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Any US Stamp collectors here? (Question?)

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posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 12:08 PM
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When I was a kid, Mom bought me a stamp collecting book at some garage sale. It was this great big thing, two volumes, with stamps from all over the world. There was this company which sold updates to it (Harris, maybe?). Anyway, I got into it for a little while, but soon learned that most of the international stamps weren't really worth anything. So it was kind of futile. US stamps interested me more (this was in the 70's).

At the same time, Mom's best friend started collecting US stamps, and over time became very interested in the hobby. She didn't have children, so I was always 'the son she never had' and she'd mentor me. While I collected mostly used stamps, she collected mint stamps. Over time her skills and her collection improved (as did her collecting style). She got to where she would get full rolls of all newly issued coil stamps and whole sheets of every new stamp. Every one issued. Over time she developed a relationship with a local postmaster who was also a stamp collector who would notify her whenever a new stamp was to be issued. She also got into collecting what were known as "First Day covers" (which goes beyond the scope of this post). Soon she had relationships with some very well known stamp collecting houses. By the time I was in high school, I'd pretty much lost interest in my meager / worthless collection.

Over the years she began to go backwards in time with her collection, buying older stamps (also mint). During this time she also got into collecting Japanese stamps as well (exquisite and valuable also). This went on for forty+ years. In the late 90's with the advent of the self-adhesive stamps she began to lose interest and eventually gave it up. But here's the thing...

The collection she amassed during her time collecting amounts to essentially every single US stamp ever minted dating all the way back to July 1, 1847...all mint, up to the point where she quit (roughly '99)! (WOW...I know!). July 1847 was the very first official US national stamp. Her collection is MAGNIFICENT! There is only one stamp missing, and technically it's not "missing", it was a misprint, and this is the mythical and legendary May 10th, 1918 .24 cent stamp known as the "inverted Jenny" (or "Upside Down Jenny"). (Only one is known to exist, of the 100 printed). She has the correct Jenny, but not the misprint.

As I've noted, her collection is absolutely STAGGERING! To me, it borders on mind-blowing! All of the stamps are kept in UV resistant glass-line holders in this exotic album. The album is now kept in a bank vault, rarely ever to be seen.

My question is this...what is the approximate worth of such a collection? Her husband has long since passed away. Some relatives will eventually have to part with it in order to ensure her care is paid for. I completely understand they will have to have it officially appraised by a professional, but I'm just trying to get an idea of even how to even begin discussions, and with whom. They don't know if they should start with attorneys (and armed guards), or if they should even attempt to move the item from its storage to show it to anyone.

Can anyone hazard a guess as to the value?

P.S. There's one more thing; she's very tight lipped about her collection with anyone but myself. Apparently, over the decades I was the only one who ever visited her regularly and showed interest. Now her distant family is VERY interested in this collection. I'm not sure what she's got in mind, but there is a distant possibility I might be in for a surprise (although I could never accept such a thing, given the choice).




edit on 8/21/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 12:37 PM
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My grandmother had philately and Numismatics collections, in her time they use to sell catalog with reference prices of the latest auctions, i recommend getting one of those books, catalog the collection and taking scans of the best few you can find there (best in price), then contact an auction house and send the scans.

if the collection got crazy stuff try to sell in NY London or Switzerland. one of Venezuela stamps from 1800 something sold for 800k in Germany this year
, US stuf must be more collectible.



posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 01:55 PM
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It's impossible to give you a value without someone looking at the stamps. Some stamps that look identical could have a certain perforation difference that turns it from a $2 stamp into a $2000 dollar stamp. You'd have to get a perforation gauge, several volumes of the Scott catalogues, and a decent magnifying glass.

