We often get phone calls from people who have questions about their stamp collections. Here are the answers to some of the most frequent queries. If you have any other questions, please feel free to send us an email or to give us a ring.
I have an album of stamps I collected as a child, is it likely to be worth anything?
Probably not as such collections are almost always worth less than £10 even if they are over 100 years old. Generally, except if someone has invested money into a collection, it won’t be worth a great deal. Children bought big bags of stamps for 1/- or so at the time, which filled up the album nicely but these stamps haven’t increased in value over time.
Unless you can bring them to our offices for a valuation, in which case we would be happy to have a look, we regret that we don’t handle collections like this.
I have an album of stamps from different countries from all over the world. Is it going to be valuable?
Albums of this kind of material, especially if the stamps are mainly used, are usually worth about £20 or less per album.
What are penny blacks worth?
Condition is very important with these (for example, the size of the margins) and most of them are worth somewhere between £10-80 depending on their condition.
I have some Queen Victoria penny reds, are they scarce?
Most used Queen Victoria penny reds are worth pence each. Some can be a bit better depending on what type they exactly are. These stamps were printed in very large quantities and there are still a lot of them around nowadays.
I’ve collected First Day Covers for some time, what are they worth?
These covers (F.D.C.’s) from around 1966 to 2000 are very common as a lot of people collected them at this time. Unless they have special postmarks, they will be worth pence each. Covers from 1965 and earlier tend to be better and also covers from 2001 onwards are also more valuable as less people collected them. However, for the latter bunch, their value will still be nowhere near the face value of the stamps.
Does age make stamps more valuable, i.e. the older they are, the more they’re worth?
Age in itself is immaterial. Many 19th century stamps were printed in the millions and there are still tons of them around now so they are quite common. Stamps with higher face values (for example a 10/- or £1 stamp from Queen Victoria’s time) or stamps where there was a more limited printing are the scarcer ones making them more valuable.
Can I come by the office or send the album for you to do a valuation?
Yes of course! If you would like for us to do a valuation, please ring our offices on 01926 270107 to make an appointment or send the collection to us by post if that is more convenient for you (no childhood collections please). There is no charge for valuations.
What do you look for in a collection that makes it valuable?
Value always depends on how much money was spent on the collection, for example where the collector bought the items from specific dealers or auctions over a period of time. Stamps taken off letters and cards or those acquired from car-boot sales or charity shops are rarely ever of much value. Loose stamps that have been collected over time are also not likely to be worth a great deal either.
Are stamps with Hitler on them rare?
If you were Hitler would you have just printed a few stamps with your image on them or would you have printed them in the millions? Unfortunately, he did the latter and they are very common!
I have an album of stamps from countries that don’t exist anymore, are these scarce?
Countries often change their names and this doesn’t have any bearing on the scarcity or the value of a stamp.
I have a massive collection of stamps, what are they worth?
The size of collections is very relative and what is massive to one person is small to another! In stamp collecting terms, a large collection would probably consist of 30 albums or even something like 100 albums or a room full! In any case, value will always depend on how much money the collector has spent on the collection and it is possible to buy large quantities of stamps which are virtually worthless! It is possible to have one album of stamps which can be worth £30,000 or 200 albums of cheap material which adds up to only £500 for the lot! Quantity in this case doesn’t always mean high prices!
Are stamps worth more mint (unused) or used?
Generally mint/unused stamps are more valuable and it is also the case that an album of mint stamps indicates that the collector went out and spent money on the collection, for example by buying stamps from dealers.
Is it best to sell through auction or direct to a dealer?
It depends. When we do a valuation we usually offer two options. We offer to buy the material outright, with payment then and there, or we offer to put the stamps into one of our forthcoming auctions. The choice is then up to you. However, we can only give you some prices when we’ve actually seen the collection as with stamps condition is everything!
Why should I buy at auction?
We offer competitive prices and it is often cheaper to buy nice stamps from an auction house than it is from a dealer. It is also a good occasion to meet the valuers and also other collectors!