Philately, studying and collecting postage stamps, is a hobby that many people enjoy. Stamps, especially when they are really old, are pieces of history. They are not only pleasant to look at, but they can be used as investments and sold later to keen collectors. If the postage stamps are in mint condition, their value can be many times higher than that of used stamps. Queen Victoria reigned in England in the 19th century, and stamps featuring depictions of her head are considered to be some of the most interesting and valuable stamps. Determining their value is essential when looking into buying or selling them. Queen Victoria stamps can be bought from other collectors, who offer them on various online auction sites, such as eBay..
There are several types of Queen Victoria stamps from different years, and these types should be studied before making any purchase. Moreover, the condition of the stamps depends on many factors, and influences their price a great deal. Determining the value of Queen Victoria stamps thus depends on both the issue and the condition, as well as rarity.
Types of Queen Victoria Stamps
The first Queen Victoria stamp was the Penny Black, which was special in many ways. Soon, other Queen Victoria stamps followed. The picture used on them was the same, but the colour of the stamp was changed. The stamp colour had to be changed occasionally, so people could not reuse them. There were many Queen Victoria stamps, but only the most notable types that have special names are described below. These names also describe the denomination of the stamps.
The Penny Black is historically very important. It was not only the first Queen Victoria stamp, but also the first adhesive stamp in the world. The Penny Black, invented in 1840, was the first postage stamp that could be glued to the envelope. The Penny Black is black, and depicts the head of Queen Victoria. The design originated from an engraving made by William Wyon. Each stamp was made different by punching individual pairs of letters on it. This helped to prevent reuse. A stamp used to cost one old pence or 1d. This stamp also started the tradition of using the head of the reigning monarch or leader as the main image on a stamp.
Two Penny Blue
The Two Penny Blue stamp was released only two days after the Penny Black, on May 8, 1840. As there are not many Two Penny Blues left in the world, they tend to cost twice as much as the Penny Blacks. The Two Penny Blue stamp was created for use on packages that weighed more than half an ounce. Not many parcels were sent in the 19th century, and therefore the demand for Two Penny Blue stamps was low. This Queen Victoria stamp was issued for many years in a row, but stamps from the year 1840 are the most valuable ones. Determining whether the Two Penny Blue was issued in 1840 is relatively easy. In 1841, the design was changed slightly, by adding a clear white line above the words "two pence" and below "postage". If there are no such lines, the stamp is from 1840 and very valuable.
The Penny Red stamp was printed from 1841 to 1879. It was red in colour, as the name implies. Many plates used for printing the Penny Reds were never used again because they had technical faults. Most of the test sheets were thrown away, but one sheet was accidentally released into circulation. This was the notable plate number 77, in which the stamp perforations were lined up incorrectly. There are many flawless Penny Reds, but collectors aim for the flawed edition. This Penny Red has even been entitled "the philatelic Holy Grail".
Halfpenny Rose Red
The Halfpenny Rose Red stamp was the first halfpenny stamp in the UK. The stamp was issued from 1870 to 1880. This stamp is also the smallest UK stamp ever issued. The reason for creating such a stamp was reduction of postal rates for postcards and newspapers. The stamp got its name from the colour used for printing, which was rose red. The rarest Halfpenny Rose Reds are those printed with plate number nine because this plate was used only rarely as a reserve plate.
Three Halfpence Red
The Three Halfpence Red stamp was issued in 1870 and it is notable for being the first Three Halfpenny postage stamp in the UK. The stamp was issued until 1880. The Three Halfpence Red was mainly printed in lake-red and rose-red colours, but a rare rosy-mauve edition is also available. The rosy-mauve variation was produced already in 1860 but never usedj, as the postal rates were not changed. Most of the sheets were destroyed in 1867, but some unused copies remain.
Penny Venetian Red
The Penny Venetian Red was issued in 1880, but it was soon removed from circulation because a new law was implemented in 1881. This stamp was coloured Venetian red and framed with a square. As the Penny Venetian Red was used only for a short period of time, it is considered rare and valuable.
The Penny Lilac was issued from 1881 until 1901. It was the basic postage stamp used in the UK. As a result of a new law, it was the first stamp to include the inscription "Postage and inland revenue". The Penny Lilac was a surface-printed stamp.. Because of the vast quantities printed, this stamp is not rare and its value is lower than that of rare stamps.
Lilac and Green Issue
In 1883 and 1884, printers experimented with fugitive inks that would fade when the stamp was soaked off the envelope. This was an attempt to prevent people from reusing the stamps. Low-value stamps were printed in lilac and in green. These colours were the only ones available at the time. Not many stamps from this issue have remained, and therefore they are valuable.
