Value of old postage stamps

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You may have stumbled on a box filled with old postage stamps that maybe your great grandparents had and simply became curious if they are of any value; you have come to the right place. You will be surprised to know as to how much is a stamp worth.  Postage stamps have their own corresponding values; it’s just that older postage stamps are worth a bit more. The value of old postage stamps enormously varies depending on how uncommon the stamps are. The rarer your old postage stamp, the more valuable it will be.

Ways to find the price of postage stamps.  One way of determining the value of stamps, is by simply contacting any stamp dealer in your locality.  There are reliable dealers that can provide you with the price of stamps or the cost of stamps.  Another way would be checking out the online stamp price guide, it can really help you identify your stamps and moreover find out their value.  Stamp prices may vary when consulting with different dealers, because some dealers are fraudulent with their stamp prices in order to make better profits.  Better yet, determine the postage stamp values on your own.

In determining stamp value, it is not just the age of the postage stamp that matters, but several factors need to be considered.  The keys to stamp valuation are centering, condition or grade, rarity, age, provenance, material, and catalogues or periodicals.

Identify the old postage stamp.  You need to fully identify the stamp itself, including the catalog number.  You can do this by looking it up in a catalogue, like the Scott Specialized Catalog of United States Stamps and Covers or the Stanley Gibbons catalogue used in Great Britain. There you will find photographs and the cost of stamps or postage stamp prices, sorted by date of issue.

Determine the centering.  Centering is the first step in determining the stamp’s value.  Here you can see the balance of the stamp design within its margins.  Centering can be determined as poor, average, fine, very fine, superb and jumbo.  There is no established system for grading the stamp’s center, so naturally it is done through eyeballing.  The basic technique to see the true centering of the stamp is to simply look at it upside down. When the stamp is turned upside down, your eyes needs to adjust as they are not used to seeing words or designs upside down.  As a result, you can impartially asses the stamp’s centering.

Study the condition or grade.  The Condition or Grade of your stamp is one of the most important factors in determining its value.  The higher the grade of the stamp condition, the more desirable and valuable it will be.

Give attention to gum. The Gum is the glue found on the backside of a stamp.  For “Mint” postage stamps, the gum must be perfect, the gum must be original and the stamp must not have gum skips or heavy natural gum creases. You cannot find gum on used postage stamps.

Note the degree of cancellation.  The condition of used stamps is judged differently and priced on the degree of cancellation.  It may be lightly cancelled, wherein the main design of the stamp is visible and moderately cancelled; or heavily cancelled, wherein the main design is barely visible and the cancel is dark, therefore making it less valuable than the lightly cancelled stamp.

Determine the perforation condition of your stamps.  Perforations are the circular cutouts punched into a printed stamp to relieve its separation from other surrounding stamps. They vary in size and number, but all should have full teeth and clean holes.

Rarity.  The rarity of the stamp is based on its visibility in the market. When it comes to determining the value of postage stamps, rarity may surpass condition or grade in importance for the reason that some buyers would rather have a rare postage stamp or not have it at all.  Auctions can often be considered as reliable sources in knowing the rarity and value of a postage stamp.

Age and material are also essential factors as it often adds value to the stamps.  The origin of the old postage stamp can simply tell what period the stamp was produced, where it was manufactured and the type of material used.  These factors alone can add value to the stamps but if coupled with traceable history and other factors, may make the stamps desirable.

Catalogues.  Several stamps are listed in catalogues or periodicals, most are meant for reference purposes and often used in order to classify and categorize stamps.

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