Numerical Stamp Grading - will it ever occur in Australia?

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David Benson
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Post by David Benson »

Waroff,

I am not promoting the idea, I am just saying that I can see some logic in it, especially if it used comonsense methods in organising the way it was done in Australia and not the way it was organised & promoted in the US,

David B.

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Post by SimonDunkerley »

Firstly, based on what I know to date, I am not a fan of the current grading system in place in USA and am not pushing for grading in Australia or anywhere else.

If it were to come here (out of any individuals control) and become a part of our philatelic landscape, I wouldn't see a great problem with grading any stamp - including those that might be damaged. Yes, it would make the list of criteria and allocation of points within certain of those criteria more tricky in some instances. However, if the system was properly designed then that should not present a problem that is impossible to overcome.

If a judge in any gymnastics or diving competition can grade a performance no matter how good or bad, and no matter how low or high the degree of difficulty is or no matter what style of the routine is, then designing a system for grading stamps that takes into account all of the important factors can surely be done.

It will be difficult to reach universal agreement on how many points should be deducted for each type of fault, blemish or imperfection when compared to a stamp that is perfect, yet I believe that a sound system could be designed.

Obviously a stamp will be downgraded for any fault, even if no perfect example is recorded.

If you can apply a grade to a stamp with a small fault such as being cut into on one part of one side, or a small thin or a small gum skip, or for being slightly off centre, then why can't you apply a grade to stamps with more significant examples of these or any other faults or imperfections?

Perhaps the biggest difficulty might be for certain collectors, or even 'non-collectors who buy stamps for investment purposes', etc. is that they might not understand why certain issues do not have examples known that reach high grades. After all, the British Guiana 1¢ Black on magenta is pen cancelled and has the corners cut off. So it would not achieve a high grade, yet that doesn't matter - because it is still famous, it is still rare being the only one, and people with deep cheque books (and those without!) will still want it.

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Post by David Benson »

Simon,

if it was correctly organised then the BG 1c. would get 100 as it would be the finest example known as there are no others to compare it with whilst in most cases there are items to compare the submissions with.

As far as I understand the US system the third party graders keep records of all Scott's numbered stamps and evaluates what is considered perfection as 100 and then deducts points for various reasons although it does appear that major point deductions are for almost imperceptable degrees of off centering whilst what we consider faults are only given minor point deductions.

For the idea to work in Australia it would have to be changed and that faults would get the major deductions whilst slightly off centre would be minor deductions.

Whether faulty stamps still get graded or not is not of much importance as high prices are only paid for high grades and faulty stamps would receive low grades anyway.

David B.

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Post by doug2222usa »

From reading this thread, I see that the U.S. is perpetually the "bad guy" in our stamp-grading discussion, with repeated references to the "US system".

Just because a couple of clever ding-dongs in California found a novel way to extract money from philatelists doesn't mean that all American collectors embrace this silliness. We don't.

It will eventually go the way of slabbing.

Twenty years from now, a graded stamp with its Certificate will be a curiosity on eBay, and that 98j 3c Liberty will start at $6.95 with the notation, "...originally sold at $450..."

Moreover, I disagree with one assumption; I do not think it is "investors" driving this grading scheme. I think it is very knowledgeable and savvy collectors, for the most part, capitalizing on a quirk in the marketplace.

And if it had started in Oz, would you call it "the Australian system"?

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Post by David Benson »

doug,

it is not the US that is being discussed, it is the system that is currently used in the US that is being discussed.

Who knows what will happen in the future but most probably the buyers will wake up and realise that modern material is wrought with problems when it comes to buying and investing in stamps,

David B.

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Post by doug2222usa »

Less provocative, I think, to merely call it "stamp-grading" rather than the "US system".

Now I wonder if stamp-grading is offered in any other country, anywhere, or by any other company in the U.S.?? Is there such a firm in the U.K., for instance?

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Post by fromdownunder »

Just a couple of quick additions, since I have already made my opinion of grading itself perfectly clear.

AFAIK, there is no grading system anywhere in the world formalised in such a manner as it is in the USA. There is, however, already an informal system. I have seen auction catalogues offering 4-6 copies of a single high value used roo all at different prices depending upon condition. This IS grading. Most dealers do it as well.

