An opportunity for stamp enthusiasts to easily enrich their collections


If you are experienced stamp collector, you should be aware of the term that is well-known in the philatelic work. This is kiloware – a name given by the philatelic world for bulk postage stamps that are sold to collectors by weight rather than individually, in packages or by a specific quantity. Such a term was coined due to the fact that it is often advertised in kilograms. 

Kiloware corresponds to about 2.33 pounds. Regardless of which measuring system is used, kiloware is often called to be a stamp mixture. Often it is more reasonable to buy smaller sets before purchasing the whole package – that is a good way to sample the stock before buying an entire kilo. If you have decided to buy a kiloware you should pay attention to the fact that you will have a lot of soak work to do. And such an activity demands much time.

 Stamps Kiloware

However, there are may be kilowares that have been already soaked off paper, but the prices for them are a little bit higher. You should also remember that the quality of soaked stamps may be lower than you expect. That is why often it is more reasonable to do the hard work by yourself to ensure that you will get undamaged philatelic items.  

The UK love of sorting kiloware was probably given its greatest boost by the BBC children's TV show, Blue Peter, which has often organised bulk stamp appeals to support their annual fundraising projects. The first of their kiloware appeals came in 1967 when the show raised enough money to convert and fit out eight flats for homeless people.

Stamps Kiloware blue peter

There are many types of kiloware that are widespread in the philatelic circle. Let’s consider and get to know more about some of them. 


Mission kiloware

Mission kiloware or mission mixture is a type of kiloware that comprises on-paper stamps collected by churches or other charitable organizations to sell a great number of them to stamp dealers. In such a way charitable organizations raise money for fulfilling some philanthropic missions. Such mixtures usually are heavy on definitive (regular-issue) stamps. Today, any on-paper mixture with heavy duplication and a preponderance of definitive stamps is often referred to as a mission mixture, regardless of the method or source of collection. You should also expect that mission kiloware will contain significant duplication of common letter rate stamps.

Stamps Kiloware


Bank mixture

This type of mixture is not easy to find nowadays. As the name suggests this type of kiloware comprises the stamps that were used for the correspondence of banks and other commercial institutions. Usually the letters that were sent to such institutions bore high-denomination stamps, therefore a bank mixture is considered to be a great find for each stamp collector. These days such business mail is generally metered.


“Unpicked” or “unsorted” kilowares

“Unpicked” or “unsorted” kiloware is advertised as a mixture of high quality that has a pressing demand among stamp collectors. "Unpicked" means that the scarcer or better stamps will not be removed from the mix, and there is at least the possibility of the collector finding good stamps for a low price. Such a mixture allows potential collectors an improved chance that they might find good stamps for a low price.

 Stamps Kiloware unsorted

"Unsorted" also means that obviously damaged stamps have not been culled out. Collectors may also find mixtures that contain only commemorative stamps – such a kiloware is a real gift for stamp enthusiasts but such a blessing having will be received only by lucky ones. 


Some more useful terms that relate to kiloware

While searching for kilowares in the web you may stumble upon such terms as "on paper" or "off paper." The word “paper” in this content refers to the corner envelope or postal card on which a stamp was placed. So, kiloware “on paper” means that the stamps were soaked of an envelope and a collector should do it by himself. Stamps "off paper" have already been soaked off and a purchaser will receive a bulk of stamps that are ready for placing in an album. The only thing you should do in this case is to sort the items that you have purchased.

 Stamps Kiloware

Because stamps are so fragile, you may get some damaged stamps in your mixture from time to time. The damage is easier to see if the stamp is "off paper," and dealers usually discard the damaged stamps they can see. Therefore, an "off paper" mix may have fewer damaged stamps.

“All different” is one more term that is used to describe stamp mixtures. This term is easy for understanding as it speaks for itself: all of the stamps are different from one another. But collectors should also be aware of the fact that in such a mixture there are likely to be some duplicate stamps.

The term "high values" presupposes two different interpretations and it is often hard to tell which meaning the dealer intends. The term can be used to describe postage stamps that are listed with a higher retail value in the stamp catalog, such as a stamp listed with a value of $3, rather than the catalog minimum, which is often 15¢. The term may also be used to describe the face value of the stamp, rather than its retail value.


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