First of all I am new and I come with a clause upfront apologizing in advance for my lack of philatelic and technical knowledge. I need some advice pertaining to a collection in my posession. It originated out of Batavia NY and dates back to the 1800's. (This is verified through letters in envelopes that came with it.) There are four 3.25" x 18" boxes of stamps in glassine envelopes that are organized by county and number, There are three Green US Scott Albums (two of which are the same album) one of which is a US Scott Specialized Album and a Navy International Scott Album, several Modernized World Albums, and four small ring binders with blocks of used and mint stamps organized by countries etc. I knew nothing about stamp collecting until I started attempting to organize the last box of random stamps. There are multiples of every stamp in the collection even after taking out any damaged stamp. The previous owners took time and care with it that is for sure. My question is how do you choose which stamps to have PSE Certification done on when there are many that you believe the value would increase substantially when there are so many that you would go broke if you were to certify them all... This is probably a really dumb question for you guys but I really do need help figuring out which ones to have certified because the collection books are almost full and there are stamps in every single country and most of the stamps are from the late 1800's to 1980's. A lot of the countries do not exist anymore and it looks like I have some of the early stamps from these countries. I even have a few sheets where the stamps are on the actual paper that the stamp dealer sent the stamps to the collector on... It looks like they were attempting to put the hinged stamps into showguards whether the stamp was used or new. When I look online it would seem that the value of the collection would triple if I was to have PSE Certifications especially due to the extensive collection I am looking at. I understand appraisals and such but am not in an area where there are any collectors anywhere within 10 hour drive. This probably seems like a very stupid question to some of you but I am overwhelmed by the amounts of stamps that I am swimming in over here. I believe the need to learn patience and detail was the reason for my inheriting this collection. I have been working on it's organization for almost a year and a half and have learned quite a bit but it is a little hard to learn on my own without any guidance whatsoever.I understand the difference between common stamps and uncommon stamps. If I take out the majority of common stamps and go with the older stamps or the first stamps in the book for each country, I am still swimming in a vast amount of stamps that need certifications. The collection takes up three 12ft x 6ft work tables if I have it all out at once and there are multiples that are in equal condition. I think that the multiples are due to different collector adding throughout the years. There are at least 3 people from the same family that carried on the collection as well as a cousin according to letters that came with it. A lot of time and care went into it. So any advice would be greatly appreciated as I am a bit overwhelmed at the moment. Or if any one knows how I can go about getting it looked at even if I need to ship it somewhere to have it appraised recommendations would be appreciated as I am at a loss at where to go from here. I think I know what I am looking at but yet I have no earthly idea...and I don't want to waste my time or anyone else's but I need to know what I am looking at kinda thing. Okay thank you in advance and sorry for the dumb question...
A few thoughts. You need some parameters that when met trigger consideration for certification. Usually the primary consideration is "what is the catalog value of the stamp". You need to set a value above which it can be considered. Keep in mind that faults can quickly kill a catalog value. You also need to do some research and find out what similar items have sold for in order to check catalog value vs real market value. Ask yourself if a stamp that you have that has met your initial parameters really needs a cert to sell at it's full potential. How have other similar items been sold and how did they perform. In all of this I am speaking of US material because once you go beyond the US for certifications it becomes infinitely more complex. Canada is not too bad. You can use Greene. British Commonwealth material other than Canada can go to British based authentications. Beyond that it becomes much harder.
But if you are talking US we are back to parameters and creating a matrix which cert triggers.
The lions share of collections have very few to no certs. The serious collections, and many serious collectors are on this forum, might have many hundreds.
And then there is the topic of grading perhaps left for another time........
