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Stamps (Philately)/The Official History of the United States in Mint Stamps


QUESTION: Good Afternoon Mr. Payton
I own this collection of stamps (200 in all) which feature a mint stamp complete with a pictorial explanation of the stamp mounted a 5" X8" colored drawing card issued by the Franklin Mint in a blue binder.  On the outside of the binder it states: Postmasters of America and I have two letters of authenticity from the Franklin Philatelic Society.

I have no idea as to the worth.  I wish I had kept some of the bills but I bought these monthly and for some reason I believe they cost me over $1000 at the time.  I started collecting these in the 70's and the letter of authenticity is dated Dec. 17, 1979.

Would you possible know what this collection might be worth?

Thanks very much for taking time to answer my question.

Dario Bevilacqua

ANSWER: Dario,
  I assume that the collection is "regular issue" postage stamps, probably First Day Covers.  The bad news is, what you are paying for is the "card" more so than the "stamp".  Franklin Mint will have made millions of these, and while beautiful for what they are, their value is really not great.  Stamps from the 70's, even as first day covers carry a book value of mostly less that $1, and very very few would be more than that.  If they are not postmarked with a first day cover (date they were issued marking), then they are valued even less, and again what you are really paying for is Franklin's card and illustration.
  This isn't a great interest to most stamp collectors.  You might be able to get a few hundred dollars out of it for the right person (someone who values the "Franklin Mint" side of it more) but that's going to be unlikely and take a long while (at least be ready for it to take a long time to sell).
  Without seeing it, I can't say for certain, but from what you describe, I doubt it is of much value at all...  If it's what I think it is, and you've paid $1,000 be prepared to get 1/10 of that as an offer, or at auction on a site like eBay.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks very much Scott.  I probably should have included  a photo and more of an explanation.   I think the only thing I have going on this is that it is a numbered set 7509 out of 15,000 which is really  still quite a few. The stamps are actually quite old but I believe I failed to give you a great explanation.  Most of the stamps are anywhere from 2 cents to 13 cents but uncirculated.    Next time I will include photos.

thanks again for your help.  Appreciate the comments.

  I really don't want to get your hopes up.  The "Value" of stamps is in the stamp itself.  "Quite old" actually isn't going to help.  The 15,000 to be honest in a "collectors set" as I mentioned before, won't add value to the stamps.  Franklin Mint (as well as many other "collectibles marketers" make a LOT of money off of people this way, only to find later that the "investment" they have made really isn't worth what they have paid.  Realize, the value in a stamp comes from its scarcity.  Even as early as 1893 with the 2c Columbus Exposition (first "commemorative" US stamps ever issued) there were over 1.4 BILLION of them printed.  This does not make for a rare, or valuable stamp.  Catalog on one in perfect condition is only $65, and I can tell you, I've sold MANY of these on eBay and am lucky to get $7 a piece for it.  Old does not automatically equal valuable.  And people are often disappointed at their expectation of a collection that goes back even into the 1930's and 1940's... unless there is an "Error" or "Freak" in the set, (some type of misprint like a color omitted, or part of it printed upside down (an error), or mis-perforation (no perforation between 2 stamps, perforation where it doesn't belong, 1/2 a stamp printed on top & bottom, printed on both side (freaks)) then "modern" postage has very few items that hold their value.

  If you have some of the high denomination "modern" stamps (Over $5 prior to 1980, and over $10 after that point) then there is likely very little of value.  I'm very sorry to say, but there were billions of stamps printed by the US, and one way that groups try to make money from these essentially "valueless" stamps (only worth a few cents each) is to "make them pretty" by building some collectible wrapper around them.  For stamp collectors, this isn't of interest.  If you have someone who's very into buying Franklin Mint items, then they might have an interest, but again I would not expect you to get your money back out of it.

  One of the hardest things to do here at All Experts is to tell people their item isn't worth what they thought/expected.  This one is especially painful.  You've put a lot of money into something from Franklin that you trust as a reputable company.  I'm sure they are beautiful.  But there will be a very narrow group of people interested in this, and the value will be in what you've paid from Franklin for their collectible item.  15,000 of an item, is really quite a lot of them, in terms of this type of thing.  If you had #1 or #15,000 then it might be worth something more but 7,509 isn't going to be some magic number.  I'm sorry to say.
Best of luck.

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Scott Payton


My expertise is in US, but I have a lot of exposure to worldwide, and with wide reference material, I will do what I can to answer questions about global stamps. In US I have extensive experience in all aspects (does include Administrative overprints for Cuba, China, Puerto Rico etc.). Also, Hawaii general issue and Revenue (pre-statehood). Of course still building knowledge but have been collecting since 1980. Air Mail is a favorite area, but not a limitation. Two specialty areas are Large Banknote issues, and Washington/Franklin identification. Strong experience in Carrier & Locals, Private Die (Also known as M&M for "Match & Medicine" but also includes some playing card and perfume stamp issues.) Recently have been building more back-of-book experience, especially around Official, Newspaper, Revenue and tax editions. Some covers, and cancellations, but not my strong suit. Another area I'm recently diving into. What I can't do: Anything non-US, as it's just not an area I focus on.


30+ years of learning the hard way. A lot of passion for collecting and dealing (as I do both). I don't consider it a hobby... I consider it a serious pursuit that I'm able to do in the hours I'm not occupied by annoying things like sleep. I work closely with some of the global leaders in the expertizing and identification field. Have co-authored several papers (with Mr. William Weiss Jr.) related to identification, as well as tool set to help with quickly identifying the more challenging areas of Washington Franklin. Strong experience in paper types and coil validation.

Member of APS #222356.

1870 - 1879 Large Banknote Issues - Easy Identification (co-authored with William Weiss Jr). Washington-Franklin - Easy Identification (co-authored with William Weiss Jr.) Detecting Fakes, Alterations and Counterfeits (APS Summer Session Expertizing Session materials with William Weiss Jr.)

Thousands and thousands of hours of pouring over hundreds of collections. 30+ years as a collector-to-dealer, avid student of philatelic study. Pre-1900 variation is fascinating, and it seems even after all these years, that I make some discovery every time I look at a new example. APS Summer Session - Fundamentals of Expertizing 2014

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100's too numerous to mention.

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