Online Auctions & Catalog Prices

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TxTaylor3006
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Online Auctions & Catalog Prices

Post by TxTaylor3006 »

I was posting on another thread and something popped up in my head. I know that dealers have always sold a bit under or right at catalog value for stamps, the exceptions for lots/collections or for high quality graded stamps.

I am curious on ya'lls opinons on how online auction prices will affect the stamp catalog pricing guidelines for Scott or SG. I know lots of garbage gets sold online and lots of it is overgraded, but some good deals can be had very cheaply when compared to the Scott catalog value.

Have the "catalog companies" overpriced stamps? Dosen't the value of an item depend on what demand there is for it? I mean we are talking stamps for the most part, it's a true rarity where only a few of a particular one exsists.

With everything being equal, should catalog prices be adjusted for the reality of the market? I understand that the book value goes out the window when talking about an exceptional stamp or a true rarity, but for stamps in general what do ya'll think?
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Post by SimonDunkerley »

I am not sure anyone would take the prices achieved on eBay all that seriously when assessing what catalogue values should be. The eBay 'market' is very fickle at best - both in terms of the quality/or lack of and the prices achieved and I know this from a long time involvement in the 'real' philatelic market including being a consultant to catalogue editors including ACSC and SG etc.

In setting catalogue prices the number one criteria is past history, number two is the prices achieved at 'professional' auctions during the previous year and after that it is the editor's or pricing committee's best estimate of where the true market is for a particular item based on experience and a knowledge of the market.

The results on eBay - and really good items are only a very small fraction of 0.1% of what is sold on eBay - are so inconsistent that I would not give them much impact in the process. I know for a fact that many of the most important buyers of stamps in the world have never seen the internet, let alone even know what eBay is.

On my website is an article titled 'Interpreting catalogue values' and this I hope will give you some background to what I am talking about ...

http://www.simondunkerley.com/articles/sn105.html

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Post by TxTaylor3006 »

Well I suppose it is nice to know that I am just one of the "unimportant" collectors of stamps. Maybe we should make a catalog of prices for the average everyday collector and one just for the truly important collector.

As I stated earlier, the exceptional stamps were not the issue. They will sell for what someone is willing to pay for them, the catalog value holds very little meaning for a very scarce stamp or unique item. Stamp catalogs are filled with hundreds of thousands of stamps that the top end collector may not even wish to see in his collection.

Stamp prices for say a US pictorial issue where only 30,000 or so were printed would be a good example. Not quite out of the range of your average collector especially in used fine or good condition at say $1000.00 and still a significant enough stamp for those important collectors. All prices should reflect the market, regardless of what market it is. In your article you suggest that stamp catalog prices are based on several things including auction prices and magazine ads.

Should it matter that an auction is online for the entire world to attend or at Southerby's in London? Basing a price for a stamp (again talking about relatively common issue) on a print ad but disallowing the electronic media seems a bit absurd. Don't important collectors have access to computers? Are common men not allowed to purchase from print ads?

It all seems a bit elitest to me or possibly just an entrenched "old school" mentality. One of the worst excuses for anything is "Because we have always done it that way".

I am beginning to wonder if it is possible that stamp prices historically have been based on percieved availability. Perhaps instant worldwide communications through the internet have brought to light many more surviving examples of stamps, possibly a variation that was considered unique turns out to be just a rarity, or any other scenerio, is deflating an overpriced market.

I am not so sure that catalog prices should be set by a group of wealthy people bidding on a few exceptional stamps especially when it affects ALL hobbiests/collectors/investors. It is hard to concieve that the highest price paid for the exceptional KGV 1d you speak of in your article affects all other KGV 1d's regardless of condition.

If you run the price up on that particular stamp in that particular condition, you drag the price of all other stamps with that catalog number up regardless of condition and the average hobbiest pays for it.

I understand what you mean by the fickle nature of online auctions (whether it's eBay or some others) but I fail to understand how it is so much different than a poor turnout or bad bidding enviroment than a reputable auction house. Is there no way to intergrate the new medium of the internet to stamp pricing policy?

