How to Buy Pre-Decimal Elizabeth II Stamps

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How to Buy Pre-Decimal Elizabeth II Stamps

Adhesive postage stamps have served as evidence of payment of postage for many years and were first used in the United Kingdom on 6 May, 1840 with the issue of the Penny Black and the Two Pence Blue.. A picture of the reigning monarch was generally depicted on all British stamps until 1924 with a few exceptions, such as the 'high value&' stamps issued in the year 1913. These stamps were large in size, almost double the size of the average stamp, and featured a seahorse pictorial design.

Pre-decimal Elizabeth II stamps are the stamps from the years 1952 to 1970 (before the decimalisation). The Wilding series, a definitive series of stamps issued with photographic portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, is the only series of British stamps to feature graphite lines on the back. As an enthusiastic philatelist, one should keenly look into the various aspects of these stamps, such as a brief history, the stamps included in the collection, quality standards, et cetera, in order to make an informed buying decision. Pre-decimal Elizabeth II stamps can be acquired from post offices as well as online. eBay features a very good collection of stamps from various eras with different denominations.

Collecting Pre-Decimal Elizabeth II Stamps

Buying and collecting stamps from different times and places is an integral part of being an enthusiastic philatelist. The type of collection a buyer wants to have determines the right places to look for stamps to buy. There are a lot of individualised variations amongst collectors. Some are novice buyers, while others are experienced worldwide collectors, and there are also others who have spent a huge portion of their lives and wealth on this hobby.

Personal preferences also play a key role in any type of collecting. Stamps that are suitable options for one collector may not matter much to another collector. Several variants should be kept in mind when looking for stamps to add to a collection, and a buyer should also become familiar with the various terminologies that are used by sellers in order to understand what they are getting.

Stamp Mixtures

For novice buyers, large mixed lots are great, but the buyer should keep in mind that the term 'mix' means different things to different sellers. If no further specifications are available, a buyer should probably expect a large amount of duplication in the lot. There are generally two types of mixes, namely on-paper mixes and off-paper mixes. An on-paper mixture features stamps that are still pasted to the clipped corners of envelopes, while an off-paper mixture contains stamps that have already been soaked to remove them from the envelopes and are ready to be mounted into an album.

An on-paper mixture of stamps collected by churches was previously known as a mission mixture. More recently, the term is used for any on-paper mixture with heavy duplication without considering the source or method of collection. Bank mixtures are stamps that are clipped from the correspondence envelopes of banks that used to receive registered mail bearing high-denomination stamps. Over time, it has gotten harder and harder to acquire these stamps.

The term 'kiloware&' refers to a stamp mixture that is sold by weight, whether in kilos or in pounds. In order to sample the concept before buying in large quantities, it is a good practice to start with small orders. An unsorted mixture is one that is sold as it was received from the source without removing any stamps from it, whether high-value stamps or damaged ones.

Features and Qualities of Pre-Decimal Elizabeth II Stamps

In order to determine the true value of a stamp, the overall condition and the quality of the stamp should be considered, first of all. The word 'quality' is a composition of several factors that should be looked into before making a purchase. The right assessment of the overall quality is imperative to making an intelligent decision. The most noteworthy features that every buyer should look into are the adhesive, margins, perforations, perfins, and damage.

Stamp Adhesive

The stamp adhesive, or gum, is one of the important features to consider. The prices of stamps vary a great deal with the presence of gum. The quality of the paper of the stamp and the thickness of the gum are important features to be considered for value.


Margins are an important feature of stamps, and the overall value of a stamp is affected by margins. The addition of margins to stamps that do not have them has always been a demand and an improvement suggestion of many collectors, and they often place a premium on stamps that have fine margins like those of the Penny Black.. Several catalogues,, for example, in the recent past started providing guidance on the definitions of 'superb', 'very fine', 'fine', and 'good' examples of the Penny Black. In terms of a margin example, fine means that the total area that is outside the printed design should be no less than one half the distance between two adjacent stamps. For a greater area, the categories 'very fine' or 'superb' are more reasonable. The price also increases accordingly.

Some stamps have 'stolen' margins from their immediate neighbours. Such stamps are rare and valued accordingly. Another aspect a buyer should keep in mind is that what is wider for one stamp can be described as 'narrow margins' for another. Also, the price of a stamp can decrease dramatically if its sides are damaged.


The condition of the perforations and the centring of the stamp image inside the perforations are the two main value aspects of perforations. Centring is an easy concept to comprehend for average collectors. The space between the edge of a design and the perforation should ideally be equal on all sides. It is a natural tendency for the eyes of collectors and philatelists to go for perfectly centred stamps, which means centring is rarely an issue.


Perfins may enhance the value of a stamp. Stamps with perforated initials were not so popular in the past, and a lot of them were destroyed. With the formation of specialist societies that are devoted to perfins, the situation has changed. The demand, and hence the price, has also gone up for the same reason.

Stamp Damage

A philatelist or a collector should avoid going for torn stamps if he or she is concerned with value. This does not imply that every torn stamp is worthless. Rare and desirable stamps, even if they are slightly damaged, are still collectible. A bend in a stamp that is generally not visible from the front causes a 10 per cent to 15 per cent reduction in the overall price of the stamp. Gum aging results in a gum crease that alters the value of a stamp and is a function of the extent of damage caused to the front face of the stamp. A wrinkle also affects the value of a stamp; to what extent depends on the degree of the wrinkle. For a valuable stamp, it is usually not as significant a factor as it is for a comparatively common stamp.

Buying Pre-Decimal Elizabeth II Stamps on eBay

Pre-decimal Elizabeth II stamps of various kinds are a great addition to a collector's album. The eBay homepage features a search bar that can be used by buyers to enter a relevant query and find the available listings for that query. Categories are available, but the search bar is the quickest and easiest way to find items on eBay. For some entries, eBay suggests some related searches, as well, and these searches often facilitate the buying process. Some queries for this case could be 'Pre-decimal Stamps&', 'Pre-decimal Elizabeth II stamps&', 'postage stamps&', et cetera. A buyer can also filter the results based on his own preferences.

A common practice is to go through the user reviews and seller's history before making an order. It is also recommended that you look for local listings, first of all, by entering your postcode. If your required stamps are not available in your vicinity, then you can look for global listings. This can save you the cost of delivery charges. In such cases, once the transaction is successful, you can pick up your order from the seller at a mutually agreed upon time.


The Penny Black and the Two Pence Blue were the first adhesive stamps that were used for postage from the year 1840 onwards in Great Britain. Pre-decimal Elizabeth II stamps, as the name suggests, are the stamps from the 1952 to 1970 period before decimalisation took place. Graphite lines on the back are only featured in the Wilding series.

As either an enthusiastic philatelist or a novice collector, one should look into several aspects of stamps before making a purchasing decision. Basic knowledge of the various features, quality standards, and stamp-related terminology is imperative to making a wise buying choice. Pre-decimal Elizabeth II stamps can sometimes be acquired from other collectors or stamp collecting shops as well as online. eBay generally offers a large collection of stamps from various eras in a number of styles. Various stamp collecting clubs and organisations can also be a source for finding new stamps.

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