How to Discover the Value of Your Stamps (4 Simple Steps)

Jun 2, 2022

Collecting stamps can be a fun pastime whether or not you're looking to make a profit from it. However, when it comes to determining the value of a stamp, you can quickly find yourself overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are a few things you can look for to help you know if you have a stamp of real value in your collection.

How to Find the Value of a Stamp (4 Quick Tips)

While the best way to determine the value of a stamp is to have it looked at by an appraiser, there are several areas you can check on your own.

1. Start With Physical Condition

The easiest place to start is by assessing the physical condition of your stamp. Stamps in poor condition will be worth less than those that have been better preserved. If your stamp is attached to an envelope, don't try to remove it as you may damage the stamp.

First, assess the image on the stamp. Collectors want to see vibrant colors and an image as close to centered as possible. It's also essential for the perforations along the edge of the stamp to be clean and neat.

Next, have a look at the back of your stamp. If there is a hinge (a small piece of paper used to attach the stamp to an album), the stamp will be less valuable. However, don't try to remove the hinge yourself, as it's a job best left to an expert.

You can also check on the stamp's gum. Gum is the adhesive used to stick the stamp to an envelope. You're looking for a uniform coating across the entire back of the stamp.

Finally, if the stamp has been used, it will have a cancellation mark. Heavy, dark cancellation marks that obscure the stamp's design harm its value.

2. Research Your Stamp's History

Now you can begin researching your stamp, which can be a bit daunting. The stamp itself may offer you some clues as to its age. Check for text or historical figures and events in the design. 

You'll want to try and use these clues to determine the stamp's age. Stamps that are less than 70 years tend not to be especially valuable. You can also attempt to determine what country the stamp came from.

You might try consulting the Scott Specialized Catalogue, often referenced by American stamp collectors. The internet may be a helpful resource as well, but be sure your information comes from a reliable source. Don't be afraid to ask an expert for help with this step!

3. Determine the Stamp's Rarity

Once you have an idea of the stamp's background you can research its rarity. Rare stamps are higher in value than more common ones.

Error stamps can be precious due to their rarity. Desirable errors can include a misprint in the design, such as missing or incorrect color. You may even encounter an imperforate error where some or all of the perforations are missing.

4. Get Your Stamp Appraised

If you suspect you have a valuable stamp on your hands, it's best to have it appraised by a professional. As a member of Chattic, you can have your rare stamp appraised in 24 to 48 hours. An expert opinion can help you fetch the best price for your stamp.

Jun 2, 2022

Read more

Are Online Antique Appraisals Accurate? Information You Need to Know Before You Sell Anything

When you resell for a living, you need to know you're getting the best possible price. We'll look at whether you can do that online.

Jan 17, 2023

5 Reasons to Make Secondhand Shopping Your New Year's Resolution

Let's face it; we could all use a bit of retail therapy these days. Buying a shiny, new object can be a quick shot of serotonin, but is there a better way?

Jan 10, 2023

Thrift, Vintage, Antique: Discover the Difference for More Informed Shopping

Discover a more complete picture of the difference between thrifting, antiquing and vintage shopping.

Dec 28, 2022

The leading community and marketplace for collectibles.