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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

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JohnnyRockets
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26 Mar 2020
07:09:01pm
Hi all,

Why does one collect Mint stamps vs Used stamps?

I'm not sure which I prefer quite yet.

Certainly Used seem cheaper. Happy


Thank you!



JR
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TribalErnie
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26 Mar 2020
07:35:01pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

If you like stamps its not hard to understand why people collect mint (unused). But having said that, there is also a certain charm to collecting postally used stamps. As you mention, they're usually a little easier on the wallet (but not always). Collecting used stamps also gives collecting an added dimension as well. The results are aesthetically pleasing when you look at an album page where all of the stamps are somewhat centered and possess unobtrusive, face free and/or exceptionally light cancels; it's quite nice. Anybody can throw together a group of used stamps that are readily available but when you exercise a little patience and restraint, the results can prove to be quite special.

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JohnnyRockets
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26 Mar 2020
07:39:29pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

Hi ernieinjax,

Thank you for your insight.

I agree with everything you said.

I think that there is an allure to both for different (and probably personal) reasons.


JR

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TribalErnie
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26 Mar 2020
07:44:55pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

Additionally, by collecting postal used, you completely side step the pitfalls of gum issues. Is it hinged? Lightly? Is the gum even original? That's a game I never wanted to play. Collectors seeking the best available examples wade into those waters and I certainly can appreciate it but it's just not for me. When you can lose significant money buying regummed stamps I would be gun shy.

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musicman
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APS #213005
26 Mar 2020
08:09:17pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

My own personal take;

I collect/prefer postally used stamps - stamps that have performed the service for which they were created....to move the mail.

I like knowing that stamp traveled the country/world.

I like the added bonus/benefit of a legible postmark that offers additional information
of that trip. And if still on-cover, even more of a story can unfold!


To me, unused/mint stamps are nothing more than stickers. Buy them, put them in an album...nothing more to tell. End of story.

But place them into the mailstream....and the world awaits!


Happy

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BrightonPete
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Kindergarten 1960
26 Mar 2020
08:16:58pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

I collect both, but prefer Mint. A lot of cancels obscure the design of the stamp. Sure, it hasn't been used the way it should, but I think they look much nicer. OTOH, used with a socked-on-the-nose beautiful cancel are da bomb!

Like this one in my collection...
Image Not Found

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
27 Mar 2020
09:33:07am

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re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

Ernie did a nice job explaining the pros and pros.

I prefer used for several reasons: i don't have to deal with gum, I don't have to worry what the gum will do, I get a bonus cancellation, and I like the idea of its postal utility (remember, I am primarily a cover collector).

The OCD part of me hates taking a MNH stamp and disturbing the gum, and the cheap part of me hates buying a mount in order to protect me from my OCD self.

Used allows me to avoid all that.


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"Save the USPS, buy stamps; save the hobby, use commemoratives"

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smauggie
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27 Mar 2020
09:36:17am
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

I would echo what David said. I may buy a stamp mint because think it is beautiful, but not mint for its own sake

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ikeyPikey
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27 Mar 2020
01:12:58pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

Being of the it is not a stamp until it has carried mail school, I will nonetheless admit that mint stamps scan better and, if you are collecting that particular stamp for a particular reason (a graphic element, the subject, etc) the cancel can be a distraction.

Canada's Alexander Graham Bell stamp (1947, 4c, Scott #274) is an example of a stamp so glorious that I'd be happy to add a mint copy to my JPG (Just Plain Gorgeous) album.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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"I collect stamps today precisely the way I collected stamps when I was ten years old."
DannyS
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28 Mar 2020
12:22:25am
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

Or we can just mix them up because we are not so worried by future value or winning exhibitions. Sometimes it's just what makes us happy, just like when we were kids;-)

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Opa
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28 Mar 2020
04:39:50am

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re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

There was a time when I only collected MNH. I now collect both MNH and used. When I make album pages for my main collections I usually print the side twice, one for MNH and one for used.

I collect MNH because the whole face of the stamp is visible and they do look good that way. Used stamps can however be very interesting when the cancel is completely readable like the SON cancel BrightonPete showed. If the cancel comes from a town that has only a very small population than that cancel can be very rare.

