The world’s most valuable stamps

 

 

As a stamp and coin collector, you have to nourish your love for your passion once in a while. That’s why I use my spare time to do a bit of research on the topic and learn as much as I possibly can about stamps, in general. The wonderful internet is always here to help me, and I’m in awe by all the amazing things that I come across every week.

Some of the most valuable stamps have been on my mind for quite some time. It stands to reason that, since I have been collecting for a number of years not, I have become acquainted with some of the world-known stamps out there. However, there are some sites that still manage to surprise them. One of these has a well-documented article about the most expensive stamps sold both in the United States and all over the world.

From what I gathered, it appears that one of the priciest stamps is that which contains the portrait of Benjamin Franklin that was issued in 1867. There are only two stamps available in the world and each of them costs close to one million dollars. I can only assume that few people have the money to purchase one.

To my surprise, the stamp that was issued in 1869 and commemorates the Declaration of Independence is far more affordable, if I can call it that, than the one that I was mentioning above. It costs under $300,000. You’d have to pay the same money to get the stamp depicting the landing of Columbus, which was also issued in 1869.

 

In Europe, one of the most valuable stamps out there is the Baden 9 Kreuzer Error from 1851 ( see above). Given the fact that there are only four copies in the whole world, it costs close to one and a half million euros, which in dollars might be about $1,700,000, I think. Even though initially, these stamps were supposed to be painted in pink, due to a mistake, they ended up with a green tint.

In the UK, there’s a stamp that’s now worth one hundred and thirty thousand pounds, but it initially cost just thirteen pence. The thing about is that it featured some flowers, the value, and the head of the queen. Because of an error, some stamps didn’t get their value printed on, and there are only three that exist in the world. One of them is owned by Queen Elizabeth the IInd herself and the other two are in the hands of other collectors.

To find out if you might already be the owner of a rare stamp, you might have to go through the collection of letters that your parents or grandparents might have left you. If they’ve kept the envelopes, you might be lucky enough to have a handful of stamps from the beginning of the 20th century. If they’ve also saved some of the letters of their parents, your collection might even be more valuable.

Things you can expect from a beginner’s microscope

 

 

Choosing a microscope for beginners should be an enjoyable process. When I was in the course of selecting a microscope system for my use, plenty of factors came into play, so this created a rather daunting experience. With so many brands and construction types available, the decision-making process easily became a huge dilemma. These are the things I looked at when I got my beginner microscope.

I had to choose between a compound and a stereo microscope

Light microscopes derive their magnification from the objective lens and the eyepiece lens. The objective lens serves as the primary source of magnification, while the eyepiece lens acts as the secondary magnification component.

Light microscopes are of two types: compound and stereo, otherwise known popularly as high power and low power, respectively.

Compound microscopes are used for viewing smaller or more microscopic samples or specimens, such as bacteria, blood samples, water organisms and more. Those types of objects require the higher power of magnification for detailed viewing that a compound microscope can provide. A compound microscope typically comes with three to five objective lenses ranging in magnification between 4x and 100x.

Thus, if you have a 4x objective lens and a 10x eyepiece, the total magnification to expect would be 40 times. Boasting an integrated system, a compound microscope has its body and base forming a single unit. You can choose among monocular, binocular or trinocular models, depending on your desired magnification, the level of comfort, cost and intended application.

For my stamp and numismatics practice, I bought a stereo microscope, which is used for viewing larger objects including insects, bugs, gems, rocks, leaves and of course, coins and stamps, among others. Those types of specimens only require lower magnification between 6.5x and 45x, and this was exactly what I needed to work with. There are at least two eyepieces in a stereo microscope, from which we can obtain a three-dimensional image of the object under observation.

Choose between dual power and zoom configurations. Stereo microscopes are also available with a trinocular system for photography applications, perfect for my use. Stereo microscopes can also be integrated units but are more often modular in that a variety of stereo microscopes can be configured with various bases.

I ascertained the quality of construction

Although a higher quality device often commands a higher price, this would be too much of a generalization to go by when purchasing a beginner microscope. I was not focused on the price but the overall functionality of the instrument. For instance, high-quality units offer too many features that I didn’t find useful for my purpose.

The more crucial element for me was to buy from a reputable manufacturer. Thanks to the advances in microscope technology, there have been a variety of fine quality instruments with excellent optics but without the hefty price tags commonly attributed to popular brands. Loads of affordable devices now boast decent optics and an ergonomic design as well as reliable performance for daily use.

