cddstamps on stamps

my thoughts on stamps, stamp collecting, philately in general and maybe a few other topics !

Thursday, November 19, 2020

 What’s in a listing write up? – the price and the description.


Hello and welcome to Part IX of my series Caveat emptor.


Including all the interim articles I think this makes at least 12 articles.   This will be the last one. One reason is that all the articles and more are now compiled into a book format and the first printing of the book – one copy to do a final proof -  is in progress. The past few weeks have been very busy and one reason for a longer than I planned break between articles.


I look forward to receiving the hard copy of the book to see if it looks as OK in copy format as it does as a pdf.


Hopefully, it will not be too long before it is available both as an eBook and in hard copy.  Watch this space as they say.


Anyway, this final because  I think I have covered enough for the time being on this topic and associated topics. 


This new piece covers a few points, the first an experience that has happened to me and one I think worth a mention, and maybe I can pose the question up front, How you would deal with the situation?.  


This article will discuss listing price and description.  Now that may seem boring but I can assure you it might be very much to your advantage to understand the details that are presented in a listing of a stamp for sale and the correctness of the price..


Let’s take price first and let mee say I have done this.  I am no hero but there are ethics I firmly believe in and this is one of them.  A seller lists a stamp and the price is displayed at let’s say 25c. This surprises you – you know your stamps after all, let’s assume that.  On checking you see the stamp is listed in your catalogue at a rather expensive price. Yes the seller made a typo when listing.  It is obvious it should be $25.  What do you do?  I wrote to the seller and said hey I think you made a typo perhaps you want to fix it?   Lovely email reply and everyone is happy, especially the seller.


Now I could have just purchased the stamp. That would have been unethical in my view.  Everyone to their own.


However, you can find bargains when people who know little to nothing about stamps start selling them online. I know, you think I am unkind. Such is life. As I recently read, the internet makes it a free for all to sell stamps.   As we all know you don’t need any knowledge, at the least just a stamp and a phone with a camera and internet connection. No regulation, no knowledge required.


Any this is where it pays to know your stuff, so to speak. As a friend of mine keeps reminding me knowledge is power.


Let’s image one example.  You can insert any country / stamp you have knowledge of.  You collect Barbados. You see a stamp listed cheap; the 1927 issue of the tercentenary of the settlement of Barbados.   Mint never hinged.  Description is simple MNH, and the price.  Literally no other words or comment about quality although you can see some might be justified.  


Seller a newbie – You check that out. Seller underprices everything it seems from looking at other items. Somebody just moving stamps. Because you know your stamps you are wondering if this is actually the perf variety which is as you know is a difficult stamp to find.  you don’t need the regular perf issue but you take a gamble and buy this. It does look like tighter perfs on the top and bottom margins.


And how pleased are you when it arrives. It is the perf variety.


All hypothetical of course!   I was talking stamps with a colleague only the other day and they gave me this story idea.


Yes knowledge is power. I could quote many examples and even some from a another colleague who trawls auction sites looking for more expensive  flaws that have not been seen in the lots listed. Auctions with expensive material and plenty of quality images can be fertile grounds for such pickings, so to speak.


one  flaw – one of my favourites for  various reasons many readers will know – the right hand stamp has the broken undercarriage flaw.



I tell you all this as I have listed with the wrong price. It hurts when the stamp is bought but it does make you take the time to look carefully at the price you are listing and to make sure you have studied the stamp and written the correct description / catalogue reference.


So for the sellers reading this, even newbie sellers who want to be serious philatelic sellers, spend the time, check your typing and gain the knowledge about your stamps. For buyers. Buyer beware, your buying experience doesn’t always have to be a negative experience.



Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Hello,  just a short interlude between Caveat emptor articles - the next one is in the  drafting stage -.    Hope everyone is well and safe in these corona virus times.

and.... to let customers and potential customers know we are accumulating another order for the USA market.  When we get  enough orders to offset the cost  - or close to -  we absorb the rest of course - and then we courier to a USA dealer who mails locally for us.    Last order  in gets really fast delivery of course and  safe and secure. 

