cddstamps on stamps

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

Sunday, April 28, 2024

cddstamps is back writing.... :-)

Hello,  Sometimes we just forget how fast the days and weeks and months go by.  These past 6 months have been a blurr in many ways.  But I am still around and doing philatelic things.  One thing is getting the cddstamps profile and  name out there in the philatelic world to  help with the cddstamps business and to let collectors know we have a lot to offer to help them fill a few gaps in their collections.

One thing I have failed to do is finish that second book.  Just no time even though I have much of the material.  But that is another story for another day.

So what have we done at cddstamps. One thing I think is most important for collectors is for you to know all new listings in our store have  both front and reverse images. Quite frankly it disgusts me that many  sellers don't even give one image of the stamp they are offering for sales and many won't even send a scan of the reverse even if you ask them nicely.   

You and I know stamps from  lets say early 1900s can be in pretty awful condition on the reverse with  heavy and multiple hinges with hinge staining and toning.    Yes we have some like that but we try to describe fully and accurately AND show a reverse scan  so you know  what you are paying  to add that stamp to your collection.  Makes sense to us. Takes a bit of time but  we think that is what collectors appreciate, and of course we hope it bring collectors back to our store.

And to get our profile and brand name out there, apart from the usual magazine adverts we are now active on Philately.Live   A  really brillant site which  you must visit.   Ok ignore all our competitors who are there  hahahahahahahaha 😀   but seriously this site presents so much you might want to know about philatelic resources of all kinds 

 This is from the Home page   Enough said     enjoy visiting the     See you soon with more cddstamps on stamps.

Philately Live is a world wide mapping of the entire worldwide Philatelic Community.

It contains all the Societies, Organizations, Foundations, Clubs, Auctions, Dealers, Marketplaces, Publications, Stamp Issuing entities, Stamp Shows and Exhibits, and Museums. It gives you access to auction calendars, dealer offerings, calendars of events, and more. Whether you're interested in publications, postal authorities, shows, exhibits, or museums – we've got it all covered!

In a world with thousands of stamp collecting websites, you might be thinking, "Do we really need another one?". We understand your skepticism, but we invite you to look closer because "" isn't just another website—it's the much-needed hub that keeps the global philatelic community connected.Our mission is not to recreate content but to build connections. 


Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Collectors Buying With Confidence – How do I clean toning from stamps?




Collectors Buying With Confidence –  How do I clean toning  from stamps?    


Hello, in the previous article I mentioned about cleaning stamps that have a light toning, cleaning to remove the brownish spots, by using a very light chorine solution. Well the first  sheet of stamps in that article is not worth it, just wont have any success and the second example I used would see you remove, or at best partially remove, the gum and since the value is pennies don’t even bother, just buy a new stamp or set of the stamps.


But there may be times when you might want to try the chorine cleaning solution. A used stamp that is very cheap and is not worth buying, or something with a bit more value?  As collectors buying with confidence we can decide what is best for a given situation.


Let me take the cleaning topic a step further and discuss two aspects of cleaning. This article will address the first, cleaning toning. A second article will address another aspect – cleaning dirty stamps.   You can read more on these from many websites which offer similar advice but this is my attempt at a shorter text to cover the basics.


So, the removal of toning first. As I say you can soak the stamp in a very light or should I say weak chlorine solution.   Only one stamp at a time and only for say 20 to 30 seconds, moving the stamp around in the solution.  Then, remove the stamp and soak again for about a say a minute in clean water. It is also worth testing this out on a stamp you really can throw away.   Get to know the reaction on the stamp to the solution you have made up.  This is a very simplified view and if you ask a chemist you will get a 1000 word or more discussion. But the principle is right as best I have read and tried.


Now if you do some research you may see some articles saying use an ammonia solution.  Not necessarily wrong as this will remove the stain, and by all accounts gives you a good result if the solution is not too strong,  but – and I am again being as basic as I can be here – ammonia is not a disinfectant so will not kill the bacteria – the rust mold, whereas chlorine is a disinfectant and will kill the  bacteria as well as whiten the paper of the stamp.


One last point, the stamp itself plays a very important part in the outcome of the cleaning process, depending on what solution you use. The type of ink, the ink colour or pigments, the type of paper,  the engraving method I believe can even affect outcomes and no doubt more.  Too much detail to even begin to comment further.  I mention this in case someone  thinks I have missed something. Yes I know there is far far more to all this but I am trying to be brief and cover the basics.


One tip -   for a test case get a stamp, cut it in half, try one half in one solution, one in another and  learn the results.  Useful idea?


