How to Determine a Stamp’s Value

An uncommon stamp is more valuable than an ordinary one. The stamp may be uncommon because it was printed with an error or because it is old and there are not many left.

A stamp’s condition affects its value. Usually, a stamp that has never been used and is in “mint” condition is more valuable than the same stamp that has been used. Keep your stamps in a condition as close to “mint” as possible.

The color: The color of the stamp should be bright. Fading can be caused by sunlight, artificial light, dirt, pollution, and natural skin oils.

The cancellation: For a used stamp, the lighter the cancellation, the better. The cancellation mark (which a postal service makes on a stamp to show that it has already been used) should not blot or cover the stamp design.

Centering: Is the stamp centered inside the white perforation border? The more centered, the better.

The paper: The stamp should not be torn or damaged. All perforations (the small holes on the stamp’s edges) should be complete. The stamp should not be creased or wrinkled.

The gum: The gum, or dry adhesive on the back of the stamp, should be as perfect as possible. Hinges can damage the back of the stamp. Light hinging is good; heavy hinging (caused by too much licking and sticking) is bad.

Did You Know?

Occasionally, an old, used stamp on an envelope with a special cancellation is worth more than the same stamp unused.