Welcome to, my philately and stamp collecting information and resource blog. Here I'll share general stamp collecting tips and advice and information and resources on some of the stamp issues that I collect and research.

FREE stamps to new or novice stamp collectors

Doing my bit for the promotion of philately as hobby…

This offer is currently open to any new or novice stamp collector, young or old.

You will receive around 75 random used stamps as well as the nice cover (envelope) I will send them in.

South Africans:

To South Africans the offer is 100% free for now.

Any other country:

To get your free stamps, just make a donation of $1 (donation button at bottom of this post) to cover the cost of normal airmail to any country worldwide and then follow “What to do” also indicating in the message to me from which email address the Paypal donation was made from.

What to do?:

Just reply to this post with your name, age and a bit of background as to why you would like some free stamps and then send me a message here with your postal address.

It will be appreciated if you can post a thank you here once you receive your stamps.

Want to support the cause?

Send me some bulk stamps or a donation to cover cost of envelopes/shipping…

Swaziland 1889 2s6d Ebay auction

I’m always following auction listings for the higher value 1889 overprinst and often bidding on them too. This 2s6d was listed on Ebay auction ending 06 July 2014 and I found it quite interesting due to the easy to spot and identified overpint flaws, the dot between “l” and “a” and the dot in the “d”. The seller provided a nice high resolution scan of the stamp. Swazi-2s6d-ebay-listing This looks like the position 1 contstant flaws for this stamp and just checking the perforation comb for this position by eye the dropped/raised holes and wide/narrow perfs all agreed. I’m fairly sure this is indeed a position 1 stamp from the sheet. The overprint has the full oily look which is consistent with this value. Next step for me was to measure the overprint and this is where things went wrong. Swazi-2s6d-ebay-listing-ovpt It only measures 12.6 from S – d and some of the intermediate measurements are also slighly out. Looking at the zoomed in version of the overprint some things I pick up that also worry me are the dark frames around the letters (but I’m not sure about this and maybe its due to scanning contrast settings) and also the shapes of some of the letters. My opinion is that this is a dangerous fake overprint on a genuine stamp, in this instance even the constant flaws were forged. This stamp finally sold for USD42.76, less than 7.5% of the current catalogue value of the genuine Swaziland stamp. I hope I’m right :-) Share

Swaziland 1889 1d carmine – genuine or forgery – Part 3a

I’m following the procedure as used by John Kaupe in Peter van der Molen’s book “Swaziland Philately to 1968”. For this example I’ll be describing what I did in detail and then just do summaries for other twelve 1d stamps.

Working example 1:

Here is a high resolution zoom of the overprint:


Step 1: Perforation 12.5 x 12 – CORRECT
Step 2: Overprint measurement – checking the overall and all intermediate measurements and all are within the limits – CORRECT
Step 3: Nothing that stands out
Step 4: Match the perforation holes to the comb profile for the 1d which, for the 1d only one comb which makes it easier.

I again use my Photoshop skills to do this but the other way is to print large versions of the scans and match it with photocopies of the comb profiles that can be found in van der Molen’s book.

I make a selection of the perforation, paste it onto a scan of the comb profiles and then use an opacity filter of around 50% and resize my selection (keeping the same aspect ratio), to match the length of the comb scan. I firstly look for the obvious characteristics e.g. very wide or narrow tooth or severely raised or dropped perforation holes.

For this stamp the wide tooth after the 5th perforation hole stands out and also the dropped hole on the right. Only comb 8 matches this criteria and overlaying the image on the complete comb perf looks quite good. At this point I’m fairly confident that I’ve identified the right column.


I then proceed to check the side perfs and checking column 8 I just feel that it doesn’t match close enough. I go back to the horizontal line of the comb testing all 10 options and it just fits perfectly on column 1 and not on any other.


I then check the vertical perfs for column 1 and this time it matches perfectly. This stamp is definitely from Column 1.

Step 5: I now check the stamp and overprint again against the constant overprint and plate flaws identified by Kaupe for the stamps in column 1. In this column only the stamp in position 31 doesn’t have a constant flaw so my chances should be quite good to find something.

