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Voila! Finally, A Stamp Inheritance Solution

Originally from Belgium, Tonny Van Loij collects the oldest stamps in the world and now serves his second term as RMPL’s ultra-capable president.

Tucked away in South Denver is an extraordinary resource, a godsend for baby boomers with inherited stamp collections gathering dust. If, after a loved one passed away, you inherited the stamp albums, a pile of books, stock sheets, boxes of loose stamps and whatever else he or she collected with perforations and you are at a dead-end, I have a trump card for you. Just wade through the few lines that follow.

Second only in depth to the National Philatelic Library and American Philatelic Society, Denver’s Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library (RMPL) provides philatelic services (stamp collecting) to all, many free or at a nominal cost. So revered is its expertise that the Royal Canadian Philatelic Society frequently comes to it for advice. Sound ultra professional and top drawer? It is indeed.

Headed up by Tonny Van Loij, its president, and some 75 volunteer staffers, the library is open six days a week. Since it is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, it exists for public service. Only the staff librarian receives a salary. Packed with all manner of books, catalogues, and newsletters it offers the space and tools to apply those references for people who collect, trade, and identify any stamp ever printed since the beginning of time. It also hosts three yearly auctions and sells stamps, covers, postcards – virtually anything that is remotely connected with the franking of mail or documents the world over. To a rabid stamp collector, passing through the front door can border on the spiritual.

Stamp collecting as a hobby is under a demographic strain, not backfilling its ranks as fast as those who are reaching the end of their lives. While unfortunate, it is the state of the state of this remarkable diversion. The economics of this trend make it especially important that those who have any interest or need at all, get involved now and not later.

For those accidental collectors with accumulations believed to have significant asset value, the RMPL offers a service one can’t afford to ignore. Bring what you have for a cursory free appraisal. Tonny himself performs that service and can give you a ballpark figure of market value. If the accumulation amounts to a hill of beans, he will tell you. If it has some value, RMPL will accept it up to that donation with which you may declare its contribution value on your tax returns. If his assessment is under $5,000, you may declare as much without extensive detail on your tax returns. If you value it higher, the IRS will want a qualified appraisal by an expert. Generally speaking, 95% of what might be in your attic will fall well under the $5,000 hurdle.

The trump card is that you will finally be able to receive unbiased, expert advice of real value from an organization with no profit motive. In fact, should you decide to donate (not required), the collection will be recategorized and displayed in a manner allowing its contents to be merchandised via annual auctions or direct sales conducted daily at the facility. The very good news: If you itemize, you get the deduction. Equally good, all proceeds go to nationally recognized charities. It’s a win-win for all.

To learn more, call 303-759-9921 or email

Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner




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