ďI have a piece of string. How long is it?Ē You donít know? Why not? Without seeing it, you donít know if itís an inch long, several miles long, or whatever. Sometimes, this is how I feel about stamps.

People will send me an email or letter such as, ďI have a stamp and the perforations are off. How much is it worth?Ē Well, it really depends.

It itís a modern stamp and the perforations just touch the edge of the stamp design, then itís just a very poorly centered copy and itís going to no extra value.

On the other hand, say itís a high denomination stamp like Scott #2542 and itís misperforated so that the perforations run down the center of the stamp Ė then you have something of better value. Scott #2542 has a much smaller number of printed stamps than many commemorative or regular issue stamps. And with a drastic shift in the perforations, we could be talking $100 or more for this copy.

When asking a fellow collector or a dealer about a stamp, itís best to have the actual item. Sometimes an image of the stamp may work depending on the question. For example, an image of an older Banknote stamp and asking if this copy is grilled (Scott #134-144), Iím probably not going to be able to tell that from a photo, especially if the grill is very weak. In this case, seeing the actual stamp is the only way to be sure.

If youíre going to ask a question, most times I need to see the actual stamp or a photo of it. Otherwise I feel like youíre asking me how long a piece of string is and I havenít seen the string. A picture (or the actual stamp) is worth a thousand words.