Checking for all possible flaws in this column I now notice the small dot in the overprint between the “l” and “a” in the position consistent with the top left stamp of the sheet i.e. position 1. In this position a small dot in the “d” is also listed as a constant flaw but it is missing from this stamp.

From all my analysis, in my opinion the stamp and overprint is genuine, the stamp is definitely from column 1 and I think from position 1, the missing spot in “d” leaves me a bit unsure though.

Main lesson for me from this example is that you have to verify the combs extremely accurate and it should match closely.

Swaziland 1889 1d carmine – genuine or forgery – Part 2

In this post I’ll be looking at the 4 stamps identified as definite forgeries due to the overprints being applied on the reprint issue with 12.5 x 12.5 perforation rather than the original comb print with 12.5 x 12 perforation.

Here are the four stamps:

Swaziland 1889 wrong perforations forgeries

As a personal exercise, the idea is to check if these can be identified as forgeries by only looking at the overprints:

Here is the high resolution versions of the forged overprints from left to right:

CS-1889-1d-forged-ovpt-a CS-1889-1d-forged-ovpt-b CS-1889-1d-forged-ovpt-c CS-1889-1d-forged-ovpt-d

First step in verifying genuine overprints is to check if all measurements between different letters fall within the determined lower and upper limits. Peter van der Molen’s book taught me to measure from the middle of the vertical strokes of the letters rather than from the actual sides as this eliminates under- or overinking variances.

I firstly check the S – d measurement that shoud be between 12.75-12.9mm with most common being 12.8mm. Stamp 1, 2 and 4 fails this test only measuring 12.6mm. I use the ruler tool in photoshop on a zoomed in version of the overprint to quickly do these measurements. The a-n measurement on these 3 stamps also fail the test being only 6.8mm and below the acceptable range of 6.95 – 7.1mm. These measurements and the letters are consistent with the Enschede forgery of the overprint.

Stamp 2 (bottom left above) is more of a challenge as it complies to the 12.8mm overall measurement and the letters look quite authentic to me. The intermediate measurements however including (S-n, w-l, a-n, l-n) all just fall slightly outside the acceptable limits. This overprint made me realise how carefully the overprints on the correct stamps will have to checked as the variances can be very minor.

John Kaupe shows many examples of forgeries (originally described by Pirie and also his own identified forgeries). These are often clear forgeries based on individual misformed letters (e.g. a serif on the a). I’m very new to this but I can’t spot any very obvious errors. Looking closely I do feel the differences between the first a and second a and also the thin accurately shaped lines going into the vertical stroke of the d are indications of a forgery.

For me the main lesson from this exercise – there are VERY GOOD forgeries out there. Share

In part 3 I’ll start checking the overprints and comb perforation matching of the 13 potential genuine overprinted stamps.


Swaziland 1889 1d carmine – genuine or forgery – Part 1

Armed with the amazing book I just acquired, “Swaziland Philately to 1968” by Peter van der Molen and specifically chapter 3 of the book by John Kaupe, I’m ready to start working through my collection of 1889 stamps of Transvaal overprinted Swazieland.

I’ve decided to start this journey on the 1d carmine stamp (SACC2, SG1). Reasoning behind this selection is that only one comb with perforation 12.5 x 12 was used for the genuine overprint so I was hoping it would be one of the easier stamps to work on.

First step I followed for this stamp is to check the perforation on all of them. I used a perforation guide but it can be easily checked by just counting the holes.

  • For 12.5 x 12 the stamp is genuine and the overprint should be checked;
  • Any 1d overprinted “Swazieland” with 12.5 x 12.5 is definitely forged.

I’ve accumulated 17 of these 1d stamps over time, without really ever checking the perforation or overprints.

The perforation measurement was quite a quick exercise and it didn’t take long to determine that 4 of the 17 stamps were definitely forgeries due to their 12.5 x 12.5 perforations.

