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Evaluating Stamps


This is a guideline and some tips on understanding how the value of stamps is affected by different factors.

It can sometimes be a bit complicated but here are some of the biggest factors that affect a stamps value.


Canceled and mint - This is a big factor in determining the value of a stamp. The stamp at left has been canceled (sent through the mail) And the s tamp on the right is mint. It has never been sent through the mail and has no post mark on it.

A canceled and a mint stamp

Centering - This can affect the value of a stamp. The stamp on the left is nicely centered. The square design is centered on the piece of paper. This is evident by the even white space all the way around. The stamp on the right is clearly quite a bit off center. There is much more white space on the left than there is on the right.

A centered and uncentered stamp

More about Centering. There is a gradation scale to denote it:

  • Superb (S) It has perfect centering
  • Extra Fine (XF) Nearly perfect with margins not less than 3/4 what they would be on a superb stamp.
  • Very Fine (VF) Margins not less than 1/2 superb.
  • Fine (F) perforations are not into the design, but margins are less than 1/2 of what they would be on a Superb
  • Very Good (VG) Perforations slightly cut the design of the frame
  • Good (G) Perfs are well into the design
  • Poor (P) are worse than all the previous.


Hinge damage on stamp

Hinged/ Hinge Damage - A common way of collecting stamps and putting them in an album is to apply a stamp hinge to them then stick them into the album. This can however cause damage to the back of the stamp. Hinge damage can take the form of torn or lifted paper or it can even be a discoloration because of the glue. This stamp shows hinge damage.

Mint No Hinge and Mint Lightly Hinged - These are gradations in the valuation. A Mint no Hinge has never been hinged. And a mint lightly hinged shows very minor damage by a hinge.


Mint No Gum (MNG) This is where a stamp had been issued with gum on the back but now the gum is missing. Usually due to soaking of the stamp. Note though that some stamps were issued with no gum. These are called MNGAI or Mint No Gum As Issued.


Other Factors that affect the Value of a Stamp:

  • Tears or missing pieces of the stamp - These stamps are almost always worthless
  • Creases or folds in the stamp affect it's value
  • Thin spots - You can often see these on the back of a stamp that has been hinged and the hinge poorly removed
  • Stains - Over time stamps can develops stains or blotches due to mis handling
  • Variations in perforation - Perforations can be damaged, shortened, clipped or even missing
  • Gum Condition - Gum can be damaged by a variety of factors including handling, hinging, moisture and humidity


Errors, Freaks and Oddities! (EFO's) - There are a surprising array of stamps that are categorized as an peculiarity. Generally these revolve around printing errors, perforation errors or cutting errors. An example of this is the famous inverted Jenny stamp where a small number of stamps were released to the general public with the Jenny airplane printed upside down. The value of these stamps can be considerable.

Scott U S Pocket Stamp Catalogue

Scott 2014 US Pocket Stamp Catalogue (Scott U S Pocket Stamp Catalogue)



The Complete Guide to Selling Your Stamps

Top Dollar Paid!: The Complete Guide to Selling Your Stamps

Wondering how to get the highest price for your stamp collection? Best selling Top Dollar Paid! - The Complete Guide to Selling Your Stamps takes the mystery out of it and helps ensure maximum profit. It's a concise factual guide and an entertaining, revealing, behind-the-scenes narrative about the real-life world of stamp dealing written by veteran dealer, Stephen R. Datz, whose decades of experience include arranging for the sale of President Gerald R. Ford's collection-and making sure he got top dollar for it. Critically acclaimed, Top Dollar Paid! is an absolute must for anyone who buys, collects, invests, or is in the market to sell. Newly revised and updated.



A stamp collection

New Article: What is your stamp collection worth?- So, you have come into a stamp collection. Maybe you inherited it or somebody gave it to you. You don't know anything about stamps but you are wondering if the collection is worth anything. I have seven tips for you to assess if the collection is valuable. And you don't have to know anything about stamps. Is your stamp collection worth anything?

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