Stamp inheritance

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jojay
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Stamp inheritance

Post by jojay » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:23 pm

We recently received several books of collector type of postal stamps from a relative whose spouse recently passed away. There is no emotional link to the stamps and we think we received them just as a way for the spouse to get rid of the stamps or to make us feel as if we were remembered.

There are several books simply sitting in our attic now with no one in the family with even a shred of desire to take up collecting. We know nothing about stamps, do not want them and - as irreverent this might be interpreted - hope to dispose of them.
But....
Who knows if some or any might be valuable?

How would we find out the value of the stamps? Is there a fee to have them appraised?

LarryAllen
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by LarryAllen » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:28 pm

Most likely they are worth less than the cost of an appraisal. However, maybe you have some rare gem!?

If not too many stamps you can check Ebay closed auctions to see if any value.

barnaclebob
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:30 pm

How much does the collection weigh?

http://www.millerstamps.com/sell.php

This website claims to sell stamps for $15/lb and buys them at a much smaller % of that...

N10sive
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by N10sive » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:31 pm

Any pawn shops close by? You could always go in looking to sell, say a completely bogus selling amount, and then get a free appraisal from the pawn shop. :D .

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:33 pm

Start using them when you mail letters or packages. I've done this in the past. It can be fun fitting as many 1 and 3 cent stamps as possible on an envelope before caving in and using a 23 center.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

barnaclebob
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:35 pm

N10sive wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:31 pm
Any pawn shops close by? You could always go in looking to sell, say a completely bogus selling amount, and then get a free appraisal from the pawn shop. :D .
They say laughter is the best medicine which is good because that's all you'll get from the pawn shop.

sailing4dollars
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by sailing4dollars » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:40 pm

Long time listener; first time caller here. Very long time stamp collector. Please PM me some photos & I'll give you an opinion on what you have or don't have.

pshonore
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by pshonore » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:49 pm

There are very few US stamps issued in the last 90 years or so that are worth anything except as postage if unused. There are a few exceptions of course. But condition is everything, The grading is not as subjective as coins though. Most libraries at one time had copies of Scotts Catalog but you'll spends hours and hours trying to identify which stamp is which and when it was issued if you've never collected. Try to find a Stamp shop in your area. At one time there was probably one in all large cities but most have gone by the wayside. There are still weekend Stamp shows in most areas where you can find dealers who buy and sell. Linn's Stamp News (https://www.linns.com/) has a free digital edition and usually has a calendar of shows

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Kenkat
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by Kenkat » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:54 pm

You could also try asking over at stampcommunity.org

Maybe take a few pictures of some of the oldest stamps.

runner3081
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by runner3081 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:07 pm

1) Spot check 20-30 of them on eBay, look at sold listings, not active.

2) Find a reputable stamp dealer, see what they would offer for the lot.

Know that they are probably offering about twenty-cents on the dollar (of retail, which you would be hard pressed to get).

This will give you good value and might be easiest to just sell to them.

N10sive
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by N10sive » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:22 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:35 pm
N10sive wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:31 pm
Any pawn shops close by? You could always go in looking to sell, say a completely bogus selling amount, and then get a free appraisal from the pawn shop. :D .
They say laughter is the best medicine which is good because that's all you'll get from the pawn shop.
Haha, yeah I only mentioned this as the OP seems to have little interest in the stamps. And paying someone to get an appraisal for something possibly worth pennies...I guess maybe I watch too much pawn stars.

This site states most US stamps from the past 70 years are worth less than face value even in mint condition.

http://www.stamp-collecting-resource.co ... alues.html

Good luck OP, hopefully there is that single stamp that's worth buku bucks!

sport
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by sport » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:05 pm

OP,
If you can tell us what kind of stamps you have, you could get better advice.
1. Are the stamps US, foreign, or both. Are there any concentrations in any particular country.
2. What is the range of years the stamps were issued.
You can find the answer to these questions by a quick review of what is in the books.

For example, most uncancelled US stamps from 1950- present, are not very valuable. However, the same kind of stamps from earlier years can have substantial value. If they are really old, such as pre-1900, they can have a high value.

Ace1
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by Ace1 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:57 pm

Jojay
I am an executor of an estate that among many things included a stamp collection.
This collection was stored in and filled TWO refrigerators (airtight ! ).
There was over 40 albums filled with stamps probably from the 20’s thru the 50’s, several boxes of
postmarked loose stamps plus over 42,000 unused stamps of every denomination from the 60’s and 70’s and 80’s.
I engaged a local stamp expert to appraise the collection for the estate ... he was $50 an hour.
Long story short, and to expediate things, I sold him the collection of albums at his appraisal price.... I know you generally shouldnt sell to the appraiser, but this was a relatively small portion of the estate, plus the boxes of loose stuff.
He sold it all at auction.
As to the unused stamps, they are referred to as “mint”, he offered 60% of face... there are places that will pay upto 80%... you have to hunt for them.
Since her church was the beneficiary, the church now has all those stamps. They are perfectly good to use, which the church does, and will not have to buy postage for a very long time 😀. Usually takes two or three stamps per envelope.
I imagine the recipients of mailings from the church look in wonder at the postage when they get those envelopes.
Stamp collecting IMO is a dying hobby ... if there are some interesting pieces in what you received it might be an enjoyable point of discussion at friend or family get togethers, but it is by no means an investment... not unless you have one of the very rare collectibles the most famous of which is the inverted jenny... the upside down biplane... worth a bundle if you find one.