Here are the 4 forged stamps:

Swaziland 1889 wrong perforations forgeries

Here are the 13 genuine stamps where the overprints now need to be checked:

CS-1889-1d-rightperfs-a CS-1889-1d-rightperfs-b CS-1889-1d-rightperfs-c CS-1889-1d-rightperfs-d

The colour of a genuine stamp is a pale carmine while the reprint is a brighter colour. The difference is quite significant and easy to notice, these were all scanned with the same scanner settings.

In Part 2 of this series I will look at the overprints on the 4 forged stamps and see if I would’ve been able to identify them as forgeries by only examining the overprint. Share

1948 Royal Silver Wedding Cinderella Stamps

I’m just sharing a scan of my 1948 Royal Silver Wedding Cinderella Stamps that I bought on Ebay a few years ago. I can find no information on these stamps and would love to hear from you if you know anything about them, e.g. who printed them, why, how many were made, and do they hold any value at all? 1948 Royal Silver Wedding Cinderella Stamps I have Cinderella high value stamps for 11 (fictional) countries and only 1 low value for “British Arctic Territory”. The 11 countries are:

  • Howduyustan
  • Barclay Islands
  • King William Land
  • Sealand
  • Principality of Hutt River
  • St. Gregory
  • Prince Patric Island
  • Zangaro
  • Zamunda
  • Lundy
  • British Arctic Territory

I also have a blocks of 4 of Sealand, King William Land, British Arctic Territory (low value block) and a block of 4 containing the  different high value stamps of Zamunda (x2 in opposite corners), Zangaro and St. Gregory. Please contact me if you can share any information on these stamps.

Mauritius 2010 SAPOA Soccer Golden Minisheet

mauritius-sapoa-sheetSince the launch of the SAPOA 2010 Fifa World Cup golden stamp sheet the issue that have become the scarcest of them all is definitely the Mauritius sheet.

As of today, I can find almost none of the sheets available for sale online. There is one listed on a South African auction site for ZAR1200 (about $120). On Ebay I can find only one recent sale with a best offer accepted after an original listing price of around $70.

At the moment it is still very difficult to determine the correct price to buy this sheet at.

According to my records only 5000 of these Mauritius SAPOA sheets were issued. That will make them scarce for a soccer issue. What is interesting though is that according to my records only 3000 Zambia SAPOA soccer she.ets were issued and they are available in the market at much lower prices. Might me a good buy…

Let me know if you have any more information about these issues.

Update 06 January 2013

  • I managed to source one of these Mauritius 2010 SAPOA soccer sheets and have put in on an Ebay auction starting at a crazy 1c. Let’s see what the market thinks about the current value. Here’s the link to the auction.
  • Another user has listed one sheet on Ebay at a fixed price of $150

Update 12 January 2013

  • My Mauritius 2010 SAPOA sheet that started on a 1c auction sold to a buyer in Japan for $85.
  • I have listed another sheet at a fixed price of $150. This basically just covers the best price i can source the sheet at the moment.

SAPOA 2010 Joint Issue FIFA Soccer World Cup

Sapoa stamp sheet South Africa 2010The third joint SAPOA issue was issued on 9 April 2010  to commemorate the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup held in South Africa, the first World Cup to be held on the African continent.

This issue follows two previous SAPOA joint issues:

2004: Birds

2007: Fauna and flora (Animals)

SAPOA stands for the Southern African Postal Operators Association and has 14 african countries as members.

The minisheet is a beautiful gold foil souvenir sheet consisting of 9 postage stamps. The designs feature a graphic image of soccer players in action, a soccer ball, the national flag of each participating country, and also Zakumi, the official mascot of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The gold foil looks similar on all issues except for the Malawi issue, where a different type of paper was used.

Nine countries participated in this joint issue with the quantities of minisheets as indicated:

-         Namibia                  : 50,000

-         South Africa          : 200,000

-         Botswana                : 10,000

-         Mauritius                : 5,000

-         Malawi                     : 50,000

-         Zambia                    : 3,000

-         Zimbabwe              : 10,000

-         Lesotho                   : 50,000

-         Swaziland               : 50,000

The Namibia Post Office also issued an additional minisheet commonly referred to as the composite or combination minisheet. Only a few dealers were able to get their hands on these sheets. According to my information, only 5000 of these sheets were printed and sold.

