More about stamps ...

Contrary to what many non-collectors believe, stamps are not scarce. Yes, certain stamps are scarce, but the vast majority of stamps are very, very common. Let's face it, they have been used for mailing letters for 170 years, have been produced in the hundreds of billions, and have been hoarded away by generations of stamp collectors. No, you won't find lots of them in corner stores, at yard sales or at country auction sales, but go to where the stamps are to be found, and you will find more than you can imagine -- at stamp shows, stamp clubs and stamp auction sales.

10 cent stamps Common stamps
Go to any stamp show or stamp club, and you will find book after book of stamps offered by dealers for you to pick what you want at 10 cents per stamp. Does that mean all your used worldwide stamps are worth at least 10 cents each? Afraid not. That price is basically a "service charge" - a minimum charge to make it worth the dealer's time to prepare the books for selection, rent the table at the show, spend his day at the show, carry the stock around, pay travel expenses etc. etc. All so that his collector customers can choose only the ones they enjoy to add to their collections. Remember, he is not going to sell all the stamps in these books -- some will never find a new home, some are just too common and everybody has them.

So what's the market value of a collection of basically common stamps? Typically about 1 cent each, but only if it includes a good proportion of stamps that people will actually choose.

$3 Jubilee of 1897

So why do we think stamps are valuable?

Because some are!

But they are not the ones that will be found in an old kid's collection, nor in binder of a collectors duplicates with dozens of each stamp.

A general principle of collecting is that things that are scarce have always been scarce. Sometimes due to a very limited print run, sometimes because the original cost was so high that nobody could afford to put extras away. Sometimes, mint copies of certain old stamps are very valuable even though used ones of the same stamp are extremely common -- for the very reason that the stamp was so common at the time nobody bothered to tuck away many mint ones! (but not always!)

That's why we advertise to buy "serious" collections

Some better items

If scarce stamps have always been scarce, how do they get into a collection? Because the collector was serious enough to seek them out, typically from dealers or auctions. That's what determines a serious collection, and those are the collections that have the stamps in them that makes the value add up.

Ready to talk about selling your collection? See our Sell to us page.