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I Was Given A Bunch Of Loose Stamps That Had Been In A Flood. . . Are They Worth Trying To Save?

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Posted 05/10/2022   8:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Mrealru to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
When I was a kid, I helped an old man clean out an old barn. I contained a life time of collected junk. Close to the bottom of the pile was an old trunk. I was told it had been in a flood at some point but might still have something of value in it and that I ought to save it. I took it home and examined the contents. Among other things were bundles of letters, papers and stamps wrapped in old newspaper and tied with string. I didn't think much of it at the time and put it up in the attic at my folks' home. My father died many years ago and my mother passed last year. Cleaning out their home I found the long forgotten trunk and brought it home. On closer inspection it contains thousands of postage stamps stuck together from the flood I imagine. The news paper they are wrapped in appears to be from the early 1900's or about the time of WW1. I soaked a few bundles in water and was able to separate the mass of stuck together stamps. Attached are images of some of those stamps. I bought a few stamp books/holders on line to help organize them. My question is this. . . What is shown in the pictures is a drop in the bucket of what's there. Does anything there look interesting enough to warrant the time and effort to try to recover them? Sorry about the poor quality of the images. I'm an old school guy trying to learn all this new technology.


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Posted 05/10/2022   8:31 pm  Show Profile Check jamesg's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add jamesg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Well, to a stamp collector it would be worth it. It may be worthwhile from a selling point of view, though not much 'appears' to be terribly valuable individually, collectively you have some value there. We can't see enough details in those pictures of the items that 'might' have a bit more value (grills for instance).

Some of that pictured above appears 'damaged' and don't know if that was from recovery effort or prior state of the item, but you need to be extremely careful in your recovery effort not to cause any damage (reducing the value considerably).
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Posted 05/10/2022   8:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Willwood42 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Definitely worth trying to save. You will need to post individual photos of some of the stamps for the early US experts to weigh in on what you have. When they do they will let you know which stamps to post individual photos
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Edited by Willwood42 - 05/10/2022 8:34 pm
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Posted 05/10/2022   9:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The short answer is yes, it is worth the time and effort to salvage and preserve the stamps AND covers (the envelopes the letters came in). Before proceeding further, you should take the time to read up on best practices for saving the material. The search function of this forum will return excellent information on that topic. If there are indeed thousands of stamps of the same vintage, you really have something special there. A genuine barn find!
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Posted 05/10/2022   9:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Philazilla to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There is absolutely real value there. If this is just a representative small sampling, you have at least a few hundred dollars and possibly more. Condition matters, and it is impossible to say if you have any of the more valuable varieties.
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Posted 05/11/2022   05:49 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Mrealru to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks to everyone that responded or have taken any interest at all. I would like to explain what I meant by "being worth it". I doubt very much that there is anything of significant monetary value. I certainly don't expect to find the "holy grail" of stamps. Some things can't be measured in terms of dollars and cents. I consider my time to be one of those things. If money was the main compensation I would put everything back in the trunk and leave it for someone else. I don't think there is enough monetary value to off set the value of my time I have already spent on them if money was the goal. I don't really want to be a stamp dealer. However, there are a lot of stamps of the same issue. Ten, Twenty, Fifty even. One hundred, one twenty and even one hundred and fifty years old. Are these stamps in abundant supply? Is there any way to donate groups of stamps to this forum? Or offer them to members for free? Maybe help young collectors? I would consider that worth while.
There was something said about a "grill"? I'm afraid I don't know what that is. Is it some kind of cancelation? Can any one suggest a good website to learn about them?


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Posted 05/11/2022   09:51 am  Show Profile Check jamesg's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add jamesg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If you want to take the time to learn and collect, a great learning resource is the Stamp Smarter Philatelic Learning Center website (http://www.stampsmarter.com), created by one of the members here.

If you just want to give them a home, I'm sure any number of us would be interested. If you were to do that, In fairness, I'd give them away in 50 or 100 stamp random lots or something.

