The question we get asked the most at Arpin Philately is: What is my stamp worth? Here is a short checklist to help you get going.
1) Begin by auto-evaluating your stamp’s worth. To do this you will need a stamp catalogue. You’ll either want to get the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue for Canadian stamps, the Scott Pocket for U.S. stamps, or a Scott World catalogue for other countries.
There are many options for obtaining a stamp catalogue: You can buy printed catalogues brand new, or, if you don’t want to purchase one, you can sometimes find them in your local library. In the case of more expensive catalogues like the Scott World (which is a 6-volume catalogue), your local library is probably the most economical option. You can sometimes buy digital versions of certain catalogues online, you will have to do an internet search to find an online retailer.
2) Now you need to find your stamp in the catalogue. Stamps are always listed in chronological order of issue, starting with the oldest date. If you already know the stamp’s date of issue, then you can just flip to that listing right away. If not, locate the denomination of your stamp (the denomination is often located in a corner of the stamp) and flip through your catalogue until you find other stamps with the same denomination. Starting at the beginning pages of this denomination, go through your catalogue until you find your stamp’s listing. Then you will be able to find its catalogue value. Yes, this will take some time!
3) If you don’t want all this bother, locate a reputable stamp dealer. Often, they will agree to evaluate your collection for a fee. You can find a stamp dealer by looking through the yellow pages, consulting the internet, or contacting a local stamp club. Check you dealer’s credentials if possible. Is he/she a member of an association such as the RPSC or APS? Reputable dealers are often affiliated with various philatelic organizations. Do an internet search to make sure there is no negative feedback about the dealer you’re considering consulting.
Note: Arpin Philately has been in business since 1969 and is a member of the American Philatlic Society
Once you have a relative idea of your stamp’s, or collection’s, catalogue worth, then you may decide to sell it. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you will get the full catalogue worth of your stamp; the catalogue value is simply a guideline. Unless you have some rarities or highly sought after issues, chances are that a reduced percentage is what you will be offered. It will then be up to you whether you sell right away, or hang on to the collection to try again in a few years.