I also agree 100% what DannyS wrote,

Quote:

"Sometimes it's just what makes us happy, just like when we were kids"



Regardless of what you collect you will never get your money back and it does not matter what others think. More important is what you learn from collecting.
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angore
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Collector, Moderator
28 Mar 2020
06:08:44am
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

I collect both but prefer unused (hinged or not) just because they look better.

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"Stamp Collecting is a many splendored thing"
joshtanski
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28 Mar 2020
09:39:03am
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

I prefer postally used over mint, but like and collect both. Mint does let you appreciate the design or engraving better.

I like postally used because it is evidence the stamp actually did its job in the country whose name appears on the stamps.

Used Classic stamps are generally more affordable than mint.

Postally used modern stamps can be more challenging to collect. For US, buying the mint stamps from the post office is easy - trying to obtain used sets of some the issues is not. I also really like finding postally used stamps from smaller countries.

Josh

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jbaxter5256
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28 Mar 2020
01:34:47pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

I have both used and mint stamps especially for older USA and Canada but have shifted to mostly unused (MNH, MH, MLH, and in some cases no gum) for all new purchases except for the few older USA or Canada that come my way that I don't have (lately about two stamps a year).

As an exercise (and mostly to slow down purchases Happy ) I am trying to fill the International 1840-1963 albums (Part 1A1-V) with all unused stamps. Reached a new milestone this morning, 20,027 stamps for the 85,590 spaces in the albums for 23.40% completion of the stamp spaces. There are probably 250 used stamps in the albums, a very few early USA and some scattered stamps that were on the pages that I purchased through eBay. Two of the albums have reached 25% completion, Parts IV and V, plus Part II is getting very close.

As a recent motivation, I purchased 10 packages of original Dennison hinges to use with the previously hinged stamps that I put into the albums. My goodness, they are so much better quality than modern hinges in that they almost never curl plus apply and release cleanly. Yes, they are exorbitantly priced, compared to their original package price in particular or to new products, but SO nice in use compared to newer hinges.

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jbaxter5256
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28 Mar 2020
10:16:54pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

I just realized I did not respond to the real question which is why this choice. For me it was because I like the designs of the stamps more than the representation of usage. I do see some stamps where the cancel itself adds to the story of the stamp but frankly these are quite subjective and difficult to find especially through remote purchases.

I've never been able to justify the space requirements of covers and enjoy the album filling search aspects perhaps as much or probably more than the actual possession and the interactions with stamp dealers and collectors that are part of the search. I do very much like seeing a line of stamps on the page or a page itself become complete and find much satisfaction in it.

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
30 Mar 2020
06:43:56pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

I actually like usage on cover best! I have collected stamps like US 1 & 2 on cover because it’s eons more interesting than either a mint or used stamp.

And when I wanted to acquire Zeppelins I found I could buy them on cover cheaper than mint. And nothing says history better than covers that actually flew on an airship!

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Bobstamp
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31 Mar 2020
01:51:29pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

I collect both mint and used! Why? Multiple reasons:

It seems to me each new postage stamp is issued for its utility, for the propagandistic message it is trying to convey, or for both its utility and its message. I am interested in both the utility of stamps and the messages they attempt to convey.

Take the "Prexies" for example, which picture each American President from Washington through Calvin Coolidge, adding stamps picturing Benjamin Franklin, Martha Washington, and the White House for good measure. Utilitarian they were — almost 131 million copies of the three-cent stamp, picturing Thomas Jefferson, were issued; that three-stamp was commonly used on mail coming to my house when I started collecting at about age 11. But in my opinion the Prexies are also propagandistic. Ordinary people like you and me don’t appear on postage stamps; ergo, those presidents must have been exceptional people, worthy of our admiration (even if they were entitled, amoral narcissists).

I haven’t used stamp albums for several decades. Instead, I have developed exhibits or created web pages, both of which may incorporate mint and used stamps. I prefer using mint stamps if my writing concerns their use as propaganda. An example is this Japanese stamp, issued in 1942 on the first anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor:

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Used to illustrate a web page about the effects of the Pearl Harbor attack on Japanese-Canadians, a mint copy of the stamp most clearly shows the image, based on a photograph taken during the attack by a Japanese photograph.

