Stamps „r us: know their grade and condition
Collecting stamps is a worthwhile if not a very lucrative hobby. But
more than simply gathering them, it is just as important that their
condition and grade be well determined by its collector.
Serious stamp collecting requires discipline and sufficient knowledge
thereby allowing the collector to save appropriate money and time to
build a strong and sufficient collection.
Believe it or not, there are available catalogs that provide an outline
of a stamp‟s relationship between its grade and value. Even modern-day
technology such as the internet offers no respite from sound stamp
descriptions since some stamp faults could very well escape the eye of
Basically, the grading and condition of a stamp is the same for all stamp
collectors in any part of the world. So how does a stamp get to make
that all-elusive grade?
What is a grade?
First things first, a grade involves centering, gum and cancels. It
basically describes the design of the stamp and just how well the design
is located right in the middle and in between the stamp‟s perforations.
The stamp must be looked at both vertically and horizontally on the stamp
The grade of the stamps are given out similar to how a grade will be
given out in an exam in schools, such as: excellent or poor.
A stamp that has been given a grade of “superb” basically means that it
is perfect and possesses the qualities that are the finest.
A grade that says “extremely fine” basically mean that the stamp is
almost close to perfection. It also means that the design is centered
well. The margins are even around the stamp.
Cancels present in such a stamp are hardly perceptible and are generally
neat. The condition of the stamp is bright, it possesses a rich color
and is clean. Although most stamps made early on are seldom, if not
never, seen in such a condition.
Stamps that are given the grade of “very fine” is centered well. It is
also balanced and the margins are appropriate, though not even. Just as
the previous grade, the stamp possess no undesirable faults. Believe it
or not, it is this grade that is usually used in many stamp catalogs.
A stamp that has been given a grade of fine or very fine has a design
that is a little off the center. The general condition of the stamp is
that it has no such faults.
Meanwhile, a stamp that has been given the grade of fine is where the
design could be found as not centered, both vertically as well as
horizontally. However, the stamp‟s general condition is that it
possesses no faults.
A stamp that has been given the grade of average or good mean that its
design is not centered.
There are no available tears or spots that are thin. Stamps that are
given such a grade are collected less.
A stamp that has been given the grade of poor means that the design is
not centered and the found perforations extend into the stamp‟s design.
The cancellation marks are also heavy, thick, blurred and smeared.
Stamps with such a grade are generally not suited to be collected.
What are the conditions of the stamp?
A stamp‟s condition is the basic description of its obvious
characteristics, such as the stamp paper used, the ink, or the gum.
A stamp that has been given the condition of positive generally mean that
the stamp is clear, and has a crisp impression of its printing. It also
has colors that are rich and fresh.
However, faults may be considered when there is any part that has been
damaged, altered or modified. The color of the stamp may also be
stained. In such cases, any attempt to clean it up may just as well
result to the color being changed permanently. The stamp may also be
considered as having faults if the paper has some holes, or maybe torn,
or has creases or stains.
All in all, a perfect stamp may or may not be that hard to find. What is
definite is that what one seeks one shall definitely find. Though it
could take numerous and stamps upon stamps of searching, it is definitely