Now, as far as grading for specific areas (outside the USA), it cannot happen on a world wide basis, simply because different countries like different stamps in different condition

Just one example. German collectors will pay handsomly for SOTN used, and will generally underrate or not even purchase corner cancels which do not show period of use cancellations.

Australian collectors seem to prefer those cute little corner cancels, which can make soaking first day covers for "fine used" a reasonably profitable side line (exaggeration here, but you get the point).

So, how do you grade VFU to a world standard, using cancellations as a criteria?

Regarding David's idea that the British Guiana stamp should be graded 100, what if (and yes, I know it is a remote possibility) a second copy of that stamp is ever found, and it is in better condition than the extant copy? (Note that this could apply to any stap graded 100 that has the slightest bit of damage)

Would the existing 100 be downgraded, or the new, better copy (copies) also be graded identically?

And a question specifically for Doug. Is slabbing already dead? If so, it did not last long!

Norm

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Post by fromdownunder »

There has also been the odd comment on this thread about high roller non collectors wishing to join into the stamp collecting game (or even buying stamps for the "I" word).

Now, the idea appears to be that it would make it easier for new starters if there was a standard that they could use as a basis for purchase.

My point is that stamps are no different than anything else - art, coins, Stock Market or professional punters.

To play any of the above games requires weeks/months/years of hard work and study, not getting handed a "sure bet" and saying buy/bet/invest in this. Can you say decimals? Can you say Afinsa? Of course you can.

Norm

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Post by David Benson »

have seen auction catalogues offering 4-6 copies of a single high value used roo all at different prices depending upon condition. This IS grading. Most dealers do it as well.

Norm, you have answered your own question why I think that third party grading is not a bad idea and has a lot of merit.


Some Auction Houses and some dealers use flowery terms to describe their items but upon close inspection the description is not warranted and to get a third party to quantify the condition would be more reliable.

Some buyers are very astute and can easily tell if the description is warranted but there are many naive buyers out there who accept the description without having the knowledge to know if it correct or not,

David B.

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For Norm,

Post by doug2222usa »

I do not know if slabbing is dead. I used "Search" in US eBay to determine the following:

"slab" - 0 in general auctions, 3 in eBay Stores;

"slabbed" - 0 in general auctions, 58 in eBay Stores; nearly all of the slabbed stamps were, in fact, PSE-graded, and nearly all were offered either by US dealers Gary Posner or Steve Malack.

A total of 61 items at the current time.

In eBay-UK, zero "slabbed" in the "Stamps" category, whether regular auctions or Stores.

I think slabbing of coins is a fine idea, and I am about to join PCGS and submit 8 coins at a special price of $25 each.

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Post by David Benson »

doug,

I doubt if slabbing will ever be accepted here and hopefully will not.

I just checked the completed listings on Ebay and noted that the sales are 100%,

http://search-completed.ebay.com/search/search.dll?sofocus=s ... p=1&fsoo=1

David B.

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The easy way

Post by doug2222usa »

I could not make the 4-line link work, as far as finding slabs.

For anyone who doesn't know, you can quickly convert a HUGE URL into a tiny URL. Go to www.tinyurl.com and paste your huge URL into the box, press the button, and it produces a small easy-to-use version. Free. Permanently.


http://search-completed.e.bay.com/search/search.dll?sofocus= ... p=1&fsoo=1

Converts to: http://tinyurl.com/3cuzu9

and it works just fine, I tested it... Takes only seconds.

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Post by fromdownunder »

David Benson wrote:Norm, you have answered your own question why I think that third party grading is not a bad idea and has a lot of merit.
David, what I meant was grading as it is currently being practiced in the USA. I was trying to avoid typecasting. :D

I don't disagree with much of what you say, and I don't think you disagree with me on my opinion on the way the US system is being used.

Norm

[edited to fix tag]
Last edited by fromdownunder on 04 Aug 2007 12:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by David Benson »

Norm,

I fully understand and I think a few of the critics are from people who do understand and bring up red herrings.

The other problem that is very seldom mentioned is the costs involved with grading and it can be expensive & disheartening if the grading falls below what the owner perceives is the value and the quality of the item.

David B.

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Post by fromdownunder »

David Benson wrote:The other problem that is very seldom mentioned is the costs involved with grading and it can be expensive & disheartening if the grading falls below what the owner perceives is the value and the quality of the item.

