How to Buy Rare Elizabeth II Stamps

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How to Buy Rare Elizabeth II Stamps

Rare Elizabeth II stamps include any of a series of collectible stamps produced during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, which started in 1952. While modern stamps are generally not valuable, many older and rarer options are difficult to find and quite worth collecting. Elizabeth II stamps are divided into two categories including pre-decimalisation and decimal currency, both of which have different values. Buyers should consider familiarising themselves with different types and styles of Elizabeth II stamps before starting a collection.

Collectors should decide which stamps are valuable, which are worth investing in, and which are actually rare. There are literally thousands of Elizabeth II stamps, so choosing the right ones is very important for adding valuable stamps to a collection rather than just any old stamp. Considerations for buyers include where to purchase the stamp, how much to pay for it, and how to research different types, styles, and makers of stamps.

Becoming Familiar with Valuable Elizabeth II Stamps

The first rule to collecting stamps is to become familiar with the different styles and values of the stamps being collected. In the case of Elizabeth II stamps, this means learning the different periods and learning to recognise stamps by designs, styles, and patterns. Because there is often a limited number of styles produced during a certain period, most stamp collectors can eventually learn to recognize many stamps on sight, especially with the aid of a stamp collectors book, which might have photos of each stamp produced during an era. Visiting a museum or stamp collection with a full collection can also help collectors to familiarise themselves with rare and valuable stamps. Each of these methods can be used to learn to recognise Elizabeth II stamps. Many collectors choose to learn stamps by year such as beginning with stamps produced in 1952 and then familiarising themselves with each release before learning the next year.

Pre-Decimalisation Stamps

Pre-decimalisation stamps include both low value and high value stamps. The period runs between 1952 and 1970, which means that pre-decimalisation stamps are the oldest and therefore usually the rarest Elizabeth II stamps. However, many of these stamps, especially 'Wildings' featuring a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II taken by Dorothy Wilding, were reproduced in different formats with different values and altered images. One Wilding stamp could be a great deal more valuable than another due to a more limited production or a rarer design. As a general rule, mistakes and misprints from any era are rarer and often more valuable than even very old strips in good condition, simply because they are harder to find. Stamps commemorating events such as the Queen's coronation in 1953 are obviously a lot more valuable than standard definitives.

Decimalisation Stamps

Decimal stamps, or those produced after 1970, are usually easier to find because they were produced more recently. These stamps were often produced multiple times per year as either commemorative or definitive stamps. Events including the British polar exploration, sports achievements, and more, were all commemorated with stamps so interested buyers can look for specific events as well as for definitives.

Quick Guide to Stamp-Related Terms

There are multiple different types of stamps and usually the terms outline which stamp belongs to which category. For example, a casual observer who is interested in starting a collection of Elizabeth II stamps might not know the difference between definitives and commemorative stamps, or might not know the difference between high value and low value stamps.

Term

Meaning

Definitive

A stamp that is available for an extended period of time (common postal stamps)

Commemorative

Limited edition stamp produced for an event or achievement

Low Value Stamp

Stamps with a lower face value, such as 35 pence

High Value Stamp

Stamps with a higher face value, such as 1 pound

Phosphor Bands

Bands that light up under UV light to show machines whether the stamp is first or second class

Gum

The glue on the stamp.

Mint means 'like new'

Hinged

The stamp has been attached to a display hinge

Faults

Any problems, tears, or factory defects

Centring

How well the stamp has been centred on the paper.

Superb is top quality with average being the lowest acceptable quality for collectors

Gem

Very high quality or rare stamp

Spacefiller

Damaged stamp used to cheaply add to a collection

There are many other terms that apply to stamps but most are quite self-explanatory. For example, different variations of hinged or gummed explain the condition of the gum or whether the stamp has been hinged and unhinged. Mint stamps have not been hinged and are usually still on their original backing. Stamps with a date stamp on them have been used and are likely to have paper residue on the back unless they have been carefully re-gummed. Usually buyers can tell all of these details by looking at a stamp or by reading a description provided by the eBay seller.

Setting a Budget for Rare Elizabeth II Stamps

Setting a budget is an important part of purchasing rare Elizabeth II stamps because the prices can vary, and the buyers might be more concerned with building their collection than finding truly rare stamps at first. Setting a budget should involve researching the actual value and normal sale price of the desired stamps and then researching and looking for stamps that fit into that budget. Some stores and options are more expensive than others. For example, a stamp collector who has doubles knows the exact value of the stamps and is likely to sell them for that price. On the other hand, someone who found an unused stamp in their grandfather's old desk might not know the real value of the stamp and could sell it for less than it is worth.

Finding Rare Elizabeth II Stamps

Finding rare Elizabeth II stamps is considerably easier than it would have been forty years ago, mostly due to the advent of the Internet and easy search options. Buyers can choose to search online in addition to visiting auctions and any local stores that sell stamps. Most stamp collectors can also find stamps to purchase by visiting yard sales, stamp conventions, and even by networking with other stamp collectors, especially those who already have a large collection and therefore know where to purchase quality stamps.

Most stamp collectors should consider looking online, such as on eBay, for stamps that they want. Benefits include that it is easier to find rare stamps, and that rare stamps might be available at a variety of prices so that the buyer can select the best deal. Options include searching for specific rare stamps or browsing through stamps in the hopes of spotting something rare. Special considerations for shopping online include looking closely at photos, reading the description, and asking any questions before making a purchase.

Buyers who want to look for stamps without paying the price for rare or collectible items should consider looking in unlikely places for their stamps. For example, searching for stamps at yard sales or in bargain bins can sometimes be rewarding. Purchasing boxes or lots of stamps or stamp collections, for example on eBay, could also be rewarding.

Buying Rare Elizabeth II Stamps on eBay

eBay is an excellent place to find rare Elizabeth II stamps of almost every quality, design, and style, at a range of prices. Whether searching for a budget option or a mint condition coronation stamp, eBay has choices for almost everyone. With everything from full stamp blocks to used stamps available, you can simply search for what you are looking for without any trouble. In general, the search options such as categories or filters for the stamp's price or condition, allow you to sort through the stamps you are looking for and narrow your search.

If you are purchasing a stamp on eBay you should research the price, set a budget, and then search for your stamp from the home page of the website. Reading the full description of the stamp is important for making sure that it is exactly what you think it is. From there, you can choose to ask questions or purchase the stamp using checkout options. Most stamps can be shipped quite affordably, especially when you buy from a local eBay seller.

Conclusion

Rare Elizabeth II stamps can make excellent collector's items and can also sometimes be used as an investment. Buyers should consider that being able to recognise a rare stamp may aid them in their search for truly rare stamps, and that familiarising themselves with their collection and the stamps they need will only benefit them. Learning basic stamp terms that indicate quality and condition is also important, especially if the stamps are being purchased online.

Rare Elizabeth II stamps can be purchased in a variety of locations including eBay, which sells a range of different UK stamps. Before making a decision, buyers should consider the price, shipping fee, and quality of stamps. Also, buyers should know the value of the stamp and what they are willing to pay for it before making a purchase.

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