Help! I've inherited a huge collection of stamps and don't know where to start.

My grandmother passed almost twenty years ago, and my father just passed along 4 binders, two boxes, 3 drawers, and several stamp albums with literally thousands of stamps. I know next to nothing about stamp collecting, and could use some advice in how to sell the collection.

All American 1916


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  • The four albums are pretty full, but the older dates are missing more stamps. She did have stamps starting in 1817 on up.

    The international albums have tons from some countries and only a few from others.

    There's a pile of 1st day issues, and two full books of stamp bricks. Several smaller stamp wallets, and the drawers are sorted sort of by country.

    Here's link to some more photos of the collection.
  • It may take a day or two to get a practical answer, but you are in the right place, and the right people eventually read these forums and will (usually) respond. (I'm an amateur and know nuthin.)

    You might look at previous threads, as you are not the first to ask, and the answers are probably already there. Good luck.
  • Yes, this question has popped up many times and there are many good suggestions.
  • James, those picture are very helpful . From what Ive seen it's a good collection, lots of plate blocks, singles mounted reflecting what most stamp collectors in the 1950's had in their collection. From what's presented, there is nothing rare or valuable on the surface. As a generalization, stamps before 1920 are where I would focus, especially before 1900. There will not be anything from 1817, I'm afraid, as the first widely circulated stamps were issued in 1840 (1847 in the US).. Find a stamp club or a dealer near you to see if they can help you sort it out. Are you interested in becoming a collector? You have an excellent start already. BUT everyone who gets an old collection from a loved one should never assume there are great riches inside, because there usually are not. That avoids disappointment. But post the pages before 1900 to see what you have. Good luck
  • @ Rene Bravo, you are correct, I misread the 1917 page. Here's a few from some of the early pages.


    I'm not expecting to get rich off these, but I would like to get a fair value for them. I'm pretty invested in other collectibles, mostly comics, and I just don't want to miss an Amazing Fantasy #15 because I have no idea what I'm looking at.

  • That's helpful. What drives value are numbers issued, condition and demand. Back in the 1800's, postage rates were generally 1-2 cents ( hence millions and millions of stamps ). Look for higher denominations as a rule. The 1 cent Franklin is torn, The Washingtons look decent from afar. I would not remove them from the album and use tongs. NEVER touch them with your fingers. You have enough bulk items to help restock a dealer with the more common material. But a new collector would have fun. Accumulations usually don't go for more than $100-300 or so it seems ( what I see on Hipstamp and eBay). Another rule, if you have higher denomination Columbians, TransMississippi's or pre 1910 commemoratives, that could be attractive to a dealer. The foreign material requires scrutiny by a philatelic generalist. So have someone knowledgable examine it first. Good luck!
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