Sometimes a stamp collector will be very specific in regards to the type of stamp they are collecting. Some only collect stamps with dogs, famous people or Olympics. These types are called topical. Others collect airmail stamps or commemorative stamps. Some collect stamps that have been used, or ‘cancels’, and have a history behind them, while other collect unused, unhinged (not pasted down) stamps.
Old United States Stamps
Old US stamps are very popular with collectors. US stamps were introduced in 1847 with dead heroes or ‘Monumental Figures’ being the subject matter. In 1893, the World’s Fair images were printed on stamps and became very popular. This opened the door for other images such as horses, trains, boats, and the electric car. Soon popular images in culture where also printed on stamps.
Here are a few highly valued old US stamps:
Benjamin Franklin Z Grill 1868
Benjamin Franklin Z Grill: Issued in 1868, only two are known to exist. One sold for $935,000. What makes this stamp special is an indentation, used to discourage re-issue, that is embossed on the stamp, the ‘z’ grill.
The Declaration of Independence: Issued in 1869 this green and violet stamp, with its center inverted, unused, sold for $275,000.
Jenny Plane: Popular in World War I, this plane was printed onto a stamp in 1918, but one sheet was accidently flipped upside down, printing the plane image upside down. One stamp sold for $977,500, while an entire block sold for $2.7 million.
Old International Stamps
Old international stamps are also highly collectible and can be very valuable as well. Britain introduced the world’s first adhesive stamp in 1840, a full 7 years before the United States did! British Guiana stamps are some of the rarest in the world, printed in Georgetown and London.
Penny Black: The first adhesive stamp in the world, although this British stamp is not rare, it is highly collectable. One in poor condition can run about $20, while one in great condition can bring in about $2,400.
Sweden Three Skilling Banco: Printed on yellow paper, instead of the normal green, there is only one of these stamps known in the world. At an auction in 1996, this baby sold for $2.3 million.
British Guiana One Cent: Another on-of-a-kind, this black on magenta octagonal shaped stamp was printed in 1856. In 1980, it sold for $935,000.
Where to buy Old Stamps
If you want to purchase old stamps to collect there are thousands of online and offline sources available to you. Online sources include:
www.icollectstamps.com which buys and sell rare stamps
www.HA.com is an online auction site. Their last stamp auction of 2009 brought in $1.8 million!
If you prefer to buy stamps in person here are a few options:
* The Unites States Post Office for collectibles
* Stamp meets are held throughout the Unites States
* Flea markets and antique stores often sell old letters and postcards that have stamps on them
For general information on where to buy stamps online please visit my stamp collecting home page.