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Stamp collection question
Old 12-10-2018, 10:27 PM   #1
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Stamp collection question

OK, I hope someone here has some insight on my problem and can guide me to a path that I can study and decide which way to go...


We have moved mother into a memory care facility... I am working on cleaning out her condo to sell... might have someone interested so am now going a bit faster...


Well, my dad (passed in 1980) had a stamp collection... we always thought that it was just a small thing that he did off and on... he tried to get a few of us interested but nobody in the family got into it...


SOOO, found part of the collection and I am floored.... we are talking at least a few thousand stamps!!! There are a few books with some mounted, but there are also cigar boxes full of them.... some have been used but some have never been used... since my dad died in 1980 all of them are older than that...


What is the best way to find out the value of these stamps? What sites are available to look the up... there are many different ones... and some are sheets with numbers etc. on them...


I do not want to just sell them to someone who might give me a few cents on the dollar, but I also do not want to spend weeks or months looking them up if they have no value of limited value...


I am really hoping someone has a good suggestion...
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Old 12-10-2018, 10:56 PM   #2
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I would look through them for the unused ones, finding the oldest ones.
Then you could look up the value of those as they are most likely to be the highest value.

I would guess, that any collector would upon getting a really valuable stamp (say worth $5+ in 1940), would not leave it randomly in a pile, but would put it in a book, or in an envelope in a book.
So look there for the valuable ones.

I'll be interested in this thread, as I have the same problem...
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:21 PM   #3
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Also have a similar problem. My own old collection plus those of an Aunt and a Cousin that I inherited. Sunset's ideas are good ones. If it turns out, as I expect it will in my case if/when I get around to doing it, that there is not much value there, you could just donate the collection to a charity of your choice that accepts such donations. Thus avoiding the hassle of selling it.
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:25 PM   #4
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I have a neighbor who had a bunch of uncancelled stamps. I asked her to buy some glassine envelopes to put the stamps in. There were a number of blocks of 4, but the value is in what is called a "plate block", which has the 4 stamps plus a plate block number.
I used to collect stamps, so I had some knowledge. I went on the internet to find the values, but they were not worth much.
In general, mint stamps are worth more than cancelled ones.
Go on line to find a site that has stamp values.
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Old 12-11-2018, 06:43 AM   #5
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I don't much about stamps, although I do have several thousand. Like you some (1000 or more) are in a big stamp book but most are in a shoe box. Most are not from the US but are from around the world. My DM collected these back in the 50's and 60's when it was the thing to do. It was put away before the end of the 60's and hasn't been touched since then. About 10 years ago, I talked to someone who knew 10 times more than I did about stamps to get his opinion of the potential value. (But 10 times almost nothing isn't much.) After talking to him about what I had and how and when they were collected, I put them back on the shelf and forgot about them again. It didn't sound like the juice would be worth the squeeze.


Good luck and let us know if you do find some real value in the collection. I may try again.
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Old 12-11-2018, 06:58 AM   #6
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Had the same problem after my parents died. Found out they are mostly worthless. Used the unused one which is pretty cool. Except you have to pile a bunch of them together. Others are sitting in a box in the garage. I'll find a friend who is a stamp collector one day and hopefully make their day.
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Old 12-11-2018, 07:05 AM   #7
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I totally forgot about the Collectors Universe forums and I am on their boards a lot more than I am here. I'm primarily there because of their US coin collecting forums but I just realized (remembered) that they have forums dedicated to trading cards, autographs and another for "STAMPS".


Here's the URL... https://forums.collectors.com/


Scroll down about half way on the main page and you'll see two sections for stamps. One looks like it is for stamp discussions in general the other is for buying, selling and trading of stamps. I've never read any of the threads in the stamp sections so good luck.
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Old 12-11-2018, 07:37 AM   #8
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Collectibles of any kind, whether stamps, coins, toys, or campaign buttons. Collectors usually do it from a standpoint of interest, rather than profit.

I can only give my own experience. With a substantial coin collection passed on by my mom, I tried to research (back then) by books, but without the passion of an avid collector, found it to be too painstaking. By asking around, I found that there were clubs and collectors all around our area. The first one I contacted invited me to his house, and he offered to look over the collection for anything that might be valuable. I left the collection with him and received a call two weeks later. He had reviewed every coin, placed it in a a coin holder, and dated the outside and put in his estimated current value.

It was done out of interest, not for gain. I asked him to pick out some coins for himself. Instead of taking the valuable coins, he took some low value ones that would help complete his own collection.

A long time ago? yeah, but go to a collector's meeting, and you'll find people who will be happy to look over your collection... no charge, just for interest's sake.

Later, in a similar situation, some one reviewed my limited stamp collection, and assessed the value... no charge.

