Buying A Postage Stamp Collection

Buying A Postage Stamp Collection:


Buying a postage stamp collection is a difficult task. There are many hurdles and risks involved on both the seller’s and buyer’s side. As a stamp business owner, I regularly engage in these transactions and it is critical to follow steps to help mitigate risk. The first hurdle is to ask many questions so I am completely informed about the type of material being presented.

Quite a few sellers are not sure of the value and tend to think they have much more then they are actually holding. The age of most stamps in most typical stamp collecting albums will most likely contain stamps that are 100+ years old. By not knowing the history of postage stamps, they will automatically assume they have a huge value based on their age.

Many sellers will also consider 1000 stamps to be a large collection, while most dealers consider a large collection to contain 100,000 stamps and more. Here are some of the biggest hurdles when buying a postage stamp collection from certain sellers.

1. Buying a piece of someone’s heart: A lot of collectors started collecting stamps at a very young age. While most stopped after awhile, many continued the hobby for the next 40, 50 and even 60 years in some cases. Most of the time they are forced to sell due to the lack of interest from their children and grandchildren. As I spend time looking through their material, they will speak very passionate about their treasure and clearly have a strong connection to what I am about to buy from them.  When it comes to making an offer on a stamp collection, no matter how fair the offer is, it is much less than what its sentimental value is to the owner. 

2. The inheritance and resulting guilt that follows: Although many spouses or children of the collector never had an interest in stamp collecting. After the collector has passed, the collection always means much much more to them. Losing some one you have loved for decades is already painful and difficult, and selling their collection is much like losing a big piece of them. They speak about how their loved ones would be in their room for hours each night placing stamps in albums, going to shows or just sitting at the table reading the latest edition of Linn’s Stamp news magazine. These sellers know how much the collection meant to that loved one making it very uncomfortable to walk away with the collection.

3. A seller not knowing the market value:  If the seller is unaware of the changes in the stamp market over the past 15 years, then this is a hurdle that can interfere with a deal before it even begins. most collectors did most of their accumulating prior to the market changes, so this can be a common issue. Although there are still approximately 5 million collectors in the U.S alone, that number continues to drop each year having an impact on the stamp market. Among many other sophisticated aspects in buying, most sellers are elders that have never made it onto the worldwide web. Since most of the buying and selling is done online, it leaves them with misguided price guides that mean nothing if you don’t know the current market.

4. The way someone perceives a collection: Buying a postage stamp collection is not like buying anything else. While a medium size collection contains 40 to 70 thousand stamps, some collectors accumulate up to a quarter million stamps and more. Sellers do not understand that most stamps are common and only a fraction tend to make up most of the value in a collection. When a buyer is flipping through the pages pretty fast and not observing every single stamp, it can leave a bad impression on the seller. However, we do know exactly what to look for and where to look for certain types of material that make a stamp collection valuable.


5. Making an accurate offer: After many years of buying stamp collections, the one technique that can take the longest to learn is how to make an accurate offer. For example, like everything that gets appraised it is very rare that you get exactly what the appraisal states; sometimes it’s higher sometimes it can be lower. When viewing a collection there is always a price range for what a buyer can resell the material for. When viewing material sold online you will always see the same item selling for many different prices depending on the day. Making an offer in the middle is always the fairest and safest route to take.

The complexities that are involved in amassing a major stamp collection can never be diminished. This very fact make each and every stamp transaction unique. That is why it is critical to be aware of the obstacles mentioned above. Being aware of these hurdles can lead to a successful outcome that leave both parties happy.

Buying A Postage Stamp Collection- Nick’s Stamps All Rights Reserved.

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I found my first stamp collection 13 years ago at a Salvation Army in San Diego and I was hooked from day one! I began to amass more collections and spent a few years researching the stamp market.I started advertising and making offers on stamp collections.

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  1. Very good article Nick! Thanks for writing it.

  2. Good information. Talking to a dealer at a stamps show about my rather large (91k foreign in 30 Minkus Global binders), he said that those types of collections usually get ‘parted out’ by country. How discouraging. I guess one of my kids (neither are philatelists) will inherit my collection. I’d hate to see that kind of a set of albums torn apart. So what they do with the collection after I’m dead and gone . . . .

    Stamps count doesn’t include any of my US (singles, plt blks, or sheets). So I guess I must have a large collection?

  3. If I want to buy or exchange to stamps than what should be the option ? ? ?

    • It depends on where you live and what type of material you are looking to buy or exchange. A good place to always find great deals online is Ebay.

  4. i miss this hobby, i started collecting stamp when i was 14 and up to now my 7 albums still alive bt i wasnt able to update for 5 years. best to buy stamps is at the post office for locals and exchange or buy it through friends for international stamps…

  5. I have stamps 100 years ago, from Peru. Its a hobby, but my collection is not big.

  6. max estorez

    i have us stamps date 1856 to 2000 most are mints and some are used
    scott books value is $ 9.085 i sell for $7.000,ibe not lower $6.500
    email if you are ok thanks max

  7. Mundonna Naghavi

    You have a very interesting great buying stamp website.are you located in San diego?do you have a place there were people can buy and sell stamps?

  8. Dawn Bailey

    Hi. I live in San Diego county as well. I have my fathers stamp collection. He has been gone now for 10 years. I’m not sure what to do with them or how to determine their value. Appreciate your feedback

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