Stamps were first used in May, 1840 when Great Britain issued its first stamp, the Penny Black. Sir Rowland Hill, the British Postmaster General in 1837, introduced the main system of post office reform allowing mail to be delivered throughout the British Isles at one designated rate. This rate was paid by the sender and identified by a piece of colored paper placed outside the letter or, as it is now called, a stamp. Many collectors have old stamps and want to authenticate them to assess their value.

Things You Will Need

Magnifying glass

Step 1

Look closely at the stamp to identify a gummy film on the back or a self-stick surface. Every current stamp will have one or the other to adhere correctly on mail items.

Step 2

Apply a magnifying glass to the stamp to look at the quality of the image. Clear and precise images will signify the likelihood of a legal stamp, as opposed to a photocopied fake.

Step 3

Use the catalogue database that the US Postal Service publishes, that identifies all the current stamp styles with pictures. You can pick these up at your local Post Office. The Scott Catalogue is an indexed listing of all the stamps ever made. It is available in 6 volumes, and can be purchased online.

Step 4

Submit your stamp that you desire to have authenticated to the experts at Professional Stamp Collectors,, or any other professional establishment. This organizations is a group of experts, from collectors to knowledgeable dealers throughout the United States, in each area of philately.

Step 5

Have these professionals employ their wide array of philatelic examining equipment, from millimeter gauges and magnifiers to state of the art technology designed to help signify specifics of various stamps over the years. Their equipment is able to detect even the slightest, most subtle forgeries, erasures, masked defects and alterations, to give you the most accurate authentication possible.

Step 6

Have the professionals test all the various authentication categories from classic plating, private vending coils, 19th century unused and used stamps, fancy cancels, revenues, proofs and essays, locals and carriers, errors, freaks and oddities, postal history, postal cards, all back of book, envelopes and wrappers and confederate states of America stamps with postal history.

Step 7

Receive your final evaluation and get your stamp returned to sell at auction, or keep for collection purposes. Array

Tips & Warnings