July 12th, 2024

Collector’s Corner: The stamp album

By Medicine Hat News on August 26, 2017.

We have some members of the Medicine Hat Coin and Stamp Club providing rough evaluations of stamp collections. As collectors and not professionals but with many years of working with stamps we have a fair idea of the values for many collections.

The question is always “What is my collection worth?” The answer is how has it been kept and what do you have?

Stamp condition, as in coins, is extremely important. Are the designs properly centred with even white margins all around? Are postmark cancellations on used stamps clean, light and easily read or do they almost obliterate the design? Are mint stamps (as you buy them from the post office) clean with no markings on them and no disturbance of any kind on the adhesive side of the stamps? Stamps with tears or heavy creases are worthless. Stamps with small and very light creases or missing side perforations may be worthless or as little as 10 per cent of their catalogue value. Stamps glued to a sheet or album have no value unless the glue is water soluble and even then, the value is greatly reduced.

Stamps properly displayed with approved hinges or mounts in albums or in approved stock sheets are best and indicate a greater stamp care than a shoe box stuffed full of stamps.

The second answer to the question is even more complex.

Stamp age is not an indicator of value. In Canada 100 years ago, stamps printed for common postage were in the millions because everyone used the mail and used ones can still be commonly found. Some “P” stamps printed lately are in the low hundred thousands or less with many different stamps being produced and fewer people using the mail. A current used stamp may be harder to find than an older stamp.

The country the stamps come from is also important. In the 1960s and ’70s, countries around the world went crazy producing stamps for collectors as a source of revenue for their governments. For example, some countries and small islands produced hundreds of varieties of airmail stamps in different denominations where airports were almost non-existent and maybe a good proportion of their population never saw or knew what an airplane was. This type of “collector production” still continues. These may be worthless or a penny apiece at most. Any concerns about these types of stamps can be answered by our “stampers” at the club.

Which countries tend to uphold or increase their stamp value? Even here there can be exceptions as individual stamps have their ups and downs. Leaving out Canada and the U.S., in general terms, stamps from Great Britain, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, Australia and New Zealand usually do well. There are some individual rare high valued stamps from Africa, Asia, and South American countries but these can be outnumbered by high numbers of low value stamps.

Next time I write I’ll compare Canada and the U.S. and more thoughts on valuations. Happy stamping.

Our next Coin and Stamp Show will take place Sept. 30 at Higdon Hall.

Collector’s Corner is contributed by the Medicine Hat Coin & Stamp Club. For questions or comments about coin or stamp collection email medhatcsc@live.com.

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