Originally it was quite difficult to determine the market value of these sheets as many collectors were trying to get their hands on them to add to their soccer collections. Many collectors paid more than what the sheets are available for in the market in 2011 market. In addition, Malawi only managed to issue their sheet a few months after the World Cup, so it only became available at the end of 2010.

As of February 2011 my opinion of the different sheets is as follows (and please note this is from my personal experience, and I cannot be held responsible for any actions based on this advice. Also, if you have any additional information, I would gladly update the article):

-         Namibia is now sold out at the Philatelic bureau and will probably become scarcer, most collectors would have been able to buy this sheet at a reasonable price, however with the quantity printed it should never become too scarce.

-         South Africa sheets are still sold by the Philatelic bureau, so it should still be one of the easiest and least expensive sheets to buy and a great addition to your collection, with South Africa as the host country.

-         Botswana sheets are available in the market at a reasonable price, but I would buy now if this sheet was missing from my collection.

-         Mauritius sheets seem scarce, and market prices are very high. It is difficult to determine the correct price to pay for these at the moment. They may get a little cheaper in future, but with only 5000 sheets issued demand should stay high.

-         Malawi sheets are currently selling for much higher than face value in online auctions. I suggest waiting a bit for market to normalize. If all 50,000 have been issued and sold, this sheet shouldn’t be as scarce as Mauritius or Zambia. I think some dealers are still waiting for their stock.

-         For Zambia, only 3,000 sheets were printed and the first of these were sold online at very high prices. I’d look out for bargains on this sheet at the moment, since it could become very scarce in future.

-         Zimbabwe sheets can be bought online for a reasonable price.

-         Strangely enough, Lesotho sheets are very difficult to find, even though 50,000 were issued. I’d buy this sheet now if you can get it at a reasonable price.

-         Swaziland sheets can be bought online at a very reasonable price, bit I would buy now as I’m not sure how many of the 50,000 sheets were sold. According to my information, in the case of the 2004 issue, thousands of unsold SAPOA bird sheets were actually destroyed.

-         With regards to the composite sheet, I’d buy it now if you can get it at a reasonable price. Even though this sheet was not really issued for postal usage, it is a great alternative to buying all 9 of the other sheets. Only 5000 of these were issued and it should become more scarce in future.

Varieties and errors:

-         I have noticed some colour shifts on a few of the minisheets with slight misalignment of the printing. I have seen South Africa, Mauritius and composite minisheets with this error. I am not sure if these sheets may become more valuable in future but I’d suggest you keep them if you own some of these.

-         Any other information on varieties or errors will be much appreciated.

Technical information of this stamp issue:

Artist: Anja Denker (Namibia), concept artwork and design

Printing: Joh Enschede Security Printer, Netherlands

Type of printing: Offset, 4 process colours + white

Size/perforation of stamps: 44mm x 44m square perforation and 37,55mm x 37,55mm round perforation

Souvenir sheet: 167mm x 188mm

Paper: 106gsm stamp paper with gold foil all over

Stamps as alternative investment

Are stamps a suitable alternative investment?

As with any other investment, investing in stamps or philatelic material carries its own risk. Historically there are some stamps that have experienced tremendous increases in value. There have also been stamps, however, that decreased in value over time. People most suited to using stamps as alternative investments are experienced stamp collectors themselves. If you have no experience in stamp collecting you will probably have to consult a reputable and trustworthy dealer to assist you.

Premium stamps have proven themselves a strong and stable investment through times of economic turbulence. Philatelic investment was popular during the 1970s but then fell out of favour following a speculative bubble, and prices of rare stamps took many years to recover. Investing in rare stamps requires a high degree of expertise and can be very risky for the novice.

Stamps have little intrinsic value, since they do not have the raw material value of gold and they do not represent a share in a business like equities.

