selling - Frequently Asked Questions 

It can be really difficult to sell a stamp collection for a fair price. Here we've tried to list some of the most frequently asked questions together with our answers but don't worry if what you're looking for isn't here, just complete the form on the "Selling my Stamps" screen or simply drop us an email and we'll try to help!

We are a company that specialises in selling stamps to collectors.

The firm is owned and managed by Vincent Green and Michael Harlow who have been full- time philatelists since they were teenagers, now in their 50’s and 60’s they still love working with stamps every day.

They are proud to run a healthy, happy business that employs 14 people. The strength of the company lies in the ability to take valuable stamp collections and sympathetically place parts of those collections with clients from every corner of the globe. There is no country that we have not sold stamps to; such is the popularity of our wonderful hobby!

We purchase stamps ourselves and we also sell them on behalf of owners in our Public Auctions. Our vast experience allows us to suggest which method is best for you.

Please call and ask to speak to a memebr of our valuation team, or complete the Valuation Form as best as you can and submit it, or if you prefer send us an email at stamp@sandafayre.com but it may be worth you attaching a few pictures of your stamps or albums taken from a camera phone or similar.

No, we can progress your valuation without pictures but if you are not a collector it will be difficult for you to describe them! Remember, a picture speaks a thousand words!

Even if you have not sent us pictures of the best part we can still tell a lot from what you have photographed. We’ve found the cameras on smart phones to be the best, just take a representative selection of up to 5 images, perhaps of the pages with most stamps or the oldest stamps, or if you know which ones, the best items or album pages.

It’s simply to give us a basic idea of how the collection was built; we can’t undertake a valuation just from pictures as we do need to see the stamps themselves.

Obviously the stamps themselves are the most important thing but knowing how the collection has been stored allows us understand a little about how the collection was built.

It also helps us assess how much time we must put aside for the valuation and if the collector had possibly sought- out stamps missing from a well- structured collection or if we should be looking out for rare stamps within an untidy mixture. Please do your best to describe how the stamps have been stored or displayed!

There are various options:

Our valuers are available at our offices from Monday to Friday between 9am and 4.00pm, please call to book an appointment then we can inspect your stamps and either make a valuation 'on the spot' or issue a receipt and undertake the valuation over the following week or so.

If you are unable to come to our offices you can pack everything and send it to us. We can help with whatever advice you need and even arrange for a trusted courier service to come to your door, even if you are overseas. We handle stamp collections sent to us from outside of the UK every week.

We can also arrange for a courier or a member of our staff to collect everything from your home or from an address of your choice. We can even send you the packaging materials you need.

We occasionally send our experts to value stamp collections at the owners premises but only after we’ve asked you plenty of questions about the collection. This is because home visits will usually take one of our experts away from the office for a full day and sometimes necessitate an overnight stay in your area, so we need to be well informed before we arrive.

If you've decided to send them to us by mail or we are sending a courier but you don’t have suitable packing materials we can send you boxes, bubblewrap, tape and other packaging materials and you can pack them at your own pace.

We can also give you advice on how best to do it. Then you can send it to us by regular mail, Parcelforce or similar, we can even arrange for Parcelforce or a private courier to call when it suits you.

If your collection is housed overseas we can still get the packaging materials to you and arrange for a courier.

If you are in the UK we can have your bulky collection picked up free of charge from your home or office.

We can also arrange the same service if you are outside the UK. Contact us and we’ll sort out the details together.

 Absolutely not. It is always your decision whether to sell your property or not.

We endeavour to make you an offer within 48 hours but as we prefer to take care rather than rush we promise to complete the valuation within 5-8 working days (longer for probate and insurance valuations) unless you ask us to hurry!

Your collection will be kept on our secure premises - our offices are designed with security in mind. Alarmed, monitored and recorded we have never lost or damaged anyone’s collection.

We recommend that for your own peace of mind you take some pictures or a video of the collection (easily done with a modern mobile phone)

It's really difficult to sell a stamp collection, let alone for the right price.

Even if you are an experienced collector you probably haven't sold much before - it's much more fun buying stamps than selling them!

We at Sandafayre really know stamps and we are VERY keen buyers. It's important to us that we obtain stamp collections of every type and style and we are recognised as 'Big Buyers' throughout the philatelic world.

By finding our website we hope you have found a solution. We have one of the largest teams of stamp experts in the world and we want to buy stamp collections, so we won't make it difficult, overly complicated or drawn-out.

If you don't accept our offer we will be understanding. If you do we'll pay you immediately.

You'll be pleased that you found us.

We run 4 Public Auctions each year, containing just stamps and similar collectibles.

We charge you a commission fee on the 'Hammer Price' (that's the price the Auctioneer sells it for at the auction)

We use our extensive experience to sell your stamps at the highest price.

The auction is streamed online with bidders from all over the world competing with buyers in the room... it can be fun and exciting, so it's not for the faint- hearted!

As one of the worlds largest stamp firms we are ideally positioned to help.

You'll be pleased that you found us.

If you consign stamps to one of our Public Auctions then we charge a commission fee on the 'Hammer Price' (that's the price the Auctioneer sells it for at the auction)

If you sell your collection directly to us then there are no charges.

Yes, we do. Both require that we prepare a written statement of value.

Probate: a valuation of a collections likely sale value at public auction before any commission charges.

Insurance: a valuation of the likely replacement value in the open market.