Have a look at our 38,000 listings   or search for the GB or British Commonwealth stamps you are looking for to fill a gap or  more in your collection.   ...... and  yes we are proud to say we now have over 20,000 positive feedbacks from out fantastic customer base.

Why not become a cddstamps customer    we do have some added loyalty attractions  which as a customer you will eventually. we hope,  learn about.

Stay safe and have a philatelic day      Michael

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

What is a Sale ?

Hello and welcome to Part VIII of my series Caveat emptor.  This article is about a “sale”, because I saw something that literally shocked me into thinking,  “can this seller really think I am going to believe what they are saying”?


What is a sale?  One definition, simply put, is this: “a period during which a retailer sells goods at reduced prices”.


Is that a working statement I can live with?  Hmmm, maybe not.  Surely a sale is an event where the price being asked of an item is one that is reduced from a previous price which was in fact a price that was a reasonable price, with a  profit mark up,  being asked for the item in question.


Yes I am pedantic but then let’s take an example.  If the first time I offer something to be bought, I say for sale at 60% off, am I being a bit mischievous?   Perhaps deceiving? Perhaps misrepresenting?    Here is a $100 stamp offered at $40,    supposedly a sale at 60% off.   Well it was never offered at $100 in the first place so how can a seller say I am giving a sale price?  Confuses me for sure!!!!!  Did the seller really have a 60% mark up and is now selling at  cost,  let’s say. Or as a loss leader because they had a 50% mark up?    These thoughts cross my mind. Do they yours?


And yet that is what you will find time and time again in the world of selling stamps on the internet by many sellers.  Buyer beware. 


Why do I say this?  Simple. Think it through.   Item to be sold.  Let’s say $10 so I list as $11.50 and price it with comment, 15% off.  Price is $10  hey ho! Yes I know mathematically 15% reduction from $11.50 is not $10 but the seller is adding 15% to the $10 item and reducing.  That is the give away maybe? That is what happens and what we are given to thinking. It is all click bait really, isn’t it!


Talking mark up?  What is the mark up on stamps?  Obviously there is no one answer – it depends on so many factors but let’s for argument sake say 25%.   Humour me!  A rule of thumb.  Ok maybe a bit generous rule of thumb.


If we see 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 80%,  yes I have seen that, 80% off -   you will find them no doubt – the 80% I know of is off the catalogue price: is that deceptive?  a catalogue price for Mint Never Hinged stamp for example and  the stamp for sale that is mint hinged being advertised at 80% off CV?    Buyer beware – you decide.   In general though, have the prices been inflated to be able to state such high % reductions?   and draw you into thinking you are getting a great deal so buy buy buy!!!!! ?  Buyer beware.


Ok another aspect to look out for. When you see these “teasers”,  let’s call them what they really are, is the packing and postage cost, usually called “shipping”,  reasonable.  


Yes reasonable can be subjective but again, humour me and think reasonable. You may just find these are out of proportion to what could reasonably be expected.   Sellers cannot consistently sell at a price that is way below cost. It does not make sense does it?  So check “shipping”.


I know there are many costs elements;  portal fees, payment handling fees,  packing, postage,  paper for invoices and printing, yes all the p’s. But sometimes, perhaps, after all it is your call, you can say that “shipping” is out of proportion. You will just know when and then you will know the cost of sale is being cross subsidized by the “shipping” cost.  Buyer beware.


Just one set of images you may enjoy and hopefully to demonstrate the points I am trying to convey.  I am not passing judgement, I am just showing you what you can find when you look to fill a gap in your collection.  It is, as I say, your choice as to what is right for you. SG 478c with a Stanley Gibbons catalogue value (2020) of £26 Very Fine Used of course, also  Scott 275 with a 2019 cat of $20.



Where I say “ reduce %”  that is the % reduction shown on the listing.  The first three stamps do not show an image of the reverse but the fourth stamp included an image of the reverse, which I have to acknowledge shows honesty, because there are two very nice deep creases in the stamp and a 1mm perf tear. I guess a 25c spacefiller at best but hey, buyer beware!  If this one is what you want in your collection then ok.