psteinx
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by psteinx » Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:03 pm

Perhaps a broader lesson can be drawn here about possible long term outcomes for various sorts of physical collectibles, including others that are more in-favor right now than stamps...

technovelist
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by technovelist » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:25 pm

psteinx wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:03 pm
Perhaps a broader lesson can be drawn here about possible long term outcomes for various sorts of physical collectibles, including others that are more in-favor right now than stamps...
Like bitcoins? :mrgreen:
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.

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LarryG
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by LarryG » Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:21 pm

First thing is to get the stamp albums out of the attic and in a dry area. Place the albums upright, not on side. If there are any mint (not used) stamps, moisture will cause problems.
If the stamps are US, it would be relatively easy to get some idea of the value. I have had people send a few photos (of the oldest US stamps to me to determine if there is significant value.
A good start would be to contact the American Philatelic Society. They have a service that assists people who inherit collections.
I have donated stamps to the Arie Foundation. This is a non-profit organization that provides stamps and supplies to hospitalized veterans.

Good Luck
LarryG

pshonore
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by pshonore » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:59 pm

LarryG wrote:
Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:21 pm
First thing is to get the stamp albums out of the attic and in a dry area. Place the albums upright, not on side. If there are any mint (not used) stamps, moisture will cause problems.
If the stamps are US, it would be relatively easy to get some idea of the value. I have had people send a few photos (of the oldest US stamps to me to determine if there is significant value.
A good start would be to contact the American Philatelic Society. They have a service that assists people who inherit collections.
I have donated stamps to the Arie Foundation. This is a non-profit organization that provides stamps and supplies to hospitalized veterans.

Good Luck
LarryG
How does a non-collector determine the age of a stamp? Generally anything with a date is not worth much, but there are exceptions for early 20th century commemoratives

sport
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by sport » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:24 pm

pshonore wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:59 pm
How does a non-collector determine the age of a stamp? Generally anything with a date is not worth much, but there are exceptions for early 20th century commemoratives
If the stamps are in a commercially printed album, the album will generally show the dates. Otherwise, one could get a stamp catalog at the library and do a little searching.

pshonore
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by pshonore » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:33 pm

sport wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:24 pm
pshonore wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:59 pm
How does a non-collector determine the age of a stamp? Generally anything with a date is not worth much, but there are exceptions for early 20th century commemoratives
If the stamps are in a commercially printed album, the album will generally show the dates. Otherwise, one could get a stamp catalog at the library and do a little searching.
I would not want to search the Scott catalog for US stamps. It would take hours for a non-collector. Stamps mounted in an album are probably used or attached with hinges if mint. Probably not worth much, if anything, past 1930. It would help to know when they were "collected".

mouses
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by mouses » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:39 pm

How can U.S. stamps be worth less than face value? You can always use them on envelopes if they fit.

I would think the surviving spouse would know if there were any valuable ones, and would have said so when giving you the books, so I would assume not.

I got rid of my childhood stamp collection by tossing most of it since they were foreign stamps, except I had a nice binder with pretty first day covers of the 50 state birds or something. I gave that to the local humane society white elephant sale and someone paid them $25 for it.

Jags4186
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:43 pm

mouses wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:39 pm
How can U.S. stamps be worth less than face value? You can always use them on envelopes if they fit.
They're worth face value to the post office but what use would you personally have for a $0.17 stamp? Not enough to mail a first class envelope and not enough to pay for an additional ounce either. You'd have to put a forever stamp, the $0.17 stamp, and four $0.01 stamps.

What a pain.

daveydoo
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by daveydoo » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:52 pm

jojay wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:23 pm

Who knows if some or any might be valuable?

How would we find out the value of the stamps? Is there a fee to have them appraised?
Be very careful. If US, are they in the front of the book or the back? The back 2/3 of the book -- newer -- not a lot of value there. If they are stuck on with gummed hinges, they are unlikely to be of value (but no guarantee). If they are in a no-touch sort of system (pieces of cut sleeve, etc., used to attach the stamps to the page), then someone thought they were of value. Find the Scott number for the oldest stamps or the ones that look they are the most special to the collector, and check eBay with those Scott numbers.

An appraiser can sneak out the five winners and say they're not interested, etc. I used to collect stamps and I'm glad I stopped (!) but many are worth hundreds or even thousands.

