The Stampfinder® MSR Financial Evaluation Service of individual postage stamps takes into account the year of creation of a stamp, the number of stamps printed, the price performance based on its catalog values over the last five, ten and twenty years, and various country specific factors such as the popularity of the country among philatelists and the country’s economic stability. Once USID's MSR financial appraisal and valuation of each stamp is completed, we then apply a MSR valuation rating to each stamp. We calculate an MSR rating on a scale of 1 to 10 utilizing a proprietary mathematical formula to incorporate the aforementioned features of the stamp. Ratings are reviewed periodically and adjusted when, over time, the factors change. This will occur mainly from significant changes in the catalog value or a recent auction sale.
Stamps rated MSR 1 to MSR 4 are issues which meet the value and time criteria to be considered for investment purposes but have so far demonstrated low appreciation rates or lack other attributes that would point to above average future performance. They are however judged likely to at least hold their value going forward or they would not be rated at all. Other stamps that meet the time and value criteria have not been given a rating because they don't have sufficient price histories or are of only recent recognition or discovery.
Note that in very few cases do stamps which have achieved a price level of $25 or more decline in value. This will happen if a country falls out of favor with collectors, if the currency of the country drops in value, if the country or stamp has been subject to price manipulation, or a number of other stamp specific factors that occasionally occur. In any case, a price decline should not be of great concern except when the price of a stamp in the thousands of dollars price range suddenly rises or falls for no apparent reason. As with securities, diversification is the proper safeguard.
Stamps rated from MSR 5 to MSR1O are those judged likely to appreciate at greater than the rate of inflation. They will generally have appreciated at least 4% or more per year for the last 25 years and have other strong attributes. While one might feel they should concentrate on only MSR 8 to MSR10 rated issues for the best returns, they will find that these issues are harder to find and will sell at a higher percentages of catalog price.