So close.


If you’ve ever collected stamps you know what an utter nightmare it can be to determine value. There are so many variables…. color, condition, perforation count etc.

My husband never had any interest in philately until both my aunt and his uncle dumped huge collections on him a decade ago. Numerous dusty boxes and files and books cluttered our office for months as he attempted to sort, categorize and value those stamps. I tried to help, and was interested in the history…. up to a point.

The point when my husband would come running in the kitchen waving a tweezered stamp in the air like a maniac. He’d have a big smile on his face, his body positively trembling with enthusiasm. Said stamp would be shoved in my face and I would be asked, ” Is this red… or magenta?” His anticipation was palpable. Think Howard Carter about to open Tut’s tomb.

Over and over again this would happen. “Red or magenta?” “Yellow or chartreuse?” “Blue or aquamarine?” And over and over again I would correctly name the color…. I am an artist’s daughter after all…. and my husband would be crestfallen. Desolate. Disappointed beyond measure because while the red, yellow and blue stamps were common and usually worth .20- .75 cents, the magenta, chartreuse and aquamarine could be worth thousands.

Needless to say he never found the 1856 magenta British Guiana 1c ( most expensive stamp ever sold, $9.48 million ) or the the 1918 U.S. inverted Jenny… a favorite among collectors for obvious reasons.



(That little oopsie goes for a million plus.)

But hope springs eternal, he knew he’d find a winner. And every time I’d identify the color that lost him $30,000? He’d get mad… at me! Like it was my fault lilac is not aubergine. After months of painful searching, the stamps went back in their boxes and eventually back in the cellar. Until now.

Now they’re floating back up to the living space with the rest of the crap treasure he’s been sorting through… and once again I’m called upon to be the bad guy.

Yesterday he was smiling ear to ear. He’d found a $5,000 stamp!

And while he did have a 1926 2K Czech Hradcany, what he didn’t have was the rare watermark that makes it valuable.



And naturally, I was the evil witch who pointed it out.

He didn’t speak to me for 2 hours.


30 thoughts on “So close.”

  1. I knew a guy once who sold a number of valuable stamps. Until it was discovered he was counterfeiting the watermarks, using modern day inks. I never found out what became of him after that, whether he was sent to prison or not. He disappeared from our social circles. He really thought he had gotten away with his crime.
    So if hubby ever wants to try adding the watermark, advise him to make sure to counterfeit the ink as well as the watermark. Philatelists do check these things.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You describe that very well. So tell him to keep on looking, and make sure he has the most up-to-date reference material. Things vould change at a moment’s notice.
        Meanwhile, he should not look only to the stamps. Anything could be valuable if made or owned by the right person. It sounds like he has a lot of odds and ends hanging around.!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Feed the stamps to Mrs. Squirrel!
    I had a friend–was a door to door dalesman who was a stamp collector—when he died his partner sold the thousands—yes thousands—of stamps to a stamp club for a bulk rate and got $15,000!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. An individual drives around the neighborhood all day putting mail in mailboxes. Skill set: Zero. That deliverer is only required to get stuff in the right boxes 50% of the time. Skill set: Zero. Pay for this zero educated, zero skill individual? More than a teacher. THAT is what I have an issue with. If any readers of this post are mail couriers, I am talking about you and could care less if I hurt your feelings.


  3. Would I be correct in assuming that, back when you had those pesky roof leaks, that a small part of you would have been just fine if those piles of stamps had been turned into soggy messes that just HAD to be thrown out?. Hmm?…. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. He should try to sell a few of those stamps. Yes, some can be extremely valuable but the trick is finding a collector who wants them and who’ll pay top dollar. That’ll take at least some of the heat off of you.

    Liked by 2 people

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