5 Factors that Influence the Value of your Stamp
For beginners, stamp collecting is a hobby that quickly turns into a passion and a lifelong recreational activity. Collecting stamps for value is more of an aspiration for them, rather than a short-term goal. Nonetheless, it is always a good idea to acquaint oneself with the popular and valuable stamps in the market and what determines the price of a stamp.
There are a number of factors that directly influence that value of a stamp. Some of these factors are fairly simple and straightforward, while others tend to be more abstruse and are more likely to be explained by stamp experts and philatelists. Here’s a look at 5 of such factors:
Like all other antiques and collector’s items, the physical condition of a stamp is of most importance when determining its value. Condition is also important when differentiating franked and unfranked stamps. A franked stamp refers to a used stamp. Therefore, unfranked stamps are more highly prized, but they need to be in good condition to be able to fetch their value on sale. This means that the original adhesives should be usable.
Franking or Unfranking
As explained earlier, the value of a stamp depends upon whether it has been franked or not. Franking often reduces the value of a stamp. This is because a franked stamp is to be attached to an envelope. However, there are some exceptions. Certain franking marks are interesting for historical or geographical reasons. For instance, a franked WW-II era stamp is likely to fetch more than an unfranked Cape of Good Hope stamp due to the historical significance involved.
Phosphor is a fluorescent material applied in thin coats on the surface of every stamp. Under ultraviolet light, the phosphor coating is clearly visible and is used to help stamp collectors and postal services in the mechanical sorting process. The first British stamps with phosphor were issued in 1959, and now the technique applies globally. There are some stamps “lucky” enough to escape the standard phosphor procedure. Due to their rarity and exception to the rule nature, such coins are extremely valuable. However, try not to soak a non-phosphorous stamp as it reduces its value.
Application of Watermarks
Watermarking is one of the oldest techniques to help validate the authenticity of value-added papers, such as stamps and banknotes. In some cases, a stamp is printed with separate runs on paper with two or more watermarks. Collectors often regard stamps with separate runs as separate issues. Detecting watermarks is often easy, but use a watermark detector for accurate results. Any unusual or erroneous watermarks are likely to increase the value of your stamps exponentially.
Historical Importance and Rarity
Some stamps tend to be valuable because they are rare. It is worth noting that rarity does not mean age of the stamp, since they have always been a mass commodity. However, some of the most valuable stamps in the U.S. had been printed in the 19th Century. Furthermore, their rarity is due to a manufacturing error or defect.
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