All shipping is for items purchased in the USA and shipped to a USA address. As for the shade / colour of the second stamp well it was never issued in this shade that is for sure!  Buyer beware!


I hope you keep reading and I welcome  “caveat emptor” topics to share. I have two more articles to write in this series unless I hear more that I have missed.


Michael  visit us   here 

Saturday, October 31, 2020 maybe it is only a number but we are very proud of it. 20,000 positive feedbacks Thank you to our wonderful customers. We look forward to seeing you again and welcoming new customers. Have a philatelic day. Stay safe cddstamps

Monday, October 26, 2020

 Part II - Cleaning Stamps

 I split this article into two part. I hope this  second and final part is interesting, especially the  images.

 Now let’s take this theme of cleaning the stamp one step further. And in this case I want to talk a little about removing self-adhesive stamps from their envelope of use.

Early self-adhesive stamp actually soaked off the envelope quite easily.     This can be seen in UK and Australia stamps for example.  But more recent self-adhesive gums are in fact produced to be so  “adhesive” they do not  allow the stamp to be soaked from the envelope. A massive loss to the beginner stamp collectors of this world -  well that is the old school talking isn’t it!

But seriously, for example, let’s take the Great Britain Security Machins – introduced in 2009  with  new security features, namely no water soluble layer of gum between the paper of the stamp and the self-adhesive and  the U shaped security slits.  The absence of the water soluble gum  made the removal of the stamp from  an envelope rather difficult – certainly a soak in warm water did not work -   and the security slits were designed such that if an attempt was made to remove the stamps from the envelope the  paper in the slits would be removed from the stamp.  The security slits were also designed to prevent forgery I might add.


Many collectors who now collect Security Machins are collecting the stamps “on piece”.  In fact if one reads the Stanley Gibbons  Catalogue  about these Security Machins you will see they say    “We recommend that used stamps are retained on their backing paper and trimmed with a uniform border of 1-2mm around all sides, taking care not to cut into the perforations”

But this has not stopped many people from finding a way to remove the Security Machin stamp from the backing paper. On a personal note, I do not endorse this practice. I know many who do and you can find many sellers with Security Machins in their internet stamp shops “off paper”.

The chemical concoctions used vary quite widely. There are pages and pages of guidance and advice on how to remove these and many other modern self-adhesives stamps “safely” with no damage.  Personally I think adding a chemical of any sort to this type of stamp is going to cause some “damage’ in some form or another, or shall we say some change in the stamp.  Many tell me I am wrong and I understand there are varying opinions on this. Maybe each stamp and each type of cleaning  material will give difference results.

So in summary, three last points:  

1) The stamp is yours and what you do with it to please yourself and please how you have it in your collection is your choice. 

2)  If you are buying a Security Machin - or any other modern self-adhesive for that matter -  from an internet stamp sellers store  -  Buyer beware – the scanned or photographed image may not actually tell you all you need to know about the condition of the stamp. 

3)  If you are doing the removing yourself, once you have started to remove the stamp from the envelope / backing paper with one of the treatments there is no turning back – damage done cannot be repaired – it won’t recover like the hair on my daughters head!  

I hope you like the images. Most are mine, some are from a friend who helped me understand a bit about soaking Security Machins and one, well I just happened across them!


Health and safety note 😃  : only two stamps were “damaged” and thrown away in the making of this article.


Friday, October 23, 2020

Cleansing Stamps

 Cleaning Stamps

Hello and welcome to Part VII of my series, Caveat emptor.   In previous articles I have generally talked about the images we see listed to help describe a stamp or group of stamps. I have tried to give some insights into what to think about when looking at the images in the context of what the seller is presenting in the scanned or photographed image.

In this piece I want to talk about something a little different.   After writing it I realized it was rather long so it is in two parts.  This is Part I

Let’s forget stamps for a minute.  One day my daughter came home from work and her hair was lovely, a clean blonde look that quite suited her.    Hmmmm! I thought she was a redhead when she left this morning.  She was stunning as a redhead in my biased view.  Now she was stunning as a blonde!

