Category: Company News

Valuing stamps

We are valuing stamps on a daily basis and understandably, for many, their value is a mystery.  The majority of these collections were started as a child’s hobby and generally are very mixed and of low value but just occasionally we come across collections assembled with great care and at great expense by serious stamp collectors.

We were recently instructed to sell one such collection following our previous probate valuation. It would appear the small but perfectly formed collection of GB early issue stamps were assembled as an alternative investment like gold or stocks and shares. Expectations for the collection is in the region of £20,000.

So what should one look out for if you have recently inherited a collection.

  1. Penny Black – The Pioneer:

No discussion about British stamps is complete without mentioning the iconic Penny Black. Released on May 1, 1840, the Penny Black holds the distinction of being the world’s first adhesive postage stamp. Featuring a profile of Queen Victoria, the stamp revolutionized postal systems and became a symbol of the Victorian era. Due to its historical significance and rarity, the Penny Black is highly coveted by collectors, with well-preserved specimens with clear margins commanding substantial prices in the market. Pairs and multiples generally command a higher price.

  1. Two Pence Blue – A Companion to the Penny Black:

Hot on the heels of the Penny Black, the Two Pence Blue was introduced as a companion stamp. Issued in the same year, 1840, this stamp shares similar design elements but is distinguished by its blue colour. While not as famous as its counterpart, the Two Pence Blue is equally valuable and cherished by collectors. Variations in printing plates and shades contribute to the stamp’s allure, making it a fascinating area of study for philatelists. Again condition is crucial.

  1. The “Inverted Watermark” Errors:

One of the intriguing aspects of British stamp collecting is the presence of printing errors that add rarity and value to certain stamps. The “Inverted Watermark” errors on early British stamps, such as the King George V Seahorses series, have become legendary among collectors. These errors occur when the watermark, usually a crown or emblem, is inverted in relation to the intended orientation. The rarity of such errors makes them highly prized by enthusiasts.

  1. King Edward VII “Cancelled to Order” Stamps:

During the reign of King Edward VII (1901-1910), some stamps were specially overprinted with “Cancelled to Order” (CTO) markings. These stamps were not used for postal purposes but were created for collectors. While some purists may overlook CTO stamps, they have gained a significant following among collectors who appreciate their unique history and the challenge of finding well-preserved specimens.

5. Rarity and scarcity:

Rarity is a defining factor in the value of stamps, and high-value British stamps are often characterized by their scarcity. Whether due to limited print runs, errors in production, or variations in design, stamps that are hard to come by pique the interest of collectors. Errors, such as inverted watermarks or color variations, add an element of intrigue, making these stamps highly sought after by those who relish the challenge of building a rare and unique collection. Many collectors prefer mint stamps which are preferably unmounted.

6. Condition:

The condition of a stamp plays a crucial role in determining its value. Collectors seek specimens that have been meticulously preserved, maintaining their original colours and details. British stamps in pristine, unused condition not only showcase the care taken by previous collectors but also enhance the aesthetic appeal of these miniature works of art.

7. High face value stamps:

High face value, early British stamps, in unmounted mint condition have emerged as intriguing investment opportunities. As the stamp market continues to evolve, some stamps have demonstrated significant appreciation in value over the years. This dual appeal as both collectibles and potential financial assets attracts a diverse range of enthusiasts, including those with an eye for alternative investments.

Conclusion:

British stamps represent more than mere postage; they encapsulate the rich history, culture, and artistic achievements of the United Kingdom. For collectors, these stamps are not just pieces of paper but tangible connections to a bygone era. Whether driven by historical significance, rarity, or investment potential, collectors are drawn to the allure of high-value British stamps, each bearing a unique story waiting to be discovered and cherished for generations to come.

So if you have a collection and require a professional, independent valuation don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

 

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