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How to Make Money for Philatelists: Make Money Selling Stamps

11 min read

Stamp collecting can be a fun hobby, but eventually, you may start wondering how valuable your stamps might be. For example, a British Guiana One-Cent Magenta once sold for 9.49 million dollars. While you may not have anything quite so valuable in your stamp collection, there is still plenty of money to be made selling them to the right buyers.

Within this article, you’ll find some valuable information on how to sell old stamps, deal with philatelic societies, and generally make money at auction houses and other marketplaces.

If you would like to know more, check out the rest of the article below.

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Why Stamps Are a Sound Investment

There are lots of reasons why you should buy and sell stamps. These include:

  1. Stamps are in growing demand across the globe. For instance, as the population in the developed world ages, more people have more disposable income to devote to quirky hobbies such as stamp collecting.
  2. Also, there are several countries with more wealth than in previous generations, such as Brazil, China, and India, all of which could prove to be an untapped market.
  3. There are also plenty of investors across the globe who use stamp-collecting as a hedge against financial risk. For example, before the Chinese took over Hong Kong, local residents bought stamps due to their portability and value.
  4. In addition, there is a limited number of stamps in existence, which can boost the value of the most highly sought-after varieties.
  5. Finally, the stamp market is both liquid and international. Thanks to the internet and the ease of modern information-sharing, collectors can buy and sell their stamps in a convenient and expedited manner.

Eight Things to Consider When Investing in Stamps

There are numerous things you need to consider when investing in stamps. If you are serious about becoming a philatelic trader, you will do well to follow this advice.

  1. If you are thinking about purchasing stamps for investment purposes, we recommend taking specialist advice from veteran philatelists, dealers or getting information from an auction house.
  2. Before jumping into the buying and selling process, consider your investment strategy. For example, it is essential to acquire a diverse portfolio of stamps, much like you would when buying shares and stocks.
  3. low-risk strategy may involve collecting stamps in a well-documented and established area, avoiding purchases that may be subject to speculative influences. You want assurance in your investment strategy rather than unnecessary risks.
  4. Conversely, a higher risk strategy could result in higher returns. If you can accurately anticipate demand, you could stand to make a lot of money on your initial investment. For example, you may want to purchase stamps from an emerging economy, as stamp collecting may not be as popular in that location.
  5. If philately eventually grows into a passion, you may want to corner a new stamp market and increase prices in that area. For this to work, you’ll need to find an area of stamp-collecting that is esoteric, unpopular, or neglected. Build a portfolio of quality stamp examples at low cost, then create a complete guide on the subject. With any luck, the prices will eventually rise.
  6. You should always buy the best stamps you can afford. Only invest in intact, high-quality, or pristine examples.
  7. We recommend educating yourself about any stamp you buy. When you understand your purchase and its value, you can make more informed investment decisions in the future.
  8. Always remember that philately is an alternative investment. If you are serious about making money through investments, you should first target traditional sectors (property, stock market, etc.). Understand the risks involved and follow professional advice whenever possible.

What Makes a Stamp Valuable?

If you are serious about philately, you need to understand how to invest in stamps to garner a profit later on. Basically, you need to consider how much a collector will be willing to pay for any item (or items) in your portfolio. As such, you should only buy stamps that a wide number of collectors want themselves or that they will want in the future, as much as you can predict anyway.

Collectors keep an eye out for three things. These are:


Many stamp collectors prefer rare stamps. As you probably already know, the rarer the stamp, the more somebody will be willing to pay for it.


If you want to make a profit with any collectible (not just stamps), they need to be in a high-quality condition. Stamps are “graded” so buyers can quickly understand their value and condition. These grades range from “superb”, which generally means the stamp is in perfect condition, to “poor”, where the item is damaged, torn, or the design is potentially off-center. If you want to gauge the stamp’s condition yourself, evaluate the state of the gum on the reverse side of the stamp, any color fading, and the quality of edging.


You will also need to prove the authenticity of your stamp. You should get a certificate from trusted sellers or organizations when buying any stamps.

One of the best examples of authenticated stamps to look out for is the Penny Black. These are well regarded among philatelists and usually a good investment, despite not being very rare. You can sometimes purchase them for anything between $10 to $30. However, their market value can rise to $3000 if they are in perfect condition. As always, you should try to buy low to earn as much profit as possible.

How and Where to Sell Old Stamps

If you are looking to sell old stamps or your acquired stamp collection, consider the following options.

Philatelic Traders Society

If you sell to a member of the Philatelic Traders Society, you will be selling to a genuine enthusiast. In addition, if anything goes wrong with the translation, this society has a code of ethics that can help resolve any issues.

Using a stamp dealer

When you use a reputable dealer, they’ll tell you the value of your stamp collection, and whether you should sell them on their own or as part of a collection, they may also offer to buy your stamps directly.

Stamp fairs

Keep an eye out for any stamp fairs in your location; you’ll be able to meet enthusiasts willing to purchase your stamps. Ensure you have alternate valuations before heading to these fairs.

Stamp magazine

You may also want to use a stamp magazine to find collectors and dealers who’ll price your collection and potentially purchase them.

Selling stamps on eBay

You may also want to use eBay to buy and sell stamps. This website gives you access to a worldwide market. You’ll have to write your own description to encourage other philatelists to buy your stamps, and you’ll have to conduct enough research so you know the actual value of your stamps. Bear in mind it is hard to get your asking price if a buyer cannot inspect your collection themselves.

Selling stamps at auction

An auction house is one of the most trusted ways to sell stamps. You will receive quality advice about selling your collection and benefit from years of knowledge and experience. You will also have access to an extensive database of collectors and deals, while phone bidding and online bids can increase your chances of a profitable sale. Remember: at an auction house; the experts want you to realize your top price as well; after all, they’ll make more money that way.

That being said, different auction houses will have their own commissions and fees, which reflect their knowledge and experience in the business. However, they will take care of most sale aspects to make the process simple and convenient for you.

Selling stamps by Private Treaty Sale

If you want assurance in your sale, you may want to sell your stamps directly to an auction house via a Private Treaty Sale. This is based on an accurate and fair valuation of your collection; you know exactly how much you’ll make without worrying about additional fees or charges.

Create Your Own Online Store with Ecwid and Sell Stamps Online

If you are serious about turning philately into a business instead of a hobby, you may want to create your own online store. That’s where Ecwid can help:

Ecwid is an ecommerce platform that makes selling online easier. Build your own store from scratch to instantly sync and sell across your own website, social media, marketplaces, and more. Grow your business with automated marketing tools. And manage it all from your Ecwid control panel.

We hope this article has given you some food for thought. It is entirely possible to make a profit selling stamps; you just need to arm yourself with the relevant knowledge and valuations to ensure you only buy and sell quality items.

Good luck!

Do you want to learn more about selling stamps online?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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