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635 forum posts
The second Russian stamp seems to be Russian Empire 1909 Coat of Arms.
I had to search on the value to find it and this is how you become a stamp detective but the guys in here have libraries better than mine lol.
The significant thing about this is when I first said to you about Stanley Gibbons catalogues, sometimes you go into specialisms which means you need a more detailed Catalogue. From what I saw most give American Scott Cat numbers, so yes its a bit of a headache without the library to get things like values.
I hope this at least gets you interested in the stamp world.
635 forum posts
O.K when I read inverted crown I was a bit stumped but I think I know now what is meant. I was looking at the crown on the front but I should have known better to understand its the watermark your Nan was referring too.
"Inverted" is when a watermark which is in the paper is upside down/reversed to the front design of the stamp! Watermarks is a subject within stamp collecting some make a fuss about and others don't unless of course it effects the value of the stamp significantly. The way to seeing a watermark depends of the thickness of paper really but can be seen if held to a bright light, sometimes its really difficult, sometimes its easy. There are a number of tools that this can be used with seeing these as well. If you make a proper thread as I said before one of the knowledgeable guys maybe able to give you a Catalogue value but watermarks is one of these things why you need to see the stamp unless you know what your talking about in the first place.
As you will see from the link I mentioned earlier there are watermarks given and you would be looking for watermark 168? Watermarks also do not come in description within simplified Catalogues these are usually specialized so these are all the things which make a stamp special.
Your 1883 stamp is not in great condition, the top left of the stamp is damaged, the perfing around the edge is damaged, there is discolouration to the top of the stamp, crown, which may suggest the stamp was hinged at some point, these are little bits of sticky gummed paper people use to stick stamps into albums with, sometimes the glue comes right through to the front of the stamp if thin paper!
So as you investigate this one stamp we can see a variety of things which make a stamp valuable or not. You can also see that the print of the stamp is also shifted away from the left to the right side of the stamp, meaning the gap between the perf of left side is bigger than the right side? So the printed border of the stamp right side is right on the perf edge. The same said top and bottom.
So these are good examples you have put into your online album to give you an indication as to how hard it is to make a valuation on someones inherited collection. It is a minefield and here is another thing, a general auction house will not generally be aware of these type things to make a valuation you will be looking for a philatelic auction house which is a big difference.
So going back to your original question, this is why a stamp club is best to seek for advice. There is no escape from the fact as you have just seen from these two Russian stamps just how a stamp can alter from a mundane stamp into a gem or not.
So for a proper assessment on these two stamps unless the guys are looking already, click on the forums tab, look down to world collecting and click on that and start a thread say "1883 Russian Empire, inverted watermark?"
If you post both stamp pictures under the same heading, you can put a little heading within the post "suspected 1909 15k coat of arms"
If your really stumped with a stamp just make a post thread under World collecting or specialisms with a title "Can you help Identify this stamp" and within a day or two you should find you will get an answer, there are some great people in here who know there stuff and will give you pointers as to internet sites to research.
Auction sites (Ebay) are a great way to do this as you will see pictures of stamps that you can then identify yours too. Google you need a certain amount of info in the first place to get results.
When using Cats these prices tend to be over inflated, when using the internet sites you need to see items sold and not what people are asking as a guide?
And thus there you have it, the impossible reasons as to why a stamp collection can never be valued just like that.
I went on a site with regard your 1883 stamp and there was a person selling a complete set of these (8 values?) in blocks of 4, in mint condition and they wanted 1500
Your Russian blue, rare inverted MINT condition CERTIFIED reached $2000 in auction
There's always the but and in your case its the condition of the stamp, if these are rare however then not all is lost, the stamp would just need to be verified. However you do sort of need a Catalogue value and info before starting getting excited lol lol. A lot of what I am doing is as a novice, I could well be talking rubbish (always prepare to hold my hands up in honesty). However if the $2000 is true, you can halve that figure straight away and then again, and then taking everything into account of what I have said and we come back to ground with a thump because that if everything said is true, makes your stamp worth $200 or £150 maybe less, whether you would get that would remain to be seen. Not bad for one stamp in a collection though!!!
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