Stamp collecting – or philately – has been a popular hobby since the dawn of printed stamps in the 1840s. People organize their stamp albums in different ways based on personal preferences for the type of stamps they collect. Quite often, the stamp collectors pick specialized fields like favorite continents, countries, presidents, astronauts, historic eras, a particular nation, etc. Various topical and thematic collections focus only on stamp designs. Most philatelists are obsessed with postal stationery such as stamped envelopes and postal cards that can be sold at a monetary value.
Just like art collectors, stamp collectors keep an eye out for special and rare acquisitions. Whether the context is leisure pursuits or potential investments, stamp collecting has an element of treasure hunting that makes it such a rewarding experience. With a well-earned alias, the Hobby of Kings, it has a place in the market that stands the test of time as well as economic highs and lows.
All portfolio hobbies with photo albums and journals help people capture memories, cultural diversities, landmarks, and artworks between their pages. Stamp albums also make colorful portfolios with each stamp representing a tiny window to a different city, country, empire, vintage reminder, etc. The whole process of sitting by the window with stamp tongs and a magnifying glass can become easily addictive without a warning, and before you know it, your collections could be worth a fortune!
The cost of errors
Demand and value
Stamps that are old and rare have a high demand and a proportionally high value that increases with time. Aspects like unique designs and historical significance determine the market value of old stamps. Interestingly enough, printing errors on stamps have had a reputation for some of the highest market values among stamp collections. The unique flaws get repeated throughout the stamp sheets, resulting in some batches having the error that makes them rare and stand out from the rest.
Old is gold
In the world of philately, a stamp that is both old and erroneous will be in high demand because there is only a small number of such stamps out there. This makes the stamp rare and difficult to get your hands on, especially when these coveted artifacts hide in museums or move between auctions.
A million-dollar mistake
An example of one such epic error that went down in the US stamp history is the Inverted Jenny. The Curtiss JN-4HM plane was used for the first US airmail flights during World War I. While printing the image of this plane on the stamps, a printing error occurred on just one sheet of 100 stamps. The plane turned out inverted, but the stamp’s red border was printed correctly. In recent years, one Inverted Jenny has been sold for over a million dollars. It is safe to say that the misprinted stamp was a huge million-dollar mistake!
The American Philatelic Society
Before you decide to sell your stamps, you will need some professional stamp appraisal to determine how much your collection is worth. It might be tempting to just pick up a stamp catalog and sign up for an eBay auction; however, enlisting professional help is always a smart idea. If you have old and rare stamps or special inherited collections, you have to keep in mind the potential antique worth of these stamps. By consulting a local dealer before you participate in auctions, you will find a more promising route towards your goal. Collaborating with professional sources helps you connect with reliable auctioneers and secured platforms for selling your stamps at their true values. The American Philatelic Society is a good starting point to guide your pursuits. Established in 1886, the company has grown into the largest philatelic hub for global audiences.
Locate a dealer
The APS community provides services and programs to assist philatelists all around the world. It aims to promote the art of stamp collecting by helping its members learn about their options and make the best acquisitions – and future sales. The website allows you to locate an APS member dealer near you by state, service, or zip code. This resourceful APS-authorized directory makes a great option for stamp appraisals at the hands – and eyes – of qualified experts.
Buy and sell stamps
APS members have two ways of buying and selling their stamps – either through the company’s Circuit Mail Sales service or online at https://classic.stamps.org/StampStore. Collectors can sell their stamps via the APS mail sales program or sign up for endless online options in the automated platform that connects buyers and sellers. No more searching for a needle in a haystack!
Stamp insurance and authentication
The APS Stamp Insurance Plan is an uplifting collaboration with Hugh Wood, Inc. and Berkley Asset Protection companies. This partnership creates the best insurance plans for APS members, giving them maximum coverage for their stamp collections. The American Philatelic Expertizing Service (APEX) relies on top specialists and high-tech equipment to authenticate stamps for genuineness. The service also provides compensations in case of misidentified stamps.
Where can I sell stamps near me?
Uptown Stamp Show – Portland, Oregon
Run by the Markowitz family from Markowitz Stamps, LLC, Uptown Stamp Show buys and sells stamps from all around the world. The company’s goal is to become a global network of stamp collectors, dealers, online philatelists like eBay users, as well as resellers. Its inventory is comprised of pre-1950 stamps, and there are also different post-1950 philatelic materials. Uptown Stamp Show is a great platform for visiting dealers to come in and explore buying and selling options, with 20% discount opportunities.
It has hundreds of country collections, most of which are on Scott pages, Scott Specialty albums, Minkus albums, and Lindner or Lighthouse hinge-less albums. The Uptown catalog also features multi-volume international collections; its philatelic items are listed on eBay as well. There are over 50,000 worldwide stamp sets and singles that are all priced at half the Scott prices and even less.
Sell your stamps
Uptown Stamp Show is an active buyer of stamps, and you can visit the store or schedule appointments to evaluate your stamp collections. The owner, David Markowitz, works closely with Uptown’s valued customers and views stamp collections in person. So, you can book an appointment with him for 1-on-1 philatelic consultation. The company will assist you with potential offers for your stamps and even organize auction consignment options with Harmer-Schau Auction Galleries, Inc.
