How to find out how much stamps are worth

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How to find out how much stamps are worth
Used stamps are worth less to collectors. (stamp image by hugy from Fotolia.com)

Whether you are interested in starting a stamp collection or you want to know how much an inherited stamp collection is worth, being able to ascertain a stamp's value is essential. Though many businesses and fellow hobbyists exist who are eager to help you, learning the estimated value of a stamp before you consult with someone else is key.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Magnifying glass
  • Scott Specialized Catalog of United States Stamps

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Determine whether your stamp has been circulated. A used stamp and/or that has a postmark inked on it is going to be worth significantly less.

  2. 2

    Date your stamp. Many stamps will have a date of issue on them. Remember that nearly all stamps that were issued in the United States over the past 60 years are going to be worth less than a dollar. Stamps from other countries from the same time period might be worth more. A magnifying glass can help you pick up the details that will help you date your stamp.

  3. 3

    Find your stamp in the Scott Specialized Catalog of United States Stamps. This catalogue will give you a basic estimation of what the stamp is worth. You can search for your stamp through denomination or through subject.

  4. 4

    Assess the condition of your stamp. There are many many factors that can depreciate the value of your stamp. If your stamp is dirty, torn, off-centre or missing perforations, this can strongly affect its value or even render it worthless.

Tips and warnings

  • Most stamps are worth between 1-3 cents. Stamps that are worth between 60p-$50 are what is typically found in a serious stamp collection.
  • Nineteenth century stamps from the United States can be valuable, especially if they unused. Even used stamps from this time period can be valuable if they have interesting cancellation stamps on them. Similarly, 19th century stamps that were sold for more than 3 cents can be more valuable due to a lower production run.

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