Stamp blocks, pairs, or sheets might be valued more than single stamps. Separate the attached stamps at all costs. Stamps should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place to keep them in good condition. Heat, light, and moisture all cause harm. Stamps should never be stacked, as this causes them to cling together. They should be kept flat so that their ink does not run.
Stamps can be worth more than their face value if they are rare, for example from special issues or holidays. If you have duplicates of common stamps, sell them in sets to increase your money return.
Stamps can also be worth more than their face value if they are collector's items. If you are selling stamps, only list them for their real value - not their face value. The price of stamps varies depending on how old they are, where they were printed, etc.
Stamps can be destroyed if they are exposed to heat or humidity. Do not put stamps in with your coins or they could be damaged when mixed together.
Stamps can be collected by dealers or philatelists who buy them to ensure they remain in circulation. As with any other hobby, the value of stamps can rise or fall based on demand and rarity.
Some stamps, however, are worth more on the envelope. Many collectors seek for "covers" or full envelopes with unusual postal marks. For really ancient stamps, a cover containing the stamp can be worth several times the value of the stamp itself. It can be quite valuable if it is a really rare usage. For example, one cover dating from 1845 was sold at auction in 2004 for $141,000.
Stamps can also have value based on their colors and patterns. Some covers show scenes that are interesting or symbolic. These can be very valuable to collectors. Other covers are just plain weird. They may be valuable because they're so rare, or because they have been autographed by someone famous, or because they were used by another collector who valued them too high. You never know until you look!
Finally, stamps can be valuable because they're hard to get copies of. This is called "certificated" or "canceled" stamps. Such stamps are rare because they're given out only once every few years when there's major change at the Post Office. Such changes include the introduction of new postage rates or postage stamp designs, or the elimination of old ones. There has never been any real value placed on canceled stamps because nobody wants them; they're not even worth the paper they're printed on. But they can still be valuable.
A entire sheet of stamps costs substantially more than a single one. However, this is dependent on the type of stamp you use. You can show them in a larger case to get a better look. They are more valuable than single stamps since mint-condition entire sheets are difficult to come by.
Stamps are worth more when they're unused because then they have postal history and collector value. Used stamps are still valid for sending letters through the mail, but they won't be worth as much.
The postage meter industry claims that used stamps are legal tender at face value. But since the United States Postal Service considers them damaged goods, they aren't accepted as payment in retail stores or by private carriers such as UPS or FedEx.
However, since most people don't know this law, they may try to sell them anyway. If this happens to you, report the incident to your local police department or post office. Both have the power to prosecute these cases.
Sheets of stamps can be used to send gifts worldwide. Each country has its own restrictions regarding imports, so make sure you know what laws apply to each item you intend to ship. For example, if you want to send something from America to Japan, there's no need to pay attention to foreign import regulations since both countries work together to stop counterfeit products from being sold in their markets.
Always store your stamps in a stamp album, stock book, or other clean container intended specifically for stamps. Stamps can easily twisted, damaged, or soiled, so store them in a safe place. When inspecting or handling your stamps, you should also employ stamp collecting equipment. For example, use soft cloths instead of handkerchiefs to avoid damaging delicate items.
Stamp collections are like any other collection: they need care and attention to grow. Just as you wouldn't expect to see a baby deer raised by wolves, neither would it be appropriate to raise a child in the shadow of his or her parents. Give your stamp collection the attention it deserves and it will reward you for your efforts.
The World's Most Valuable Stamps
Stamps are best stored in a stamp book or on loose leaf paper in a binder. Stamp hinges, glassine strips with gum on one side, or stamp mounts, transparent plastic sleeves that give superior protection for unused stamps, can be used to secure your stamps. All of these storage methods are acceptable but the most popular by far is the stamp book.
A stamp album is a special container designed to hold an extensive collection of stamps. These days, stamp albums are commonly made of leather, but they may also be made of cloth, cardboard, or plastic. They usually have three compartments: some for European posts, some for British posts, and some for other countries. Each compartment has its own section for mounting stamps.
Before you start keeping stamps, consider how much space you will need and what type of holder you want to use. The more room you give yourself, the more stamps you can store! Also think about how you will organize your stamps. Will you keep them in order by country? By class? By creator? You should try not to get too attached to any particular method since it's difficult to expand or rearrange later if needed.
As you use your stamps, you will want to keep them clean. This is especially important for rare or valuable stamps. Cleaning agents such as alcohol, nail polish remover, or paint thinner are useful for this purpose.
Postage stamps in the United States are valid in perpetuity. A 39-cent stamp will always be worth 39 cents. Because the current price for mailing a 1 ounce first class letter is 55 cents, any combination of stamps totaling 55 cents or more is enough. However, if the cost of sending a letter increases to 65 cents or more, then a 1 ounce first class letter must include a $1 stamp.
In fact, the Post Office has no plans to raise the price of first-class mail. Since it began charging for postage in 1840, the price has been adjusted only nine times. The last increase was in 2005, when the rate rose from 44 cents to 45 cents per pound.
However, if you send packages instead of letters, then they have a maximum life span of just six years. After that, they will become unusable as stamps and cannot be recycled.
The maximum life span for packages varies depending on how much weight is sent through the post office. If you pack a box that weighs less than 2 pounds, it can be sent through the mail without a special address mark indicating that it needs to be returned if not delivered within six years.
But a package weighing over 2 pounds requires you to write "Return to" followed by your name and address on an RMT (Rate Me Tariff) label.