Welcome. Please be aware that while a stamp might be old it does not mean that it has a high value. If you could post about 10-12 representative images of the pages or stamps that you feel reflect the collection the community here will be better able to offer you some advice on how to proceed. Don
Collecting for the enjoyment of collecting, whatever that might be, is the name of the game. Don't hesitate to ask questions especially if you need basic information and especially more advanced sources of information for any possible topic. You should be able to find folks on this board a little further along on their collecting journey glad to share experiences. Russ
Certification is an expensive way to determine IF a stamp has value. Certification should be used to validate what you already know or think. As several have already commented, you need to isolate those stamps that you believe are valuable. I would suggest posting a few on this board, as you will find that often we WISH something that is not really true. I have had a few stamps that I called "outliers" that I couldn't identify because of perforation anomalies. Once posted on this board, simple explanations answered questions that I was tempted to have certified. I would have spent good money on several stamps that were only worth a few cents. Unless you are in a rush to liquidate, take your time and "enjoy the ride."
1) Make a list of every country represented in the collection. If you come across something from somewhere you can't identify (in a non-Latin alphabet), there's a free iOS app called Stamp Identifier that can probably help (you take a picture of the stamp and it matches based on appearance).
2) Do your best to organize by country. Having to hop back and forth between countries, flipping 200 pages at a time, is a PITA. There's a lot to be said for saying you've checked all the "A" countries.
3) Borrow one or more Scott catalogs from the library, or buy cheap at a used book store, or open a free account at stampworld.com . If you buy/borrow, it doesn't matter if the edition is a year old or twenty, you'll looking for "exceptions," those stamps or their variants that are listed for $50, $500, $5000, or more.
4) Figure out what your threshold is: since each PSE cert costs $20-$32 at a minimum, consider something pretty high, like $250 or more. No one care about a certified stamp that has a Scott value of $10, you waste your money getting that certified. Certification doesn't of itself make a stamp more valuable; it only removes (most of) the buyer's doubt about the genuineness of the stamp in question.
5) Now for the real work (fun?). Do your best to match each stamp in the collection with what's in the catalog or website. Doesn't have to be exact, countries often issues that seem identical but for perforations or color or watermark or paper type (for example, the "normal XYZ issue is worth $0.25 in orange but in orange-yellow is $5000"). Anything like that, or anything that might have real value regardless gets put aside for further consideration.
6) You'll quickly have a pile of stamps you can sell, if that's your intention. There's a few bucks to be made by selling consecutive runs by country, like "Ethiopia Sc #135-155, used" on eBay, for example. Honestly, odds are that 99.5% of the stamps will be in this pile.
7) What's left will be the "hopefuls." These will take a little time and patience, and perhaps some tools like a perforation gauge, watermark detector, and this forum, to suss out.
The most important thing to remember: the stamps aren't going anywhere. Don't stress about this. Spend 30-60 minutes a day if you can, it'll all get done.
I don't think your question is 'dumb,' Further, I think you are asking in a good place. None of us are here to take advantage of you now (unfortunately, yet). Some advice: GO SLOW - If / when you show any parts of the collection to someone else, watch to see which individual stamps they focus on, ostensibly at a major bargain since you don't yet have a sense of where the value lies. And, then don't sell them yet. You need to know more. DON'T DAMAGE or DEVALUE - it's too early to try to remove stamps from pages or, especially, from any covers. FIND A MENTOR - who doesn't have any interest contrary to yours, even if you have to pay for a few hours of his/her time. If you email me, I can refer you to one in Texas I have known for ~40 years. INSURE THE COLLECTION - You may well have a number of quite valuable stamps, although you almost certainly have a lot of very common stamps. I know you don't know the value, but for a small amount of money a year you can protect yourself at least to some extent. See the APS Insurance Program. Also, you may need to think about what you really want - you mentioned patience and also money. Do you want to sell it? Do you want to become a collector? ... a worldwide collector, a specific country collector, a specific topic collector, etc.
I believe the original poster is from Dalhart, Texas, and NOT Dallas as suggested in an earlier post.
Dalhart is in the northwest corner of the Texas Panhandle, not all that far from where I grew up. He is correct that there are no dealers within a ten hour drive. When I lived there, we used to say we were centrally located, and "500 miles from anywhere important".
I second the comments by "APS-ISWSC Member".
