Be Sure to Keep the Collection Safe Until You Decide What To Do.
Protect the Collection - The American Philatelic Society (APS) recommends that storing the stamps in your attic or basement is never a good idea. Make sure that you keep the collection in a cool, dry place. Humidity or moisture can destroy the value of a collection. Albums should be stored upright, rather than standing on their side (pressure on an album will sometimes cause the stamps to stick to the page).
Get Some Help - Consider contacting a Local Club, or if you are in Southern California you can contact the Poway Stamp Club or attend one of our meetings. The plain truth is that your collection needs to be viewed in-person and descriptions on the phone or in emails are typically not worth while.
Local Stamp Clubs are a Great Resource - A local stamp club is one of the best first steps you can take to help resolve your issue. They can help you to determine if the collection has enough value to warrant further steps or the cost of an appraisal. If you take the collection to a dealer, be sure to clarify to the dealer that you are not requesting an official appraisal unless you are prepared to pay a fee.
Suggestions and Collection Advice - Once you have determined an idea of the value, there are many options.
First, you could keep the collection for yourself.
Pass it on to a Family Member
If you have determined the collection has relatively little value, you may wish to consider giving it to a child, grandchild, or other relative. While the monetary value may be small, the educational value and fun that may be derived may be large.
Many clubs and organizations gladly accept donations. It is advisable to check with the organization for their needs.
Many people will ask what is the best way to sell their collection. Unfortunately, there is no super-simple, single best way for every collection. Key factors include:
If you live in Southern California, and have decided to sell/donate or otherwise dispose of a stamp collection, let the Poway Stamp Club help you to better understand what your options are.