If she has a Scott 594, which is a green Franklin 1 cent with a perf 10 on the top or bottom it could be worth tens of thousands of dollars. Just a slight variation of perforation, color, or design can change the value of stamps in an incredible way.
edit on 21-8-2016 by DirtyPete because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 02:37 PM
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It's like DirtyPete said, you'd really have to know the grades to get the values. You say that she has mint condition stamps, but that word gets thrown around a lot. If she really has all the stamps going back to 1847, well... those 1847 stamps could fetch hundreds or even thousands of dollars. And she has multiple of all of them? You could be looking at quite a bit of value, or you could be looking at next to nothing depending on what the condition really is. Still, if you have tons of them, even those only worth a few bucks or hey... 25 bucks... still could be worth a bit. I can tell you that pretty much any of those from the 1800's, if they're really in REAL mint condition, they're going to be worth money. Anything later than... even like... the 30's... even for mint aren't going to be worth much. Unless it's something rare or some kind of misprint or something like that. Still. You should probably have someone look at it, maybe just to insure the collection.



posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 02:49 PM
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a reply to: DirtyPete

Well, just humor me.

She knew what she was doing. She was a very critical, meticulous and scrutinizing pro. She would examine every stamp, including putting them in this solution to determine all the adhesive was intact and there were no cancellation marks. She wouldn't purchase a stamp just to get it, she would pass up a certain stamp for years before finding the best possible example. She dealt with only high end, very well respected, dealers in philatelic. She travelled the country to private sellers and dealers.

She had the collection evaluated for insurance purposes back in the mid to late 80's when it was far from complete and the value then was around $385,000. I've got to believe this collection is presently worth upwards of $1m now. Possibly more.



posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 03:26 PM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: DirtyPete

Well, just humor me.

She knew what she was doing. She was a very critical, meticulous and scrutinizing pro. She would examine every stamp, including putting them in this solution to determine all the adhesive was intact and there were no cancellation marks. She wouldn't purchase a stamp just to get it, she would pass up a certain stamp for years before finding the best possible example. She dealt with only high end, very well respected, dealers in philatelic. She travelled the country to private sellers and dealers.

She had the collection evaluated for insurance purposes back in the mid to late 80's when it was far from complete and the value then was around $385,000. I've got to believe this collection is presently worth upwards of $1m now. Possibly more.







I'll be honest, I'm not a veteran stamp collector. I just recently got into it because I have my grandpas stamp collection to look through. Unfortunately I've read articles that since the 80's the value of stamps has actually decreased for some reason - but that was one article so don't hold me to it.

Based on what you're saying she must have some real gems in there. If you've got mint never hinged stamps from the 1800's with original gum, you might want to invest in sending them away to get graded.

If they've already been appraised at what you say, insurance might be a good idea. I'm a noob through, just giving you my perspective having been studying it for the past few months.

If she's got them labeled with the Scott #'s it will make it a little easier for you to identify their worth - but I'm not at the point where I could accurately grade a stamp myself and the amount of information out there is staggering.



posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 06:10 PM
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NONE of these stamps have EVER been hinged...EVER!

That's a HUGE detractor of value!! These are amazing specimens! In fact, this was one of the big reasons she would use this special liquid stamp solution to determine if they'd ever been hinged. These are all pure mint, perforations and all. In fact, she had this special ruler where she would measure the perforations with a magnifying glass. I don't know all the ins and outs, but she knew what she was doing (BIG time!).

She's got stacks of Scott's catalogs, every page worn thin...this is an EXQUISITE collection!



posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 06:27 PM
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I have to say I believe you now. I was skeptical at first given that, as I said, a lot of people would use the word mint without realizing there is a lot more to it than just looking pretty good. Based on the amount it was insured for before though, I'd have to believe the quality really is amazingly high, along with the sheer amount of stamps. It sounds amazing. Do you have some kind of file or anything with the numbers? Which stamps and how many? I couldn't tell you a realistic value, but I'd still love to see it.

You could probably use the previous insurance number as a good estimation. It's like Pete said though, a collection like that doesn't always go up in value. It does seem kind of strange, but it's true. It's unlikely it would have gone down though simply because it has been so long since it was insured. That doesn't mean it has gone up. One other thing I would like to mention though is that if you're looking to sell... the 'value' that you have get for insurance isn't always what you could sell it for. In fact, I'd say that usually the insurance is more, even much more.

