Chapter 06
Basic Choices

This chapter covers some of the fundamental choices on what to do with the stamps you inherited. Future chapters go into more detail. Everyone should read this chapter.

In the last chapter, you took a quick inventory of what you have. You may wish to consider everything as one lot. Or you may wish to treat different things individually. For example, if you inherited a USA album, a world-wide album set, and a box of first-day covers, you might want to keep the USA album, donate the world-wide album to charity, and sell the first-day covers. You have many options.

Listed below are the main choices you have on how to handle each kind of item you inherited:

Choice 1: Do nothing. This is always a choice. Put the collection away and worry about it when you retire! See chapter 19 on how to store stamps.

Choice 2: Become a stamp collector. If you’ve always wanted to be a stamp collector, here’s your chance! If you are already a stamp collector, now you have more stamps to play with! Stamp collecting is still one of the most popular hobbies worldwide. It teaches you about history, geography, art, famous people and events. There are many good books on how to be a stamp collector. Most libraries have dozens of them. You’ll also find many books published by Linn’s. There is normally a full page ad each week listing the Linn’s books that you can buy. Some of them are really fascinating! See chapter 25 for how to get a trail subscription of Linn’s.

Choice 3: Pass the collection onto the next generation. Maybe the kids would like the collection. You can give it to them now, or you can wait until they are older. Of course, if you have 4-year-old kids and a high-value collection, you probably should wait until they are older. See chapter 19 on how to store stamps.

Choice 4: Give the collection away. A: Give the collection to a friend who likes stamps. Or give the collection to a charity without regard to any tax benefits you might receive. This is the simple way.

Choice 5: Give the collection away. B: You can give the collection to a registered charity and take a tax deduction for the donation. As with a lot of things with the U.S. government, this is no longer a simple matter. Chapter 7 explains this in detail.

Choice 6: Sell the collection to a local dealer. This is covered in chapter 8.

Choice 7: Sell the collection to a mail-order dealer. This is covered in chapter 9.

Choice 8: Sell the collection to or through a stamp auction house. This is covered in chapter 10.

Choice 9: Sell all or part of what you inherited on eBay or another online auction house.  This is covered in chapter 15.

Choice 10: If you are an APS member, you can sell some of your stamps using APS circuit books.  This is covered in chapter 16.

Choice 11: Break up the collection into smaller parts and use the above options on each part. An album, for example, can be treated as a lot, something you can deal with as one unit. You can keep the album, sell it, give it away, etc. The album can also be considered as a temporary storage case for 10,000 individual stamps. You can handle individual stamps using any of the options above. This is what I mean by breaking up an album. Generally, it will get you more money, but it will also take a lot more time. I will discuss this option in more detail in chapter 11.