We often buy stamp collections from the heirs of an estate or from Trust Companies that represent the estate.
"I inherited a really old stamp collection from my grandfather & I want to sell it. How much is it worth?"
Really old doesn't necessarily mean valuable. Oftentimes grandparents pass along a collection that they collected when they were children. The value of a stamp collection is most often a reflection of how much money was spent on it ... a really old kids collection that only has inexpensive stamps isn't worth too much today. Seventy or 80 years ago many more children were collecting stamps than in this modern age. Most children in those days didn't have enough money to buy expensive stamps; they were very happy to buy a bunch of stamps for pennies or to receive them from friends & relatives who soaked them off their mail for free. If, on the other hand, they had the money to spend & bought expensive stamps, & then also preserved them well, then you will have something to find out more about.
If it turns out that the collection isn't worth much, maybe it's a good idea to pass it along to a youngster who would get some pleasure out of it.
"I am the Trustee of an estate and need an appraisal of the stamp collection. Do you do this?"
Yes, we often do third party appraisals locally. If you need a referral to a reputable dealer in your area that does this work, please e-mail us. If you are in the Central Gulf Coast area of Florida, please contact us. If there are indications that the estate is valuable & you are in an area that we will be travelling through, we invite you to contact us about fees & timing.
"My grandmother collected stamps all her life. She died and gave them to me. What can I do to organize the collection to make it easier for a dealer to look at it?"
All too often the heirs to a stamp collection/accumulation think that it would be best to organize it to either help the stamp dealer or somehow increase the value of the collection. They have never been a stamp collector, and maybe haven't ever collected anything.
Generally, trying to organize the collection is not a good idea! In fact you may be doing damage to the stamps and devaluing them. Your best bet it to have someone (like ourselves) have a look at the collection. This will not only save you a ton of time, but could be better for your bottom line.
"Why isn't organized better?"
There are several ways that a dealer markets stamps: Selling retail singles and sets, selling collections or collection remainders, miscellaneous "junk" boxes etc. If things are too organized, it takes a lot of the adventure out of a lot for the potential buyer. If postage involved, by all means, count it! Remember to not count pre-cancels, bulk rates, stamps without gum, postage dues, revenues, used stamps or first day covers. Postage is postage that is usable on first class mail. If you do count postge (or anything) be sure to write down your findings in a way that can easily verified.
"How do I know that you won't miss a rare stamp in the disorganized mess?"
Any honest stamp dealer worth their salt will be able to look through a box full of stamps and see if there are potential gems in the box. My experience is that 99.99% of the valuable/rare stamps out there have been purchased as such. Generally people who spend good money on their stamps take care of them and put them in albums. Even if they're tossed into a box, the general tone of the collection will be pointing to evidence that the collector spent appreciable money. I have never seen a collection made up of cheap stamps containing a rarity. After all, there have been dozens, if not hundreds, of collectors and dealers looking at those stamps each time they trade hands.