Your Guide to Buying a Collection of Queen Victoria Stamps

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Your Guide to Buying a Collection of Queen Victoria Stamps

Philately is a term used to describe an interest in the history and collection of postage stamps. Stamp collectors, also known as philatelists, are particularly interested in stamps issued in Great Britain during the reign of Queen Victoria. These stamps, known as Queen Victoria stamps,, include a number of significant stamps that are valuable monetarily, as well as in terms of historical importance.

Philatelists who collect Queen Victoria stamps have been able to build their collections at an even faster rate than before thanks to the Internet, where they can buy stamps from collector websites, as well as from buyers on eBay.. When buying a collection of Queen Victoria stamps, rather than a single individual stamp, it is important to know the history and significance of the stamps made during the Victorian period, how to evaluate stamp quality, and how to preserve the stamps once purchased. Being informed can make it possible to make the best decision for each buyer.

Types of Queen Victoria Stamps

Queen Victoria was crowned on June 20, 1837. Her reign ended when after she passed away on January 22, 1901. This was the longest reign in British history, and one of the longest in world history. While there were many important social, technological, and political advancements made during this period, there was also a significant change to the way mail was posted. Before 1840, mail was typically sent by charging recipients a price based on the paper and envelope they were using. In 1840, a new system was instituted in Great Britain that made use of an adhesive stamp that cost a certain amount and allowed those who posted mail to pay for it.

The Penny Black

The very first postage stamp with a set price and an adhesive backing was known as the 'Penny Black&'. This stamp had a very simple design that featured a profile of Queen Victoria on a black background. Unlike stamps issued by other nations, the Penny Black did not contain any mention of the originating country. This actually began a tradition in British stamps that continued well after the reign of Queen Victoria herself. At the same time, the Penny Black also created the tradition of British stamps featuring the current monarch. While the Penny Black was just a small, unobtrusive stamp that was only used for little more than a year, it has a powerful legacy in that it revolutionised the way that mail was posted.

The Two Penny Blue

A few days after the Penny Black was issued, the British government issued another stamp that cost twice as much, and featured the same image of Queen Victoria in profile. The only difference was in the price printed on the stamp and in the background colour, which was blue instead of black.

Other Queen Victoria Stamps

The Penny Black was only printed for a fairly short while before it was replaced. The replacement was similar in design, only different in colour, which was red instead of black. The obvious name for this stamp was 'Penny Red'. Red stamps were quite popular for a long time and the colour was featured in a number of stamps of varying denominations. The portrait of Queen Victoria that was used in the initial stamps proved to be remarkably resilient and was used in stamps decades after the release of the Penny Black.

What to Look For in a Stamp Collection

Stamps are collectors items, but this does not mean that they stand up well to the ravages of time. Stamps, due to their nature as a mixture of paper and glue, are notoriously susceptible to environmental conditions. Even the casual act of leaving a stamp collection in a damp room can ruin them. Sunlight is also a danger to stamps as it can cause the colours to fade and might possibly cause the glue to heat up. At the same time, some stamps are more valuable if, at the time of their use, they were pulled apart from other stamps with the perforation largely intact. Serious philatelists use a number of terms that are important to note when buying, selling, trading or just describing the condition of stamps.



SP (Short Perforation)

The perforation tips are shorter than they should be.

PP (Pulled Perforation)

The perforation tips are missing.

SE (Straight Edge)

There is no perforation at all on one or more edges.

RP (Re-Perforated)

Perforation has been added after the fact.


Some of the paper on the reverse of the stamp has been worn or torn away.

Face Scrape

Some of the paper on the face of a stamp has been worn or torn away.

Gum Bend

The paper in a stamp has shrunk at a faster rate than the glue, causing wrinkling or bending.


When the stamp was made, a small bit of external matter was included.

NH (Never Hinged)

The stamp has never been used with a stamp hinge.

H (Hinged)

At one time, there has been a hinge attached to the stamp.

LH (Lightly Hinged)

The previous use of a hinge left little to no lasting marks.

HH (Heavily Hinged)

The previous use of a stamp hinge has left a prominent mark or discolouration.

HR (Hinge Remnant)

A portion of a hinge is still attached to the stamp.

DG (Disturbed Gum)

The adhesive on the back of a stamp has been altered or damaged by something other than a hinge.

NG (No Gum)

The adhesive on the back of a stamp is completely missing.

RG (Re-Gummed)

The missing adhesive on a stamp has been replaced by a new adhesive.

MNH (Mint Never Hinged

The stamp is in mint condition and has never been stored with a hinge.

These terms are commonly used by stamp collectors, although some collectors in different places may use their own terms.


Another factor that determines a stamp's value is centring. In other words, when a stamp is printed, it is supposed to be placed within a certain space defined by perforations. In some cases, the stamp was printed too close to one particular edge. The better a stamp is centred, the more valuable it is. For the most part, stamps that are sold and traded should have the complete stamp image within the boundaries of the stamp, even if it meets one or more edges.

Stamp Preservation

Since stamps are subject to the overall wear and tear as well as environmental factors, it is important to preserve them in every possible way. Stamp preservation includes several general rules of thumb, such as not keeping stamps in a humid area or left to be exposed to direct sunlight. Stamp preservation also involves using special materials, such as archival paper, that have a low acid content along with albums made of this paper. Stamps can be stored using special stamp mounts, or plastic sleeves, that help protect stamps when they are placed into albums.

Buying a Collection of Queen Victoria Stamps on eBay

Stamp collectors around the world have discovered that eBay provides many more options for buying and selling than were possible before the advent of the Internet. Stamps for sale on eBay are commonly bought and sold by serious collectors and amateurs alike, in a variety of different conditions. When looking for a collection of Queen Victoria stamps on eBay, it is helpful to use the search bar on the eBay home page. A simple search in this search bar, such as 'Queen Victoria Stamps&', can provide a number of different items for sale.

Be Thorough

Since stamps can be very valuable, or not valuable at all based on relatively minor imperfections, it is important to carefully read through any product descriptions. These descriptions might make use of special terms or abbreviations used by stamp collectors, and can be very helpful in determining a stamp's qualities. A product description can also provide a sufficient amount of information pertaining to the history of a stamp. It is similarly helpful to read any seller feedback for further information.


Queen Victoria stamps are some of the most valuable to collectors, especially since the reign of Queen Victoria saw the very first modern postage stamps in the form of the Penny Blacks. These simple stamps revolutionised the way that mail was posted, switching the responsibility of paying for mail from the hands of the recipient to the hands of the sender.

The Penny black also established a tradition with British stamps in that they displayed an image of Queen Victoria and lacked any mention of the nation issuing them. When buying a collection of Queen Victoria stamps, it is important to understand not only the history behind the stamp, but to also learn about the terms used by stamp collectors to describe the condition of each individual stamp. Furthermore, it is also helpful to use special materials needed for the preservation of stamps, such as stamp albums and stamp hinges. Doing so can ensure that a collection of Queen Victoria stamps should last for many years. Considering all of this information can not only unlock the world of stamp collecting, but allow a buyer to make an informed decision as well.

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