eBay Guides - Stamps Buying Guide
Skip to main content

 Reviews & Guides

Stamps Buying Guide

Stamp collecting has been around as long as stamps have been printed. To get started, keep your collection focused and stay involved in the stamp collecting world. You'll find a large selection of collectable stamps in the Stamps category on eBay Canada.

Choose Which Stamps to Collect

Choose Which Stamps to Collect

With the wide variety of stamps available from around the world, you have an enormous selection from which to choose. These tips should help you get started on the stamps that are right for you.

  • Choosing recent stamps makes it easier to get started. They are more readily available, less expensive, and generally can be found in good quality.    

  • Decide if you want to collect cancelled or mint stamps. Mint stamps (stamps that are pristine and have not been used), generally fetch more money at auction, but cancelled stamps (stamps that have actually been used and stamped by the post office) have served their purpose, which some collectors prefer.

  • When buying a set of stamps, only buy a complete set. If one particular stamp is hard to find, you risk having to buy a complete set at a later date to get that one rare stamp.    

  • Focus on a particular type of stamp. Some collectors begin by collecting a specific kind of stamp, like stamps of birds or planes. Others decide to find stamps from a specific country or province. Some choose to only collect stamps from a particular time.

Regardless of what stamps you decide to collect, enjoy them. Stamp collecting should be for fun, rather than profit.

Back to topBack to top

Gather Stamp Collecting Supplies

Gather Stamp Collecting Supplies

Stamp albums, hinges, mounts, and other stamp supplies help you properly handle and store your stamps.

  • Stamp albums: Quality stamp albums allow you to protect, display, and organize your stamps. Good-quality albums should have thick pages and acid-free paper.    

  • Hinges: Stamp hinges are small rectangular pieces of paper used to affix stamps to an album. Instead of directly putting the stamp on the page, the hinge is coated with a substance that makes it easier to remove.     

  • Mounts: You slide stamps into mounts, thin sleeves typically reserved for more expensive stamps. Instead of disturbing the original gum of the stamp by affixing it to a hinge, the whole mount is put on the page, and the stamps are placed in the mount.   

  • Tongs: Never touch your stamps with your fingers. Finger oils can damage the stamp over time. Use tongs to ensure that your stamp will stay oil-free.    

  • Magnifying lens: A magnifying lens can help you examine the quality and detail of your stamps.   

  • Stamp catalogue: A stamp catalogue will let you find out what kind of stamps are in circulation and give you an estimate of their current value. The value of stamps doesn’t change very quickly.

Back to topBack to top

Learn Stamp Terms

Learn Stamp Terms

There are many terms specific to stamp-collecting (also called "philatelic") circles. Common philatelic terms include:

  • Crease: A fold in the stamp. Folds can be rated from faint to heavy and are sometimes pressed or ironed out.    

  • Fading: Lightened ink from natural causes.    

  • Imperforate stamp: Stamps originally sold without perforations.    

  • Natural translucency: A condition often confused with a thin spot. It is usually ignored.    

  • Original gum: A stamp with gum that is in the same condition as it was when applied by the manufacturer.    

  • Pinhole: A tiny hole that light can be seen through.

  • Previously hinged: The gum on the stamp is original, but it has disturbances that have happened since printing. This could be a sign of tampering or caused by natural causes. 

  • Redistributed original gum: The original gum has been redistributed across the back of the stamp in order to hide gum imperfections. 

  • Regummed: New gum has been added to the stamp. 

  • Repair: Any attempt to cover previous damage. 

  • Reperforated stamps: Addition of perforations to defraud collectors. 

  • Scrape: Fibre disturbance caused by a surface abrasion. 

  • Staining: Discolouration of a stamp’s colour. 

  • Trimmed perforations: The stamp’s perforations have been trimmed since its issue.

Back to topBack to top

Find Stamps on eBay

Find Stamps on eBay

Once you know what type of stamps you want, go to the Stamps portal and start searching for item listings on eBay.

  • Categories: The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links for Canada, Worldwide, and more. As you dig deeper into the site you'll also be able to further narrow down your choice.

  • Keyword search: Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find French stamps, type "French stamps" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try shopping eBay Stores, tell the eBay Community what you want by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a match becomes available.

Back to topBack to top

Buy Stamps With Confidence

Buy Stamps With Confidence

Before making your purchase, make sure you know exactly what you're buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your purchase

Carefully read the details in item listings.

  • Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.

  • If you want more information, ask by clicking the "Ask seller a question" link under the seller's profile.

  • Always make sure to complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay protection programs.

  • Never pay for your eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so you feel positive and secure about every transaction.

  • What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have?

  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?

  • Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies. Do they offer a money-back guarantee? What are the terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the unlikely event that a problem arises during your transaction, eBay and PayPal are there for you.

  • Pay safely with PayPal: PayPal enables you to pay without the seller ever seeing your bank account or credit card numbers. In fact, PayPal protects buyers 100% against unauthorized payments from their accounts. Plus, with PayPal Buyer Protection, your purchase can be covered up to C$1,250.

  • eBay Security & Resolution Centre: Visit the Security & Resolution Centre to learn how to protect your account and use eBay's quick and efficient resolution tools.

Back to topBack to top

 Content Provided By