Many are made of high-quality prisms, solid metal alloys, and iris diaphragms.

I made sure the microscope came with top-quality optics

A good-quality objective lens comes with an achromatic design, which produces an enhanced ‘flatter’ image through color correction. On the other hand, some microscopists prefer an objective lens of better quality and less aberration compared to what achromatic lenses provide.

I looked for DIN- (Deutsche Industrie Norm) compatible objectives, which go perfectly with DIN-compatible microscopes for interchangeability. Also, a wide eyepiece offers easy viewing, so I wanted Super WideField (SWF) eyepieces, but there are Widefield (WF)ones available as well.

Analyzing the authenticity of stamps and coins with a microscope

 

 

Buying coins, banknotes, and stamps is a tricky endeavor if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Even though there are many pawn shops you can get all of these items from, they often sell them at a too high price for a beginning collector. If you intend to get your coins and stamps online, you need to make sure that they’re genuine. So, how can you do this? In theory, you would need the opinion of a specialist to determine whether or not your collection is valuable or not. However, I’ve seen that most of the people who are interested in finding this out are more into the whole idea of making money on their collections, which brings me to the idea that they don’t have a real passion for numismatics or philately. This gets to bother me a lot, of course, as I’ve been collecting these things for over a two decades and money makers are getting on my nerves.

One site you can use is Find Your Stamp’s Value but since nothing comes for free in life, you’ll have to pay for every value assessment process.

Another method I personally prefer is using a microscope. You don’t need a fancy one. You can even have a handheld USB model that can be plugged into your computer or laptop, depending on the device that you’ll be using. Once you’ve done so, you can look at your stamps and coins in far greater detail and see how time has affected them. With coins, it might be a bit trickier because you need to check whether or not they have scratches. Sometimes, the material they were made of might have been affected by excess humidity, and so the color changes in certain areas of the coin.

Banknotes and stamps are somewhat easier to tell if they’re real or not, in that you can at least look for things like stains. Nevertheless, a rookie like me isn’t the perfect person to ask if you’re looking to assess the authenticity of your coins, notes, and stamps because I mostly do all of this out of sheer passion. I enjoy spending my time using a basic microscope to look at all of my collectibles.

As for the price of the device, I don’t think you have to worry about too much. Most of the models that let you use software to take pictures of your collectibles usually cost less than one hundred and fifty dollars. You can even get a used one if you aren’t worried about it malfunctioning in the future. In short, it seems to me that it’s a useful tool to have around if you’re really into numismatics and philately.

Buying collectible stamps online – is it safe or not?

 

I have a passion for collecting coins, banknotes, and stamps. Numismatics has been in my family for a good deal of time seeing how my parents were into it a lot and I was raised next to all of these collectibles. It didn’t take long for me to develop the same interest for the field, and so here I am trying to write an article about how difficult it is to get good collectible stamps on the Internet.

There are several ways to go about things if you really have no idea what you’ll be getting yourself into. One of them is to go online and look for the best shops and retailers that sell collections of people who are either making them available because they have inherited them from their parents or grandparents or they’ve simply lost interest due to the lack of spare time. I know how it feels when you come back from work and are super-busy all of the time. As much as you might love numismatics, a busy schedule can take a toll on you at some point or the other, especially if this is something that you started when you were in high school and had a lot more time on your hands.

To cut things short, I can recommend you some websites that you can use for buying stamps online both safely and efficiently. Some of them are overseas, so be prepared to pay a higher price. StampWorld is the first one I’ve found when I began my research on the topic. Despite its somewhat basic looks, this is one of the most trusted and reliable sellers of stamps coming from all over the world. The admins have also created a forum where people can talk about various issues concerning their purchases or the stamps per se.

To make it even easier for you to find the right source depending on the country you live in, I suggest you check out The Stamping Grounds as this is a web page that contains all of the links you should be aware of if you’re into philately. They recommend official philatelic websites from places ranging from Australia to Portugal. Stamp societies are available everywhere around the world, but if you intend to get your stamps online, you really have to be wary of the seller and whether or not the items have gone through some kind of expertise process.

Collections are also available on sites like eBay, although I hardly think that these online marketplaces are safer than any official ones. It stands to reason that most of the sellers who have gathered favorable reviews over time sell their collection at a high price. You shouldn’t expect to pay as little as five dollars for a good one unless you’re interested in buying any collection whatsoever. This could be a good idea for a kid who’s starting out with philately.