Here at Stanley Gibbons, we see dozens of collections on a daily basis. The value of these collections can vary greatly, so understanding what makes one collection worth more than another is extremely important.
A standard collection that we see here at Stanley Gibbons a lot is a small-time album that has been passed down through members of a family, with each person adding their own stamps to the collection. These types of collections have generally been stored away in sheds and lofts, show signs of wear and tear, while the stamps themselves tend to be more common or non-mint items.
The type of stamps seen in lower value albums would usually be classed as old 1st or 2nd stamps from all over the world. These types of stamps were not created in small numbers, meaning they are usually very common (sometimes in the hundreds of millions).
At Stanley Gibbons, we get a lot of collections like this sent to us. These stamps collections may not fetch a large sum at auction, but are full of sentimental value.
A rare or valuable collection of stamps usually has the following: a meticulous order on each album page, at least one of every stamp in a set and stamps that are in great condition.
A valuable collection is usually built by someone with an understanding of what a high-value collection should look like. Albums follow a specific categorisation and each pages stamp shows every price of the stamp in a set order. The most common order is the least expensive stamp to the most expensive, working down the page.
A very important aspect to stamp collecting and understanding the value of a collection is the condition of its contents. Discolouration, creasing, and tears will lower the value of a stamp and in turn, the overall value of a collection. A collection that includes a number of mint or near-mint stamps that are added to an album with care will generally be valued higher than a collection featuring damaged or discoloured stamps.