Have you inherited stamps or coins?

Sometimes a family member dies and leaves an estate that includes stamps, coins, banknotes and other special collectibles – often amassed over decades, even generations. However, the family members who have inherited these items may not be interested in keeping the collection or building it up.

If you’re in this position, we can help. We will guide you through successfully selling your inherited stamps and coins in a controlled, organised way. Closely examining the collection with our help could result in a better valuation.


Some initial tips to help you preserve the value of your estate

Close-up of a stamp album being leafed through to assess its value
1. Preserve the original system
  1. Don’t alter how the stamps or coins have been arranged in the albums, or even the order of the albums or boxes. There will often be a system at play that will help our expert more quickly determine the value of your stamps or coins.
2. Remove nothing

Do not remove stamps or coins from the collection or cut stamps out of envelopes, as you may inadvertently damage them.

4. Retain documents

If you have been left invoices, certificates and other documents relating to the collection, keep them all. They can provide information about the rarity, quality and authenticity of individual stamps and coins.

3. Protect the collection

Protect your inherited stamps and coins from humidity and light. Do not store them in completely airtight conditions and avoid using non-acid-free plastic folders.

5. Keep it all together

For now, keep together everything that belonged to the collector. Specialized literature, for example, can give an indication of the value of the collection or may even have its own value.

Stamps and Coins

What determines their value?

Determining the market value of stamps or coins is usually impossible for laypeople. It is better to have your collection appraised by philatelists and numismatists. They know which objects are currently popular and take many criteria into account when determining the value of coins and stamps, such as:

  • Age and Year of Issue
  • Rarity
  • Collection Area
  • Material Value (for coins)
  • Currency Validity / Franking Validity
  • Quality and Condition
  • Misprints and Specialities
Rarity, Age and Year of Issue

Many people believe the age and year of issue of a stamp or coin play an important role in determining value. While these elements aren’t completely irrelevant, rarity is more important. The rarer a stamp or coin, the more valuable it is. As with most works of art, demand determines price.

With coins, the quality and material are also key factors in determining value. The Romans minted many coins 2000 years ago which have survived to this day and can be purchased at a reasonable price, so age can be even less important than for stamps.

Collecting Area

Different factors affect the value of stamps. Good condition and minimal damage are also important. Some stamps are in particuarly high demand (and therefore may fetch a good price):

  • German Stamps - Old Germany and large parts of the German Reich, as well as the early post-war years, especially if in mint condition.
  • First issues of all classic countries, such as the Bayern Einser or the Sachsen Dreier.
  • Asia, especially China, whether first-day covers, used or mint stamps, and covers.
Misprints and Specialities

Misprints or specialities, such as the Mauritius Ball Cover, are extremely rare and therefore highly valued by collectors.

Stamps and Coins

How do I know their value?

Certain factors can be clues as to whether the collection has been assembled knowledgeably and if your inheritance is valuable:

  • Is the collection organized and systematically structured?

  • Were the stamps purchased from reputable dealers or at auction as single lots?
  • Are there certificates from stamp examiners or even old invoices enclosed with the collection?
  • Is the focus of the collection on "old" issues, i.e. ideally before 1945?
  • Were not only loose stamps collected, but also old covers and cards?

If stamps have been collected in so-called illustrated albums, the collector has probably invested more in their hobby than most amateur collectors. Illustrated albums contain structured sheets on which images of stamps for a particular country or geographical area are printed chronologically. This format makes it easy to judge the completeness of a collection. The more complete the album, the greater its value.

In the case of coins, a quick glance at the album will tell you whether the collection is organised by country or area, or across the board. Much like stamps, pre-1960 coins are in great demand. After this period, coins were minted in larger quantities.

You can use specialised catalogues, such as those issued by Yvert & Tellier, Scottand Stanley Gibbons, or the Michel catalogue, commonly used in Germany, to determine the value of stamps. However, this is a catalog value and has nothing to do with the market price. Catalog prices reflect the value of the stamps in relation to each other. The higher the catalog value of a stamp, the higher the percentage that can be expected at sale. The total catalog value of a collection is usually made up of a few good stamps and a lot of plain, cheap stamps that are available in large quantities. Better issues will trade - generally speaking - for 10-30%, sometimes more, while cheap issues will only trade for a symbolic recognition price.. The main catalogues used for coins are the Jägerkatalog for German coins and the Krause-Mishler Katalog for world coins. The commercial price compared to the prices in these catalogues is 30%–50%.

Accompanying documents such as certificates of authenticity, attestations, or auctionanddealerinvoices can add value to your coins and stamps. Certificates are issued by experts from philatelic associations, such as the American Philatelic Expertizing Service (APEX), Bund Philatelistischer Prüfer (BPP) or the Royal Philatelic Society London (RPSL).

Stamps and Coins

Who estimates their value?

To get a solid estimate, seek advice from experts. Philatelists and numismatists working in renowned auction houses are not only specialized in their field but also know the value of many stamps from other countries. You can drop by any C.G. Collectors World location for an appraisal.

But how does an appraisal work? In a professional appraisal, the philatelists or numismatists begin by getting an overview. For smaller collections, the stamps or coins will be valued individually.

If the stamp or coin collection is comprehensive, experts will search explicitly for high-value items that will be easy to sell. Example include George V’s seahorse stamps in a British collection or the 1980 "red monkey" or 1967 Mao poem issue in a collection of Chinese stamps. Sought-after coins from the German Federal Republic include the 50 pfennig piece from 1950 or the 5 DM coin from 1958.

You will be offered a fair market price for any high-value stamps or coins and the next steps will be discussed. Find out about the consignment procedure:

Old Stamps and Coins

Where can I sell them?

There are various ways to sell your inherited collection of coins and stamps, such as online platforms, trade fairs and dealers. In addition to different online platforms, trade fairs and dealers. However, the best result can be achieved by selling your estate at auctions.

A dealer will only consider purchasing items from your collection of coins and stamps if they believe they can resell them at a profit. An auction house, on the other hand, is always interested in achieving the highest possible hammer price. The higher the hammer price, the higher the

commission for the auction house. C.G. Collectors World auction houses are reliable, experienced and international.

Our qualified philatelists and numismatists will carefully prepare your objects for auction. Your coins and stamps are then professionally marketed to our worldwide customers, giving your collection the best chance of achieving the highest possible hammer price.

Interested in an initial estimate of your stamps or coins? Get in touch via our contact form or email us directly and attach photos of your objects.

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