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What should I do with my old stamp collection?
June 16, 2011 8:13 AM   Subscribe

About 20 years ago, I amassed a small stamp collection. Probably a few hundred stamps, maybe half unused, half canceled. I totally lost track of them until my mom recently mailed them to me. I don't really want to keep them. There appears to be some evidence of mold damage. What should I do with them?

Should I just discard the whole lot? Get a respirator and discard the moldy ones, then take the rest to stamp dealer? I'm in Seattle, so which one? Sell them online somehow? I don't want to spend a ton of time on this either—I suspect they aren't really worth that much since so many are not in great condition. Stamps seem to be worth even less now than when I was young. Nevertheless it seems a shame to just throw them out. But it also seems like it wouldn't be responsible to expose someone else to all this mold.
posted by grouse to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you think there is some money to be made, but don't want to take the time and effort to sell them on your own, just take them to a dealer. Perhaps discard the moldy ones first, so that whoever you take them to doesn't have to deal with them (and doesn't give you a worse price as a result).

If you don't think there's much money in the collection, then just toss them out.
posted by asnider at 8:26 AM on June 16, 2011


I think I have stamp collection at my mother's house somewhere. If the same happened to me I'd probably toss the nasty looking ones and then give the rest to my nephew. I'd tell him that he's free to enjoy them or throw them out as he pleases.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:34 AM on June 16, 2011


Save lives by donating them to Oxfam.
posted by Jairus at 8:37 AM on June 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


CraigsList or FreeCycle. Some collage artist/art student will take them.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:38 AM on June 16, 2011


You could sell them on ebay as a lot. Just be sure to take lots of pictures and give an accurate description. You won't get the value of every stamp but you should make something and it'll reach a larger audience than Craigslist.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 8:53 AM on June 16, 2011


Are all stamps collectible or are they like coins where some are not worth anything? Some might be worth using for mail.
posted by Jahaza at 9:06 AM on June 16, 2011


Anything more than the face value that is.
posted by Jahaza at 9:07 AM on June 16, 2011


You could, of course, use the unused ones - perhaps for holiday cards or another time when you have a batch of personal mail to send.
posted by rube goldberg at 9:15 AM on June 16, 2011


My grandfather amassed a huge stamp collection. When he died my parents took it to a stamp dealer, who said that most of the stamps were face value. This was six years ago, and I still get letters in the mail with a half dozen random stamps whose values addsup to 44 cents.

So yes, I would use the stamps, if they aren't valuable, for postage. It's kind of cool getting a letter with stamps that say, e.g. "Maine Statehood: 1820-1970". I like to think the mailman gets a little kick out of it too.
posted by Tsuga at 11:07 AM on June 16, 2011


Bring them to a dealer first. Some stamps can be worth a lot.
posted by majortom1981 at 11:48 AM on June 16, 2011


Lots and lots of brides are on the hunt for uncancelled vintage stamps to apply to their wedding invitations. You may want to list them on Craigslist under weddings.
posted by muirne81 at 4:45 PM on June 16, 2011


Save lives by donating them to Oxfam.

Oxfam don't want to deal with mouldy goods - it costs them money, as with all charity shops, to dispose of damaged or dirty stock. Please only donate the ones which aren't all nasty.

Dealers may charge you for an appraisal, just so you know. Ask first if you go down this route.
posted by mippy at 8:20 AM on June 17, 2011


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