I've gotten a couple emails over the past few months from what seems to be experienced collectors. The issue they bring up is the way I'm describing my stamps - specifically when I use the "MNH" designation. Sometimes I'll use MNH OG, MNH Small Tear, MNH crease, MNH stain, etc. I see that most other sellers do the same. In fact, some of the larger more reputable dealers use the same way to describe their stamps. Is there some RULE that says MNH can only be used when the stamp is 100% perfect (Post office fresh) with NOTHING in way of a blemish? It seems if the buyer knows the actual condition based on how you describe it, isn't that what you're shoot for? Seems everyone is a self proclaimed stamp expert these days... My opinion is... This is a hobby and should be fun, right? I sell stamps to make money to add to my personal collection. It allows me to be engaged in stamp collecting on many different levels and i enjoy it. Anyway, love to hear thoughts on this???


  • 12 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • As a kid collector I had plenty of those when MNH meant "me no have". To your point James, there's been a fair degree of loose play when using that designation. I believe the common understanding is your "as issued by the post office" - meaning no alterations to the stamp or gum. Anything detracting from this is rightly mentioned in a description whether in the printing (gum skip, crease, ink transfer, etc) or subsequent handling be it intentional or unintentional, as pulled perf, trimming, fading color, and the like. Older collectors used to lament this never hinged obsession by claiming its the stamp that's collected and the front that is seen. I remember one guy quite advanced in his hinged collections refused to use mounts on newly acquired NH material, preferring to merely continuing using hinges- in spite of the acknowledged value drop. Personally I would have taken my collections farther and cheaper had I not followed in step with the MNH mantra and the financial pragmatism of doing so.
  • The deal is this... value is assigned now to MNH designations, with understanding. When I see an aged classic designated MNH, I automatically think "re-gum" until proven otherwise. It's just the way things are.
  • Well I guess that's right Rene - my dad's an aged classic and he re-gums a lot of his food
  • I'm no expert. If I'm going to buy a stamp, I'd like a description that tells me what I'll get. I'm not confused by the designation of MNH with qualifiers like stain, tear etc. Those descriptions are more accurate and easy to understand. But if the stamp is expensive, a picture of the back should be included.
  • I always show the front and the back of any item I sell when ever it is possible. Obviously I can't if I am offering stamps that are mounted to a page.
    Any stamp that has a stain, a thin or a tear is not mint never hinged because it has a defect and should be classified as mint with a description of the defect but I am old school and have only been selling since 1970.
  • What about "CRISP UNMOUNTED MINT" ?
  • Over the years of stamp collecting, I have found that everybody has their own opinion on how to Grade stamps. Scott Definition of Mint Never Hinge is " Stamp will have full original gum that will have no hinge mark or disturbance. the presence of an expertizer's mark does not disqualify a stamp from this designation". if your goal is to accurately describe a stamp your doing fine
  • edited May 29 1 LikesVote Down
    You seem to be describing the stamps reasonably it’s hard to please everyone when there are so many different opinions. I guess the norm would be MNH only without faults including
    disturbed gum. Who doesn’t love the term, “Post Office Fresh.”
  • Ron Lenke, now THAT's funny
  • I believe that if the stamp is a classic or rare it should have a front and back pic. Also I think some description such as stain or crease to the degree John was talking about. My thing is VF F Good conditions when it comes to the condition and centering of the stamp. Is this subjective or is there a method to this? Who feels the same or does it matter.
  • It all has to do with value retention. Using your logic, we might as well all collect stamps with huge thins since it won't matter because we can't see them.
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