I know I have experienced such a thing when it comes to my coins and have some friends that have tried to sell things. The 'value' of the item, what everyone says it is worth, isn't always what someone will offer for it. Sometimes not even close. You'd think that would be the real worth of the item then, but usually people go with the highest number and that isn't what you're likely to get in the real world... if that makes any sense.



posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 08:10 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I'd love to see some pictures of the earlier Scott #'s if you ever feel so inclined. I'm a noob like I said so I can't give you any accurate appraisals - but I'm interested.

stampcommunity.org is a great resource as well, or the philately subreddit.



posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 08:18 PM
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a reply to: DirtyPete

Exactly. I'd love to see some photos of the collection if he has them. It sounds pretty amazing.



posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 09:06 PM
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I am actually traveling to go see Mom later this week. I will also see her best friend. I might be able to get a chance to take some pictures, but obviously taking complete photos would take hundreds of pictures (just to photograph the pages even).

Yes, the numbers of the stamps are all indexed and cataloged. Hopefully I can get a listing of that at least. I will see what I can do. It is complete though.

I remember looking through it one time trying to pick out some of my favorites. Although not worth tens of thousands, I'd have to say one of my favorites is the 1930's Graf Zeppelin series. Her collection is not just individual stamps; in most cases she has the "plate blocks" of each stamp, so it's usually a group of (6) or so stamps including the margin with the serial numbers. The other of my favorites is a three way tie between the 1898 Trans-Mississippi issue (that black $1 stamp with the bull just gives me chills!), the 1934 National Parks issue and the 1893 Columbian issue. Just to see the engraving and the deep color hues of these stamps is amazing!

P.S. I was just looking at some values, and some of her earlier stamps are worth upwards of $200k EACH! HOLY CRAP!! I had NO idea!! Her 1869 Columbus stamp (though not much to look at) is worth $275,000!! Just for a single stamp!!



Jeezus, I had absolutely NO IDEA what some of these things were worth!! No wonder her distant family all of a sudden became so interested!!!! Somehow I can hear the flapping wings of large black unfeathered neck birds overhead!!

edit...please don't get me wrong, she spent a great deal of money amassing this collection, certainly in the hundreds of thousands (all told), but WOW...I just had NO IDEA!!


edit on 8/21/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 09:22 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I have no doubts her collection Is fantastic from what you e said, but be aware that those super high value stamps usually have very specific things that make them so rare.

Like I mentioned before, Scott #594 looks like a very common 1c green Franklin, same design, but the perforations on one side is very slightly different - a difference you can't see with the naked eye - and a used one went in auction for $160,000. I've got pages of stamps that look identical - but I haven't gotten a perf gauge to see if I hit he lottery yet haha.

Just saying, finding those extremely high value stamps is more complicated than just seeing what it looks like.



posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 09:55 PM
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a reply to: DirtyPete

That's what the ruler was she had! A "perforation guage". I remember it now, it had all these dots and lines on it. It was this busy looking little ruler. She actually had two of them. One of them looked more like some specialty ruler and was stainless steel, the other one was clear.

Yes, I totally agree about assuming things in terms of value. I was just curious what something like this might be worth.

It could be worth nothing...but I highly doubt it! I know she paid a couple thousand for the Graf Zeppelin set alone, and this was 30+ years ago!



posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 10:11 PM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

She might have things that haven't even been discovered and put in the Scott catalogues yet, they're always finding new crazy things in stamps and amending the catalogue.

I feel like the worst thing that could happen is someone in the family getting a hold of it and just selling it off in bulk to someone who offers a few hundred grand - because like you said there's a possibility there's a few stamps worth that alone.

Best bet is to learn as much as possible and make it a new hobby! I've got a pretty massive collection I'm trying to get through right now but it's definitely not anything like the one you're describing.

I'd love to have those stamps to research!



posted on Aug, 21 2016 @ 10:23 PM
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She was real meticulous. She never went out just looking for 'stamps' in general. She would go out in search of a specific stamp or set, and she would look at hundreds (or more) of that particular stamp before she would buy one. It was like she was on a mission. I guess she was on a mission really. She would have a specific stamp in mind she wanted to add to her collection, and she would scour the stamp collecting world to find exactly the stamp she was looking for, including quality, condition and whatever else a true collector looks for.

Then she would move on to her next quest.



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