David B.
This raises another interesting thought, relating purely to the USA market. I suspect that there are still thousands of full sheets of the USA 2c and 3c Commems. and definitives around where singles are being graded at 98-100 (and being offered at $100's-$1,000's each), and it is likely that at least one stamp from many of these sheets could get that grading.

Technologically, it should not be a huge leap to be able to grade an entire sheet in one big gulp. So, if one stamp, or two. or five, from a sheet is a "100", should the sheet be split, risking damage to the "valuable" one(s)? Should the entire sheet be sold at a premium depending on the number of 98-100 stamps in it?

Pandora's Box is alive and well.

Note, that this is not directed at David. It is just the thought process of mine that came from reading his post.

Norm

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Post by Billabong Bill »

I really think that we are spending too much time worrying about something which only affects a small portion of the market and at the moment in one location. In the perspective of STAMP COLLECTING, I think that there are many more important issues that stamp collecting has to deal with. Issues such as the production of stamps which will never see an envelope much less ever be used in the postal system, getting new members into the collecting fraternity, helping others to build a collection and the pitfalls that they may encounter on the way, helping others gain the knowledge that may have taken us years to accumulate and sharing that knowledge. Then there is the building of resources so that others hopefully don't make the mistakes we made along our journey in collecting.

As for the people who invest in stamps, if they are willing to put their faith and money into something they know little about and get their fingers burnt, so be it. Like all investing, if you make poor decisions, then at some time you'll get burnt. Even if you make good decisions at the time and the market changes, you can still be worse off. These are the pitfalls of investing in anything. It is a question of who you trust and how much you trust them.
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Post by SimonDunkerley »

Just back to David's comment that the British Guiana 1¢ should get 100, my view is very different.

For any stamp to get 100 it must be perfection in every possible way. The fact that only one example is known, or even stamps where a few are known is not something that I believe should be relevant to the grading process. If the only known example of a stamp gets a hypothetical grade of 90/100, 75/100, 50/100 or even 10/100, well so be it.

If the best (currently) known example of each issue were to obtain a grade of 100, as soon as a better one is found (if and when that occurs) then the grades for all other examples previously graded become redundant and that would become a huge problem.

Once again, I do not wish to see 'formalised' grading here, however, if it were to occur, there would need to be set deductions for every possible type of fault or imperfection based (1) on the type of fault or imperfection and (2) the degree to which it is present in the example being considered.

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Post by GlenStephens »

Image

I side with Simon that the British Guiana might get a 20 or 30 grading figure as a rough copy. The auction price would still be $5 million or whatever BECAUSE it is unique .. you cannot GRADE it 100 though simply as it is unique!

That is absurd as if another turned up in far better condition (and one is around that Peter Winter keeps claiming is kosher - details in same story!) that would be graded 60 or 70 .. or whatever. Each stamp needs to be graded on its individual condtion .. not how many are known for goodness sakes. With elusive Indian States for example who on earth KNOWS how many exist?

I spent over 20 hours making the first ever research on what is NOW the world's priciest single stamp - illustrated above.

https://www.glenstephens.com/sndecember04.html

It was, oddly, the first time all the background on this stamp has been in one place at one time.

One thing I did discover when writing it was this - the stamp has NEVER had a cert issued AFAIK!

And I also found this - the thing was BADLY damaged and it had been sold in a huge auction without that being noted! -

Incredibly the 1990 catalogue in a full page description did NOT mention in any way the stamp was re-perforated along the top, that a child can spot, and has a visible un-closed slit at the side of the stamp! If I were selling a $50 classic single stamp I'd be obliged to mention BOTH obvious faults, but the full page description on this million dollar item mentions neither. Amazing.

The stamp was not offered with a Expert Certificate of any kind in the 1990 or 1996 Auctions - indeed I do not believe any Expertising Committee at any time has ever given it a Certificate as being a genuine error of colour.

However, Karlsson failed to complete the purchase (and was made bankrupt due to this it seems) and so the item was again sold by Feldman (for the third time) on November 8, 1996. The re-perforating and un-sealed slit at side are now mentioned. The auction was solely for this one stamp, backed by a hard-backed catalogue outlining the provenance and history.
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Post by David Benson »

downunder,

That is why I stated there should be a cut off period for grading and Australia should be at the end of the KGV issues,

David B.