The Jubilee Issue was the last major issue of Queen Victoria stamps.. These stamps were released in 1887 and included 12 designs printed on coloured paper or in two colours. These stamps are not commemorative, because they were not designed specifically for the occasion, although they were printed in the Jubilee year.
Determining the Value of Queen Victoria Stamps
The value of any stamp depends on a variety of factors. Rarity is an obvious factor to consider, but the printing plates, cancellation marks, and corner letters should not be overlooked.
The rarer the stamp, the more collectors are looking for it, and therefore the higher the price. Stamps that were issued in millions are much less valuable than those that were in circulation only for a year and then cancelled.
Stamps were printed in sheets, usually containing 240 stamps. The images were transferred from engraved steel plates onto gummed paper that had a single crown watermark on it. Over years, many plates were used in order to print the stamps. Some printing plates had notable flaws and were replaced quickly. Not all printing plates produced the same amount of stamps. Limited issues are now rare and valuable.
Used stamps have cancellation marks on them. These were used in order to prevent the reuse of a stamp. The cancellation mark during Victorian times was the Maltese cross, which can be either black or red. The lighter the cancellation mark, the more valuable the Queen Victoria stamp.
The bottom corners of each stamp have letters on them. The stamps were printed in sheets, and each stamp had a unique combination of letters, depending on its position on the plate. No stamps from one plate look the same.
Evaluating the Condition of Queen Victoria Stamps
The condition of a Queen Victoria stamp largely determines its value, besides the other factors described above. Logically, those in better condition cost more and are more sought after by keen collectors. Generally, five categories are used to describe the condition of stamps. These include superb, very fine, fine, good/average, and poor.
Superb stamps are perfect in every dimension, meaning that the image is definitely centred with even margins in case of imperforate stamps or with the perforations. The colour should not be faded and the perforations should not be damaged. If the stamp is used, the cancellation stamp on it should be clearly visible.
A very fine stamp is generally balanced, but may be slightly off the centre on two of its sides. A very fine stamp is unfaded and has no creases, tears, thins, or other signs of damage. All the perforations should be full instead of short. If the stamp is used, the cancellation should be light, clean, and circular.
The design of a fine stamp is noticeably unbalanced and the perforations may cut into the design. The colour is unfaded and the stamp has no signs of damage on it. The cancellations on fine stamps are heavier than those on very fine stamps, but they still do not detract from the appearance of the design.
Good stamps, also known as average stamps, have no tears, creases, thins, or very heavy cancellation marks. These stamps may not be perfectly centred, but they are still suitable for collecting because they are cheaper to buy.
Poor stamps, which may also be called damaged stamps, have some faults. These may include tears, stains, and holes. Their colour might be fading or rusty. If they are used, they may also have heavy cancellation marks that cover the design.
Buying Queen Victoria Stamps on eBay
If you are going to buy Queen Victoria stamps on eBay, you can start by familiarising yourself with the types of stamps available. Type "Queen Victoria stamp&" in the search box that you can find at the top of any eBay page, and you get many results. On the other hand, if you are already a collector and know what specific Queen Victoria stamp you want to buy, you can start with a more precise search by typing in the name of the stamp, for example, "Penny Black". Once you receive the search results, you can sort them by auction time or price and specify the condition.
In order to find Queen Victoria stamps that are valuable, study the photos included in the item listings and look for any flaws. If you have any questions about the stamps, feel free to contact the seller. For best service and top-quality Queen Victoria stamps, opt for top-rated sellers who have a good history of stamp-selling and have been rated highly by other buyers. Read their feedback,, because this indicates whether or not they are offering you the best quality at a reasonable price.
Postage stamps are a part of history, and many people devote their time to collecting them as a hobby. The first adhesive stamps used in the UK were created during the Victorian era. They feature a portrait of Queen Victoria. This design remained for decades, although the colours and inscriptions changed.
Queen Victoria stamps vary by their rarity and by the time they were produced. Not all issues lasted for many years, and some are rarer and therefore more valuable. The common types of Queen Victoria stamps include the Penny Black, the Two Penny Blue, the Penny Red, the Halfpenny Rose Red, the Three Halfpence Red, the Penny Venetian Red, the Penny Lilac, the Lilac and Green Issue, and the Jubilee Issue.
The value of postage stamps is also determined by the printing plates, the cancellation marks on used stamps, and the specific corner letters on the stamp. No stamp looks the same, but differentiating between the stamps takes some practice. The condition of a stamp is also very important when it comes evaluating it. The best stamps are bright in colour, have centred designs, and come without signs of damage.