Numerical Stamp Grading - will it ever occur in Australia?

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Post by waroff49 »

David,
I think your description, is a bit off also. The left margin actually cuts into the border of the design (outer frame) so that would drop it even further, in my opinion.

Like all opinions, no matter how expert, it is one opinion at a point in time. It may be set on a good basis of criteria, but in the end it is only a judgement which some people will agree with and some won't. In the long run it comes down to how much faith do you have, that the judgement is correct.
At the moment, I would rather trust the word of Glen or Simon than I would of a PSE graded stamp. Even the experts make errors, which have been pointed out earlier in this thread.
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Post by David Benson »

waroff, I know & I was trying to be polite not to offend Glen. You may agree with Simon, Glen or whoever that doesn't mean that everyone will and would want another opinion and that is what 3rd. party grading is all about.

Imperfs. are more difficult to grade than perforated as perforated use centering as the basis for the balance of margin aspect whilst imperfs. can have a major downgrading of points for being touched at a corner whilst the other margins are huge.

A typical description of the margins on that 4d. may be something like.

3 huge margins, slightly cut into at left,

but some collectors would consider that item to be faulty because of that small infringement into the design but otehrs will see that it still has a lot of merit because of the other 3 large margins.


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Post by David Benson »

At the moment, I would rather trust the word of Glen or Simon than I would of a PSE graded stamp. Even the experts make errors, which have been pointed out earlier in this thread
I would also never trust a non Australian grader as they would not understand how an Australian collector thinks or how he collects. If a grading scheme was ever introduced here it would have to be 100% OZ,

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Post by erich »

Most countries seem to have at least one quirk in terms of what collectors value most in terms of stamp grading.

US collectors put a heavy premium on centering.

German collectors put huge premiums on items being never hinged -- more than anyone else, I think.

In Scandinavia, it is important to have "socked on the nose" cancels -- and they have to be right-side-up in terms of the stamp design.

On GB stamps, the Gibbons catalogue puts a good premium on lightly cancelled stamps.

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Re: For Norm,

Post by ExtremeStamps »

doug2222usa wrote:I do not know if slabbing is dead. I used "Search" in US ebay to determine the following:
... A total of 61 items at the current time.
We don't use the term "Slabbed" in our listings but we currently offer 627 "Slabbed" PSE graded stamps in just our eBay store alone. We submit every stamp in our inventory to be slabbed. Why? Two big reasons are 1) Protects the stamps; 2) Ensures our buyers that the stamp condition has not changed since it was graded.

When you buy a stamp with an older paper cert, do you know if something has happened to it since it was graded? Will PSE regrade it the same if submitted for an updated cert? $10.00 buys a lot of security.

Visit us at www.JayParrino.com

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We buy, sell and trade the rarest and finest. Visit JayParrino.com. PSE Graded Stamps 95, 98 and 100.

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Post by GlenStephens »

erich wrote:
German collectors put huge premiums on items being never hinged -- more than anyone else, I think.
Many (indeed most) early Aust Roos have a 400% premium on MUH v/s same centred MLH.

Are the German premiums that high .. I doubt it?
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German Premiums for MUH/MNH

Post by doug2222usa »

Here are a few examples from my 1997 Michel; granted it is 10 years old now, but no reason to think the premiums have decreased. List shows MUH/MNH vs. Mint Hinged:

Mi. 155-165 (dienst) DM 75 vs. DM 14;
Mi. 844-849 (1943 Hitler) DM 35 vs. DM 9;
Mi. 762 (1941 Stamp Day) DM 15 vs. DM 1.50;
Mi. 773-778 (Postal Service) DM 120 vs. DM 22;
Berlin Mi. 91-100 (famous men) DM 400 vs. DM 125;
Berlin Mi. 61-63 (Goethe) DM 1000 vs. DM 300;
Bundes Mi. 177-196 (Heuss) DM 1000 vs. DM 500.

