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How To Value A Stamp Collection

Nov 21, 2019

Many of us are partial to building up collections of a variety of items. One of the most commonly collected items is stamps. This may be because you have inherited a stamp collection from a relative or because you are a stamp collector yourself.

Here we look at whether stamp collections can be valuable, the key elements of a valuable collection and how to value a stamp collection.

Are stamp collections valuable?

The short answer to this is yes. Stamp collections can be valuable. Not all stamp collections will be worth a significant amount of money. But some collections may include certain stamps that mean the value exceeds what you may expect.

How to value a stamp collection

It is important to get a valuation of your stamp collection to get an idea of what it may be worth.

There are many ways to go about valuing a stamp collection but typically it is best to get an expert to take a look at your collection.

Given that some stamps can be worth significant amounts of money, the most important thing to ensure is that you use a trustworthy source to value your stamp collection.

There are many places that you can go to get your stamp valued:

Specialist Auction Houses – auction houses who specialise in selling stamp collections will likely have the ability to value your stamp collection using their teams of stamp valuation experts. They should also have a good idea of what sells and the best way to sell a collection if this is the route you want to take. Many will give you a value with no obligation to sell but it is always worth checking before you go ahead.

Philatelic Traders Society – The Philatelic Traders Society was formed in 1929 and is a group of established stamp dealers and collectors. Whilst the main function of the society is not to value stamps, they do state that their members may be able to help if you do have a stamp collection which needs to be valued. This article gives a useful overview when it comes to valuing stamp collections.

Stampex – Organised by the Philatelic Traders Society, Stampex is a free to attend event which takes place twice a year. There are a range of exhibitors at Stampex so it may be a good event to attend if you have a stamp collection which you would like to have valued.

Research online – doing you own research online will also likely give you an idea of what your stamp collection, or individual stamps included in your collection may be worth. However, if you do decide to sell your collection it is always worth getting an expert valuation as you do not want to miss out or fall victim to a scam.

What makes a valuable stamp collection?

When it comes to valuing a stamp collection there are certain things that will typically be looked for when deciding the overall worth.

If you are thinking of building up a collection, or if you have a collection that you are thinking of selling, these are some of the factors you will want to keep in mind.

Condition – The condition of the stamps will be a big factor in determining their value. Stamps are typically graded on a scale from superb to below average. Typically, anything below good isn’t thought to be worth including in a collection. Just minor differences in the condition of the stamp can have a significant impact on the stamp’s value.

The types of things included in the evaluation of stamp condition are the colour, the gum, the centering, the perforations etc.

Rarity – To make stamp collections valuable you really need to have a rare stamp included. Stamps which have been issued in large quantities will typically hold much lower values than those of which there were only a handful produced.

Face Value – stamps with a higher face value are typically worth more. Likewise, many sources state that stamps with face values in pounds and pence are worth less than those in £sd

The organisation of the collection – stamp collections which are loose or unsorted are likely to have lower values than those which are well organised. However, also be careful when it comes to attaching stamps to an album. Do not glue them or attach directly to the album. Peeling them off can damage them and affect their value. It is thought stamp mounts may be the best option to use to preserve value.

What could a stamp collection possibly be worth?

There are many examples of the types of money that stamps have sold for. These are often extremely rare stamps.

The most expensive stamp, The British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta, sold for $9.5million in 2018.

Of course, not all stamps will be worth this much, but it just goes to show that the right stamp really can command a significant price tag.

Check out this article which lists the top 10 most expensive stamps.

How and when to insure your stamp collection

You may want to consider insuring your stamp collection if you believe it to be of value. It’s always important to check the wording of any insurance policy to check if things such as stamp collections will be covered. Some contents insurance policies for example may not make provision for collections. You may therefore need to look at a specialist type of policy such as a high net worth policy which may offer cover for valuable collections and offer a broader range of cover.

In this situation it will likely be beneficial to discuss your needs with a broker, such as Anthony Jones, who specialise in high net worth insurance. A broker will be able to advise you on the cover you require as well finding the right insurance for you and your collection.

You can contact Anthony Jones on 0208 8290 9086 or email us at hnw@anthonyjones.com

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