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    Tips for Caring for Your Stamp Collection

    Last updated 1 day 10 hours ago

    If you're like most stamp collectors, you'll probably enjoy arranging and filing your stamps in tidy ways for viewing. By doing so, you'll not only have your stamps organized for easy access, you'll also be protecting them from damage. The following steps can help you neatly and safely salvage stamps as they come into your hands.

    As you accumulate stamps on envelopes sent through the mail, you might want to remove the stamps and add them to your collection. To remove a stamp, cut the right-hand corner of the envelope and place it under a few inches of lukewarm water for several minutes. Soon enough, the stamp should float free; when it does, carefully remove it from the water and set it aside to dry. You can do this with several envelopes at once, though colored envelopes should be done separately from regular ones.

    Now that your stamps are free and dry, you'll want to arrange them in a sensible order. Some collectors arrange stamps by country, while others sort by topic, postage date, or even by the type of postage (airmail, special delivery, parcel, etc.) If any of the stamps are damaged, separate them from your primary collection and then store the latter in an album for safe-keeping and viewing.

    Stamps can be attached to the pages of display albums with hinges or mounts, which make it possible to remove stamps from an album. Hinges are translucent strips of paper with adhesive gum on one side that can hold stamps in place, though the gum could possibly rub off on the stamps. Mint collectors prefer mounts, which function as transparent sleeves for storing stamps in an album.

    Are you looking to have your stamp collection graded? Coins of the Realm is the leading stamp grader in the Gaithersburg area. For more than 40 years, we've been professionally grading stamps, coins, jewelry, and other collectibles. To learn more about our grading process, come to our store or call us at (301) 637-4390.

    Spotlight on the 2014 Civil Rights Act of 1964 Silver Dollar

    Last updated 7 days ago

    To mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Mint has issued a commemorative coin in honor of those who led the movement towards desegregation and racial equality during the mid '60s. The head of the coin depicts three marchers, with one holding a sign that says "we shall overcome." The coin is available in proof and uncirculated silver dollars; surcharges are paid to the United Negro College Fund. The video talks more about this unique coin.

    If you collect or sell commemorative coins, Coins of the Realm can help you make good decisions on the market place. For 40 years, we have graded coins and gold for collectors throughout the Gaithersburg area. To learn more about our services, visit our shop or call us at (301) 637-4390. 

    A Collector's Guide to Gold

    Last updated 14 days ago

    Gold is often advertised on television, where it's touted by celebrity sponsors as a solid asset. But as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned, gold promoters often mislead inexperienced buyers. Therefore, while gold can look good in your portfolio, it's crucial to know about the stability and value of each prospective gold investment.

    Stocks and Funds
    Two of the most common ways to invest in gold is to buy stock (such as in mining firms) or to buy into mutual funds (such as in gold bullion.) Neither is totally secure, however, because stocks and mutual funds can drop in value over time. In any case, investments like these should only be made through licensed brokers.

    Bullion Coins
    Bullion is bulk quantity precious metal, and it usually comes in gold, silver, or platinum. The value of bullion is based on the content itself, as opposed to the rarity. Bullion is sometimes sold by banks, but not used in commerce. Since 1986, gold and silver bullion have been produced by the U.S. Mint, which guarantees the weight and purity of their coins.

    Collectible Coins
    Whether gold, silver, or bronze, a coin can gain a market value far beyond its face value due to factors like age, scarcity, design, content, or historical significance. In market speak, the collectible value of a coin is often referred to as numismatic value. Dealers who sell these types of coins will usually have them appraised by professional graders.

    If you need advice on a gold investment, Coins of the Realm can help. For more than 40 years, we have sold and appraised gold, silver, stamps, and jewelry. Collectors throughout Gaithersburg have come to us for professional grading of precious metals, and you can learn more about our services at our website or by calling (301) 637-4390.

    Tips for Identifying Silver Dollars

    Last updated 22 days ago

    As the U.S. paper dollar continues to suffer from inflation, more and more people have begun to take interest in hard currency. Silver dollars are easier and more affordable to acquire than gold, making the silver dollar a popular coin with investors. But unless you purchase directly from a reputable coin dealer, you need to be on the lookout for fake silver dollars. For starters, look at the date. Any U.S. silver dollars minted before 1964 are silver; from 1964 onward, they are often made of copper-nickel clad. Measure the coin’s diameter and compare its size with similar authentic coins. If the size varies, it’s either a rare variant or more likely a forgery.

    For more tips on identifying real silver dollars from fake ones, contact Coins of the Realm in Rockville, MD. We are the premier gold and silver coin dealer in Gaithersburg. Whether you’re buying, selling, or looking for an evaluation, Coins of the Realm can help. Contact us online or call us at (301) 637-4390 if you have questions. 

    What Tools are Required for Stamp Collecting?

    Last updated 29 days ago

    Although no tools are technically required for stamp collecting, there are certain tools that can help you get more enjoyment (and even more value) out of the “Hobby of the Kings.” Whether you’ve inherited a collection or are looking to purchase the very first stamp, the following tools may prove useful in organizing, identifying, and handling your stamps.

    Stamp Tongs
    You’ll want to handle your stamps as little as possible. No matter how well you wash your hands, oil from your skin will damage your stamps. Stamp tongs have a smooth gripping surface designed for the safe handling of stamps.

    Magnifying Glass
    Oftentimes it’s the smallest differences that can have the biggest impact on the value of a stamp. Considering the diminutive size of stamps, a magnifying glass is a great tool that can help you see tiny details clearly and without distortion.

    Album Book
    A stamp album can help protect your collection. You can buy stamp albums from your local stamp dealer, or even use a photo album with acid-free paper. Don’t use tape or glue, as you will only decrease the stamp’s value. Instead, use hinges to properly mount your staples. Hinges are thin, folded pieces of translucent paper or plastic with special gum on one side

    Stamp Catalog
    Stamp catalogs can help you learn more about the stamps in your collection. You can also use a catalog to see what other stamps you’d like to add to your collection. These catalogs provide such helpful information as the date when the stamp was issued, why it was issued, how it was printed, and the value of the stamp in used and unused condition.

    To learn more about these and other stamp collecting tools, contact Coins of the Realm in Rockville, MD. Our experts can also evaluate your collection and give you a true value of your holdings. We have been in the business of buying and selling stamps in Gaithersburg for several decades, which allows for accurate evaluations and pricing. If you have questions, please call us at (301) 637-4390 to speak with our stamp and coin dealers. 

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