right now, if it isn’t in good condition, it is probably not worth anything unless it is extremely rare.

Hopefully this easy guide has helped you find some special stamps to hang onto, but if the rest of the collection is not valuable, then Junk It!

Written February 2, 2015 by Christopher Luciano

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