What is the Buzz on Stamp Collecting?

In most of the counties, it is common to find a variety of groups engaged in the hobby of collecting stamps. People engage in stamp collecting due to general interest; sometimes they are in it because of the possibility of making profit by collecting rare stamps. This profit comes from the fact that stamps hold a illustration of history of a community, or country.

Some people collect the stamps without regard of its quality or details. The more dedicated stamp collectors who are aware about this profitability will pay the attention to a variety of details that would determine the worth of the stamp.

Condition

The first and most simple thumb rule is that if the stamp is damaged, it is likely to be worth very little, or worth nothing. The condition of the stamp is the main factor especially with dedicated collectors.

A used stamp in excellent condition with its complete set of perforated edges with out any damage and has the design in the center of the stamp is considered as a perfect condition of the stamp and having good value in the market. If the stamp is still retains a degree of vitality of color as when it was issued with a very light cancellation stamp and is not creased or folded is also have considerable value among the collectors.

A stamp without its complete set of perforated edges has lesser value than its counterpart with less physical damage.

Meanwhile, a stamp with equal spaces placed between the perforation and the stamp?s design is considered as ?centered? will have good value, at the same time its value marginally decreases when it is poorly centered, and greatly decreases when the perforation runs over the design.

On the other hand, the vitality of the colors of the design is affected by the soaking or lifting method used on the stamp to remove from its original envelope attachment, or by exposure to sunlight will considerably decreases the value of the stamp. Obviously, the more vibrant in the colors are the greater in the value of the stamp.

The cancellation of a used stamp plays a vital role because, if the stamp is too deeply cancelled, there is a huge possibility to affect the visibility and clarity of the design.

Lastly, a stamp with the gum or adhesive as close to being unharmed has greater value among the collectors. Attachments, or the marks left by hard pasting to the envelope, will considerably affect the value of the stamp. A lightly attached stamp would be of higher value than one that is heavily attached.

Unless the collector is an expert in stamp soaking and lifting, many stamp collectors opt to keep their stamps attached to a small portion of the envelope those were originally attached. The first reason for keeping the stamp attached is the fear of tearing or damaging the physical wholeness or condition of the stamp, which may happen when removing the stamp with insufficient soaking. Another possibility is that the inks of the stamp will runaway with water. This happens usually with stamps issued before the 1940s. During this period, fugitive ink, which runs in water, was used to print the designs on the stamps. Some of the ink used in canceling the stamps may also run in water and affect to the design, and ruin the stamp completely. Therefore, with the difficulty of identifying the ink used in stamp cancellations, the stamp collectors have to avoid the soaking and lifting efforts and simply keep the stamp in its original form. Soaking stamps may also cause the design to fade and lose its vibrancy.

Uniqueness

The second consideration that must be kept in mind is that the uniqueness of the stamp. The profitability of the stamp comes from the fact that many collectors seek out particular designs. A unique stamp may be having three things:-

1. A stamp from a much earlier period, and thus holds a great historical value.
2. A stamp that was released in limited numbers over a short period of time.
3. A stamp features a particular historical or social event illustration to collectors and the public.

In relation to the consideration of uniqueness is the reason for the 'demand' for the stamp. This is usually indicative of the market value that a stamp can go for, and is usually exposed in stamp catalogues. Stamp catalogues, which are accessible from most libraries, will not only reveal the possible selling price of the stamp but also provide the informations about the date of issue of the stamp, place of issue, and how it may be classified. Some popular stamp catalogues available in libraries are including the Scott, Stanley Gibbons, Michel, OCB, Hibernian, and Sakura catalogues. The price quoted in the catalogue will clearly imply how much collectors are willing to pay to get that stamp.

At the end of the day, a professional stamp dealer may help in the valuation of the stamp. The valuation of the stamp may be subject to the experience of the professional dealer and his or her knowledge of its demand; however, he or she will still return to the basics as listed above. This is because among all these are universal standards by which a stamp's worth can be measured.


 

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Stamp Collecting Basics