Stamp Appraisal: What To Expect

People always want to know the value of stamps, regardless if they have been collecting stamps for years or if they have inherited an extensive collection of them. While there are factors that help experts evaluate postage stamp value, you need to know them to identify whether your stamps are a significant investment. 

Appraising Your Stamp Collection

You’ll often be asked questions about how much your stamps are worth, especially if you have tons of rare or limited edition stamps as part of your collections. While experts traditionally do stamp appraisal, collectors can still have a glimpse of their stamp collections’ worth. 

Whatever your reasons for collecting stamps, it’s always a good idea to evaluate your current collection. Apart from being a tangible collection, you can get several benefits from collecting postage stamps, even if you intend on selling them in the future.

When it comes to appraising your stamp collection, you’ll have to manage your expectations and start working with your inventory. Detailed information about the value of a stamp is the basis for an appraisal. 

Factors to consider why you’ll need to evaluate the value of your stamps: 

  • Donation (Fair market value)
  • Insurance (Retail replacement value)
  • Estate tax filing (Fair market value)
  • Equitable distribution like divorce (Similar to fair market value) 

There are two kinds of appraisal you’ll need to learn about: 

Retail replacement value – This is the value you offer in the retail market and changes the material today. 

Fair market value – The value that affects the property between a buyer and seller, which don’t have any compulsion to trade and sell, which both meet at a reasonable knowledge of pertinent facts.

Once you have decided to trade your stamp collection for cash, you’ll need to find the best ways to get the most of them. Preparation is one of the keys to improving the value of your stamps. Novice seller and collectors must take note of the following:

  1. Retain stamps that are attached to envelopes to prevent damaging them.
  2. Proper stamp storage is essential. Keep them on a secured album to maintain good condition.
  3. Organizing stamps for easy evaluation.
  4. Never try to clean dirty or stuck stamps; take them to experts.

How To Evaluate The Value of Your Stamps

Suppose you plan to identify your stamps’ value or are just curious about your collection’s worth. In that case, there are several yet effective ways you can do, including checking their worth by yourself, researching the internet, checking book references, attending stamp shows, and meeting an expert for an honest opinion. 

1. Checking the value yourself

One of the best ways to determine the value of your stamp is checking them by yourself first. This gives you a first-hand experience on how to decide on their worth, including:

  • Identifying the stamp
  • Date issued
  • The material used and age
  • Design centering
  • Gum condition
  • Perforations condition
  • If the stamp is expired or not
  • Stamp rarity

The stamp grade is categorized into three types: 

  • Defective – stamps have major imperfections like abrasions, huge creases, stains, or pinholes.
  • Faulty – With minor flaws, including a bit of wrinkle at the stamp’s corner.
  • Sound – No imperfections.

There are seven levels for identification when it comes to the stamp conditions ranging from below average, fair, average, good, fine, very fine, and extremely fine.

Find out the value of your stamps and demand percentage. This will gradually affect the value of your stamps moving forward.

2. Internet research

With the internet’s power, you can quickly identify the quality and worth of the stamps you have. Try to visit various stamp websites, auction sites, forums, dealer sites, and more. 

You may be shocked at how easy it is to meet fellow collectors or enthusiasts online, and will provide tons of tips and ideas of how the market works at the same time. 

3. Reference books

Reading reference books and catalogs can help you identify the value of your stamps. There are plenty of catalogs and book references you can check to determine the worth of your collections.

4. Stamp show

Attending stamp shows will provide you an endless way to meet and learn about this diverse and fascinating hobby. Stamp shows enable you to interact with experts and even offer you their honest opinion about your collection and stamp value.

5. Appraiser, dealer, or philatelists opinion

If all the aforementioned setup won’t work well with you, it’s better to check opinions from experts. This will professionally appraise your collections to identify their overall value. Most of the time, you’ll be charged a fee in exchange for the service they offer.


Identifying the value of your stamp collection requires effort, research, and time. While the appraiser will provide you with an honest opinion about your collection, sometimes it can take time to determine the actual worth of a stamp. With various steps to follow, you’ll soon figure out how much your stamps are worth.