Take it slow. Educate yourself. Go to your local library and see if they have an edition of the Scott Catalog you can check out. If not, consider buying an older Scott Catalog on eBay. It can be 5-10-20 years old. You are interested in identification, not value. A 25c stamp in a 1990 catalog is still a 25c stamp. A $25 stamp in a 1990 catalog is probably worth more today, but in each instance, the catalog value is not absolute, and really more closely reflects what you might pay, not what you can sell it for.
Start with one country. The United States is a great place to start, and you would be familiar with the language and most of the topics represented on the stamps.
Go to the Stamp Smarter website, and read their various tutorials on terminology, how to use the tools, and how to identify stamps.
I was unable to determine if there was still and active stamp club in Amarillo (it was the Golden Spread stamp club) or Lubbock (the South Plains stamp club), so it appears these are now inactive. That is unfortunate, because an hour with an experienced collector would be worth a day of working on your own.
Use your phone and take pictures of a group pages from the earlier years, which will give us a better idea of what you are having to deal with. Don't make us guess.
The odds are that you have an intermediate level collection with the possibility of some better material. It is unlikely that you would have a large number of stamps of the caliber that would warrant certificates. Focus on identifying what you have. Start with the pre-1900 material and that should give you an idea of what you have, as that is where the value would most likely be found.
Once you have spent some time learning and identifying your stamps, if you find items that you cannot identify, please post them here with GOOD photographs (preferably scans if possible) one stamp per picture, TOGETHER with your analysis of what you think you have, or why you cannot decide between two different catalog entries. There are people on this Forum who are essentially experts on everything, and someone can help you identify what you have and how they made that identification.
Thank you guys so much for being so very nice and for the advice. I have direction now. I appreciate you all being so supportive. I am uploading a few pictures of some of the stamps. If I uploaded these wrong I am sorry I apologize as my son is not here to help me do this. Sorry to bombard you all with images...Hope I did this right.
Okay Let me know what you think... or if you want pictures of any of these dead countries or if you are looking for anything in particular I will see if I have it and send you a picture of it or whatever. Thank you all for the help. I also have washingtons with grill's on the back they are the three cent in a envelope like the ones in the canada pitcure. I can't figure out if the points are up or down in those so if I get a chance to upload them I will do so if you all do not mind taking a look at those and helping me figure out if they are points up and down. My eyes are not all that good from an car wreck that causes temporary blindness on occasion and my son is off to college soooo....lol THANK YOU ALL VERY VERY VERY MUCH. I'd like to do the original collectors justice by putting the rest in the correct spots at the very least.
I see three pictures with British stamps. Unfortunately, the pictures are too small and unclear to see details.
At the bottom of the sixth pictures are some Penny Reds. The picture is not good enough to see whether these are "stars" (i.e., with stars in the top corners as the one in the seventh picture) or with letters in all four corners. Ï cannot even see if all are perforated or whether there are some imperforates. If they have letters in all four corners, they will not have high monetary value, unless you have a variety or a very rare plate.
The seventh pictures has what looks like a very nice example of a perforated Penny Red "Stars." Depending on the type, perforation gauge and plate from which it may bring you a couple of dollars or a nice extra. However, unless you are incredibly lucky, it is unlikely to pay for a celebratory meal for one.
There is a page of British stamps in the eleventh picture. These come in shades, from different printers, some with different watermarks and some also from different dies. At a first glance, the stamps that are there appear to be among the cheap ones. One or two of the Jubilees look like the colour has faded. The cancels appear on the heavy side. Without having a close look, my impression is that this was collected by someone who picked up an occasional stamp that was not "too bad." I do not expect they will bring you more than a few dollars.
I suspect that having more than one British stamp expertised might cost you more than they will ever generate. Best to do is to find a collector with knowledge of the Penny Reds who can tell you which they are: there are an incredible number of different stamps catalogued with their own full number by Stanley Gibbons, but in most pre-printed albums, you may not find more than a handful of them. Consequently, only few people will want to pay for the exact variety and classify them as a basic variety. Only specialist collectors will pay extra.