And finally, if in doubt, perhaps buy a product like the Lindner stain remover, or another I believe called a mildew remover for stamps which I believe are meant to be good.


So, be careful out there.   Collectors buying with confidence can also be collectors cleaning with confidence 😊


Michael …. Please visit my online store    where I think you will see quality and appropriately described stamps.  

Collectors Buying With Confidence – What is toning, what is rust?




Collectors Buying With Confidence –  What is toning, what is rust?   


Hello, I touched on this very briefly, that is, you might find toning on the reverse of a stamp but will only know about it if you see the reverse of the stamp. 


Well here is a rather different example I came across, there are hundreds I could show as examples to explain, but I think this one is pretty good for the purpose. To be blunt, it is embarrassing that someone would  even think of listing this for sale.




As defined in many philatelic glossaries, toning, or rust or foxing are other terms used, is, in simple terms, the brownish spot(s) you see on a stamp and or the perforations as seen from the front and or the reverse.  Or in the example above all over the sheetlet.


This condition is caused by the stamp being poorly stored in a damp condition such that a mold or fungus grows on the paper.   Often thought of as a brown mold and one that can spread from stamp to stamp even when stored in an album.  Toning can be found on used and mint stamps and can be particularly noticeable on certain gums and especially in tropical climates where there is high humidity and stamps and albums are not stored in suitably dry conditions and without adequate air ventilation.


What to do if you have a stamp or stamps with toning.   First choice is throw it away, but that is not always practical.  Second or maybe first option is to clean it in a very light chlorine solution.   There are many pros and cons to this and I wont explore them all here but just repeat, a very light solution so as not to damage the stamp by fading colour for example, or making the image too bright. Another topic to discuss.



I have this stamp above.  I should throw it away, I know.  I will keep it until I get a better copy   but I will keep it in a black mount and well separated from other stamps in the album.  I won’t try to clean it as it is a mint stamp and that would just remove the gum, and anyway I rather like it as a spacefiller for now.  No value, just that I like it and the new one has not arrived yet.


Anyway, one final point. When you as a collector buying with confidence get the stamps you have purchased, how confident can you be about how the stamps were stored by the previous owner?  You most likely do not know the condition of the place they came from so a stamp may not seem to have toning when you get it because you cannot see the brown spotting, but in time it might develop especially if your storage conditions are less than ideal.  All the more reason to make sure you store your stamps in the appropriate storage conditions.


So, be careful out there.   Whatever the suggested retail value of a stamp, collectors buying with confidence will always pay attention to the condition, especially if it looks like there is a sign of toning.  


Michael …. Please visit my online store    where I think you will see quality and appropriately described stamps.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

 Part XVI

 Collectors Buying With Confidence – that is damaged isn’t it ??   

 Hello, how are we all?    Well and enjoying our collections.     I have been quiet because I really wasn’t sure what to write about. Then I saw this. Well, I just couldn’t resist it as a topic. It is damaged isn’t it?



It is of course SG 452 issued in 1970  with a cat listing (2021) of £15 in SG (Scott $16) for a very fine condition stamp.  It is clearly damaged and might pass as a spacefiller for a $1.  Certainly would not pass any quick look and see and come up with a Fine Very Fine condition description. Seriously, that is the condition description it is listed with. I won’t tell you the asking price just in case you are prone to shock reactions.  Ok  I will, $12.25 USD.


Time and time again I remind myself that collectors are very smart and would never be fooled into thinking this was anything other than a damaged stamp and would never pay more than $1 for it as a spacefiller.  But I see so much sold that is junk I just think a quick reminder is worth my time if it helps collectors buying with confidence.  And anyway, isn’t it fun to see some of the rubbish being listed on these online market places 😊  Who are these sellers I often wonder?


So, be careful out there.   When you see a stamp that is clearly damaged do  not waste your money.    Go without and wait another day.   Enjoy and buy with confidence.


Michael …. Please visit my online store    where I think you will see quality and appropriately described stamps. 

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Collectors Buying With Confidence – returns not accepted??


Part XV


Collectors Buying With Confidence –       no returns accepted??   


Hello, so here I am doing some research, having a pleasant time looking at listings, laughing at some of the sellers ideas of a decent stamp and impressed with others for the quality of their scans and descriptions -  make a note of them as sellers worth looking to buy from if they have what I am looking  for.  Often, when I know what I want I will first go to those sellers and search their store.    Why waste time searching all the listing when so many sellers are just, well you decide what word I should use.


So I see this nice stamp.   Ok, I read the details and there it is,  “Returns not accepted”. Well, I don’t know about you, but that just turned me off right away.  