Please note that for each service we charge a minimum of £200+ VAT or 2.5% of the valuation, whichever is the greater. We can often wave or refund these fees if our valuation leads to you selling the stamps to, or through us.

Don't worry if you are concerned that the stamps may not be worth much and the charges will then be too high, we'll warn you if we think that's going to be the case.

Yes, we often ask for pictures, no more than 5 to start with please and it would be best to take a picture of album pages with the oldest stamps and/or the most stamps.

If you know which the better areas of the collection are then obviously send pictures of those. We can’t undertake an accurate valuation from these pictures but it really helps us to get a better idea if, for example the collection includes scarce stamps probably purchased from dealers or at auctions and we can then take a view as to how long the valuation might take. 

They are probably not valuable!

For many years First Day Covers (or "FDC's" as they are generally known) have been extremely popular and somewhat overproduced to meet demand, consequently there is now a glut on the market and it is not unusual for FDC collections to sell for just 10-20% of what they originally cost (don’t blame us, the Post Office sold sell them at those prices!)

Unfortunately we have no reason to expect this market situation to change so you should still consider selling them. Because of the low average value of each we only tend to make offers on collections containing 200 or more.

First Day Covers from BEFORE the 1960s may be worth more and some are very valuable.

By ‘modern’ we tend to mean anything after decimalisation in 1971.

Mint stamps and presentation packs containing mint stamps have flooded the market and most are only worth around 40% of their printed ‘face’ value with stamps marked 1st, 2nd or E and values above 50p worth around 50%-60%, this changes depending on demand and some items are worth a lot more so we will check your collection for them, but we feel it's fair that you know this BEFORE you send your 'modern' British mint stamps to us.

Of all the collecting hobbies stamps are the most dependent value- wise on condition.

For example a single stamp with just one perforation ‘tooth’ missing might be worth just 25% of the same stamp with all its teeth! A crease or a damaged patch which may only be visible from the back of a stamp will still reduce its value to perhaps just 20% of its faultless condition and if a postmark is smudgy or too heavy it can render an expensive stamp almost unsaleable.

The good news is that it takes the experience of a team such as we have here at Sandafayre to spot the premium quality items that significantly add extra value to your collection - so it’s not all bad news!

If you are an experienced collector this could be an option but if you are not a philatelist then we would recommend the specialist advice which we can provide.

To use a stamp catalogue properly you will have to learn the terminology and pitfalls that take keen stamp collectors many years. If you use the wrong simplified catalogue then the value will in all likelihood be extremely inaccurate, if you use the correct specialised catalogues it will take you months or years to value a collection that would take an experienced philatelist just a few hours.

As all experienced philatelists know, the catalogue values are not helpful guides to the real market value as they cannot take account of quality, the relative saleability of either superb or faulty stamps, the effect of missing stamps from sets, overall freshness, the extra value for 'specialisation' and so much more. In general, using a catalogue to value a collection is a nightmare for non-collectors and we strongly recommend against it.

In philately stamps have to be at least 100 years old before they are considered ‘old’!

We can show you stamps from the 1840s worth just a few pence – and stamps from the 2000s worth hundreds of pounds each! There is no rule, when a printing press (even an old printing press) starts rolling it can produce millions of stamps per day so the ‘common’ stamps of ANY period are easy to find and very inexpensive, no matter how old they are.

There are a few things to consider first:

It may be a rare ‘blue green’ colour and you’ve got the cheap ‘deep green’! Or it may be a mint example and yours has a postmark, or it may have an ‘overprint’ which is extra words or values printed on top of a common stamp by the postal authorities (it happens a lot in war areas as stamps were captured and altered for use by the enemy) and yours doesn’t have that overprint! Or it may have a rare watermark, just like banknotes stamps often have watermarks and they can change even if the stamp looks the same.

Suffice to say, don’t get too excited just yet…

If you own a valuable stamp collection it is important that it is properly insured, not only to ensure that you receive a fair settlement based on its likely cost to replace in the open market but also without a professional valuation you may be putting your insurance company in a difficult position when you have no reasonable basis to claim any amount at all!

For a written valuation based on the probable replacement cost we charge 2.5%+VAT of the valuation amount or £250+VAT, whichever is the greater.

Don't worry if you are concerned that the stamps may be too inexpensive to justify the valuation fee. If we think that may be a risk we'll warn you early on.

A valuable stamp collection is a complex asset like almost no other. It is not a picture or a clock but a collection of 100s and often many 1,000s of individual items. None of the large and famous auction houses now have a Philatelic Department and the stamp- market revolves around a few stamp- only specialised auctions like ours. Many stamp collections are being sold off in 'general estate' auctions alongside furniture and antiques. Consequently the stamp market is buzzing with stories of great stamp collections being sold 'for a song' at these non-specialist auctions.

Indeed we know of several dealers who scour these general estate auctions and then bring their bargain purchases to us!

This often appears to be the result of executors being unaware of the stamp specialisation within the auction & antique market and not obtaining anything like the best return for the estate (and potentially failing to fully excercise their responsibilities in this regard.)

For a written valuation based on the likely auction realisation before auctioneers commission fees we charge 2.5%+VAT of the valuation amount or £250+VAT, whichever is the greater. This probate charge will normally be waived or refunded if the collection is sold to, or through us.

Don't worry if you are concerned that the stamps may be too inexpensive to justify the valuation fee. If we think that may be a risk we'll warn you early on.