The premium is most obvious in Third Reich issues. Also, issues after the early 1950s have much lower premiums, from 1.5X to 2.5X in many cases.

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Post by mobbor »

I have read this thread with much amusement. I am equally amused by the fact that many dealers using only descriptive or A+, A, A- etc. grading seem to grade stamps differently depending on whether they're buying or selling.
As for what is reported to be happening in the U.S.- I am speechless.
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What's happening in the U.S.

Post by doug2222usa »

I am likewise speechless that so many members of this forum believe that "graded and/or slabbed" stamps are part of the "mainstream" in the U.S. They are NOT. The absurdly high prices for some items are a constant source of amusement in the stamp newspapers.

Earlier this summer, a poll of 29 members of our local club (the attendees of one meeting) indicated that 100% had no interest whatsoever in graded stamps and would not buy them. This whole phenomenon is a clever niche enterprise designed to extract money from collectors (1) restless to spend money, and (2) who believe that because third-party grading works extremely well in coins (virtually a necessity now), it should work for stamps too.

Once a collector "invests" in graded stamps, it is only natural (and psychologically predictable) that he will "talk it up" to anyone who will listen; and that goes for dealers with a big stock of graded stamps on hand, too.

Good luck to the Buyers ten years down the line.

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Post by David Benson »

mobbor,

re
Good luck to the Buyers ten years down the line.
should be good luck to the sellers, they will need it.

The concept of graded stamps is good, but the paying of absurd prices for them is bad.


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Post by mobbor »

David B.

I agree with your point, but I didn't write it! Not to worry, it's hard to keep track of this discussion.

I am primarily a collector of plate flaws & I don't really give a damn about the grading. All I'm interested in is the quality of the flaw. Centeing only becomes important if it's a frame flaw, the postmark needs to be out of the way, etc. And if I find an inverted watermark with a listed flaw I'm excited.

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Good Luck to the Buyers

Post by doug2222usa »

I meant, good luck to the (current) buyers ten years down the line, when they try to sell their "graded" stamps.

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Post by GJ50 »

Image
Graded 95% - opening bid $600

Image
Grade 95% - opening bid $2,500
!!!! - has bottom right perf missing

Image
grading 100% - opening bid $5000
Amazing has 3 short perfs.

Obviously grading has nothing to do with perforations.

Image
grading - 95% - opening bid $900.



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Under high magnification,

Post by doug2222usa »

on the bottom 3 stamps, Benjamin Franklin appears to be holding his nose and blushing profusely.

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Post by SimonDunkerley »

It must be remembered that these are single-line perf stamps so the corners will normally be different and often 'short' or irregular, and accordingly somewhat ugly compared to most comb perf stamps.

However, I also believe that the higher grades should only be given to stamps with attractive corners - no matter how rare that might be for a particular issue, and cetainly not for stamps with ugly corners!

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Post by apptec »

Image

I have just finished reading this thread again for the second time.

I am not a specialist in any area, and I am the first to admit to limited knowledge compared to my friends here on stampboards. But the stamp below is graded at 100.

Its a nice looking stamp, but at $2,500, see here - https://tinyurl.com/2w5kk2

How does this stamp command such a heffty price when it is not even MNH, as it states this stamp is lightly hinged.

Wouldn't that alone make it less than 100 in grading. Or is that 100 for a MLH.

Correct me if I am wrong but my old SG catalogue suggests this stamp is not more that 25pound in 1993 for a lightly hinged.

I am becoming confused.
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Post by admin »

Yes a hinged or a used stamp can both get 100 grades. 8)

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Post by apptec »

Hi Glen,

That is what i have thought reading through here, so how can it work?? If you were to offer a stamp for sale with a grade of 100, i would automatically presume that stamp was perfect. ( as has been suggested before).

How can a stamp be perfect if it is lightly hinged or marred by a cancel. Surely these imperfections must reduce the grading number to some degree.

