I Inherited a Stamp Collection,
Now What?

by Charles F. Myers

Fourth Edition

This book started in 1995 when I inherited a rather large stamp collection from my mother, Ruth Myers, and my aunt, Julie Whaley.  Actually, it was really four or five collections, because mom and Aunt Julie had inherited albums from other people.  I had collected a few USA stamps as a child, but I certainly wasn't prepared for what I inherited.  I wrote this book in an effort to help others in the same situation in which I found myself.

This edition (the Fourth Edition) was issued in 2011 and is available for you to read in its entirety, for free, on this web site.  The book consists of 27 chapters to help you make sense of a stamp collection you might have inherited. 

It also gives you some tips on options you have in dealing with the collection (e.g., selling the stamps, using the stamps as postage, giving the collection away, etc.).  It is not necessary to read the entire book; not everyone will be interested in every chapter.   The first few sentences of each chapter tell you who might benefit from reading or skimming the chapter.  I hope this books helps!

There is no charge to read this book online.  If you like, you have my permission to print out a copy for your personal use.  Please keep in mind, however, that I revise and update this online version from time to time.  If you print out a copy, you'll miss all the changes.

Libraries have my permission to print out one copy (or several copies) of the book to put in circulation.  Again, please keep in mind that the book changes from time to time.  Once you've printed a copy, you won't see the latest changes.


Book Chapters and Sections

You do not need to read the table of contents.  You might take a minute to skim over the topics to see what we'll be covering.  You can always come back to this page if you are looking for something in particular.

Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 Definitions & Abbreviations
2.1 Definitions
2.2 Stamp-related Abbreviations

Chapter 3 Centering & Condition
3.1 Overall Condition of Your Stamp Collection
3.2 Conditions of Individual Stamps
3.3 Centering
3.4 Cancels

Chapter 4 Help from the National Philatelic Organizations
4.1 Collector was an APS or an ATA Member
4.2 Non APS or ATA Members

Chapter 5 Evaluating What You’ve Got
5.1 A Quick Inventory
5.2 Overall Value of Your Collection
5.3 High, Medium or Low?
5.4 General Rules of Thumb about Stamp Prices
5.5 The “Ignore-These-for-Now” Items

Chapter 6 Basic Choices

Chapter 7 Giving The Collection Away

Chapter 8 Selling Material To a Local Dealer
8.1 General Issues
8.2 The Stereotypical Local Stamp Dealer
8.3 Reasons to Go to a Stamp Dealer
8.4 Selling Certain Items
8.5 Other Options
8.6 What a Dealer Wants to See

Chapter 9 Selling Material to a Mail-Order Dealer

Chapter 10 Selling Material Through an Auction House
10.1 General Information
10.2 Private Treaties
10.3 Mail Sales

Chapter 11 Breaking Up an Album

Chapter 12 Stamp Shows
12.1 General Information
12.2 How to Find a Stamp Show
12.3 MNH USA Sheets, Booklets and Coils

Chapter 13 Stamp Clubs

Chapter 14 Using Stamps as Postage
14.1 Regular Stamps
14.2 “Odd” Stamps
14. 3 Stamped Envelopes and Postal Cards
14.4 Non-denominated Stamps

Chapter 15 Selling on The Internet
15.1 General Information
15.2 Messages that Work and Ones that Don’t
15.3 Getting Money from Overseas

Chapter 16 APS Circuit Books
16.1 General Information
16.2 Strategy Tips for Selling Stamps in Circuit Books
16.3 Tips

Chapter 17 Non-traditional Uses of Stamps

Chapter 18 Getting an Appraisal
18.1 Formal Appraisals
18.2 Informal Appraisals

Chapter 19 Storing Stamps/Handling Stamps

Chapter 20 Stamp Insurance

Chapter 21 Mailing Stamps
21.1 General Information
21.2 Other Considerations

Chapter 22 Using and Understanding a Scott Catalogue
22.1 General Notes
22.2 How Stamps Are Organized in the Scott Catalog
22.3 Pictures of Stamps
22.4 Miscellaneous Information About the Stamp
22.5 Catalog Values

Chapter 23 Stamp Expertization
23.1 General Information
23.2 Where Do Fakes Come From?

Chapter 24 Forms and Such

Chapter 25 Supplies, Newspapers and Books
25.1 Books and Newspapers
25.2 Stamp Supplies
25.3 Shipping/Mailing Supplies

Chapter 26 Do’s and Don’ts of Stamp Collecting

Chapter 27 Worksheet for Stamp Collectors

Contact Information

Click arrow to go to Chapter 1.