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Post by GlenStephens »

Image
fromdownunder wrote:
This raises another interesting thought, relating purely to the USA market. I suspect that there are still thousands of full sheets of the USA 2c and 3c Commems. and definitives around where singles are being graded at 98-100 (and being offered at $100's-$1,000's each), and it is likely that at least one stamp from many of these sheets could get that grading.

I gets Linn's by airmail each week.

This above is part of a full page ad in July 30 that has been running for YEARS now I'd guess.

I always think of used car salesmen when I see those cheezy photos at top, but thats just me, and I am sure they are both lovely chaps. ;)

This pair as you can see generously offer 5c each for stamps that sell for over $1,000 if they bother getting then graded, and get a 100 slab .. which is not too tough as these stamps are generally pretty well centred, and 1 or 2 a sheet generally look lovely. Same as ozzie commems do in this era. Fresh well centred are not hard at all to locate.

They pay a whopping 10c each for the 5c "Overrun Countries" issues which is a popular series and also sell for very many $100s each when very high graded.

Of course if these guys can spot a well centred one to submit to PSE an astute buyer can do the same! Durrrrhhhhh. 8) 8)

They simply sell off the stuff they don't like as postage at 90% face, or use it themselves on mail.

Downside almost nil, and potential profits immense - that much is obvious.

Some ask why I do not do the same, and make a few easy $1000, instead of exposing this nonsense fad so often. The answer is, as doug2222usa has pointed out, will almost certainly occur:
Twenty years from now, a graded stamp with its Certificate will be a curiosity on e.bay, and that 98j 3c Liberty will start at $6.95 with the notation, "...originally sold at $450..."
I do not want MY name associated with that. :idea:
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Post by David Benson »

Mentioning items such as the BG 1c. Magenta or Sweden 3sk. Yellow are really throwing Red Herrings into the discussion and it should be kept to an Australian perspective and a good example to discuss grading would be the most popular commemorative, the 5s. Bridge of which there are many examples out there offered every day, many with descriptions that are not 100% accurate.

The question is what is perceived to be a perfect 100% grade can be different in the minds of the various sellers and buyers and I am sure that both Simon & Glen should be able to show scans of a 100% grade or close to it, however there are many out there who advertise them as perfect but they would never get a perfect score if graded by an independent evaluator and that is what third party grading is all about.

In my opinion a high grade mint example should be absolutely free of faults, mint never hinged, well centered and all perfs. intact as well as fresh colour and appearance.

Used should be a light corner cto. and also full gum, no hinge marks as well as all the other attributes of a mint example. CTO hinged would drop a few points. Commercially used would get a lower rating according to the strength of the cancel. Lower points for off centering and for perf. faults.

I know this sounds strange but there is a demand for mint never hinged cto. and there has to be a variance.

Luckily I do not collect this period as personally I think it is ludicrous to collect cto. unhinged but it is not for me to say what other collectors want.

Ready for opposing views, fire away, will be back in about 2 hours,

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Post by PennyBlack1840 »

David

Sorry to disagree but grading is an international issue not just confined to Australia! I appreciate this board is based in Australia but it has members all over the globe - thankfully!

As regards mint stamps, I would tend to agree with your parameters. For used stamps I do not.

You will not find many 'used' stamps with gum, indeed I would venture to suggest that 'cto' stamps are worth less than genuine commercially used. I know Glen will correct me if I am wrong but there are loads of 5/- Sydney harbour Bridge stamps which are cto used, and a decent commercially used one is far more desirable surely?

To be considered 'used' then a stamp should be commercially used during the period intended and with a postmark which reflects that - i.e. for a Penny Black you want a superb full or partial Maltese Cross that was the operational postmark available. (I am ignoring for a second variations in postmark which are rare and were available). What I am saying is that a cto corner cancel on a Penny Black is not realistic. especially if you want gum on the back as well?

Collectors know what they want and can I state again (as I did in an earlier posting) that these 'grading' issues stem from American 'Investment' firms not the philatelic community at large which does not pay a lot of heed to them other than to ridicule the lack of common sense standards and pretty much explains the reason for this entire thread.

Scarcity and rarity have no impact at all on grading but they most certainly do on price - Our American cousins (as ever) try to cloud the issue and mix the two, thus we have numerous examples of rare stamps in poor condition / common stamps in fine condition achieveing prices which we cannot believe - nuff said.