It appears the people at PSE are suggesting there IS 3 grading systems, that you can have a 100 in MNH, MH, and Used. Might this be a great money spinner for them, as they can now slab all types of stamps, not just the best of them.

And after seeing the cost of the graded stamps on StampWants, i think i shall just continue with buying from our local dealers, and using their knowledge and judgments.

Thumbs up for Stamp Dealers, thumbs down for PSE and grading (and eBay) IMHO.
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Post by SimonDunkerley »

I have no problem with a perfect stamp in each of MNH, MLH and used each being given a grade of 100.

The same could also apply to a cover that is perfect. I believe this is all logical, realistic and reasonable.

Just like many catalogues have a column for each of these four condition categories, a grading system should be able to incorporate each of these.

What I do have a problem with though is a stamp being given a grade of 100 when it is not perfect, even if it might be the best known example.

Image

The 15¢ stamp above is not perfect. Yes, the corners are remarkably good for a USA stamp in this or any period. I can't judge or comment on the colour or freshness or gum from the scan. However, the perfs are not perfect. Some are long and that is not a problem. On the other hand, some are definately short (accentuated by the long ones) - the fourth one up on the left and at least three on the right, and that should preclude any stamp from scoring 100.

This might seem to be overly fussy, however, I believe being really fussy is a must when awarding a stamp the lofty grade of 100.

Personally, I can't see how such a stamp could be given a grade of 98 or possibly even 95 for that matter. End of story!

Simon Dunkerley

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Post by fromdownunder »

While this link has been posted here before, it is worth repeating for newcomers to the thread who have not chased all the links up. Philatelic writer Ken Lawrence sent the same stamp to three different grading firms, and got three different gradings, which would have made a pretty big difference to any asking price.

http://www.virtualstampclub.com/grading_kl.html

To me, the whole grading system is completely subjective, especially for used, and probably more so for people like me who like SOTN cancellations (although, for me that may come out cheaper in many cases) which show correct period of use.

As long as there is no industry standard for grading, as evidenced above, it will always be a problem. In any event, I still suspect it is nothing more than a fad to con silly people ("investors") out of good money.

Norm

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Post by hairball »

If you guys haven't seen this, you should:

http://www.virtualstampclub.com/grading_kl.html

I hope the grading craze here doesn't spread. It'll ruin the hobby.

Look at what they did here to get a jumbo gem:

http://www.stampwants.com/GPS-314-Superb-OG-NH-PSE-Superb-98 ... iondetails

Ruined 8 perfectly good stamps in a nice multiple.
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Post by svscnz »

Maybe I should start sorting through my U.S. stamps,
grading them and offering them on eBay.
I might make enough money to retire on.
What a ridiculous system and craze!

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Re: Numerical Stamp Grading - will it ever occur?

Post by fromdownunder »

admin wrote:
RickStead wrote:A recent editorial in Canadian Stamp News stated the numerical grading would become the standard grading system in the not-too-distant future.

I'm doing this from memory, but I think it went on to say there would be no need for collectors to examine stamps anymore.

They would be graded by a certified agent and sealed in a clear holder for posterity.

I know this is just some philatelic futurist's fantasy, but does anyone think there is a reasonable use for number-grading (other than Glen, who is never shy about where he stands!).
And here is a nice thread which shows exactly how REAL buyers/sellers/collectors genuinely view the joke that is called "graded" stamps:

http://www.stampwants.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=59676

Probably 20 minutes or so of reading, but worth it if you have the time, because it comes from the home of grading/slabbing.

I am fascinated as to how I would display and show my world SLABBED collection of 100,000+ face different stamps. And as to how I could afford a grading at $20.00+ per pop.

Norm

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Post by hairball »

Maybe you can get a volume discount?

:D
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Post by fromdownunder »

hairball wrote:Maybe you can get a volume discount?