Am I wrong?  Would you buy from a seller that says, Returns not accepted?   In the past two weeks I have had two orders out of 10 that were nowhere near as described and I sent the stamps back and got a refund.  Ok so I learnt my lesson not to buy from these sellers again. And ok, sometimes people make mistakes.  But to bluntly say, and it was not hidden in the details I might add, Returns not accepted,  is that a sign of a quality seller?


Well, am I wrong?


Michael …. Please visit my online store    where I think you will see quality and appropriately described stamps.  


Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Collectors Buying With Confidence – what is a stock image??

 Part XIV

Collectors Buying With Confidence –      what is a stock image??    

Hello,  yes I am back as finally I have another topic.  I have been waiting on a few purchases to arrive.  One purchase in particular.  I will be honest and say I wasted my money but it was not anything much and I was thinking at the time it might give me material to write about. And sure as day follows night, it has done. 

Received the order today.  Opened the envelope carefully – I always do and I recommend you always do because in my experience  well over 50% of people who sell stamps on these online marketplaces have absolutely no idea how to pack stamps, especially mint stamps and perhaps  anecdotally people who say, ,stock  photo. 

I had two mint stamps in the order as you can see and as I opened the envelope one fell out.   Luckily the cat knows not to lick stamps.  Am joking here, I don’t have a cat! 

But the real point is this.  Collectors buying with confidence should not in my humble opinion as a rule, unless there is an exceptional circumstance, should not buy from a seller that says in their description, stock photo, or stock picture or example of the stamp you will get.    That is my rule.  I only did it this time to prove I was right. 

I think in some circles it is called click bait. Whatever, it is tantamount to a con trick. If you cannot see what you are buying, perhaps you should either ask to see it, or move on to the next store. 

In this example I don’t mind wasting the money as I have something to show and perhaps to help other collectors buy with confidence and reduce the likelihood of you being disappointed when the stamp or stamps arrive.   Bit of a click bait listing wasn’t it! The seller had no intention of selling stamps even close to the one listed.



Michael …. Please visit my online store    where I think you will see quality and appropriately described stamps.  

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Collectors Buying With Confidence – Ordinary paper, chalky paper, how do I know??




Collectors Buying With Confidence –     Ordinary paper, chalky paper, how do I know??   


Hello again, welcome back.  Is this something you have experienced?  Happened to me only yesterday.   Ordinary paper,  Chalky paper, especially on many British Commonwealth issues.   I still find it difficult at times and that is after reading plenty on the topic – which I might add has been written about many times in many philatelic forums over the years.


Once upon a time I learned that the silver test was the way to go.  That is you lightly touch say the corner of the stamp with a piece of silver and if there is a reaction, a mark that is, on the stamp the paper is chalky paper,  or chalk coated. If no reaction, then the paper is ordinary paper. Of course this assumes you have a nice clean piece of silver lying around.  I don’t like this idea as I guess it might be marking the stamp, and for Mint, not too a good idea, perhaps?


Another view is what might be called the pitted surface test. This test basically says if the surface of the face of the stamp has a pitted surface the stamp is the chalky paper.  If not pitted in character then the paper is ordinary paper.   You do need a very good magnifying glass of course, which I have to say you should have anyway to study for printing varieties.  Mine is a $5 job from eBay.  Works just fine.  Really quite amazing little guy but not suitable for more than the odd or occasional stamp study.   You would not want to use it for too long, ok for a few stamps at a time, and then you need to give the eye a rest I suggest.


Just a few more comments.  Chalk-surfaced paper produces a crisp finish due to the smoothness of the surface.  With ordinary paper, there are loose fibres on the surface and the ink is able to 'bleed' into it,  often producing some blurring.

I  have also read another test is to look at a stamp under a long wave UV lamp.  If the paper is very white it is chalky.   I guess different papers may have different results.  But at least these are a few ideas which might help.

Anyway, have a look and see if you can try the pitted surface test to tell chalky paper apart from ordinary paper. You might find some of your stamps are of a higher catalog value than you thought.   Then again,  …..  well  I wont go there……….


Different  British Commonwealth countries may also show differently but as a general rule of thumb I believe this pitted surface distinction is a reasonable guideline to go by.

Have a philatelic weekend, be careful out there  😊


Michael …. Please visit my online store    where I think you will see quality and appropriately described stamps.  


Collectors Buying With Confidence – are you serious, $100 for a $5 stamp?

 Part XII


Collectors Buying With Confidence –   are you serious,  $100 for a $5 stamp?   