Grading is a non-entity as far as I am concerned and I work for a London dealer. That does not prevent us waxing lyrical about nice pretty items, we don't need an artifical grading to sell them - Grading is tool used by those who want to sell mutton dressed in lamb's prices ( I hope antipodean readers can appreciate the analogy being made LOL).

Peter

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More American-bashing

Post by doug2222usa »

The jumbling together of rarity and grading takes place in the tight little fantasy world of American graded stamps, not American philately in general. And the marketplace sets prices.

Most conscientious American stamp dealers will describe stamps in this manner:

VF-XF [referring to centering only], blunt perf at top, small gum skip, and natural paper inclusion at lower left, etc., etc. To do other than full disclosure invites a quick return -- a waste of time, money, and good will for everyone.

As everyone saw proven by the eBay statistics I mentioned yesterday, graded stamps are a TINY part of the American market. Let's quit wringing our hands over them...

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Post by Billabong Bill »

As for the mutton dressed up as lamb. I saw a news article this week where a lamb was born in New Zealand with 7 legs. Imagine 7 legs of lamb off one sheep. Those kiwi's will do anything to make a bob.
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Post by ozstamps »

PennyBlack1840 wrote:
You will not find many 'used' stamps with gum, indeed I would venture to suggest that 'cto' stamps are worth less than genuine commercially used. I know Glen will correct me if I am wrong but there are loads of 5/- Sydney harbour Bridge stamps which are cto used, and a decent commercially used one is far more desirable surely?
CTO 5/- Bridges are exceedingly common. I have about dozen in stock right now. And usually do.

A nice dated commercially used one these days sells for about double a CTO copy. I have none on hand and seldom do.

So clearly some views of grading are out of kilter with commercial reality. :D
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Post by SimonDunkerley »

It is my view that cancelled to order (cto) stamps should not be considered as used stamps at all.

At least in Australia's case, such stamps were cancelled by special order (hence the term cancelled to order), presumably as ordered by the Postmaster General or his representative for inclusion in either special presentation sets produced for a variety of purposes, or in Specimen sets/folders produced for sale to collectors.

Accordingly, they never saw postal use and should not be categorised as used stamps. Indeed, some catalogues have price columns for mint never hinged, mint hinged, used, cto and stamps on cover.

Where cto stamps might fit into a grading system I am not sure of at this stage - something to think about.

The whole area of postmarks and how they are graded is an interesting one, and there are a number of possible options. Personally, I prefer a superb full yet not too heavy 'socked on the nose' cancellation to a light corner cancellation (whether that be that a genuine cto, a 'cancelled per favor', a genuine postal use or a fake cancellation). In an ideal grading system, with all other things being equal, each of these possibilities should have its own points rating for a perfect cancellation, with deductions for an imperfect or multiple cancellations or portions of.

It is interesting to compare the emphasis given to different aspects of condition in different parts of the globe. In America centring appears to number 1, 2 and 3!, in Australia it is the perforations and the overall appearance for a mint stamp, and for 'used' stamps many want a light corner cancellation. In Europe, the emphasis is clearly on perforations rather than centring, and for used stamps a full cancellation showing the town and date are generally paramount.

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CTO Policy

Post by doug2222usa »

Some years ago, there was a proposal rattling around at Scott to price the most blatant CTO's, such as former French colonies in Africa, at a flat 2 cents each, regardless of denomination, in a separate column.

Nothing ever came of it. Back then, that was the "average" bulk acquisition cost, about US $1 per sheet of 50. The idea was to discourage approval dealers from offering a bogus "special" of $100 CV for $2.95, etc., etc.

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Post by David Benson »

1d. Black,

Of course it is worldwide but I only mentioned Australia as an example.

There appears to be a misconception between grading what is the ultimate condition and the commercial value of an item.

Condition doesn't change whilst the commercial value varies from time to time .

There was some interesting comments about various worldwide ideas of condition and it was interesting to see that perforations ratre highly in many areas. In some countries there is also the problem with thins and even a tiny gum thin can make the item uncollectable whilst in many areas a close margin on an imperf. can do ther same.

David B.

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Post by David Benson »

Whether CTO's should be considered issued stamps and how that varies throughout the world would make an interesting discussion and maybe should be on another thread as they ARE collected in Australia.

I presume the reason for that was the change when the various States & later the Commonwealth decided to use corner cto. cancels instead of overprinting them REPRINT or SPECIMEN when they were sold to collectors.