:D
:D :D :D :D :D

Norm

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Post by David Benson »

Simon,

I disagree that there should be three categories for grading, two would suffice, one for unused and one for used. The top grades for unused should be for perfect (and I mean perfect) mnh. but if mnh. doesn't exist for that particular item then the top grade lhm. should be given for it.

A problem may of course arise at a later date when a perfect 100% example turns up mnh. but the chance of that happening is very minute.

Another problem which was discussed a few months ago is with cto. and used, using the 5s. Bridge as an example where fine genuinely used is more difficult to find but they are not up to the perfection of cto's and should be classified as separate stamps and graded differently from each other.

As I have said many times I believe that 3rd. party grading is a good idea and does away with the various superlatives that some stamp dealers and auction describers use which have no basis in fact.

I do not believe in slabbing and grading of cheap stamps.

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Post by fromdownunder »

David Benson wrote:Simon,

I disagree that there should be three categories for grading, two would suffice, one for unused and one for used. The top grades for unused should be for perfect (and I mean perfect) mnh. but if mnh. doesn't exist for that particular item then the top grade lhm. should be given for it.

A problem may of course arise at a later date when a perfect 100% example turns up mnh. but the chance of that happening is very minute.
Actually David, (I am playing Devil's Advocate here) I do not see this as a problem. If perfection is defined as MUH perfect everything, then by definition, every stamp that does not fit that definition does not rate 100. If no MUH example exists of stamp "A", then by definition no extant copy of stamp "A" can possibly be rated at 100.

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Post by David Benson »

norm, to grade a particular stamp does not mean comparing it with other stamps only comparing it with other examples of the same stamp therefore if no mnh. exists then the top grade should be for the best example known whether it be lhm. or whatever exists.

for the system to work perfectly and not be compromised by the wheelers & dealers which happened in America problems like that should be envisaged and planned for before the 1st. stamp is graded. It is only a matter of time before someone or some group here starts offering the service,

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Post by admin »

For members who want to try thier skill at grading .. add your comments/votes to this poll!

http://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?p=74943#74943

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Post by David Benson »

That's not a good example to use as it should automatically get 100% as it is the finest known copy that stamp, also the only copy known, wouldn't matter what condition it is in or the cut to shape British Guiana 1c. Magenta unique items should get 100%.

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Post by admin »

David Benson wrote:That's not a good example to use as it should automatically get 100% as it is the finest known copy that stamp, also the only copy known, wouldn't matter what condition it is in or the cut to shape British Guiana 1c. Magenta unique items should get 100%.

David B.

Not at all sure if that is how they work David. 8)

It may well be subjectively graded at 60 or 50. Certainly NEVER 100 - or anywhere near it.

THEN whether anyone pays 7 figures for it is up to them .. the FACT no others are known of course is a large factor in price - not the condition or grade. ;)

Glen

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Post by David Benson »

That's how it works, no use comparing chalk & cheese only compare Sweden s.g. 1b, used, only one example known and it would top of the scale in grading.

That's the whole idea of grading, comparisons with it's peers not it's relatives, price and condition have nothing to do with it, the best example(s) known get the gong,

David B.

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Post by doug2222usa »

I thought the whole point of this charade was centering, period?

We have all seen very highly graded stamps with short perfs or missing corner perfs, poor coloration, etc. That did not seem to restrain the Graders* from giving high grades.


*When the initial Oz-focused swarm of Graders arrives, should we call them First Graders? Or if they travel from town to town, road graders? And if they only handle KGV, perhaps retrograders? Finally, if a brawl is anticipated, maybe just graders-presumptive and graders-apparent.

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Post by David Benson »

doug, like I said hopefully when the grading system here gets underway they will have learnt what not to do.


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The more reliable attitude

Post by doug2222usa »

is to FOLLOW THE MONEY.

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Post by fromdownunder »

David Benson wrote:That's how it works, no use comparing chalk & cheese only compare Sweden s.g. 1b, used, only one example known and it would top of the scale in grading.

