It is often said that the most valuable thing on earth for its size is a stamp. But it is difficult for non-experts to spot which stamps are actually valuable. The recent share sales of the Royal Mail indicate that the postal system is in rude health, and a good postal system means that the interest in collecting stamps will remain high for a long time to come. Indeed, with over 30 million stamp collectors found worldwide, it may well be worth having a look through your dear old Uncle’s treasured collection. The Swedish Treskilling Yellow is said to be worth over £1.5 million alone, although it is an extremely rare stamp to find.

One leading stamp dealer commented that the average amount invested four years ago for a stamp investment scheme was about £10,000 but that that figure has gone up to today’s average of £50,000. Gary Ashburn, stamps expert on television show Cash in the Attic, said: “You do find that when conventional investments are not doing well, collectables such as stamps become more popular. They are tangible and portable.”

However British stamps for sale should only be bought from trusted sources. Paul Dauwalder, a stamp dealer, said: “Stamp collecting is a hobby. It is not an investment. If you see too big a bargain online then be suspicious. Check the pedigree of the company you are dealing with.”

Indeed, far from being a boring world of men in tweed and dusty old attics, there have been some real dramas and intrigues in the stamp world over the decades. Generally speaking, the rarer a stamp is, the higher its’ value. Age does not always mean value. For example, the penny black is one of the earliest stamps ever used, but the vast number of them printed at the time ensures that they will not sell for as much as a stamp which has been misprinted or discontinued before its production had been issued.

GB stamps sold very well after the London 2012 Olympics, which shows that the public retains a wider love for the method of communication. However, it is actually the Paralympics 2012 stamps that are currently worth more than their Olympic counterparts, due to the fact that there weren’t quite as many printed. Every British gold medal winner at the two sets of games was given the honour of their image appearing on a stamp. Post boxes were even spray painted gold in the towns where the medallists grew up in order to further commemorate their achievements.

Whilst it is unlikely that the vast majority will ever have our faces featured on British stamps, at least we can enjoy collecting unusual ones instead. Anyone who has been thinking about starting a collection but doesn’t know where to look first would be best advised to get in touch with professional dealers who will be able to point them in the right direction. Whilst many people collect stamps for investment purposes, others collect them for the sheer joy of doing so.

About the Author – Sarah Makinson is a regular contributor to a range of lifestyle and consumer sites, including Sandafayre.