by Robert Taylor
No doubt in the stamp appraisal business, I receive some interesting and challenging inquiry calls.
This past December, I received a call from a young man about 7:30 PM regarding a “rare” stamp he had found. Seems he and his friend are hired to clean out vacant houses. Within one of the closets was this small bag of “rare” stamps.
He went on to say that it was a rare “Confederate stamp” and that he had not seen one like it before. I mentioned that there were about a dozen Confederate general issue stamps plus some varieties. I asked him what individual was on the stamp?
He replied back……Abraham Lincoln!
I knew I had to bite my lip so as not to laugh into the phone.
I calmly told him that Abraham Lincoln would never be on any Confederate stamps.
Then I asked him, “was the stamp a 4 cent, purple in color and was Lincoln facing right on the stamp?”
He replied “yes and I have a small bag of them”
Are they cancelled? He replied, “what’s cancelled?”
(remember now, he sounds old enough to vote and has a driver’s license)!
I replied, “are there black ink marks across the front of the stamp”?
He replied “yes….all of them”.
I told him to discard the stamps. They are of no resale value.
However, because of his business of cleaning out houses, I asked that he call me if he comes across any more stamps because it’s always possible that stamps of value may be found. Several years ago, another client of mine who was hired to clean out a large home in Greenville, discovered about $1,200 in stamp purchase value.
I told the young man that often people do leave stamp material, publications, catalogues, etc. because they are too cumbersome to move and of very little value if any.
He understood and thanked me for answering his questions.
With that, our conversation ended.
The lesson learned here is that stamp material left in a closet was possibly left there on purpose but it never hurts to call a stamp dealer to verify.