Barbados Stamps | Valuing your collection
One of the most frequent requests I get is to help people value their collection, normally because it has been left to them by a relative and they have no idea of its true worth.
Let me start by saying that valuations are very much a subjective thing. What I or another collector would value your stamps at will be a million miles away from a dealer’s valuation, which in turn could be completely different to what you could get by selling them yourself on the internet.
There are a number of factors to consider when valuing your stamps and the first of them has to be condition. Condition is everything to a collector otherwise it doesn’t matter how valuable your stamps may be according to a catalogue, to them it’s just a filler until something better comes along. And if you’re buying a filler you won’t want to be paying a lot for it.
Stamps generally are either mint or used, though even here there are nuances. Mint breaks into Unmounted Mint (often referred to as UMM or Mint Never Hinged MNH), Mounted Mint (MM) or just unused i.e. it has not been used but has no gum left on the back. As a rule UMM is better than MM which in turn is better than unused and therefore prices vary accordingly. Even within these broad definitions you will also find variants such as very lightly mounted mint (VLMM), lightly mounted mint (LMM) and heavily mounted stamps.
On top of this basic grading there is then the state of the perforations around the stamp, or in the case of imperforate stamp, how many clear margins it has. Add to this the inevitable problem of collecting stamps from the Caribbean which is ‘foxing’ where the gum and/or perforations (and sometimes the whole stamp) turn brown due to the heat and humidity and you can very quickly find that a stamp which has a good catalogue value is worth next to nothing.
If the stamp is used then dealers and collectors may well be looking for good clear cancellations and any stamps with the ‘killer’ bootheel mark across it obscuring most of the stamp will immediately be worth a lot less. In certain cases used stamps, particularly the more common varieties from George V and VI and Edward VII can be picked up for pennies. Even some of the Queen Victoria stamps are worth no more than a few pennies as they are so common.
For all these reasons it is almost impossible to value a collection based on a brief description or even some photographs, as so much can be hidden from immediate sight such as repairs and thins which can mean a potentially valuable stamp is worth virtually nothing.
I’m always happy to help with rough guideline valuations however please be aware that my valuation is only ever at best a guess as without studying the stock in detail it’s impossible to be accurate. If you are selling however then please feel free to contact me as I often buy collections or part collections and I also know other Barbados collectors who may well wish to buy your collection at a fair price.