Hello again, welcome back.  First let me start with a comment on the previous piece. A very kind and knowledgeable reader wrote to me to comment that with eBay – and I guess things may differ country to country - but not only is there a listing fee and commission  but they also charge you a fee on the shipping.  Another cost element for us collectors to consider when we are buying and looking at the “shipping” charged by the seller.  The sellers certainly do have a few costs to cover.


 Good feedback that and thanks.


Today let me comment a little  - yes I promise not too much – on  the subject of grading. It is a topic that is guaranteed to get even the  most tolerant collectors and so called connoisseurs, especially US sellers and collectors, arguing forever.  But it is really not that complex or worthy of argument.


If a stamp is of a higher condition quality it should – ceteris paribus - command a higher selling price. I have no argument with that principle. In fact I often buy a more expensive copy for my collection simply because of the condition.


BUT, and please, this is the arguable point, someone telling you the price is 400  or 100 or whatever times cat when the centering is really good – insert some % of your choosing -  when there were tens or more millions printed and there are hundreds for sale of equally or nearly equally good condition, good centering with large margins etc,  is just a con trick.   It is a con trick. End of Subject!



This is a lovely stamp (although I am not showing the front)   but see this reverse.  Would you pay 20 times cat for a mint never hinged stamp when it has a rust / toning, call it what you will, on the reverse?   And perhaps another spot on the gum? I hope not.


So while the topic is pricing for centering it is also look very carefully at the reverse of a stamp you are paying a higher price for.   I paid the price the other day. I received a stamp I had bought.  From a seller I trusted.  When the stamp arrived the reverse showed an unpleasant bend, and under careful study I realised what I thought was part of a cancel was in fact a tear when seen from the reverse.   Had I asked for a scan of the reverse I might have realised the condition as described was nowhere near what it actually was. I trusted the seller as I had bought from them before.  Lesson number 101, always check twice if the stamp is really that nice!


Have a philatelic week, be careful out there  😊


Michael …. Please visit my online store    where I think you will see quality and appropriately described stamps.  

Monday, September 25, 2023

Collectors Buying With Confidence – how much is the shipping?


Part XI


Collectors Buying With Confidence –   how much is the shipping?   


This can be a contentious topic at the easiest of times but one I think us collectors need to understand.  I am still a collector, for my aircraft on stamps collection mostly, and occasionally for my GB Downey Head collection, so I am very aware of the amazing range of prices being quoted for “shipping”


When I am looking to buy there is one data field I always look at and I recommend you do as well.  Pay attention to the detail.  


But let me put something into perspective.  The shipping field is not just the postage the seller pays to ship the stamp you bought. It might be for some very generous sellers but generally speaking sellers use this field to recover some of the costs they incur listing and selling the stamps you are buying.


These costs basically include, store fee, store commission,  Paypal commission (for the purpose of this commentary I will assume Paypal but use whatever payment system you are familiar with), sellers storage costs, packing costs including envelope, and postage cost and some would even argue the cost to drive to the Post Office to mail the order.


Right there you can see why a seller with a $1.30 (just for example) stamp postage cost on the envelope you receive might be charging shipping of say $4.  Or say a seller with a £2.20 postage stamp cost will be asking £3 shipping.  What you think is fair and reasonable is, I might suggest, likely to be fair and reasonable.


Many sellers cross subsidise some of these costs from the actual sale price of the stamp being sold.  Many do not. I am not going to quote numbers because there are too many variables across countries and postal administrations and probably even the fees Paypal and various internet marketplaces charge across countries.  I will just say pay attention to the details in the “shipping” cost field.


One feature you may see is an additional cost per each listing purchased.   Just one random example.   Buy 1 stamp pay $x shipping plus 90c  (or insert whatever number or variable you know of) for each extra stamp or listing purchased.     Before you know it the 11 stamps you added to your cart now has a shipping charge of whatever is quoted plus $9 – the ten additional stamps by 90c per each item.   Hmmmmmmmmm!!


Someone once told me that is perfectly justified because of the time it takes the seller to search and find and assemble and pack the additional stamps.  Only you can decide if that is fair and reasonable. You know my view don’t you.


I have, over time, eliminated so many sellers from my list of who I will buy from. If a seller wants to make money by shipping stamps that is their prerogative. I don’t believe it is the sign of an ethical seller.  It is just not me,  a collector buying with confidence, and I won’t be making  any of them rich.  


Have a philatelic week, be careful out there  😊


Michael …. Please visit my online store    where I think you will see quality and appropriately described stamps.  

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