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What Are My Stamps Worth?

by Christopher Lancette
Published: Last Updated on

Not Many Buyers Left Today For Stamp Collections

Modern stamps including proof sets often have a maximum value of only their face value. For all practical purposes, you can just stick them on letters and postage if you still put things in land mail. (I actually still write letters to people sometimes; it’s an old habit that’s worth trying if you haven’t done it in a while.) The re-sale value of modern stamps is pennies on the dollar to dealers like me and to the few remaining stamp and coin shops. There just aren’t many collectors left for stamps.

The way stamps commonly get sold at auction or eBay is in group lots. If we sell on eBay, we have to lay a massive batch out on the floor, calculate the total face value one stamp at a time, photograph the stamps, and then list them. On a really great day, we might get 40 percent of the face value, before eBay takes its commission. That is a tremendous amount of work.

And that’s on a really great day.

Old stamps aren’t much different. We had a person contact us recently claiming he had an individual stamp worth $800. He pointed to the always useless price guides for stamps (believe nothing you ever see in fancy price guides). We showed him the identical stamp in the identical condition sells on eBay for $40, and it’s a slow seller.

Are there some stamps out there that are worth some serious money? Yes. Have we ever actually run across one? No.

So when you are trying to find the answer to the question of “What are my stamps worth?” or “What is my stamp collection worth?”, start by lowering your expectations.

Stamps for us are rarely ever worth the headache of handling. We’ll pick them up if we’re at a house buying better things but we generally just drop off the batch at our favorite auction house and call it a day. It’s just rarely worth spending all the hours it takes to find buyers for them.

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