When you stop stamp collecting, your collection may have some value to it. This isn’t true of all hobbies though. Let me explain.

Suppose your hobby is golf. You pay for a round of golf. Maybe you rent a golf cart. In the end, you played 9 or 18 holes of golf. You have a memory. You got some exercise. But there is no monetary value at the end of your round of golf.

Stamps, coins, and other collectibles may have some value when you are done with the hobby. How much value there is depends on many things. Unlike other hobbies such as golf, there is something left at the end of your hobby.

I am going to generalize here. My numbers may be a little off, but you will get the point.

If you took all of the stamps in the world, probably 90% of them catalog a few dollars or less, another 9% catalog under a few thousand dollars, and the last 1% catalog in thehundreds of thousands and millions of dollars. The 90% of material has a huge supply and/or limited demand. The 9% has some scarcity to it. The last 1% are the true rarities in the hobby.

Most collections contain material that is in the 90% bracket. Why? There are many reasons. Collectors don’t have unlimited funds and can’t afford the most expensive material. Some people collect for fun without regard to financial status. And so on. When these collections come on the market, they are no different than the throngs of other collections that are on the market at the same time. The value isn’t going to be huge because there is a large supply on the market with similar material.

A few of these collections dabble in the $50 item here and a $200 item there. Those items have more value. If present, those few better items are probably the majority of the value of the collection.

Those collections that have the 9% of material will have some value to them. It may not be huge, but it won’t be trivial either. These collectors may realize a profit under certain circumstances. This material retains much of its value. Collectors may recover much of their original cost in buying this material.

Those collections that have the 1% of material are the famous collections that are usually sold at auction. They have substantial value behind them. Done properly, these collectors could realize a profit when sold.

All collectors have the “profit” of having fun with their hobby.

If your collection is in that 90% realm, then the residual monetary value isn’t going to be tremendous. Most of the profit is in the memories of your collection and the hunt of finding that unusual item you have been looking for.

If your collection contains those 9% of items, there will be a residual value. Will you make a profit compared to your purchases? History suggests not. But there is a greater chance that you’ll gain back much of your “investment” (I use that term loosely here).

If you collect that 1% of material, you’re not someone who is reading my pricelist!