cddstamps on stamps

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

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Collectors Buying With Confidence – Can I see all the stamps?

Hello again and welcome back to this new series.  Part III now and the questions is “ Should I ask for a scan of the stamps when I cannot see each stamp in a set of stamps?  The image below is typical of a listing of a set of stamps.

By now you all know my first answer, it is; it all depends……     many factors to consider here. I won’t repeat them all. But my first reaction, is Yes, ask for as scan.   I think it relevant to also put this in some sort of context.  Is the set you are looking at buying a set with a catalogue pricing of say over $10 USD?  Or lots more?  Is it Mint or Used.  How easy is it to get the set?  And so on.

I ask for a scan because I really do not want the hassle of finding a serious short or missing perf or crease in one stamp and  feeling a)  well my fault for not asking, or b) never mind it was cheap anyway, or c) am I really going to complain and send these back and ask for a refund?    I have done that only once I might add.


This is what you could unexpectedly receive.  Accident on the part of the seller, or a seller that did not know any better? We won’t speculate but we would not be happy with the purchase.

It happened to me, just once in a lovely set of 12 and yes it was the more expensive stamp that had the missing corner perf.  I did not send it back. I perhaps should have but felt it was my bad for not being more careful. 

There are no doubt readers saying no way would anyone list that set. Sadly there are.  So don’t be shy, ask for a scan of all the stamps.

Just one more example, something I only saw because I asked for a reverse scan.  I was looking to buy a set a few weeks ago.  I asked for a scan of the reverse because not all the stamps were clearly shown. I just wanted to make sure no obvious creases or bends or missing or short perfs. The set was described simple as Mint Never Hinged.  As it happens I received the reverse and all the stamps were with full perfs but the reverse was not what I expected.

I hope it shows in this blog sized image.  It was very clear in the image I was sent.  This looks very much like some degree of light bleaching along the top of all three stamps. Over exposure to sunlight perhaps? Impossible to know for sure but this does not qualify, as I see the image, as “without faults”. 

So, ask for the scan and buy with confidence.

Another Collectors buying with Confidence topic tomorrow.  I hope you have time to join me.

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


Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Collectors Buying With Confidence – Quantity ? Scan?

This question is one I have been asked a few times.   “A seller is offering the stamp I want for my collection.   But the listing shows they have multiple copies for sale. How do I know what I will receive if I buy one copy?”


In my previous article I commented,   “well it depends, on many factors”.    I will just say again. It depends. There are so many factors. Perhaps you are thinking will all the perforations be good, or will the centering be as good.  Or, the quality of the gum, or the cleanliness of the stamp if it is used,  or wil there be small bends or creases, and is it a stamp that is easy to find or more difficult, or is it a stamp which was printed in the millions many years ago or in recent times when printing technologies have advanced.  Or perhaps the listing description - typical stamp shown in scan, or, it is a stock image only, or some such words just makes you feel uncomfortable to take a gamble, no matter what the price! And so on.

 Let’s look at it like this. Would you buy, and let’s generalise here a product without seeing it?  In this day and age the answer is frequently Yes, because we buy online for everything from groceries to hand tools to clothes and all sorts of items through all types of online marketplaces.

 But there is a difference. These products we buy online are generally all exactly the same, mass produced in fact, and we can be confident when buying, generally speaking.

 With stamps we come back to what I said in the previous article.  Do you know the seller and how confident are you in the seller offering the quality you think you will get even if you cannot see that actual stamp.

Some sellers take the position that for modern stamps for example, for a stamp that is printed in the millions then all are the same because of the quality of the printing technology today, and because of this it is perfectly acceptable to say Quantity “x” and not show images of each stamp.  We know this is not always the case of course! 

 Some sellers however still think it worth showing individual scans when they have multiple copies for sale.  They see this as a customer service. An indicator to demonstrate the collector can buy with confidence.