Apfelbaum Inc. – Jenkintown, Pennsylvania
A century of philatelic success
Apfelbaum Inc. is a family-run business that has worked with stamp collectors and dealers for over a hundred years. The Apfelbaums turned their stamp collecting hobbies into a successful business that survived the Great Depression, as maintaining stamp albums was the one hobby that remained immune to the global economic downfall. Keeping pace with technological and scanning advancements, Apfelbaum Inc. emerged as a modern, trailblazing organization that sells genuine stamps and is also a major buyer of all stamp collections.
Sell your stamp collection
Apfelbaum Inc. is on a constant lookout for stamp collections that will bridge the gaps in its own inventory. It is open to various buying and selling options that work on mutual satisfaction, and you can be assured to have your expectations met easily by the Apfelbaum family. The store has been buying and selling philatelic artifacts since 1910, which speaks volumes about its professional expertise. You will receive expert consultation and selling options for your stamp collections. With immediate cash payment, free stamp shipping, as well as free comprehensive appraisals, you get to enjoy the all-in-one convenience of appraising your stamps and selling them at their true worth.
The best way to sell your stamps is to join forces with professional philatelic firms, and Apfelbaum delivers services you can count on. To make sure that your inherited collection brings you the best returns, it helps to know all your available options regarding stamp auctioning, estate planning, and shipment processes. With Apfelbaum, you can make an outright sale, which is the fastest way to sell your stamps in a lucrative context. An appraiser will examine and evaluate your stamps before you choose to liquidate your collection. By enlisting the help of estate planning experts, you can determine the future of your prized possessions.
Mystic Stamp Company – Camden, New York
A competitive stamp dealer
Since its inception in 1923, the Mystic Stamp Company has been a major American stamp dealer. It works closely with philatelic groups such as the American Philatelic Society, the Philatelic Foundation, and Smithsonian National Postal Museum. With famous stamps that went down in history, including the Inverted Jenny, the Mystic initiative began from its founders’ passion for collecting and selling stamps as a hobby. It sells various US and worldwide stamps as well as philatelic accessories like albums and collecting kits.
Mystic’s Stamp ID service
At only $5 per philatelic item, Mystic’s Stamp ID service allows experts to analyze and identify a stamp or cover in your collection that has sparked your curiosity. If you are feeling inquisitive about your stamp’s origins, just contact Mystic’s experts online with a high-resolution scan of the stamp. They will get back to you with findings such as the issuing entity and Scott Catalogue number. These results are for stamp information alone; they do not address stamp authenticity and appraisal areas.
Sell your stamps
Mystic is a major buyer of all kinds of stamps as well as coins, and it is always looking to adapt its ever-growing inventory. You can sell your stamps in two ways: as a serious collector or as a casual collector (even a non-collector).
As a serious collector, you need to qualify for some professional philatelic roots in your collections. You could be a part of the APS firm or someone in your family might be an APS member. You might be an active member of the Scott Catalogue, or your inherited collection could have come from another serious collector. These aspects make you eligible to sell different types of stamps at Mystic. They include US stamps, specialized collections, foreign stamps, plate blocks, mint, and United Nations collections.
As a casual collector or even a non-collector, you can save a lot of time by contacting Mystic for helpful tips regarding your collections. This will help you determine if your stamps are actually worth selling or not. Since there is no professional source of acquisitions, you might have stumbled upon these stamps in garage sales, goodwill stores, attics, basements, etc. By organizing your findings into pre-1930 and modern stamps, the website helps you narrow down the treasure hunt for valuable stamps in your accidental possession.
“What travels around the world but stays in one corner? A stamp.”
People who have an affinity for these miniature pieces of art can step into a whole world of opportunities with their collections. Stamp collecting has proved to be a timeless hobby, connecting generations of like-minded philatelists. The accumulations rise in values over the years, especially if they are old and rare stamps in the bucket lists of worldwide collectors. Surviving through both the world wars and the Great Depression, stamp collecting is a truly invincible pursuit that traps such vast potential in its tiny little squares.
When it comes to selling stamps, you need to make sure that you work with verified and reliable firms that can appraise your collections and offer expert advice. A good starting point is to contact professional societies like the American Philatelic Society, as you really cannot go wrong under the supervision of authorized companies. Not only do they help you with stamp appraisals and current
evaluations, but they also contribute to making the best out of your selling plans by taking your stamps to auctions. In this way, you eliminate the chances of your stamps falling into the wrong hands. Dealer fraud and auction scandals have caused tremendous losses, and it is very important to recognize and avoid deceptive schemes. Since not everyone has the resources and knowledge to do so, it is best to enlist the help of professional firms as they also provide stamp insurance.
Many philatelists grew up collecting postage stamps as a childhood hobby. At some point as kids, we all wondered about how many stamps were needed on a letter. The good old days worked on a simple equation, the more the stamps + the bigger the collection = a richer you! For all Harry Potter fans, here is a shoutout to the iconic letter conclusion from Molly Weasley:
P.S. I do hope we’ve put enough stamps on.