Stamps have been regarded as a form of investment for some time, albeit alternative investment. There have been a number of articles of late in the weekend press about the merits of investing in stamps. As with any form of investment, please exercise due caution and I would suggest that any investor only ever makes investments that s/he understands well.

Stamp collecting is a hobby and relies on collectors. The price of stamps can vary considerably from the “list price” published in one of the many Stanley Gibbons guides. As with many forms of investment the value of some stamps has risen, but for many it has fallen.

A note of caution too – I learned of one avid collector that died and his beneficiaries neither cared about nor understood his passion for stamp collecting. The entire collection ended up in the “to the dump” pile. It was a collection worth many thousands of pounds.

Out of interest, the worlds most expensive stamp is currently the three-skilling yellow, printed in Sweden in 1855 and was the result of a printing error. Instead of printing the stamp on green stock, it was printed on yellow paper. In 1970, the authenticity of this misprinted stamp was questioned by the Swedish Postal Museum, but it was found to be genuine.

The stamp has not actually appreciated in its considerable value of $2.3m in 1996 when it was reauctioned this year for what is believed to be the same price. So when you allow for inflation, that’s a loss. I hope that the owner has this very small piece of paper insured.

So if you have been a stamp collector in the past, it may be in your interests to review your collection. Here’s the authority on stamps.

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