In some countries investing in stamps can act as an easy local currency hedge. Most stamps are catalogued in GBP or USD, so if your local currency weakens, the value of your stamps will increase in relation to your local currency.

Stamps should be considered a long term investment (at least 10 years, in my opinion). Remember that you have to recover your buying and selling fees too (auction commissions are normally between 10-20%). Remember as well that when your stamp investment reaches a certain level you it will also be necessary to take out insurance and perhaps to rent a safe. These additional costs should also be covered by any increases in the value of your stamps.

As with any other marketable product, price is determined by supply and demand. Demand can drop if trends and tastes change in the future. A sudden appearance of large quantities of a scarce item in the market can cause a problem on the supply side. We can’t accurately predict what the demand will be after 10, 20 or 50 years. There are no guarantees.

Other risks include: damage to your stamps, theft/loss of your stamps, and fakes and forgeries.

For most just enjoying your stamp hobby is best: consider increases in the value of your collection a bonus. If you decide to use stamps as an investment, only allocate an appropriate percentage of your investment portfolio to your stamp investment.

Choosing stamps for your investment?

When purchasing stamps purely for investment purposes you should choose stamps that you predict will be in demand in future years and will hold their value for a long time. Unfortunately, this is no easy task. The following tips can help, but will never guarantee success.

-         Choose popular stamps that are scarce already and already growing in demand. The stamps should already have a high catalogue value that ideally increases annually. These stamps are most likely to increase in value in future.

-         Some collectors and investors also try to anticipate future trends and buy low ahead of time.  This is difficult to get right, however, and may go totally wrong.

-         Choose stamps from bigger countries that have fairly liquid markets. Some stamps may have very high catalogue values, but there are only a few collectors in the world interested in such a stamp. Other higher value stamps are traded more regularly.

-         High value stamps are the most likely to be forged. Make sure you are buying authentic stamps, and consider buying stamps with certificates or with the option to certify them. Remember that even experts may make a mistake.

-         Diversify. As with all investments, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Rather, purchase a small portfolio of stamps (with different countries or themes) rather than one single high value stamp. The single stamp may show better results when you look back later, but less diversification is more risk.

-         Only buy stamps that are in great condition with no faults. Make sure you understand exactly what this means.

-         Make sure you don’t pay too much for your stamps, if you pay 20% above actual market value it can take years to reach breakeven. Do proper research.

Handling and storing your stamps:

Make sure you know exactly how to handle and store your stamps to prevent any possible damage.

Other things to remember:

If your stamps carry a high value you will have to start considering taking out insurance in case of theft.

You will also have to consider renting a safe.

Remember to provide for this investment in your testament. Give specific instructions to your executor to ensure the full value of your stamps is realized.

Stamp collection budget considerations

No matter what you are collecting, you will probably always be missing stamps that are just too expensive or scarce too find.

-         For most countries, there will be some early issues and varieties that you may never own.

-         For most themes there are some very scarce items (e.g. if you are collecting bird stamps, you would have to be a very rich man to collect 90% of all possible issues).

You can start your stamp collection with very limited funds, or you can spend thousands of dollars on this hobby. You can also buy stamps as an alternative investment. Just make sure that you don’t have unrealistic expectations.

Starting your stamp collection with zero or very limited funds:

-         You don’t need funds to start your stamp collection. The easiest way to start would be to acquire as many used stamps you can lay your hands upon. Ask your family and friends to save all their envelopes with used stamps for you. In addition, ask some of the local businesses to keep their envelopes for you, as some receive hundreds of envelopes monthly.

-         One of your older family members may have a stamp collection that he/she would be willing to part with if they know that you show sufficient interest and will not neglect the items they have collected over years.

-         You can buy collector packs from stamp dealers. Many dealers sell stamps in bulk for a low price. You can find collectors packs with 100+ stamps sorted by theme or country for very low prices (from $1 to $5).

-         Attend a stamp auction or have a look at online auctions. You will often find kiloware (many used stamps still on paper), bulk listings, or boxes containing unsorted stamps at low prices. This can give your collection a kick start.