Sometimes, however, used stamps best illustrate their usage, like the stamps on this shipping tag:

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I used the shipping tag images in the same web page as the Japanese Pearl Habor commemorative is used. The shipping tag was used to send a bag of cash (really!) to Chinese workers at a British Columbia pulp mill. The Chinese were only hired after the pulp mill’s skilled Japanese workers were interned as a result of the Pearl Harbor attack. The stamps, from Canada’s “War Issue,” are clearly propagandistic, illustrating King George VI in uniform as well as a munitions factory and a Canadian destroyer; they say, “The Allies will win this war!”

Many years ago, I learned that postally used covers best convey the purpose and the use of stamps. Here’s an example of used stamps on cover that could not possibly convey the writer’s purpose if they had been removed from the cover:

Image Not Found

Bob

P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about that pulp mill and how British Columbia’s Chinese population benefitted from the tragic internment of its Japanese population, go to my web page, PAYDAY AT WOODFIBRE.

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Laeding
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24 Apr 2020
02:32:07am
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

For my primary interest, Danish West Indies, I have a "parallel" collection of both mint and used in a Stender hingeless album. Additional pages are created as needed for the various printings, cancels, and varieties that are not in the pre-printed pages.

Finding "good looking" used stamps can be a real challenge for DWI due to the very thin paper used for some of printings. The tropical conditions don't help either (this goes for mint, too). As for the mint stamps, it is a lot easier to display the various varieties when there aren't cancels covering them up! That being said, finding great cancels is a lot of fun!


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StampCollector
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24 Apr 2020
09:39:20am
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

Postage stamps came with a purpose, collecting them after they have served that purpose is what I call stamp collecting.
Mint stamps you get by going to the post office every so often, that's what I call stamp buying.
Now this is my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

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keesindy
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24 Apr 2020
03:43:57pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

smauggie said:

Quote:

"I would echo what David said. I may buy a stamp mint because think it is beautiful, but not mint for its own sake"



Although I no longer collect, my primary interest when I was collecting was the engraved pre-1940 stamps. My focus was colonial Africa and Caribbean. For me, the cancellations got in the way of my appreciating the artistry of the stamp designs. I think if the stamps themselves were my attraction to the hobby, I wouldn't have focused quite so much on the mint/used issue.

Later, when I inherited Dad's accumulation of US philatelic material, I developed an appreciation for late 19th century fancy and geometric cancels as well as 19th century postal history. I didn't actually collect these things, but have enjoyed researching and learning about them as I sold that material to collectors who would appreciate them even more than I.

The bottom line is this. There are several more variables to consider in philately than just "mint or hinged." Decide for yourself how you want to proceed and go for it! Later, if you find your interests changing, make the change and go for that too! It's your life and it's a very broad and forgiving hobby.

Tom

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"I no longer collect, but will never abandon the hobby"
Greaden
24 Apr 2020
04:34:00pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

If I am collecting a topic or the work of an artist, I prefer mint.

If I am more interested in the history of an area, I prefer used. For example, early Austrian stamps are drab, but the postmarks might be from towns that are now in other countries such as Ukraine or Poland.

For French general colonies, the postmarks tell which colony the stamp was used in.

For countries that I just want to complete, I will choose whichever is cheapest. Sometimes German area stamps (1922 inflation era, late Thurn and Taxis, and Saar semipostals are extreme cases) are far more valuable used, resulting in lots of forged cancellations.

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Orpheas
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03 Jun 2020
01:07:04pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

I'd say mint stamps are prettier and neater to look at, while used stamps have more of a personality, because each one is different. Plus, a decent looking page of used stamps actually takes time and effort to put together, unlike a page of mint stamps which is usually just a matter of money. Finally, I really love coming across stamps postmarked in a place I've lived at/visited, or in a place which is no longer part of the country of the stamp in question.

I've got a GB KEVII 5d stamp used in Dublin. The other day I was sorting through a lot of Indian KGV definitives, and I enjoyed seeing stamps used in Lahore and Dacca. For all I know, some of the mint Indian stamps in my collection might have originated in what is now Pakistan or Bangladesh, but it's impossible for anyone to tell.

