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.




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