Before dashing over to sell your collection, it’s pivotal to assess its real value by getting an appraisal.
On your side, this will aid you to make the right selling decision and avoid forgeries. On the buyer’s side, this proves the authenticity and increases the credibility of your collection.
Resources you can use to find the actual value of your collection include:
The problem you might face with the above resources is that they tend to assign an over-optimistic price. These resources don’t take into account the actual condition of the stamp, which might create a gap between the estimated price and the market value.
Getting a professional valuation from a philatelic field expert would be the final word call on the value of your collection. The appraiser will then examine the stamps in your collection and base their value on the following factors.
As an archeologist would be over the roof to discover a collection of 100-million-year-old bones, a stamp collector would feel the same about old stamps.
In most cases, you can get a pricey offer for stamps issued before 1960 because the production was limited back then. After that year, the post office started producing stamps at higher rates.
Mint stamps that still preserve their pristine gum at the rear will be valued higher than stamps that have blemished or used gum.
The practice of re-gumming is used to sell old stamps at the premium prices of mint stamps. Normally, you can’t sell a re-gummed stamp without clear disclosure of its current condition.
The hinge is a small transparent piece of paper that you use to affix a stamp onto the album pages.
The problem with hinges is that they blemish the original gum of the stamp. If you attempt to remove the hinges, you might end up deteriorating the stamp and reducing its value.
Stamps with errors are rare, and they’re strongly coveted by collectors, which highly boosts their market value. Errors include mistakes in designing, engraving, perforation, or coloring.
Inverted Jenny, a post-war aviation stamp depicting Curtiss JN-4 that dates back to May 10, 1918, is the foremost notable error in American philately. It was sold out for over $1,300,000 in 2016.
One of the key factors that verify the stamp’s value is how well the design fits into the edges and perforations. A stamp with a design that’s well-centered within four equal margins can be sold for much more than one that’s notably off-center.
A jumbo margin stamp is a term for stamps with extra margin parts that were ripped from the adjacent stamps. If you have this type of stamp, you can expect the selling price to rise to double!
Stamps free from creases, tears, changed gum color, or faint colors have a higher value.
Luckily, if your stamp has any of the mentioned flaws, repair methods do exist.
For example, creases could be ironed out by an expert. However, if you choose to repair any of your stamps, you should provide a clear disclosure about their condition.
Now that you know the grading criteria, we will focus on where to get a stamp appraisal. Below are the top-trusted institutions that offer appraisal services:
The American Philatelic Society
The American Stamp Dealers Association
Local Stamp Collectors’ Clubs
As for cost, the appraisal fee will most likely range anywhere between $75 to $250 per hour.