Classic Mint Sheets

Until about twenty years ago, mint sheet collecting was scorned. Mint sheets were large and hard to store. They didn’t display well, and great care had to be taken to see that they didn’t split along the perforations, something that greatly affects the value. The very nature of philately is to collect and mount your stamps in a way that makes for easy viewing so that you can enjoy what you have, when you want. Mint sheet collecting was a more secret pleasure. Most of the better classic mint sheet collections were put away years ago and were seldom looked at. The factors that mitigated against sheet collecting in the past still exist today, but many collectors are beginning to move into the classic sheet area, and it is very telling about some of the changes in our hobby to understand why.
Beginning about the same twenty years ago that saw the reemergence of classic sheet collecting, modern US commemorative stamps began to be issued in mini sheets of 20. This means that the new generation of collectors coming back into the hobby are collecting nearly all modern stamps in these smaller sheets. These collectors are sensitized to sheet collecting and view collecting earlier sheets as just extending their philatelic interests backward in time, which is one of the most common collecting paths that there is. Second, as the popularity of older sheets has increased, collectors have noticed how very rare they are. How many people put away sheets 80 or 90 years ago? And what is the likelihood that these sheets would have remained in pristine condition and intact, especially given the rise of the popularity of Never Hinged collecting, which, over the last forty years, has created a huge demand for sheets to be broken up to satisfy collector demand for stamps that have never been in collections. The third reason for the recent increase in classic sheet collecting is the huge challenge these sheets represent. As alluded to above, a 1925 sheet of 100 had to be preserved perfectly for nearly ninety years. Many sheets that were put away in perfect condition no longer are perfect today. And the fourth reason for the increase in sheet collecting is the realization of their investment potential. Many philatelic investors, whose previous speculations have proved prescient, believe that the coming centenary of the 1920s 2

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