-         Starting your collection this way can be a lot of fun, but unfortunately your stamp collection will probably not have a lot of value.  Sorting and classifying your stamps should add a little value however. And there are always exceptions. Finding something special and scarce is always a possibility.

  • Sometimes, even a new issue can quickly accumulate in value:         
    • If only a few stamps were used before an issue was redrawn by the postal authority, this will become a scarce item and can immediately see its value increase dramatically.
    • Some stamps contain a fault (e.g. printing or perforation error), and you may be lucky enough to acquire one of these stamps in a used condition. This will become a scarce item and can immediately increase in value.
  • It is also possible to luck into a valuable stamp in an auction lot, collector’s pack, or box of bulk stamps that the previous owner ad other buyers didn’t realize the value of.


Most collectors probably fall into this category. You have identified certain areas of interest for your stamp collection and you know what to look out for. You frequently spend your extra cash acquiring new items missing from your collections. You will also buy auction lots when you notice some value, and in some instances remove items that you require and sell the balance.

You are not spending thousands of dollars on your hobby but you are building up your collection steadily. Your collection will probably be continuously accumulating in value, and you should start considering including your stamp collection in your testament.

Your stamp collection has become an investment, even though that was not your original intention. You will also start considering spending more of your income allocated for investment on high value stamps.

Collecting stamps with investment value in mind:

Stamps can be a great investment as financial return has been very good over time. If you want to acquire stamps as an investment,  there are many things to consider to ensure you invest wisely. Please see the article on “Stamps as alternative investment”

Choose your collection interest carefully

When you first become interested in collecting stamps you often acquire way too many of them from different countries, themes, etc. I would guess that most collectors have stories to tell of purchases they later regretted. It is very easy to quickly acquire stacks and stacks of albums and stamps that can result in total chaos. Sorting stamps is a very time consuming exercise. 

Decide what you want to collect and stick to that. Your collection interest will probably develop and change over time as you become more experienced.

There are so many different areas of interest, but these are some that you may consider.

Collection by country:

-         Collect stamps from one country (e.g. South Africa, USA, France, etc.)

-         Starting a worldwide collection is not recommended, but if you are doing it purely for fun there is nothing wrong with it.

Collection by theme/topic:

-         We call these thematical or topical collections. This has become a very popular way to collect stamps. If you have another hobby or area of interest, it is very easy and enjoyable to build a stamp collection around it. You can basically build a thematic collection around almost any theme.

-         Some examples to get you thinking:

  • Stamps with images of birds, butterflies, and fish are some of the most popular thematic collections.
  • Collect stamps of your favourite animals, e.g. elephants, lions, cats, dogs, etc.
  • Collect sport stamps, or stamps with your favourite sport as theme, e.g. golf, soccer, chess or cricket. You can also collect stamps of sporting events such as the Olympic Games, Soccer World cup, etc.
  • Collect stamps of your favourite transport method, e.g. trains, ships, space, motor cars.
  • Here are more themes to get you thinking: Famous person (e.g. Nelson Mandela), Arts, Architecture, Religion, Gemstones, Music, Maps on stamps, Stamps on stamps, etc.
  • You can also develop collections of themes within themes by progressing to a deeper level of specialization. For example, try to collect one type of bird (e.g. owls or eagles), one type of dog (e.g. bullterrier), etc.

-         There are so many options. No matter what you can think of there is probably another person somewhere in the world collecting the same theme.

-         For many themes, especially the most popular ones, free websites exist where you can find lists and images of all the stamps available. This makes the job of finding your stamps so much easier.

Collection by issue:

-         Many collectors will try to collect stamps from a joint issue between different countries. Examples of these are King George stamps from Commonwealth countries, or collecting Omnibus issues like the Silver Jubilee or Royal Silver Wedding issues. In the case of the Royal Silver Wedding issue of 1948/9, a set of two similar stamps was issued for 69 countries, and collectors will try to collect all 69 different sets.

