My Father Has a Stamp Collection

Deciding what to do with a loved one’s stamp collection is a daunting task for most people. The person who made the collection knows best what they have, what they have spent, and has some idea how to best go about disposing of the stamp collection that they made. Family members and heirs often are brought in when the collector has died or is infirm or just can’t make the decision to sell philatelic property that they own, even though the funds from such a sale could certainly be better used elsewhere. Coming into the stamp selling process as a non-collecting family member is confusing, but there are some guidelines and ways to go about it that can minimize the time you spend selling the collection and more importantly maximize the value that you receive for it.


First off, it is vital to attempt to get some idea from the person who made the collection what it is that they think they have. Try to have the person who made the collection communicate to you what their thoughts are about the collection, how much time they spent, and how much money they spent on their stamps (if the collector is no longer with us or not capable of coherent communication, try to remember what they have said about the collection. It is important to try to have a conversation with aged relatives before the sale process as it will make it much easier for you to feel comfortable moving forward).


Most stamp collections do not have great resale value. The money spent on albums and mounts and the basic first few thousand stamps that make up all collections is almost never recovered. Years ago, millions of Americans collected stamps in Harris, Scott, and Minkus albums, and basic collections of this type often have little resale value as there are far fewer stamp collectors today than there were thirty years ago.  Often the collector who made the collection knows this, and by speaking to them you can get a very good idea what they felt they spent on the collection and how important an asset they believe the collection to be. As a good rule of thumb, collectors needed to have spent significant money when the collection was made for the collection to have much value today. A collection on which the collector spent a few hundred dollars is very unlikely to be more than a set of albums bought at retail and only the most common of stamps. Ascertain which areas of your relative’s collection has been important to him and where you know he has committed significant assets. Then you can be sure that the philatelic collection that you have has significant resale value.


Whether you are certain that your collection has value or if you don’t really know, Apfelbaum can help you with the sale of your stamps. We sell many millions of dollars worth of stamps per year, and every philatelic item that we sell was bought from a private collector and a family like yours. So we are experts in evaluating stamp properties and making the selling process easy and seamless. We are a team of stamp professionals that have bought and sold stamps and only stamps since our founding in 1910. The best way to proceed with the sale of a family collection is to put all of the collection in one place and make an outline of what is there. The outline should include the number of albums and boxes and where the concentration of stamps is—is the collection primarily United States or is it worldwide? If you can, take a few pictures of the collection so that we can get a sense of the scope. Then email Ken Apfelbaum at (or call us 800-523-4648) with the information, and we will help you decide how to proceed. Apfelbaum has buyers who travel the country for more valuable properties, though most collectors like the convenience and rapid response of sending their collection to our office for our prompt evaluation and quick cash offer. We can walk you through the process of printing prepaid UPS labels to attach to the boxes that you pack your collection in so you can drop them at your nearest UPS store where they come to us for free and fully insured. In all, it’s a safe, easy, and satisfying process for turning an unwanted and unproductive asset into cash.

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