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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How much is my Mint Stamp Worth?

Mint Stamp is referred to, in philately, as a postage stamp which is unused, unmounted with a full gum (if issued with a gum). James Mackay, a professional philatelist and novelist, defined a mint stamp as being in its original state. In practice, many collectors refer to mint stamp as any stamp which has not been in use and therefore has never been cancelled, even it is has been mounted or does not have a full gum.
The term mint applies both to postage stamps and revenue stamps. Postage stamps are strictly for postage usage and revenue or tax stamps are stamped on tax collection documents, tobacco, alcoholic drinks, drugs and medicines, hunting licenses and different legal documents.
Hinges are small strips of gummed paper used to mount postage stamps in albums. Stamps which have not had hinges applied to them are classed as "unmounted." Stamps which have been mounted are referred to as mint stamp which have been hinged. A stamp can also be in a mint condition despite its condition as long as it was not in use.
There several common variations of the term Mint to describe the condition of the stamp:
Mint hinged (MH) - the stamp is unused but has been previously hinged. Remains of the hinge or gum disturbance are visible.
Mounted mint (MM) - the same as Mint hinged.
Mint no gum (MNG) - the stamp appears to be unused but has no gum. It might have been used but not cancelled, or have been issued without gum.
Unmounted mint (UM) - the stamp is unused and has never been mounted.
Mint never hinged (MNH) - the same as unmounted mint but with an assertion that the stamp is not a formerly mounted stamp that has been tampered with to remove traces of mounting.
The value of a mint stamp is usually higher than a used stamp because of its rarity and as often it is in a better condition. As a result, some sellers try to forge cancellations. However, this is not a general rule as the value at the end of day depends on several factors such the stamp condition and its supply and demand. There are cases where used stamps are more valuable where a large number of specific mint stamps are available. Countries often print a high volume of mint stamps more than their actual postage needs for collectors, as it is a good source of income for the postal office.
In general, it is important to maintain your mint stamps in an excellent condition, to keep its value. Organizing your stamps in a stock book, a stamp album or in an individual glass mount is a must. There are many stamps price guides which can assist with evaluating your mint stamps collection. The more known ones are Michel, Scott, Stanley Gibbons, Yvert et Tellier. Some of these guides provide online services as well.
Use the value given as a guideline and it is advised to review several price guides to receive a more accurate value for your stamp. 
Collectors usually buy mint stamps through dealers, auction websites and at the postage office. If you wish to sell your mint stamps it is important to know that dealers will demand their commission. Thus, it may be more lucrative to try and sell your mint stamps directly to buyers online in an auction website for collectors.

About the Author:
One of the great sources to your mint stamps collecting activity is where you can buy, sell, exchange and catalog your mint stamps collection or simply review collections of other collectors. You can also become a member of the site growing community; connect with other similar collectors, exchange mint stamps and ideas.

A Swiss Mint Stamp 

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