cddstamps on stamps

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

  What’s in an Image?

Hello  and welcome to Part IV of my series Caveat emptor. In the last  piece I finished up by saying I would talk more about the  images you see when you look at stamps offered for sale  on the internet, and what you might really be seeing.

I have written on this topic before on a few forums but the following is using my own purposely created images. These replicate what I see time and time again on various philatelic selling platforms. You can make your own mind up about what you buy of course, based on the images you see, but remember, Buyer beware!

I  don’t think I need to talk too much about these images but a few comments  might supplement them and give a perspective you might not appreciate until you receive the stamps you bought. I have  learnt the hard way.  So my comments are based on actual experiences.  


I will  talk about what and how you might see stamps presented from a sellers point of view,  implying some do nots, and, from a collectors point of view on how to interpret what you may be seeing, or not seeing.


Fig 1 shows a set of Mint Never Hinged stamps.  This is  very often what you will see.  The seller is      subconsciously communicating, in my view anyway,  I don’t have the time or inclination to properly show  what I am selling,  and I  don’t really  understand the fact they are mint with full gum.

Fig 1:

This issue with  gums can be many but the most obvious one is that with the slightest moisture the gum side might stick to the face side of the touching stamp.  You think I am exaggerating here?    Have you experienced  the gums on  many Malta,  Rhodesia or Papua New Guinea issues from around the 1970s? There are many others of course,   Eastern Europe comes to mind.  Gums stick very  easily.  By the time the stamps reach you the buyer,  if they are packed like this as they usually are when they are displayed like this, you could be in trouble.     Sure, full refund if not  happy is the  answer people tell me.  Well actually it is not when the buyer says  full refund if returned in 14 or even 28 days  - can you do that with todays mail services impacted by the corona virus  effect on international  and even some domestic mail services?    Probably not. Or, what if the buyer says they were ok when they left us.  Buyer beware. 


If you are looking at Mint stamps  I recommend you look for stamps packed as in Fig 2.     Yes with a set of  so many stamps they need to overlap  but with each stamp in a black mount you can be  confident there will be no gum sticking to other stamps.

Fig 2:

And  to take this one step further if we at cddstamps show for sale a mint stamp with full gum,  and the image is just of the stamp, when we pack to inventory after scanning we always put it in a  mount.  For safety -  It is to us the professional thing to do - and you always get your Mint stamp in a mount.


Now what about used stamps? Well  here is an example as shown in Fig 3.

Fig 3: 

What do you see?  Perhaps what the seller wants you to see. And again I am speaking from actual experience here. The message is  you see what the seller sees and that could well be influenced by the experience and philatelic knowledge and standards of the seller. 


I am not saying right and wrong - I am saying   different standards, different values and different understanding about stamp collecting and stamp selling.    Buyer beware of course. If your standards and expectations are different from those of the seller  then the image displays will not always show that.


Here is another view of the same set. What do you see?     Description: Used.     Used might mean different  things to different  sellers and different buyers.  Personally we prefer showing the set like this, as in Figure 4:


Then again let’s look at  this issue once more.    A selling display might look like this  as in Fig 5. Also with  Description: Used

Fig 5 

 But were we to show the image another way the stamps would look like this.    You have to look carefully because with this small image the creases do not really show!

Fig 6 

 I hope this was informative and perhaps useful?     Talking about images showing details like creases,  perhaps for my next article  I will  talk more on the size and resolution of the images being displayed for collectors to use to make  their judgement about whether to buy or not to buy.   Buyer beware.


Stay safe and safely enjoy your philately    

Michael and at   our shop here   Hope to see you :-) 


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