Most certainly saved a lot of personal research.
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Old 12-11-2018, 07:52 AM   #9
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Have a fairly comprehensive book of stamps that my Dad compiled in the 20's. Did a little research and concluded not much monetary value. However, some of the issues are truly beautiful, and some of them were postmarked first day of issue, as well as blocks. In any case I've concluded they'd not be worth much but nonetheless are special. Hence I'll give them to my son eventually.
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Old 12-11-2018, 07:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
I would look through them for the unused ones, finding the oldest ones.
Then you could look up the value of those as they are most likely to be the highest value.

I would guess, that any collector would upon getting a really valuable stamp (say worth $5+ in 1940), would not leave it randomly in a pile, but would put it in a book, or in an envelope in a book.
So look there for the valuable ones.
Good advice. I had an album with a few stamps I'd collected while in college- from Hawaii, which briefly issued its own stamps. I found that the most valuable were "mint, never hinged". (The hinge is the little glassine fold that keeps them in the album). Very little value in the others.

I'd also collected mint statehood centennial issues and found that they were worth- the face value. The US really encouraged stamp collecting (why not? they sold you a gummed piece of paper but never had to provide the mail delivery service that went with it). They churned out MANY different commemorative stamps every year and so many people automatically bought them- individual stamps, plate blocks or sheets- that they're not all that scarce.

It should be fairly easy to narrow it down to the potentially valuable ones and research those to get an idea of whether it's worth it to really comb through the collection in detail. If you can find the Scott's Catalogue number (should be able to narrow it down given the country and what's pictured on the stamp), that's the "key" to finding sale values on places such as e-Bay.
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Old 12-11-2018, 07:59 AM   #11
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I had similar issue with a stamp collection my father had. As executor of the estate, I found out that it really is not worth much. I ended up donating the collection to a local stamp club, and taking a charitable donation on estate taxes.


While you might find some valuable stamps, the hassle and relatively small value received is probably not worth the trouble and time involved. One-time donation takes care of it all.
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Old 12-11-2018, 11:38 AM   #12
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Well, I have been reading online that most stamps made after 1930 probably are worthless unless they are unused...


The really strange thing that I read is that you can use them to mail stuff and that you can buy bulk old stamps at 70% of face!!! Yes, they sell for less than face value even if new because there are so many...


I will be going through them and separating out the used from the new and see what I can do... I have found a couple of stamp dealers in town and will eventually take what I have to them...


The ones that might have some value as pointed out are the sheets that have the number on the edge... we do have some of those... another surprising thing that the website said has value is some of the older stamp collection books.... I do have some of those with 30% to 50% full of stamps...
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Old 12-13-2018, 02:02 PM   #13
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We found from sad experience that "collectibles" rarely have much value. The chance that there is a truly rare stamp in a stamp collection or a really rare coin in a coin collection (or name the collection: Hummel, Doulton, Franklin mint, etc.) is quite small. You can spend hours and hours researching and are unlikely to find anything unless the owner spent a lot of money purchasing "rare" items in the first place. Even then, prices of collectibles fluctuate wildly. Also, unless you know other collectors, you are at the mercy of those who buy wholesale and sell retail to turn over your collectibles. I dealt with this issue twice and found no truly valuable items. MIL's coins were "valuable" to the extent of their silver content - period. Naturally, YMMV.
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Old 12-13-2018, 02:56 PM   #14
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We found from sad experience that "collectibles" rarely have much value. The chance that there is a truly rare stamp in a stamp collection or a really rare coin in a coin collection (or name the collection: Hummel, Doulton, Franklin mint, etc.) is quite small. You can spend hours and hours researching and are unlikely to find anything unless the owner spent a lot of money purchasing "rare" items in the first place. Even then, prices of collectibles fluctuate wildly. Also, unless you know other collectors, you are at the mercy of those who buy wholesale and sell retail to turn over your collectibles. I dealt with this issue twice and found no truly valuable items. MIL's coins were "valuable" to the extent of their silver content - period. Naturally, YMMV.

Yea, I also have a lot of 1800 silver coins that I bet is only worth their silver.. but I have looked a bit harder at the coins as there are not as many and I have a handful or two of coins that have higher value than melt value... none that are going to be a big winner, but a couple that could go for between $200 to $500...
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:32 PM   #15
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The really strange thing that I read is that you can use them to mail stuff and that you can buy bulk old stamps at 70% of face!!! Yes, they sell for less than face value even if new because there are so many...
If all else fails, you can use them. My grandfather had a "stamp collection"--it looked like he just bought some of every new stamp that came out in the 1950s and '60s and had them all loose in a box. I didn't bother sorting through them, and started using them.

I was mailing a magazine article to someone and thought, "I'll just mail the whole magazine. It's free." It took a whole episode of the Gilmore Girls to assemble it.



I've never had anything returned or not get delivered, but I'm fastidious about getting the right amount of postage on there. And I've never tried to use any of the 1/2-cent stamps.

The stamps were easier to launder than the paper money in his "coin collection." There were some old $20-bills that some places gave me a really hard time about accepting. Kids these days barely know what paper money even looks like, never mind old paper money.

That actually taught me to churn my stash of cash every few years, to lessen the likelihood of hassles during the apocalypse.
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