You've recently inherited a stamp collection. The only thing you know stamps are good for is sticking them on an envelope that's to be mailed. What do you do with this collection of stamps?
Is it worth anything? Before you think about disposing of the collection by giving it away or selling it, consider what the hobby of stamp collecting has to offer you.
Stamp collecting is fun, entertaining and offers the opportunity to express your individuality. Stamps have much more to offer than simply value. You can learn about the world and its people through stamps. You can collect topics of interest to you. Glance through the collection.
You may find numerous topics of interest — cats, dogs, cars, flags, art, paintings, glass and so on. Check out the cancellations and postmarks, too. These have much to offer. Sometimes postmarks themselves feature topics. They also help explain destinations and rates.
The collection may include complete envelopes (known as covers by stamp collectors). Keep these intact. Don't remove the stamps unless you're certain the stamps are worth more off the cover than on it.
So before you decide to get rid of the collection your well-meaning relative left you, think about using it to start a new hobby. If after giving it some serious thought, you've decided you want to disperse of the collection, here are some tips for determining what the collection is worth and finding a new owner.
The 1996 book I Inherited, A Stamp Collection, Now What? might help you, but it is out of print, and parts of the book are obsolete. Another book Top Dollar Paid! is a good one and is available from stamp supply dealers who also sell books, including from Amos Advantage www.amosadvantage.com.
You can determine the retail value of your stamps by using the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogues, available at most public libraries or for purchase at AmosAdvantage.com.
blogIn this column in the Aug. 24 issue of Linn’s, I referred to the American Philatelic Research Library in Bellefonte, Pa., as a “gift to stamp collectors.” The BNAPS library and the APRL are two of many libraries available to stamp collectors, and some philatelic libraries are available online. Read More ›
blogIt’s often been said that one of the salutary benefits of collecting stamps is the friendships made along one’s philatelic journey. If I were asked to place a value on the bonds thus forged with collectors in locales near and far, I would be rich beyond measure. A few of these hobby friends I have never met in person. Read More ›
blogToday, Nov. 11, 2015, is Veterans Day. Over the years, a number of United States stamps honoring those who have served in our nation’s armed forces have been issued. Read More ›
blogMy previous blog post focused on a mystery: the apparent indentations of paper clips on United States Purple Heart forever stamps that were used to mail payments to the circulation department of my employer, Amos Media in Sidney, Ohio. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses Great Britain’s final stamp issue for 2015, a Star Wars prestige booklet, and reveals what is included in its stamp program for 2016.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses a registered 1967 cover from Qatar that recently sold for almost $1,200 and the latest discovery of an Upright Jenny Invert pane.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman announces that Linn’s has been named official daily publisher of World Stamp Show-NY 2016 and provides an update on the reorganization of the Scott catalogs.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Marty Frankevicz reports on the suspension of Canada Post’s cluster box conversion plan after the election of a new prime minister.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.