In many other countries the CTO's were cancelled with markings which clearly identified them to be CTO's whilst in Australia the markings were by normal looking circular date stamps.

Glen,

I know that there is a demand for commercially used 5s. Bridges and that the price should be higher as they are not easy to obtain but does the same hold true for the 2d. & 3d. Bridges, KGV 1s.4, 5s. Roos where the commercially used and often heavy cancelled are much commoner than cto's.

What I was saying is that grading them takes into account the condition and not the fact that the value may be higher or lower.

The other aspect is whether the worldwide demand for commercially used 5s. Bridges is the same as that in Australia.


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Post by SimonDunkerley »

Based on my past experience, I know that the majority of collectors in Europe would pay a handsome premium for a superb full dated socked on the nose 5/- Bridge and would not be interested in a cto one even at a very low price.

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Some aspects of condition, rarity, and value

Post by erich »

Condition is just one aspect of determining a stamp's value, and <B>can</b> be the source of a stamp's rarity, but not necessarily. It is important to realize condition, rarity, and value are three separate items that interplay but are not interchangeable.

Most of the modern stamps touted as "condition rarities" are not actually rare, since the general quality of the printing was high, and the stamps are recent enough to have a high survival rate. Find a stamp from the 1851 or 1869 US series that grades "98J" and then you have a real condition rarity.

When a stamp is rare per se, condition doesn't affect the value as much as it might otherwise. The stamps mentioned earlier that are unique but significantly faulty are the ultimate example. Still, it is just silly to claim that a stamp is perfect because it is the finest known of some small number in existence. Condition should, ideally, be an objective standard for stamps in general, not for each individual issue based on its rarity.

The issue of postmarks and CTO stamps brings <B>usage rarity</b> into play. For example, the stamp in my Stampboards avatar is a common stamp, it's damaged, but it has a rare postmark that gave it value in spite of its condition, and in spite of Tasmania 1d pictorials being common.

CTO's are sort of the reverse of this situation (most of the time -- I think there are a few stamps that are very scarce when CTO). Let's consider the 5/ Bridge stamp. Most of the time CTO stamps are very neatly cancelled and look better than the real usages. The condition of the stamp itself is usually better since it was not actually used and subject to the handling of a stamp on a real letter.

Better condition? Yes. More of a rarity? No More value? No!
Collectors know the real usages are much less common than the CTO and value them accordingly, in spite of the condition differences. A decent-looking real usage is going to be worth more than a perfect CTO.

These issues are trouble for the folks who "slab" stamps, and want a single number to indicate the rarity and value of a stamp to people who are not knowledgeable about the nature of specific stamp issues, or about interesting usages. They want to alter the condition system to take rarity and usage into account -- adding points on rare stamps and subtracting points for CTO, for example, so the numbering system will make sense to stamp novices i.e. investors. Of course, it never really will make sense to an observant person looking at various graded stamps.

For example, let's say you have two 5/ Bridge stamps. One is CTO and grades "98" based on its centering and perfect cancel. Then you have a real usage of the stamp that grades "90". The graders don't want to have to answer the question "Why is the '90' worth more than the '98'?" so they say "Let's take 15 points off the grade for being a CTO!" So you end up with a new question -- "Why does the '83' look better than the '90' that is selling for twice as much?" If you really want to understand the value of this stamp, you can't get around knowing about the nature of CTO stamps and how that affects the rarity and value.

There are too many things that determine a stamp's value for it to be boiled down to one number between 1 and 100.

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Post by SimonDunkerley »

Even though in principle I have difficulty with the USA grading system as it currently stands, if I were to design a grading system from scratch, the first point as I have noted in posts above above is that neither rarity nor value plays any part in the grading system or process.

I believe that the aim must be for a rare stamp and a common stamp in exactly the same condition to be given exactly the same grade every single time. Otherwise the entire system is of no great value and will result in confusion and frustration. Yes, there may be human error or 'disputes' on certain items from time to time...

To put it another way, I believe that if you start giving a rarer or more valuable stamp additional point(s) just because it is rare or valuable, then the system is flawed and is a waste of time.

I don't think the 'single number' of the grade has anything to do with indicating 'the rarity and value of a stamp' because the grade given is only referring to the condition of the stamp. Whether it is a rare or common stamp regardless of the grade, or rare or common in any particular grade is not relevant to the grade given to the stamp. In addition, the value has no input into the consideration for what grade it gets.

