When valuing stamp collections, there are many factors to take into consideration. Before coming to a conclusion, valuers need to examine certain features of the stamp, alongside rarity and current market trends. So, if you think your collection may be worth some money, we’ve put together a short guide explaining what philatelists look for and why it is important to gain a proper valuation from a reputable dealer.

How condition affects a stamp’s value

Condition of gum (if unused), perforations, colour, postmarks, all have a significant effect on the value of a stamp. A stamp worth £500 in fine condition may only be worth a few pounds as a “space-filler” if it has faults. This is one of the reasons why valuing a stamp can be difficult for the uninitiated, and why catalogue prices can be so misleading.

Old stamps are often found in mixed condition, and can only be worth a small percentage of catalogue value. A modern mint stamp in otherwise fine condition can have its value halved just by having had a hinge on the back.

An exception to every rule

Rules are sometimes meant to be broken. It is important to remember that the earliest (and some of the most desirable) of stamps are often less than perfect when it comes to perforations and margins. Sometimes a ‘mistake’ or misprint can substantially increase the value of a stamp, where there is a colour omitted, or occasionally an error of value such as the 1976 Roses 13p with value omitted and the 1988 Christmas ‘13p’ instead of ‘14p’ error of value.

If you are unsure about the value of your stamp collection, make sure you contact an experienced dealer who will give you an honest appraisal based on all factors above.

The next stamp auction at Tony Lester will be held in Coventry on September 1. For more information or to ask a question, here’s how to get in touch online or give the team a call on 01926 634809.