Buyers Guide to Stamps

Philately can be a profitable hobby if you purchase the right items. The stamp market is complex and can be difficult to navigate.

If you are interested in collecting as a hobby but still want to ensure that your investments are sound, or are simply looking to make a profit from trading, this guide serves as a valuable first introduction. It will explain some of the terminology you may encounter in the word of philately, and help you distinguish valuable stamps worth an investment from those that are unlikely to perform well in an auction room now – or in the future.


It is generally rare stamps that become valuable. Stamps may become rare because of limited-edition production, because their numbers have declined significantly over the years, because their appeal puts them in high demand among collectors and investors, or a combination of the three. 

Misprinted stamps are often extremely rare, since they are not produced in large quantities and often do not enter circulation. They are also highly coveted among philatelists for their novelty value.

Perhaps the most famous misprint stamp in history is the 'Inverted Jenny', a United States postage stamp featuring an upside-down image of an aero plane. It is a fact that only one pane of 100 stamps was purchased from the post office in Washington D.C. The stamp has a face value of just 24 cents, but Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries sold an example in 2007 for an incredible $977,500.

How does condition affect a stamp’s value?

Better condition always equates to a higher value, so learning how to spot problems is crucial when it comes to buying. Experts will take into account everything from the state of the gum to the extent of color fading, so being able to identify even the smallest issues could save you from making a poor investment.


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