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If you want to invest in stamps, then here’s what you need to know about grading

If you’re looking for a modest alternative investment, you have to consider stamps. Their small size makes them easy to store and extremely portable. When investing in stamps, grading is of upmost importance. So how can you interpret the grading of stamps?

The value of a stamp depends on its grading

If you’re serious about investing in stamps, there are two factors that make a big difference to their value: A stamp’s grading and its condition.

A stamp’s grade takes into account three things:

•    Centering: This is how well the design on a stamp is centred between the perforations running around the edge.
•    Cancels: This is the effect of cancellation on used stamps.
•    Gum: This is how good the condition of a stamp’s gum is.The five levels of grading stamps can achieveThere are generally five different grading terms for stamps…


This grading is for old stamps (generally 19th century examples) and not for modern stamps. It means a stamp is of unusual brilliance and overall condition.

In other words, a stamp that achieves a ‘superb’ grading is in outstanding condition.

Very fine

This grading can apply to both stamps from the 19th and the 20th centuries. It means a stamp is in an above average condition.


This grading is also for stamps from the 19th and 20th centuries. It means the stamp is in a good and average condition in all respects.


Again, this grading is for stamps from the past two centuries. This grading is for stamps that aren’t ‘fine,’ but they’re not ‘poor’ either.


As the name of the grading suggests, these stamps are showing signs of damage, are heavily cancelled or worn. You wouldn’t see a ‘poor’ stamp up at auction unless it was extremely valuable and rare.

When you invest in stamps, it’s vital you focus on stamps with the best grading to buy.

So there you have it. Why you need to understand the grading of stamps if you’re thinking about investing in them.

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