Many decades ago, I suggested to my Dad that he buy whole sheets of high-denomination stamps, based on the appreciation of prior iterations of those stamps. After he passed, we found a few mint sheets of those in his papers. A big online commercial dealer offered us 1/2 the face value for mint $5 stamps. (Like being offered $5 a piece for a stack of $10 bills.) We will eventually sell on eBay where we will at least get face value.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

Jags4186
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:58 pm

daveydoo wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:52 pm
Many decades ago, I suggested to my Dad that he buy whole sheets of high-denomination stamps, based on the appreciation of prior iterations of those stamps. After he passed, we found a few mint sheets of those in his papers. A big online commercial dealer offered us 1/2 the face value for mint $5 stamps. (Like being offered $5 a piece for a stack of $10 bills.) We will eventually sell on eBay where we will at least get face value.
I guess it was a bad suggestion :?

RudyS
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by RudyS » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:17 pm

Depending on where you live, there might be a stamp club in the area. I'm sure if such exists, one or more of the members would be willing to at least take a look at the albums, and be able to decide if there is indeed any potential value, or if they are just not worth bothering with.

daveydoo
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by daveydoo » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:34 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:58 pm

I guess it was a bad suggestion :?
Of course it was! In my defense, I was ten.

In retrospect, I was surprised he took the bait... :shock:

I've certainly made far worse financial decisions since then :D .
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

Dottie57
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by Dottie57 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:43 pm

I believe there is an American Philatellic Society and they may have a venue for selling stamp collections.

mouses
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by mouses » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:36 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:43 pm
mouses wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:39 pm
How can U.S. stamps be worth less than face value? You can always use them on envelopes if they fit.
They're worth face value to the post office but what use would you personally have for a $0.17 stamp? Not enough to mail a first class envelope and not enough to pay for an additional ounce either. You'd have to put a forever stamp, the $0.17 stamp, and four $0.01 stamps.

What a pain.
Three 17 cent stamps is one first class postage, more or less. I'm not going to invest ten minutes messing with one cent stamps to save two cents.

Jags4186
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:59 pm

mouses wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:36 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:43 pm
mouses wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:39 pm
How can U.S. stamps be worth less than face value? You can always use them on envelopes if they fit.
They're worth face value to the post office but what use would you personally have for a $0.17 stamp? Not enough to mail a first class envelope and not enough to pay for an additional ounce either. You'd have to put a forever stamp, the $0.17 stamp, and four $0.01 stamps.

What a pain.
Three 17 cent stamps is one first class postage, more or less. I'm not going to invest ten minutes messing with one cent stamps to save two cents.
Hence why they aren’t worth face value. You just admitted you’d give up 4% of their value off the bat to avoid the inconvenience of dealing with $0.01 stamps.

Quaestner
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by Quaestner » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:03 pm

Odds are good these stamps are going to be fun for you to use as postage. However, a local stamp club member might be able to tell you if it is worth an appraisal. If it is, you might investigate dealers that are members of the American Philatelic Society. Check out: <https://stamps.org/Inherited-a-Collection>. I would not accept any offers for your stamps from someone giving you an appraisal. Warning, offers of 10% of "catalog value" may actually be fair! Unused US postage might bring 60-80% of face value, depending on denomination (higher values bring more than lower values). Good luck, and don't spend too much effort trying to get maximum value - it's likely not worth the hassle. I speak from experience!

RudyS
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by RudyS » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:17 pm

Quaestner wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:03 pm
Odds are good these stamps are going to be fun for you to use as postage. However, a local stamp club member might be able to tell you if it is worth an appraisal. If it is, you might investigate dealers that are members of the American Philatelic Society. Check out: <https://stamps.org/Inherited-a-Collection>. I would not accept any offers for your stamps from someone giving you an appraisal. Warning, offers of 10% of "catalog value" may actually be fair! Unused US postage might bring 60-80% of face value, depending on denomination (higher values bring more than lower values). Good luck, and don't spend too much effort trying to get maximum value - it's likely not worth the hassle. I speak from experience!
Great advice and to the point. Speaking as an ex-collector who recently decided to liquidate the collection.

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runner9
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Re: Stamp inheritance

Post by runner9 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:08 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:43 pm
mouses wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:39 pm
How can U.S. stamps be worth less than face value? You can always use them on envelopes if they fit.
They're worth face value to the post office but what use would you personally have for a $0.17 stamp? Not enough to mail a first class envelope and not enough to pay for an additional ounce either. You'd have to put a forever stamp, the $0.17 stamp, and four $0.01 stamps.

What a pain.
I recently bought some scout stuff through a facebook group. The 8x11 manila envelope arrived with 31 stamps covering most of the front of it! 26 stamps at 10 cents each, several more at 6 cents each to get to $2.86 plus a penny metered.

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