Stamp values versus what a stamp is worth

Conversations on forums often center around stamp values. They are often couched in terms focusing on catalogs, but I suspect most every collector hopes their stamps are or become worth something.

A lesson in stamp values

Former brother-in-law. One of the kindest men you’ll ever meet, he passed away a while back.

After my ex and I divorced, he always had a friendly word if we saw each other. Not that the rest of her family wasn’t friendly, but he took it to the next level.

Years before the divorce, I helped him with some business marketing for free. It turned out to be a big help. So one day, he gives me a gift, a postage stamp.

It was United States Scott #183. I’m not 100 percent sure where he found the stamp, but the package it came in said, “2006 Catalog Value, $150. Very Fine. Original Gum. Yours for $12.”

Stamp Values
United States Scott #183. Used, creased, original gum.

Here’s the simple fact. It doesn’t matter what the catalog said in 2006. That stamp he bought is not worth $150. It was used and damaged, with a pretty good crease in it. You can get copies of the stamp on eBay for quite a bit under $12. Yes, a mint, unused version will set you back a bit.

Still, he thought it was a great gift and was glad to get it for me.

And you know what? It was a great gift.

True Stamp values

There were two things that help stamp values in general. At least to me. And they have nothing to do with how much someone will pay for it.

Item one. Do I appreciate the stamp in some way? Yes.

Item two. Does the stamp fill a hole in my collection? Yes.

My collection of U.S. Stamps is housed in Mystic’s Heirloom Albums and is more of a “as I go” collection. I don’t pursue anything for my US collection, but as I acquire stamps, in they go.

Scott #183 was a blank and I doubt I’d have ever searched the stamp out and certainly not a pristine, expensive version. But now that hole is filled in my collection.

But there’s something more. I look at the stamp and I think of my former brother-in-law. I think about how kind he was to me before and after his sister and I divorced. I think about his kindness to my daughters and the absolutely goofy crap he used to say. His willingness to help anyone.

Like many pieces in my collection, the stamp itself has little value, but it is worth tons.

Through a stamp, I can look back and remember someone no longer with us.

Stamp values are more than dollars and cents. They’re intangible and in that sense, they are invaluable.

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