I am reminded of this because I remember reading on a stamp chat forum some time ago about how to remove rust, or toning or foxing as it is also called, from a stamp.   Yep, just like my daughter’s hair….well sort of …. use some bleach or some chemical concoction and you can change the colour, so to speak, or to put it another way, remove the rust.

I do not advocate doing it to a stamp to  “remove” rust but it is done I am lead to believe and  until you actually get the stamp(s) you bought you won’t know, and even then you may not realise it has been treated in someway.   Does the treatment harm the stamp?   Does the treatment harm the hair?  some say maybe. Ultimately the hair will recover and it will grow back to its original colour.   Not so with the stamp.  Once treated that is it. You have what you have and as long as you as the collector are happy and look after the stamp  and do not  allow more rust to form then I guess that is ok.    Maybe it will never be seen that the stamp was treated to remove rust – each situation is different so there is no definitive answer anyway – but if ever you want to  sell such a stamp  it might prove to be a problem.    Buyer beware of course.

One example:  Above: pair before using a chemical to try to remove rust shading on the left hand stamp.  Second image below the reverse before using a chemical -  third image, the reverse  after  using chemical and  finally the front of the stamps after using a chemical on the left hand stamp.

This is a topic that has some sellers and collectors argue is acceptable and some present the opposite point of view.  It is you as the collector who has to decide what you find acceptable.  Just be aware that with let’s say ”old” stamps  say pre 1950s  - although we can always find rust on  more modern stamps if they have not been  stored in suitable conditions -  you will often find  rust, simply because of the age associated with the paper and the paper quality the stamps were printed on and the storage of them over  the years.  

Let me suggest this:  finding pristine condition stamps from the late 1800s and  early 1900s is possible from very well established dealers and  frequently at very high prices and  for stamps with excellent  providence, but I doubt – again generally speaking -  that such material is  generally available from the 1000s of  part time stamp sellers one finds these days across the  many internet philatelic portals that  exist on the internet    Simply put, if you see such material perhaps you should be asking yourself a few due diligence questions.     Yes, Buyer beware.

Perhaps I can give one more example here   The Great Britain George V  example below shows another perspective.  Not only the partial cleansing of the rusting but also a change in the colour of the stamp face after the cleansing.   

The image pair to the left show the stamps before cleansing, The image pair to the right is after cleansing.   This stamp has – as best I know - 18 colour shades.     This shade has clearly changed in the cleansing process. Buyer beware.

The images below show the before and after images of the reverse, and yes the cleansing has made an improvement. 

In Part II I will discuss  cleaning or rather soaking self adhesive gummed stamps  with particular reference to Great Britain Security Machins.

Have a lovely weekend and enjoy your stamps.   Michael 

Thursday, October 22, 2020


What’s in an Image Part III?    Addendum.

Fig 1  as per listing Qty 2 

    Fig 2   stamps as received

Hello do you remember reading Part VI of my series Caveat emptor and my piece “What’s in an Image Part III”, it was the previous article.  Sorry if I am complicating matters with my numbering.  It was about a seller showing an image of each and every stamp when there are multiple copies available of the stamp being sold.  

Well here we have the proof of my example. I spoke about a GB George VI stamp. The rather collectible  Scott  268  (SG 494)  The seller listed  “Qty 2”. The stamp shown  (Fig 1) is the stamp in the listing.  Guess what the buyer received?

Yes, the stamps, as in Fig 2, which are not two stamps with same quality as the one in the original listing. Well not in my view, because the centering on the second stamp was far from as good as the image shown. That is, the stamp to the left is very much centered offset to the right.   NB: Sorry about image quality but this is what has been sent to me.

Moral of story, apart from buyer beware, of course is this, ask for an image of the stamp you will are buying.

 Enjoy your collecting.  Buyer beware, or perhaps buy from an accredited  and well respected dealer?  Just a thought.

Stay safe    Michael

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