That's the whole idea of grading, comparisons with it's peers not it's relatives, price and condition have nothing to do with it, the best example(s) known get the gong,

David B.
David, to me this is where the whole thing starts to fall apart. If a second copy of the Tre Skilling Banco turned up and was in superior condition, would the existing copy be re-rated to under 100? Obviously the second copy could not be 120.

The same could apply to any stamp where only one, or even up to 5-10 copies exist. Say the inverted swan. (I think there are 14?) You rate the top one at 100 and the rest downwards from that, then a "perfect" one turns up. They all need to be regraded.

I am certain that the owners would not like being told their grading was being revised downwards in the light of a new find.

If such a system were ever to be introduced, it should be as clinical as possible in relation to what A 100% quality stamp should be, not compared with it's brothers and sisters, but within an objective as possible a standard.

"Best known copy" does not detract from the market value, just because a stamp is rated at an 80 and not a 100.

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Post by David Benson »

downunder, to the question would a unique example which was rated 100% be downrated if a superior example was found then the answer is YES. Records would be on computer and it would be noted but the probability would be highly unlikely. In regard to the WA 4d. invert they would be easy to grade as all examples are recorded. The best should get 100%.

With other items where many examples are known and many of them rate 100% then all that deserve it would get 100%, it is not a first passed the post system, it allows for dead heats and there could be plenty of them if they deserve it,

David B.

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Post by admin »

fromdownunder wrote:
David, to me this is where the whole thing starts to fall apart. If a second copy of the Tre Skilling Banco turned up and was in superior condition, would the existing copy be re-rated to under 100? Obviously the second copy could not be 120.
That argument falls apart simply as David seems to have a erroneous idea of how the Americans grade. 8)

They are not interested in cat value or numbers known. That has no bearing whatever.

They grade on what they see before them.

Crap stamp = crap low number grade (including Tre Skilling Yellow if submitted)

Superb looking stamp = top number grade


As I reported elsewhere a USA Inverted Jenny recently sold by a stampboards member for $US 1 million despite a quite low grade.

This is how they arrive at their figure, and cat value or number known ons not a factor in ANY way:

http://www.psestamp.com/soundnesscentering.chtml

Glen

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Post by David Benson »

admin, I am not interested in how the Americans grade, I only said what the Australians should (and will) do,

The American system failed but that is no reason to say I am wrong, whether you like it or not it will come here and most probably sooner than later,

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Post by admin »

David .. I am not so sure we can say it has 'failed' in the USA. Several million $$$ of graded stamp sales a month (and increasing strongly each month) seem to show it has good support.

And you can bet if it occurs here it will be based on whatever the Yanks used - i.e. you rate the stamp in front of you.

I do not like it either, but grading is working - so far.

Glen

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Post by David Benson »

Lets agree that we don't agree, I say it failed, you don't. I am not interested in the market as that is the commercial side, it was envisaged to aid the collector but has aided the " wheeler dealers " who love it and it will stay as long as they can find buyers for the hyped material that gets 98-100.

Australia can and will do better especially for Roos, KGV and the better commems. of the 1930's.

David B.

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Post by sherro »

We can always hope that grading comes here. Twits can buy crappy, overissued, common Oz stamps graded at 95-100 at inflated prices and leave the not-quite-so-perfect-but-rarer stamps to real collectors.
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apptec
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Post by apptec »

Hi David
I'm not so sure i agree with your idea of grading against other known stamps, i am more inclined to agree with Admin on grading against a strict set of criteria for all individual stamps.

There may only be one Tre Skilling Blanco at the moment, but what if there was a find like this one,
http://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?t=2996&highlight=70kg
and another dozen or so turned up.

Like the Salmon Eosines. Unlikely but possible. Hence the original may actually be the worst of a dozen known and certainly would not warrant a 100. But could still be sold with its present certificate of 100(an extreme example i know). That does leave the system open for abuse.

