Stamps (Philately)/Old stamp book


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My 82 year old mom was just given a stamp collectors book (copyright 1899). She would like to sell the stamps for charity. She asked me to determine if there is any value here.  Any help is greatly appreciated! I don't know what to look for.

Hi Lesa,
  The two pages you have provided are a help but, I'm afraid the news isn't great if most of the collection is like this.
  Stamps are of greatest value when their condition is good.  New and Used stamps value is also a factor, with most (about 98%) of the time, a stamp will be of greater value if it is new, with the original gum (glue) still on the back, and more so if it was never hinged (there are ways of mounting stamps since around the 1930's that didn't leave any marks on the back of the stamp, and these are more desirable).
  From the look of the pages, these stamps have been kept in rather poor condition.  The Cuba page shows the oval "stamp" at the bottom.  This is what is known as "postal stationary" a piece of paper or envelope was purchased with embossed postage included (paid) at the time.  The "philatelic" way to keep these is either a "Cut Square" (square of space cut round the item with margins the same on all 4 sides, with the top determining the overall size of the square.)  This one has been "cut to shape" which massively impacts its value (around 1/10 of what it would have been), and these are frequently very very common.
  The "book" itself basically has no value.  And almost any collector taking on the book will move anything they actually want for their collection out of the album and generally discard it.
  The other page shows me a lot of what we call "Franklin-Washington" stamps.  From 1908 until 1926 Ben Franklin and George Washington were almost the only images to appear on stamps, and there are hundreds of variations of them, making them quite tricky to price exactly simply by site in a photo (only 5 or 6 of the 500+ varieties are distinctive enough to tell from a photo).
  The Franklin-Washington stamps range in value from around 5 cents to as much as $200,000 but I wouldn't get your hopes up too much there.  These rarities are called that for a reason... they are rare.  Generally speaking the stamps that are likely to have the most value in that group will be what we call a "coil" stamp.  That means, they come on a large roll, and only have perforation either on top and bottom or left and right sides with the other two sides being straight edges.  It's hard to tell in your image but there might be one on the right side of the page.  But then in the condition (if the stamp is missing corners, has been "bent" (creased) (even if it folds back out nicely) these will seriously impact the value of the stamp (from 1/4 to 1/10 or less of the actual catalog value).
  Your greatest likelihood for stamps would be those from prior to 1900.  There are some valuable stamps still from 1900 - 1940 but they are quite few and far between.  Many collectors were simply casual collectors who took stamps from envelopes they received as kids.  Unfortunately, the proper care to remove them from their envelope in many cases wasn't observed, and a lot of damaged stamps occur.
  If there are stamps from before the 1900 range (and even then a few of these are still very very common with catalog values of less than $1) but there is a better chance of the stamp having a strong value in that case.  If there are earlier pages with stamps prior to 1900, if you could send me photos of those, I might be able to give you some better news.  But if the whole album is like what you've shown me, I'm afraid you will find very little interest in this album from anyone.  But I'll reserve my judgement on the likely amount you could get for this until I see if there are any early US stamps included, given the age of the album.
Best regards,

Stamps (Philately)

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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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