Post by Lexie Lu
Whatever your situation, you will want to review these tips for selling your stamp collection.
Where to Sell Stamps
In short, sell them at the same place you bought them. However, you may have collected them from your mail or they may have been given to you. Here are a few avenues to sell your stamps.
- Local Stamp Dealer: If you live in a larger city, you may have a stamp dealer or a place that deals with stamps as well as other collectibles. You can sell it to the dealer, or they may offer to sell it on consignment. Make sure the terms of the sale are agreed upon and get the deal in writing.
- Auctions: Depending on the value of your collection, you may be able to sell it at an auction house. Be sure it’s the right kind of auction for you. For example, you won’t get a good price for your stamp collection if you try to sell it at a farmer’s auction. Expect to pay a commission on the sale.
- Online: If you bought it on eBay, you can probably sell it on eBay. This works fine for some people, but you may do better with an online company specializing in stamps. Research their websites and read customer reviews carefully. You may also be able to connect with stamp dealers online as well.
Do you have a bag of stamps you peeled off as a kid or a leather-bound book filled with stamps from hundreds of years back? There are many factors in determining the value of your stamps.
- Condition: Do the stamps look brand new? Are they in their original packaging? Do you have an original block of stamps or a single stamp? Do you have the full collection of the stamps issued? If the edges are frayed or if the colors have faded, they will lose value. The opposite can also be true. Some weathered stamps are valued because of the journey they may have taken.
- Age and Rarity: How old is the stamp? How many of them were produced? Is your stamp from a country that no longer exists? Does you stamp have historical value? Collectors pay more for stamps that are unique in some way, like a misprint or a mistake. Stamps bearing the likeness of a celebrity who has just passed away will be in demand and will command a higher price than usual.
- Postmarks: Is your stamp on an envelope that was postmarked? Sometimes the postmark is worth more than the stamp, depending on where it came from and when. Postmarks from countries occupied by foreign invaders or revolutions in progress can increase the value of your stamps.
Where Can You Find Out?
You can get a general idea of what your stamps are worth by reviewing stamp collecting manuals such as the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogues. They categorize many different stamps and give a high-end value for stamps in mint condition and a lower value for stamps in poor condition. This will give you a general idea of what your stamps are worth.
For bigger, more expensive collections, you can seek the help of an appraiser. You can find an appraiser through the American Stamp Dealers Association or some of the other reputable stamp collecting associations. If you have a local dealer, they may be able to refer you to an appraiser.
Preparing Your Stamps for Sale
As with anything else, appearance is everything when you are trying to sell your stamp collection. Make sure you have a proper, clean stamp album to display your collection. Don’t use cheap albums with acidic paper that will fade or deteriorate. Make sure the stamps are covered by mounts, plastic covers used in the stamp trade. If your stamp collection looks professional, you will be paid accordingly.
If you are mailing to a purchaser, make sure you itemize everything on a packing slip and put it in the box. Wrap albums in plastic if you intend to mail them to a purchaser. You want to protect them from moisture. Also, pad the boxes with bubble wrap or newspaper to avoid damage in shipment. Write an arrow on the box indicating how the box should be handled. Mark your box fragile, even if it isn’t.
For whatever reason you are selling your collection, good luck with your sale. Hopefully, you will sell when market conditions offer your collection the highest price. Be happy your stamps will find another collector who will enjoy them.
About the Author
Lexie is a freelance writer and blogger. She is an active collector of teaspoons and broaches. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and is attempting to finish her novel in the next year.
She recently wrote a guide on how to take care of your stamp collection, what to do when you're considering to sell it and how to find out much they're worth. The guide is available at https://www.apfelbauminc.com/guide-to-sell-a-stamp-collection/