Here is how to proceed when you have inherited stamps.
If you have inherited a stamp collection, individual stamp albums or boxes of unsorted stamps, it is usually very difficult for non-experts to determine the value of the stamps. In many cases, the stamp albums end up in the cellar, the attic or even the dustbin. However, it can be well worth your while to take a closer look at the collection.
Please bear in mind the following tips:
- Do not try to sort the stamps.
- Do not take the stamps out of the album.
- Do not remove any stamps from letters.
- Do not cut out any stamps.
- Do not throw anything away at this stage.
- Store the stamp albums in a dry place.
What makes a stamp or stamp collection valuable?
In most cases, it is the rarity and quality of stamps that are the key factors in determining their value. Another factor that ultimately plays a key role is the current market situation, i.e. the demand for the stamp or its popularity on the stamp market. Our experts are well versed in these important factors and can give you information relating to any stamp.
However, using the following criteria, you can also determine yourself whether the collection you have inherited could be valuable:
- Photo certificates or other kinds of certificates, frequently issued by the BPP (German Association of Philatelic Experts), can generally be taken as an indication of a professional collection. These certify that the individual stamps are genuine.
- If the stamps are collected in illustrated albums, this also points to a more valuable collection. This gives a good indication as to whether the stamp collection is complete. First-day covers and first-day sheetlets, by contrast, are generally worth little or nothing.
- If there are indications – for example, enclosed invoices – that the stamps were already acquired at stamp auctions, it is likely that it is a professional stamp collection.
- Even if a collection might not be very valuable, its size alone may be a decisive factor. The best thing to do is to count or estimate the total number of albums.
- However, it is ultimately the popularity of the collection field that determines whether a collection is likely to meet with high demand at an auction. Are the country collections from European countries, Germany or overseas? For instance, there is currently a high demand for Chinese stamps, meaning that these fetch high prices. By contrast, collections of stamps from the Federal Republic of Germany between 1955 and 2010 tend not to be of interest. If the euro collection extends until 2014, the postage values of uncancelled euro nominals tend to sell well.
Inherited stamps. What is the next step?
For a first estimation the easiest way would be, you send some photos to email@example.com, via WhatsApp (more information) or you give us a call on +49 (0)211 550 440. Of course you can also fill in our contact form and we will get in touch with you.
Further information on the following subjects can be found here:
How to submit material for auction
Having stamps evaluated