Avoid these beginner stamp collecting mistakes

If you are interested in starting your stamp collection hobby, here are some common beginner mistakes to avoid:

Collection interest too wide:

When you first become interested in collecting stamps you often acquire way too many stamps from different countries, themes etc. Don’t make this mistake. Try to limit your collection to one country, area, or theme and decide whether you would like to buy used or new (mint) stamps.  See Article: Choose your collection interest carefully.

Paying too much:

You will soon notice that it is not easy to determine if you are paying the correct price for stamps. An important step will probably be the acquisition of a stamp catalogue. Make sure you understand how to properly use a stamp catalogue. You will only rarely pay the full catalogue value of the stamp, even for perfect stamps. Many stamps in great condition can be acquired for between 20% and 40% of catalogue value. For some stamps you may have to pay a much higher percentage of the catalogue value. When you decide to acquire a more expensive stamp, do your research properly. Don’t just buy the first stamp you see.

Buying stamps in bad condition:

The prices in catalogues are for stamps in the best condition available. For newer issues, this means the stamp should be post office fresh. Things to look out for are gum, hinge marks, toning, rust, perforation, tears, repairs etc. A stamp with a fault isn’t necessarily without value but it may only be worth a fraction of what a good condition stamp is worth.

Handling stamps:

Stamps should never be handled with your hands: you will leave residue on the gum that may cause marks or future rusting.  If you want to make sure your stamps don’t lose value, keep them in perfect condition.

Storing stamps incorrectly:

For many years collectors used hinges to attach stamps to album pages. Today, an unhinged stamp is worth a lot more than a previously hinged stamp. Never use hinges. Buy proper stamp albums or the glassine sheets specifically made for this purpose. These should be available online, or at your local dealer or stamp fair, and they are worth the price. Also make sure to keep your albums in a safe, dry, and dust-free place.

Fakes and forgeries:

Due to the high value of some stamps, people have created many fakes and forgeries over the years.  It is not always easy for a novice to distinguish between genuine and fake stamps. Some forgeries are so good that most dealers won’t notice the difference. If you are acquiring a really high value item you can always send it for certification. Many sellers will allow you to return your purchase if it is proven to be a fake. Also, do some research on the stamp you are interested in, since some issues are known for forgeries.

How to get your stamps valued?

How to get your stamps valued?

I am receiving several email requests from people enquiring about the value of certain stamps, old covers or stamp collections. I have therefore decided to write a short article with some general guidance on this topic.

First of all I would like to request you to use the stamp forum on this site rather than sending me an email through the contact form. Post a scan or good quality photo of your items with any additional information you may have. I will try to assist as soon as possible but you also have the benefit that other collectors may look at your items and help with the identification and valuation.

If you have bulky collections where it is not realistic to scan or take photos, the only other option is to take your collection to a stamp dealer that will be able to assist. Another option is to only provide a scan or photo of the oldest stamps; these will most likely be the most valuable.

South African Residents:

For South Africans, I’d propose contacting a stamp dealer registered with the South African Philatelic Dealers Association. Their website is and you can find a full member list with contact details there. The dealer list is also available at

I’d also strongly recommend you visit a stamp fair. These are held weekly/monthly throughout South Africa and details can also be found on SAPDA’s website under the “Events” tab. Here you have the opportunity to meet several stamp dealers and they may provide a quick valuation or point out some possible valuable items in your collection. You can also quickly get a second opinion and get good advice on how to proceed if you are interested in selling your stamps.

International Residents:

 I’d suggest trying to find out if there is a stamp association or federation in your home country and contact one of the dealer members.

If you have already identified your items, you can always search for similar items on Ebay and see what they are priced at.

To summarize:

 - Post scans or images of your stamps or collections in the stamp forum and other collectors will try to assist with the identification and/or valuation.

 - Contact a registered stamp dealer in your country of residence of visit a stamp fair or show.

  – Be prepared for disappointment, it’s possible that you have a huge collection but it only contains common, low-value stamps.

  -  Please post in the forum if you have any questions or need further advice.