Since 'new' users are not allowed to sell anything here, if you want to sell them, you'd be better off asking who here is an experienced eBay seller and would be able to take them on consignment for sale. I don't know what they charge for the service but several here do take consignments. Selling on your own would be quite a challenge.
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Posted 05/11/2022   12:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wkusau to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You will need 50 quality posts before you can use the email system of this site so you cannot get emails or addresses or such for sending giveaways yet. You can get lots of general to specific info on your stamps, like this, through comments. You can look at the giveaway/quiz category to see what others have done.
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Posted 05/11/2022   1:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Just_fella to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
That would be a sweet give away, I'm sure lots of people would enter for the chance to win those.
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Posted 05/12/2022   02:00 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Philazilla to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Grills are grids of small punctures that were applied to mint stamps in an attempt to make it harder to reuse stamps. Check your older, slightly larger stamps for them - looks like a stamp was pressed in a mini-waffle iron. Grills were not used after the 1880s. Grilled stamps often have a higher catalog value (usually not a lot more, but it depends on the stamp, and some rarities are stamps with certain grills - google "franklin z-grill" - zero chance you have one, but interesting to know about).
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Posted 05/12/2022   02:27 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Welcome.
You can learn more about grills here https://stampsmarter.org/learning/I...8Grills.html
You can identify your stamps here https://stampsmarter.org/1847usa/1847Home.html
Don
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Posted 05/12/2022   07:06 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Mrealru to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks again for taking the time and interest to comment. More and more I'm starting to believe that this was not a "collection". . . it was "inventory". There are simply too many of too many types to be a collection. Or do collectors typically have dozens or hundreds of the same stamp? I followed some suggestions and links to do some research. I must admit, it really is quite interesting and I'm beginning to understand the popularity of collecting. I followed up on a comment about "grills" for example. What a subtle feature they are. At first I thought I would surely have noticed something like that and didn't spend much time or effort looking. Having given up the search, just by chance, I dropped my tweezers. I bent down to pick them up and as I straightened back up I looked across the table top and caught a side view of some stamps and noticed a pattern in the shadows. AhHa! It was a grill. Very faint and easily over looked. I think I was looking for something completely different. Now that I know what to look for. . . they're all over! I will try to take some pictures of individual stamps and post them. Bare with me as I learn how to move into the digital world. (I actually have cameras that take film, that's how old I am. Lol) I will continue to post images of multiple stamps just to convey the quantity. A lot of stamps without perforations from other countries are starting to surface. Lots from England, Newfoundland, Saint What's his name, Canada, Germanic areas, etc. I'm assuming that stamps with out perforations tend to be older. Also starting to find Internal Revenue, postage due, special delivery, war department, dept. of the interior, etc.



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Posted 05/12/2022   08:18 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Mrealru,

Can we see a few example images of the covers?

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
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Posted 05/12/2022   09:53 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NicholasC to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I think what you were given is absolutely awesome, no matter the condition or monetary value. I can't wait to see more pictures!
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Posted 05/12/2022   10:33 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Just_fella to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
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Posted 05/12/2022   1:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jleb1979 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
That is some find!

You say you do not want to become a stamp dealer, but perhaps the stamps have chosen you?!

One approach you might consider is to locate the nearest stamp club and see if someone there might just help you continue to sort them, although it appears you have done rather well thus far for a non-collector.

Some of the stamps you show were quite common and are still around in the tens or hundreds of thousands so would ordinarily not be financially valuable beyond a few dollars each if in decent condition. But there can be small variations, say in the grill, which could mean a given stamp is worth $20, $50 or $100 on the market. And you also show at least a couple stamps which were cancelled with "fancy cancels" and those can vary widely depending on how well and completely struck the cancel was on the stamp.

So to spare your time, I suggest getting some disinterested help sorting and then some advice on what to do with various tranches of your hoard. We can help here, but our collective wisdom would best be applied if it were broken up into discrete chunks, which could then be shown with fairly large front and back photos, etc. You are definitely on the right track with showing your grills - several of them are imaged clear as day.




Meantime - if anything is on an envelope - leave it be.
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