 There probably is no right or wrong answer in a generalised sense. It will come down to each specific situation and just what makes you as the collector feel confident in your buying decision.

 Personally, I always ask what will I receive when I see a quantity listed and it is a stamp I am looking to add to my collection.  Why, because these are the additional 5 stamps; the same but not the same!


Another Collectors buying with Confidence tomorrow.  I hope you have time to join me.

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

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Collectors buying with Confidence - Reverse Scans

This is my first topic in this series -   “Should you see the reverse of a stamp you are thinking of buying”?

Well it depends, on many factors.   Do you know the seller, is the seller a respected  stamp dealer with a good reputation, have you bought from this seller before and do you feel confident buying from them again,  what value does the stamp have, to you or as judged by a catalog listing,  how difficult is it to get  such a stamp, what is the condition you can see from the scanned image of the front of the stamp and what does the description text say, do you  know the seller to believe their description…….  And so it  goes on. There are many more questions we could ask ourselves.  Round and round in circles asking yourself questions. In the end, do you ever make the decision to buy?  

I wanted a particular set for my aircraft on stamps collection. There were a few available to me. I did not know any of the sellers.  The prices seemed ok. In fact I bought a nice set at a higher price than I could have paid and I think it paid off. BUT I did ask for reverse scans, as none were shown in the listings. The stamps were catalogued over USD $20 so I felt justified in asking for a reverse scan. 

One listing I saw had the description Mint Hinged Very Fine Condition”.   Now if you do not really understand  exactly what Very Fine means  you can read various catalogs.   I thought I knew but all the same I asked the seller for a scan of the reverse of the stamps.  This is what I got.  Is this Very Fine?

 Clearly toning of some sort on the second stamp, and the start of toning on the third.  I did not buy from this seller. Accident, unintentional oversight, lack of knowledge, probably at least two of the three.  


So Yes, ask for a scan of the reverse of a stamp. If the stamp is a 25c stamp you want and it has no scan,   ok perhaps not worth asking, and if it comes to with toning like this well you lucked out I guess. But a stamp or stamps with some collectability  - I like that word -   then get a reverse scan, unless you really know the seller / dealer and are confident they would never list such a  stamp as Very Fine when it is / they are far from it.


Tomorrow - Should I ask for a scan of the stamp I will get when there is  Quantity  8,  or some number, listed?


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

Monday, August 28, 2023

A new series - Collectors buying with Confidence

 Another 2 months have passed. How did that happen?   In my last post I said I was going to start a new series on Quality and Condition.  It has been in my head but not here on the blog. So here I am, yes  really starting this. 

I have been criticised for being negative in my thinking because I talk about this topic in some peoples minds too often. I don’t think anyone can ever talk too much on a topic that will help collectors.  That is my point of view.  And I want to see collectors enjoy this wonderful hobby and not think that stamp sellers are “a bunch of crooks”. 

I was told that years ago. Of course it is not true but with the explosion of sellers on so many online marketplaces, like in any walk of life, there are people selling whose values and ethics and knowledge is perhaps not up to par.    Many, less than qualified shall I say, sellers just don’t know any different and are not prepared to learn how to be a responsible seller.

 Many collectors are learning as well. So the focus on this series, which I really do intend to keep writing on a regular basis, every few days is my aim, will be to show by example what to learn about and what to look out for as a collector.

 If there is one thing that disturbs me it is that in years to come collectors, or their families, will be parting with their collections and I hope they do not find it is worth way less than they thought because what they thought they bought was not really as it was described.  Sure, maybe the market value has just not remained where it was when they bought their stamps.   More likely is it will be because the seller sold them a stamp that just was of a poor quality, or not described appropriately and overpriced.

Everything I write about will be based on real experiences I have personally seen. I will not make up situations.

Enough for now – Tomorrow  the first topic -  “Should you see the reverse of a stamp you are thinking of buying”?

 See you tomorrow I hope. 

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

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