The Most Affordable Classic Stamps to Collect

These pages show the results of a Data Base compilation of all the Issuing Entities of regular postal stamps of the world in the classic era (1840-1940). These results indicate which Issuing Entities are the most affordable for a nearly complete collection.

The Data Base includes the following data fields:

ISSUING ENTITY The name of the region issuing stamps: Country, Colony, Territory, etc. Many of them do not exist anymore.
LOCATION Geographical position on the world map.
GOVERNMENT The administration type of the region at the time: Republic, Kingdom, Colony, etc. Do not include Offices.
DEPENDENCY If so, the Entity on which the administration depends (generally a Country).
NOTE Personal notes on the stamps: varieties, overprints and designs.
FIRST ISSUE First year of issue.
LAST ISSUE Last year of issue.

Warning: The following data, regarding values and quantities, were taken from a very well known 1997 Classic Specialized Catalogue and do not reflect necessarily the real market. The results of the compilation are therefore just indications and can be subject to interpretations. I have only compiled mint stamps.

QTY ISSUED Total quantity of stamps issued from 1840 to 1940 (do not include varieties).
QTY $50-$100 Quantity of mint stamps valued from $50 to $100 (do not include varieties).
QTY >$100 Quantity of mint stamps valued over $100 (do not include varieties).
MAX VALUE The mint stamp with the maximum value.
PERCENT >$100 Percentage of mint stamps over $100.
QUOTATION (QTY >$100) divided by (QTY ISSUED) multiplied by (MAX VALUE).


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TABLE 1 List of all Issuing Entities which have 10 or less stamps over $100 and the maximum value under $500. These are the criteria’s chosen to select the issuing entities and could be lower or higher. It contains Location, Government, Dependency, First year issue, Last year issue and Quantity issued.

TABLE 2 List by increasing order of Quotation of the Issuing Entities which have more than 100 issues. It contains Personal Notes, Quantity issued, Quantity from $50 to $100, Quantity over $100, Maximum value, Percentage over $100 and Quotation.

TABLE 3 List by increasing order of Quotation of the Issuing Entities which have less than 100 issues. It contains the same information as Table 2.

TABLE 4 List of the top Issuing Entities with the lesser Quotation. It contains all the information described in the upper tables plus the Quantity of issues from $20 to $49.

It is up to you to draw you own conclusions since the criteria are relative.

My Personal Choices may not necessarily be within the top.


1 – Total quantity of Issuing Entities (1840-1940): 436 (Offices not included).

2 – Quantity of Entities issuing in the 19th Century: 276.

3 – First 9 Issuing Entities by order of year: Great Britain (1840), Switzerland (1843), Brazil (1843), United States of America (1847), Mauritius (1847), Bermuda (1848), Belgium (1849), German State-Bavaria (1849), France (1849).

4 – The most productive Issuing Entities (over 500 issues): United States of America (902), Iran (875), Turkey (862), Russia (816), Mexico (766), Nicaragua (735), Spain (705), Salvador, El (642), Portugal (602), Hungary (558), Romania (516), Uruguay (512), Brazil (503).

5 – Table of quantity Issuing Entities with first and last issues by period of 20 years (1840-1940).

6 – Total Issuing Entities selected for best low values: 148.

7 – The 20 worst to collect for the stamp budget: Hawaii, Mauritius (1 penny orange at $1,100,000), Italian State-Tuscany, Italian State-Two Sicilies, Italian State-Sardinia, Niger Coast Protectorate, United States of America, Switzerland, British Guiana, British Columbia, Ceylon, Tahiti, Great Britain, France, Kiauchau, Nova Scotia, Straits Settlements, Hong Kong, Kenya-Uganda-Tanzania, New Brunswick.

Corrections plus more entries and more precision’s could change the results in further phases. Stay tuned!

My first language is French and my web pages might have spelling and syntax errors although I’ve spelled check…
I welcome you to e-mail me your commentaries and, please, feel free to send me correction on any of my errors in the data and in my English. It will be most appreciated.

You can also ask me any questions regarding this compilation.

I shall reply to all your e-mails.

My e-mail address is:

Michel Bégin
Québec, Canada.