What the market decides to do with the value of the stamp with a particular grade is entirely another matter. In the medium to long term at least this will normally be determined by the 'balance or imbalance between supply and demand'; with the demand being the more important of the two (see my detailed posts on 'rare stamps'). The rarity will usually set the parameters, and the demand will normally deternime where the price fits within that; however, the (currently high) demand for certain items is pushing new boundaries that I am yet to be convinced can be sustained into the future; yet other items seem to be under priced. That is my view and another whole debate!

At this stage I am undecided about how to handle the issue of cto stamps (if they were to be graded at all??) in the grading process, except to say that I think it would be necessary to have a separate set of grades for each of (1) MNH stamps, (2) mint hinged stamps, (3) postally used stamps, (4) cto and specimen stamps, (5) covers and ... any other categories that might be appropriate.

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Post by David Benson »

Simon,
At this stage I am undecided about how to handle the issue of cto stamps (if they were to be graded at all??) in the grading process, except to say that I think it would be necessary to have a separate set of grades for each of (1) MNH stamps, (2) mint hinged stamps, (3) postally used stamps, (4) cto and specimen stamps, (5) covers and ... any other categories that might be appropriate
I envisaged almost the same, having a three tier system for grading stamps that exist cto. but without any deductions for cto.

(1) unused,
(2) used.
(3) cto.

This would allow for the various types of collectors to make up their own mind.

David B.

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CTO

Post by doug2222usa »

Since numerical grading (in theory) applies to centering only, why bother with a separate category for CTO? By that logic, you would need yet another category for precancels, which are, in fact, "cancelled to order," and in the case of some countries like Belgium, France, and Luxembourg, are printed on presses, not processed with rubber stamps or mats.

In addition, the great majority of CTOs would be post-1960 issues, except for a few anomalies like early Fiji and Samoa, if I remember correctly.

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Post by David Benson »

Since numerical grading (in theory) applies to centering only
Doug,

there is no way a grading system would work in Australia if the main criteria of grading was centering, it would have to be CONDITION first and foremost with centering coming down the list.

My original point was that I said that there is some merit in grading but only up to a point in time which was at the end of KGV issues.

Stamp collecting is forever changing. There would have been many in about 1860 who said why bother collecting two of each stamp, there are no differences betwen unused and used. In 1870 many said why bother with all the different perforation gauges, there is only a difference between imperf. and perf.
In 1965 many said why bother about whether it has full gum or not.

ad infinitum,

Who know what the future of collecting will bring but the future beginner collectors will be much cleverer than the beginners of the past. In the past most beginners were juveniles whilst in the future most begginers will be adults,

David B.
Last edited by David Benson on 06 Aug 2007 07:02, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by doug2222usa »

OK, I didn't know you were talking about an Australian system.

However, would you agree that the PSE system is based on centering only, since they seldom mention defects?

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Post by David Benson »

Doug,

the American system is flawed as it allows for modern stamps to be graded. Each country's collectors has it's own criteria what they consider to be of the greatest importance, in the US's case it is centering, in Australia's it is not.

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Re: CTO

Post by erich »

doug2222usa wrote:
In addition, the great majority of CTOs would be post-1960 issues, except for a few anomalies like early Fiji and Samoa, if I remember correctly.
I always liked the way the Bosnians did CTO:

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Post by David Benson »

Erich,

there is a difference between CTO's which are circular date stamps neatly applied and the selling of remainders to make sure that could not be used postally by machine gunning them,

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Post by fromdownunder »

Then of course, there is the issue (pun intended) of Eastern European countries where many stamps were actually printed CTO. Try collecting a wide range of Hungary, Czeckoslovakia, Poland, Roumania or Russia "commemoratives" commercially used, or better yet, commercially used on cover.

Good luck!

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Post by David Benson »

The comments regarding cto's should be on a different thread as they are just clouding the discussion on third party grading,

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Printed CTOs

Post by doug2222usa »

I have never seen "printed" CTOs of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, or Poland with a production-printed cancel, at least in the same sense as the infamous Sand Dunes, such as Ajman, Manama, or Fujeira, some of whose cds cancels are clearly applied at the "plate" level.