What do I collect? I generally collect earlier issues used, and from the first photogravure printed issues (around the 1930s for GB and commonwealth) onward I move to mint. This is partly because of cost - for example I could never dream of building up a complete GB Victorian collection in mint condition, while used prices are much more affordable with only a handful of truly expensive stamps. And partly because I prefer earlier stamps, so I'd be less interested in searching for nicely cancelled copies of later issues.

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cornerpost
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03 Aug 2020
06:43:09pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

My great love is the early engraved stamps so prefer mint - not fussed about the state of the gum (it's the front of the stamp that I look at). Cancels do hide part of the design and reduce the visual appeal. More recent stamp happy with used, but prefer light cancellations if possible. I would rather have a light cancel on the bottom corner than an SON stamp.
Merv

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Timberjack
02 Sep 2020
08:55:35pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

I enjoy my used stamps more than the mints although i collect both. I especially enjoy ones with readable locations. I started collecting family mail and where they came from was important to me. It's part of our family history, where they lived or where they traveled to. I also enjoy rare post marks from long gone towns.

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larsdog
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APS #220693 ATA#57179
02 Sep 2020
10:11:51pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

I agree with Merv. My primary interest in the stamps themselves is in the early engraved issues, so the more pristine the better. However, I have a rather large collection where the cancel matters, and other than pre-cancels, I try to collect those on cover as much as possible. To each his own!

Lars

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rbpuzzles
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Conquering the world one stamp at a time
19 Sep 2020
02:54:47pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

To me, collecting either way is equally legitimate.

To tell the story of postage stamps you need both. Unused stamps represent the final step in the production process, and are miniature works of art in many cases.

Placing those same unused stamps on an envelope then makes that the 1st step in the story of how they are used.

Collecting both you can represent the complete story of how they were made as well as why.

In my WW collection I collect whatever I can get my hands on. Most of the time those would be used stamps, because they are usually cheaper. But, if I get hold of unused examples, I upgrade. Used stamps are also great for collecting cancels and postmarks, which for me are included as a side collection.

As cheap as stamps in general have become lately, I don't see a reason not to include both, as parallel collections. Unless you collect the world of course, and space is a factor.

For some of my countries, such as Denmark and Sweden, I've chosen to collect both mint and used and to create pages that house both, usually side by side.

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musicman
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APS #213005
19 Sep 2020
04:33:18pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

Quote:

"As cheap as stamps in general have become lately, I don't see a reason not to include both, as parallel collections."




Has the cost of US stamps gone DOWN since I last looked?!?


Seriously though, I wouldn't necessarily say they are cheap - not for mint anyway.

To purchase a SINGLE of every US stamp from 2019 would've cost you $101.35...and that's IF you can find somewhere that will sell you JUST ONE COPY;

most places will only sell you sets/sheets of certain issues, so you then would have the additional cost of buying many to get just one of each.


Now, if you don't have to deal with a budget of any sort, I would consider you very, very fortunate.
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rbpuzzles
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Conquering the world one stamp at a time
19 Sep 2020
07:31:10pm
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

Yes, you are correct. New issues are pretty expensive to keep up with, and probably even harder to find in used condition.

I was just referring to it in regards to older stamps. The last time I tried to keep up with new issues from the post office I was 13, during the Bicentennial. It was expensive for me even then. However, those same stamps today can be had for less than what they cost at the post office. That's kind of the angle I was taking.

Not counting the obvious 19th century stamps, some expensive early 20th c. items and the all too expensive current stuff, one could amass a pretty complete, basic US collection (1930-2000 or so) for very little money in used condition and pretty reasonable in MNH as well.

And yes, I do deal with budgetary struggles, especially now. Most times I have nothing to spend, so I have to be content with working with what I already have.

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guilloutran
16 Feb 2021
04:06:50am
re: Mint or Used Stamps - Why?

I think it’s really depends on what you prefer. It’s all come to opinion of what to collect.

I like stamps that have clear and readable postmark on it or else minimal postmark. Anything with heavy postmark is not a keeper for me.

There’s folks out there who enjoyed theirs stamps in pristine condition and have them for display. Folks like me who like having used stamps as it’s more meaningful.

It’s all good, any case! It’s all preferences!

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