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What to Do With That Old Stamp Collection

March 5, 2022

Another Way for week of February 25, 2022

What to Do with that Old Stamp Collection?

The other week I was shocked to suddenly find my old stamp collection. I wasn’t even especially looking for it. I was just going through an old cabinet in the basement. There it was. Stamps from earlier days on my job where I had to handle much of the company mail, including many letters from countries all over the world. I was excited. What were they worth?

Then I remembered a cousin who paid for much of his college education when he sold some of his stamp collections. That was like 45-50 years ago. Some of my stamps were that old and older. So I posted some of the stamps on Facebook Marketplace, just testing the waters.

I soon learned they were worth zilch. Nada. Not even a nibble. Basically, unless you have an unusual stamp that was printed upside down (or other oddity), they don’t bring much money. People only wanted the mistakes, the misprints.

Whatever happened to stamp collecting? Countries put out great art and photos on stamps honoring their presidents, actors, kings and queens, holidays, sports figures, you name it. You can learn geography, history, literature, musical greats from studying stamps. I reviewed some of my geography history looking at stamps from countries which changed names.

But stamps, like many antiques, are no longer are worth much of anything.

Sometimes wounded veterans feel they are not worth much of anything either. That’s why I was glad to discover an organization introduced at our Lions Club meeting recently. We were told that Stamps for the Wounded is eager to get stamps for wounded or disabled veterans who enjoy either collecting the stamps, or making art out of them, or trading them.

The organization reminds us that when you have wounds that no longer allow you to get around, especially as you reach your upper years, you might be eager to try this longtime hobby, just for the fun of it and not because of monetary value.

I’m retired and while it’s nice to not have to go to work, I enjoy being busy on various projects. The organization’s website says “those who endure enforced idleness with the often-accompanying boredom, loneliness, frustration and despair” may welcome sorting and steaming off stamps from envelopes.

If you decide to cut out stamps to send to the organization (who give them to wounded veterans), leave about ¼ inch of the envelop around the stamp. Don’t try to remove the stamp from the envelope. Stamp collectors use steam but that’s part of the challenge or activity for the veterans who receive the stamps.

The organization says that “stamps can almost perform miracles for bedridden patients, long-term treatment persons, and those just convalescing from surgery. Th­ey can sort and mount stamps while in bed. If ambulatory, or even in a wheelchair, they can pass interesting hours soaking stamps and mounting them in albums.” Some use them to make greeting cards, or cover decorative boxes.

If you are able bodied and have the time, I also encourage you to look into other civic clubs or organizations, charities, and churches who could use volunteer help. The bonus can be not only helping other people, but relieving your own boredom or loneliness!

I was happy to declutter part of my cabinet by boxing up the stamps I found and sending them off to the address below! Having a wounded veteran in my husband’s family has helped make me aware of the long-term suffering and damage so many have experienced—often for the rest of their lives.

Stamps and other materials may be sent to Stamps for the Wounded, P.O. Box 297, Dunn Loring, Va., 22097-0297 USA or read more about the organization via email at their website:


Have you or any of your siblings or children spent time collecting stamps? I would love to hear from anyone who has been able to sell or trade stamps either years ago, or more recently!

Comment here or you can also send comments to me at or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

  1. I am SOOO excited to see this post!
    I was an avid stamp collector when I was younger. When I was in my early 20’s – you know…such an ADULT lol…I gave my stamp collection to my friend’s young son who was collecting stamps. I was happy to do so at the time, but there have been moments here and there when I almost wished I hadn’t given it away.
    But, the second part of this which is most exciting. My dad’s cousin, more like an aunt to me, is always sending me old stamps and uncancelled stamps etc that she finds. At one point it was to help me out monetarily so I wouldn’t have to buy stamps. But now, I have a fat envelope of these sitting here in my desk drawer, including LOTS and LOTS of penny stamps and 5 cent stamps. I’m so excited to see this because I know where these stamps are going now!

  2. So, you were a philatelist, Melodie!

    The only stamps I remember collecting in my youth were S & H green stamps. I can’t say stamps have much meaning for me now except to send birthday greetings or sympathy cards to loved ones. I remember penny post cards and 5-cent stamps. Now each stamp costs about 50 cents. Fortunately, we pay most of our bills online.

    I’m glad you’ve found a worthy cause for donation: Stamps for Wounded warriors, wonderful.

  3. Yeah, one of the cartoons in our paper was going on about philatelists and I looked it up just to be sure I had it’s meaning correct–not for this column, but just checking on this relatively strange word and not one I used every day! Yes, I already know of at least two readers who are following up this post by sending off their old stamps. Blessings on this Sunday!

    • Dear Ms. Davis, A friend was kind enough to send me your Feb. 26, 2022 article titled above, and on the off chance you might want at some point to revisit the subject, there are a few points I’d like to make.

      1. You are correct that age does not automatically endow with value. There are many old stamps produced in the hundreds of millions or billions that will be inexpensive four generations from now. But that does not mean they are without interest to collectors. Aside from having to have a copy to fill the album space, there are cancelled versions with date cancels, precancels, perfins color varieties, and a host of other variations that make them desirable, if not valuable. So, to say that they have no value is not accurate. Minimal value, true enough, Not enough to send junior to collecge, but not without attraction and some value from pennies to dollars.

      2. Certainly it is not true that “stamps like many antiques are no longer worth much of anything.” There are a dozen high-end philatelic auction houses that would heartily disagree with you. See Seigel Stamp Auctions, Kelleher Stamp Auctions, Cherrystone Stamp Auctions, and others.

      3. Stamps For The Wounded does continue to function, as it has continuously since 1942, but it is no longer associated with the Lions Clubs. There came a point some years ago when they asked for a cut of the cash donations we receive, and we chose not to accede. So we are independent again, though loosely connected to Wounded Warriors.

      4. I am the current VP/COO until Jan. 31, at which point a new president will become COO and I will retire after nearly 60 years of working with the organization. So the address for sending donations has changed to PO Box 297, Dunn Loring, VA 22027, and the Internet address changes to our website:

      I hope this will be helpful.

      John M. Hotchner,

      author, Philatelic Royalty of the 20th Century: Stories behind modern-era U.S. treasures, Available for $29.95 +$3.50 shipping, from PO Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125.

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