My opinion is that those countries' CTOs are applied in a separate operation, after the sheet has been printed in its entirety. One reason being that when you find a couple of original sheets, the black cancel is often offset onto the gum of the adjacent sheet, but not the colors of the stamp's design...

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Post by fromdownunder »

David Benson wrote:The comments regarding cto's should be on a different thread as they are just clouding the discussion on third party grading,

David B.
"Mod Hat On:"

I tend to agree with David here, although I doubt if there is a way to split the CTO discussion off onto a separate thread that makes any sense out of a new thread. So, I suggest that we simply return to the topic at hand - graded stamps, and if anybody wishes to discuss CTOs further, a new thread should be started

Norm


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Post by SimonDunkerley »

Doug, I think if you check the 'PSE' website (I have referred to this in earlier posts) you will find that in the USA numerical
grading system there are a range of factors taken into account, of which centring is only one.

I believe they give a higher emphasis on centring than certain other factors, however, those other factors are still taken into account. I have heard of acknowledgements in emails that they might have not given enough weight to perfs in the past and understand that steps might be underway to remedy that.

Any grading system must take into account a whole range of factors such as freshness, gum or postmark as appropriate, perforations, centering, clarity of impression, colour, faults if any, overall appearance and more ... each of these should be given a maximum score (which may include weighting towards certain ones of more importance) etc.

I first emphasised the issue of cto's because I believe they should not rightly be considered as used stamps and in a grading system of merit, this would somehow need to be taken into account. CTO is a widely bandied about phrase/term and often incorrectly used, that is why I clarified the situation for Australian stamps at least above.
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Post by GlenStephens »

Image

SimonDunkerley wrote:Based on my past experience, I know that the majority of collectors in Europe would pay a handsome premium for a superb full dated socked on the nose 5/- Bridge and would not be interested in a cto one even at a very low price.
You bet.

I sold this one for over double what the common CTO ones get, and had several folks after it. I could have asked more dollars obviously.

Rod told me his Europe bidder got a lot more gas in the tank.

---------------

Australia 1932 Bridge COMMERCIALLY Superb Used: First really nice one I've handled in about 15 years. In that time I've sold 100s of corner CTO 5/- Bridges from specimen packs, and many, many dozens of mint copies - and often imprint strips of 3 and 6. None of these are hard to locate. However a POSTAL used copy is quite another animal. The few genuine used ones nearly all have horrid Melbourne parcel centre cancels etc.

I recall seeing a Rod Perry auction several years back get 3 times the price for a nice commercially used Bridge like this to European bidders, versus the usual string of 5/- CTO full gums in the same sale. A few keen collectors were all madly determined to own it. And so it will be with this one. Grab it now, as you will likely not seen another like it for another decade.

This is 'one in a thousand'. Fresh and well centred with good perfs. Impossible to improve upon. As the Americans call these cancels - "Socked On The Nose" - a perfect upright, crisp, Claremont Western Australia "4 Oct 32" cds. Priced at only a nice hinged copy rate, despite postally used being 1,000 times scarcer. - $A550
.
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Post by David Benson »

Glen,

and that one is a perfect example why commercially used and cto's should be regarded as separate entities.

From the scan it looks like a horizontal crayon mark at the top of the stamp but would need to see the stamp to be sure.

It also appears to have age stains.

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Post by admin »

GlenStephens wrote:
Fresh and well centred with good perfs.
Age stains? Well I'd hardly be calling it fresh and superb if it had them!

Glen

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Post by David Benson »

Glen,

that is why a third party who does not own the stamp or is selling it can give the call and give it a grade,

what about the horizontal crayon mark at the top, don't you think that detracts from the stamp,


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Post by GlenStephens »

Nope .. a faint trace on heavy Registered parcel use would not bother most buyers. If indeed it was that .. not sure, as it was sold months back.

That is why I post up massive sized and crisp scans - biggest in the business .. to give buyers the best overview possible.

No other dealer loads things this size as a matter of course - on my current rarity listing!

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Post by David Benson »

Glen,

and what grade would you give the 5s. and the Tassie Courier 4d.

I am sure the graders would deduct points for the crayon mark and the heavy cancel and I am also sure that they would deduct points for the lack of margins at the left of the 4d.

Don't ask me to grade them as I would have problems with the Tassie as how do you grade an item that has 3 large margins and 1 close against one that has 4 small but clear margins but that is another problem,

David B.

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