Are you faced with selling a stamp collection and find yourself uncertain how to proceed? How you go about selling the stamps depends on how you acquired the collection. Is this a stamp collection that you inherited, or one that you created yourself? If you collected the stamps yourself, you probably have some idea what they are worth. Hopefully, you recorded the price of at least the upper value items, perhaps by writing it next to the stamps in the album. If you inherited the collection, however, your first step will be to determine the value of what you have.
- One way is to take the collection to a stamp dealer and let him appraise the collection prior to purchase according to the Scott Postage Stamp Catalogue. Be warned, the dealer will probably pay only 10% to 20% of the catalogue value. You will get your money right away, however.
- Many people are suspicious of this method of valuing a collection, because the dealer has on obvious interest in undervaluing the stamp collection. One solution is to hire a stamp appraiser, to whom you pay a fee. The appraiser will only appraise the collection, not purchase it, so the appraiser has no motive to undervalue.
- Another solution is to value the collection yourself. Most public libraries carry the Scott Postage Stamp Catalogue, which lists the value of each stamp, in either mint or used condition. By doing the work yourself, you get an accurate idea of the true value of your stamps before selling them.
Once you know what you own, you must decide how to sell it.
- If your stamp collection contains some very valuable items, consigning the valuable items to an auction house may be your best bet. The auction house will charge a commission of about 10%, but you will realize the full market value when selling the stamps. You can also sell the stamps directly to the auction house, and get your money immediately.
- Another method of selling stamps is to take the collection to a local stamp show and allow several dealers to examine it. You will get a number of bids and can select the highest. Also consider a local stamp club, where collectors may pay more for individual items than a dealer would. Online auctions such as eBay are another possible method of selling stamps.
Finally, are you sure that you want to sell the stamps? Stamp collecting is a wonderful and educational hobby to take up yourself or introduce to your children or grandchildren.