Stamp identification is crucial in knowing the value of old postage stamps. Look up your old stamps in a stamp catalogue.

How to find the value of old stamps?

Determine the centering. Centering is the first step in determining the stamp grade. Here you can see if the old postal stamp’s design is balanced in relation to the other parts of the stamp such as the margin and the vignette. Centering is a factor that determines the stamp grade.

There is no established system for grading the stamp’s center, so naturally it is done through eyeballing, a technique to see if stamp is centered by turning it upside down. When you look at the stamp in an inverted manner, your eyes will only focus on the stamp’s main design. As a result, you can impartially asses the stamp’s centering.

Study the condition or grade. The stamp condition or grade is one of the most important factors in determining the value of your old stamp. As mentioned earlier, the stamp grade refers to the how the stamp design was centered inside the stamp margin. Postage stamps are graded as extremely fine, very fine, fine, good, average, fair, and below average.

The old stamp value decreases when there is a missing or short perforation teeth, tears and creases on the stamp paper, faded stamp design, and so on.

Give attention to gum. The stamp gum is the glue found on the backside of a stamp. An extremely fine or mint postage stamps has a perfect gum that is still original and intact. The stamp does not have gum skips or heavy natural gum creases.

Stamp collectors pay a high price for old postage stamps with a mint gum. However, if the old postage stamp is unused but it was affixed onto a stamp album using a stamp hinge, its value will still decrease. Stamp hinges damage the stamp gum. Philatelists classify the gum of old stamps as used, unused, and used, never hinged.

Note the degree of cancellation. Stamp cancellation is a method of applying a marking on a stamp to indicate it is already used.

Old canceled stamps can either be lightly cancelled, wherein the main design of the stamp is visible and moderately cancelled; or heavily cancelled, the main design is barely visible and the cancel is dark. Heavy cancellation marks lessens the value of old postage stamps compared to stamps with light cancel marks.

Value of old rare stampsDetermine the perforation condition. Stamp perforations are circular holes punched onto a printed stamp to facilitate its separation from other surrounding stamps on a sheet. Perfs vary in size and number, but all should have full teeth and clean holes. Stamp perforations are measured using a stamp perforation gauge.

Know the stamp age and material. Every collector loves a stamp with a colorful history. The origin of the old postage stamp can simply tell what period the stamp was produced, where it was manufactured, and the type of material used.

Aside from an excellent stamp and grade, the value of old postage stamps will greatly increase if the stamps have a traceable history. These factors make vintage stamps highly desirable to stamp collectors. That is why there are philatelists who specialize in sea mail collecting because most of these old stamps have exciting stories to tell.


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