About Informal Appraisals
The identification and valuation of philatelic items can be difficult for even an expert in philately. The vast numbers of stamps alone, listed in multiple values from every country in the world is daunting; now combine this with “stampless” covers, special use stamps, used and unused varieties, cancellations, paper and colour variations. All these variables make identification difficult, now combine this with judging condition and determining the authenticity of an item (yes, rare stamps and covers are forged and “doctored”).
For clients unfamiliar with stamps, the process becomes overwhelming. Often those new to philately confuse the quantity of their new collection with a higher value or assume that somewhere among the vast number of stamps, a diamond in the rough exists.
Our firm is known for our honesty and at the risk of losing a potential client; we must dispel any great expectations.
Most collectors pursue the hobby for historic, sentimental, or personal reasons, but financial gain is often not a primary consideration. Other collectors have been provided overly optimistic appreciation expectations by sellers of “collectable stamps and first-day covers”. Many people would purchase multiple stamps in sheets from their local post office expecting that after a decade, two three, or certainly within five scores, the value of the stamps would far exceed the price paid. Unfortunately, this is not the case for most bulk collector series stamps. Many of these “collector stamps” have more value when used as postage than they have been sold on the open market.
An educated client is our best client. We advise all new collectors to research their collection in catalogues, such as Scott or Gibbons and then investigate their market value in places like eBay. Generally, this exercise will reveal that most stamps sell for a fraction of their “catalogue value”.
We will perform a preliminary evaluation of your material. We will discuss the collection, provide an idea of the market value, and discuss your options. This is a free service to help a client understand their collection and our industry. For a more in-depth analysis of a collection or for insurance of legal purposes, please see our information on Appraisals.
Why are we sharing this “insider” information with you? At Harmer’s, we sell stamps, not “steal” them. If you have any doubts about the value of your collection, we recommend you select an auction option. Your collection will be viewed by hundreds of collectors and dealers who will establish the market price for your collection. With so many eyes viewing your collection seldom will any potential treasure remain uncovered.
The first step to discovery is to call us for a free consultation.