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November 19, 2008


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My father also had a large stamp collection and gave it to a teacher at his local middle school for the kids in the stamp club. The teacher was ecstatic and the kids loved it too.
Dad's stamp collection was not worth a lot of money. It was a hobby. Dad subscribed to "Linn's" a philatelic weekly newspaper for years so you may check that for classifieds of buyers.

There are lots of collectibles bought and sold on eBay so I would start there. Before selling the stamp collection, I would take it to a philatelist and find out if there are any rare stamps in the collection that perhaps should be sold separately.

E-bay knows the value of everything . . .

Given the age of the stamps, you probably have some with value. As suggested above, get appraisals.

As the economy is currently in a downturn, collections may not have as much resale value right now. You may want to look at historical values and compare that to the current market prices as a way to determine the timing on any potential sales.

Collectibles such as stamps have a variety of criteria beyond the scope of the layman.

Get professional appraisals.

Do not sell to the appraiser without a second appraisal from a non-related party.

Be willing to pay for the appraisal.

If it is not worth selling, donate it.

Check out this site It may be a good way for him to track his stamps and their value to potentially sell them to a dealer on on Ebay.


FOr the stamps I agree that getting an appraisal from a professional might be the best way. But that might cost you money to only find out the stamps aren't worth much and if the appraisers are dealers they might low ball the number in hopes of buying them from you (if I wanna be cynical).

You might also want to go to the library and look in the hobby section for a stamp value catalog. The Scott books are big books full of stamps with values. You could then look through the stamps yourself a little bit to give yourself a rough idea of what kind of value you're looking at. I wouldn't spend all day doing it but some random checks would give you a rough idea. If you look at the oldest stamps and check the value of 10 randomly selected stamps then you might find out they are all worth $5-20 each or they could be worth 5¢ each.

For stamps, generally speaking its been my experience that the book value is about 10 times as much as what you can expect to buy/sell the stamps for on eBay.


As to the stamp collection:

I have been a stamp accumulator for a long time - starting with a very similar inherited collection. You will find most stamps in that era very plentiful and very cheap. I retained the stamps for sentimental reasons. Usually very valuable stamps were also very valuable at the time they were collected, so unless your relative was a serious stamp collector (I am not), then they are probably interesting but common stamps. The values given in stamp catalogs are retail. You might be offered a flat price for the whole lot, and not nearly what you think it's worth. If you want to spend a little time confirming the value, the American Philatelic Society is a good place to start. Just put their name in any search engine, I've been a member for several years. You will find contact information for the APS and they are more than happy to guide you to a reputable source in your area to help. Don't be disappointed if you aren't offered very much. Collections such as yours are sold for very nominal fees at stamp shows all the time.
As to Ebay, you will be subject to either the whim of the bidders at that particular moment or IF there are rare stamps, to your lack of knowledge. An honest dealer (referred by APS) could make an offer, and if it isn,t to your liking THEN post it on Ebay with a reserve price not lower than the dealer offer.
All of your stamps fall into the "Classic" era, which is the first 100 years of stamps. You would be amazed that the vast majority of those stamps are worth very little and many list in the catalogs at the minimum handling cost, which is about 25 cents. However, 100 stamps at 25 cents would be steeply discounted to much less.
Hope this is of some help. Another resource of very helpful folks would be a local stamp club (again APS could provide contact info). They usually have monthly meetings and would be happy to look through your collection and advise on it's value.

I have a similar question but in regards to baseball cards. I started collecting them in 80s thru the 90s. I have no idea if they're worth anything.

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