US Stamps

Recent used U.S. stamps selling above face value: Tip of the Week

Sep 30, 2016, 1 PM
Recent United States se-tenant commemorative issues, such as the 2011 U.S. Merchant Marine forever stamps (Scott 4548-4551), are selling for more than current postage value in used condition.

By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Stamp market tips generally fall into one of three categories: buy tips (the most common), sell tips (less common), and be aware tips (the least common). What follows is a be aware tip.

It is a sad fact of life and collecting that most of the items in the mailstream are no longer franked with postage stamps. And those items that do bear stamps are usually franked with common definitive stamps. Commemorative stamps see very little use on mail. This is especially true of se-tenant issues.

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When recent commemoratives do turn up in the mail, the covers are usually saved intact. This practice comes from the confluence of a general increase of awareness of postal history and the fact that the vast preponderance of recent U.S. stamps cannot be soaked from their envelope paper in water.

However, not everyone is or wants to be a postal history collector. There remain a few hardy souls seeking recent postally used off-cover U.S. commemorative stamps for their collections.

Complete used sets of recent se-tenant issues, such as the 2011 U.S. Merchant Marine forever stamps (Scott 4548-4551) still on the envelope clipping are selling for more than postage value (47¢ at the moment). Examples that have been carefully removed from their envelope paper without apparent damage and with all traces of the adhesive removed from the back of the stamp bring a nice premium.