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Need some help for a writer on old vs. new stamp values

gscoinsgscoins Posts: 273 ✭✭✭

I have a writer friend who is creating a time travel story where the hero goes back from 2020 to 1965. The hero needs to bring with him in then time machine some reasonably liquid asset he can use in 1965 to generate some cash, an asset he can get in 2020 that would be of greater value (inflation thrown in) in 1965 . Using current US cash won't work and most precious metals and diamonds, etc. are more costly now than they were in 1965. So, my writer-friend (knowing that I have a stamp collection) asked me for some help.

I suggested to him that his hero could buy some high end mint stamps in 2020 and get more value for them in 1965. My sense is that the stamp market is much less lively now than it was in 1965, hence there are stamps our hero could get today that would be saleable (to a stamp store, for example) in 1965 for a sizeable sum.

A strange topic, to be sure, but I wonder if the forum members could identify a group of stamps that would be worth $5,000 in 1965 (say, at 60% of catalogue) that might cost $2,500 today, in 2020? I could have answered this question myself a few years ago, as I had some old Scott's catalogues from that era, but I have since sold them off, and libraries don't carry them from 55 years ago.

Can anyone help here?



  • CCDollarCCDollar Posts: 707 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 18, 2020 8:46AM

    A very interesting theory...I have thought about this myself...both coins and stamps. What items would you take with you from the present to barter/sell to the past to purchase something that would be worth much more in the present. (I hope that makes sense LOL). Take care...CC
    edited to add: It makes sense that the items you bring with you from the present must also be from the past (correct year etc.).

    Nickel Triumph...My Led Zepps

  • gscoinsgscoins Posts: 273 ✭✭✭

    While I appreciate all of you who have looked at this post, I am still in need of some specific information as described therein. Maybe I could ask members of this forum for the following:

    What was/is the current value of the three stamp Zeppelin set (found at the bottom of the previous posting) in 1965 vs. 2020? Same information for the 1892/3 Columbian Exposition set (in particular, the dollar valued stamps)? How about the 1938 $5 definitive?

    Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 14,238 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting concept.

    My understanding (and I am no expert) is that high end stamps have maintained their value, and that it is more common (lower value) stamps that have become valued only as postage, so no money to be made there. Unless they want to buy enormous amounts of 4 and 5 cent stamps today at 40-50% of face and then sell them for a little less than face back then.

    As for coins, there are some that cost more then than now - not sue which ones - 1950D nickel might be one. I think there were some silver dollars that were rare and valuable until the GSA hoard in the mid 1960s hit the market.

    As for antiques, there are probably things that were in demand then and not now, with values to reflect that.

    Also, if the hero in the story just needs cash in the 1960s why do they have to make a profit? They can bring gold jewelry or antique coins and sell them back then for money to spend, Not sure if they would make money off of the inflation rate or not, but if they just need liquid assets there are lots of ways to do it,

  • Perhaps bulk sheets of high value stamps from before 1965 that can be picked up now below face? Then sell them on the historical end. Is this cash for a short trip or cash needed for a lifetime?

    It might be useful to think of technologies that were novel and expensive then but similar/same materials can be gathered cheaply now. Like 1960s circuits. Or photography lenses, lenses that were extremely expensive back then can be picked up in bulk now and maybe a case of optics would fetch a pretty penny. Easier to sell than circuits..

  • HydrantHydrant Posts: 7,773 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You lost me at.... "I have a writer friend who......."

  • OverdateOverdate Posts: 6,868 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 27, 2020 7:19PM

    @JBK said:
    As for coins, there are some that cost more then than now - not sue which ones - 1950D nickel might be one.

    Pick up an uncirculated roll of 1950-D nickels in 2020 for about $350. If a time traveler could bring the roll back to 1965, it would easily fetch double that amount.


    In 1965, the dollar was worth around 8 times as much as it is now. So by my calculation, the time traveler would end up with about $5,600 in purchasing power for his $350 purchase in 2020.

    My Adolph A. Weinman signature :)

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