How to Determine the Value of a Stamp
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Stamp prices depend on various factors, and the same stamp can either grow or lose in price quickly. For example, changes in the economy, trends, moods in society and so on can affect the value of an item. However, there are several fundamental aspects that can help you form an opinion about the stamp value.
1) There are special catalogs in which the cost of different stamps is recorded. Well-known and reliable sources of information are Scott Catalogue and Michel Catalog. The prices indicated there are based on market analysis, which means that they are approximate. You can always check those catalogs to find some information about your stamp.
2) Stamp auctions with opened auction results base will help you to determinate popularity and an average price of a stamp.
3) Another important factor that determines the value of any stamp is its condition. Mint never-hinged stamps without any scratches always cost more. Canceled stamps will cost more only if there is a limited number of those. If you own a canceled stamp, which could be expensive, you should handle it more carefully so as not to damage the date and other marks on it. It would be good to save the envelope as well.
3) Any defect lowers the value of the stamp. If there are a lot of defects, then the chances to sell such an item are quite low (the exception is rare stamps similar to the Treskilling Yellow.
To sum everything up, here's a 30-second summary of the aspects affecting stamp price:
a) The age and rarity of the item;
b) The design (Is it well-centered and bright?);
c) The cancellation mark (Is it dark and clear?);
d) The perforations (Are they neat?);
e) The condition of the stamp gum on the back (Is it there? Is it neat?);
f) You can check reference sources such as reliable catalogs to determine the approximate price of your item;
g) You can always consult an expert to know for sure what you're dealing with.