However if it was graded against a set criteria, and received a lower value in the first instance, there would be no need to recertify. This lower grade would not effect the rarity and consequential demand for the stamp.

If grading does come to our shores, and i dont doubt it will. I hope dealers and collectors have an input int how the process is determined. It would be a shame to see a system the was not taken onboard by all, and that leaves avenues for abuse.
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erich
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Post by erich »

I am inclined to think there should be an objective grading standard for stamps, not a grade "on a curve" for each issue based on how nice the stamp is compared to others known of the same issue (if any).

You just can't create this number called "grade" that will let a person without stamp knowledge understand the value of a stamp. Describing a stamp as "faulty but the finest known of an extremely rare issue" or "fine centering, but better than usual for this item" allows buyers to use the grade in context to value an item.

The original idea of third-party coin grading was to allow sight-unseen trading in coins by numeric grade. While some of that happens, most collectors do NOT buy coins that way, especially not older issues where strike, toning, etc. come into play.

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Post by David Benson »

apptec,

Of course finds can be made and new examples of rarities come on the market and the bar raised for the condition of pre existing known examples but the only way for grading to work is to compare what exists at the time.

Compare it to the US fad of EKU which creates an immense depreciation when an earlier date is located but references are held and certificates that were issued are cancelled.

Everyones perception of perfect varies and that is why I am in favour of the concept of 3rd. party grading where a group who are neither buyer or seller grade the item. It is much more favourable than the seller who uses flowery adjectives.

Anyway time will tell what will happen, I would guess around 5 years from now it will become norm,

David B.

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Post by David Benson »

erich, it is not a grade one each issue, it is a grade for each stamp or variety. There are many instances where all the known examples of a particular value have faults whilst the other values which were printed in larger quantities have many perfect examples,

re your comment
" You just can't create this number called "grade" that will let a person without stamp knowledge understand the value of a stamp
"

that's what grading is for, to advise what the condition is by a 3rd. party. Value doesn't come into it, only condition, the graders are not valuing the item, the market does that, but that is a different subject,

David B.

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Post by sherro »

Why would a "95", which is subjective, be a better measure than "MUH, well-centred, good perfs", which is purely based on what can be seen? Will the person/persons who grades the stamp say why it was given a particular grading?
Always looking for KGV British Commonwealth, mint, used, covers, anything

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Post by David Benson »

Why would a "95", which is subjective, be a better measure than "MUH, well-centred, good perfs
",

and that's the whole point to the subject, many sellers use terms like that when it is not correct, the stamp isn't well centered and the perfs. are not good. It's OK when there is a scan to check but many auctions don't show scans of every stamp to check centering and perfs.

David B.

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Post by apptec »

David,

I agree with the concept of indepenent 3rd party grading, but I am uncertain if the present PSE criteria is the best format. Surely this could be improved apon so that a buyer who has a certificate knows not only what grade he/she has, but that the grade will not change if other items come onto the market. That is, if you have a perfect stamp(100) and another comes along, it gets the same grade.

You said
Value doesn't come into it, only condition,
and i agree to a certain extent. The condition of the stamp should not be a variable. 100 one day, and 98 after a better one is found. As the condition along with other criteria help determine the value.

As I said before, I think that the industry needs to help set the criteria for grading, so that the collectors can rely on the certificates that they receive, and not have to wonder if their grade will ever be diminished.
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Post by David Benson »

aaptec,
The condition of the stamp should not be a variable. 100 one day, and 98 after a better one is found
It's not the condition that changes when a better example is graded, it is the rating that changes,

The problem that occurred in the US is that in the early days of grading many high grades were given incorrectly and that later on when better examples were submitted it created a major problem which still exists today. The other problem is the case that Ken Lawrence mentioned is that different grading organisations gave variable grades for the same item. As Glen stated there are many Auctions with only graded material being sold and these have sales of over M$1 which shows the marketplace has accepted the system.

David B.

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