Do all stamp values have to be based on the highest price paid for the best examples at the best auction houses? It seems a bit absurd to totally dismiss a majority of collectors because they are part of the great unwashed masses. In my eyes it is no different than fixing the price of Texas Angus beef based on what the Japanese pay for Kobe beef or better yet, fixing the price of limestone on what moon rocks sell for.

I can not agree with you more when you mentioned the lack of quality on the online auctions. So much overgrading, so much ignorance, so little professionalism it makes buying there a minefield for the collector. If I had the money, I would never buy a really important piece online and I think most savy collectors think that way.

Maybe I am just wanting ya'll to drop the price on stamps so I can finish off my Roo collection before I get too old to enjoy it! Anyways I appreciate your insight, the article was very enlightening and have enjoyed the discussion. Thank you Simon.
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Post by gavin-h »

Always remember that any catalogue is at best only a guide to prices/values.

This must remain the case, if only because of the inertia between the prices being determined, and the publication reaching its intended audience. For example, new issues ofter command a premium within the first few weeks/months of issue before the marker settles down and supplies become more plentiful. Check out prices for, say year 2000 issues in a 2001 catalogue, and then check them again in the 2006 edition of the same catalogue and you'll see what I mean.

And ultimately, the power remains with the customer: if an auction item is too expensive, don't bid. If an item on a dealer's table is too expensive, haggle with him!

As this thread and others on the board show, it's a fickle business, and I don't envy the "experts" who have to publish the catalogues...
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Catalog prices

Post by Geoff Sherrington »

This board has many threads. You might not have seen that I have posted elsewhere that the big unknown in pricing is QUALITY. You do not pay the same price for a 1964 VW as you do for a 1964 Rolls. In general, those catalogs (or catalogues in Aust) that seem to have very high prices are (i) planning ahead so they do not date too quickly in a rising market (ii) pricing only the ebst quality of stamp or (iii) are just ignorant and out of touch.

The influence of the Internet (though many stamp buyers do NOT use it) will encourage the better dealers to upgrade their price lists more often in a sharply rising market (as they should in a sharply falling market, too). Watch this space.

But a stamp priced in say the Richard Juzwin price list will almost always be far superior in quality than those commonly seen on the Internet. It will retain its value better and so is a better buy.

The lesson is to buy stamps from dealers of repute, get to know them and ask their advice. If such a dealer holds the only known example of a stamp, then he/she will determine the price with the market, not the publishers of Scott etc.
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Post by waroff49 »

Not being one of those purists with lots of capital, I buy a lot on Ebay. Why; because
1. There is material available that I don't see locally. It is amazing how much Australian/other countries collected, is available in say England/USA and Europe.
2. Most sellers give a good to very good scan of the material on which to make a decision. Larger lots may be questionable as stamps are not always well prepared -overlapping,half scans etc.
3. You set the price, if you desperately want something to fill that illusive hole and you have consulted a catalogue -ACSC, SG, Scott, Unitrade then you know what to expect. If there is some damage, you cut the price of your bid.
4. If you get a good price on one item, this can compensate for paying a little more on another.
5. I can sit in my easy chair and shop all over the world. I can also pay with money I've never seen.
As an example, I just bought several lots of PNG.(on Ebay), the same stamps were in Seven Seas lists but they couldn't source, so the items were on backorder. Knowing what SSeas wanted, I bid under their price and won- result was I saved about $30 to spend on other items and several holes will be filled.
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Post by petercollects0 »

Simon wrote:
In setting catalogue prices the number one criteria is past history, number two is the prices achieved at 'professional' auctions during the previous year and after that it is the editor's or pricing committee's best estimate of where the true market is for a particular item based on experience and a knowledge of the market.
I have no doubt this is a completely accurate description of the process for higher end stamps. The vast majority of stamps that collectors purchase and that are listed in catalogues however are much lower cost and rarely are sold at "professional" auctions unless in collections etc.

I've never been involved in editing a catalogue but it would seem to me that for these lower-end items online auctions such as â„¢eBay / Bidferret / Delcampe etc do provide an insight into what value real collectors place on them.

Of course, a dealer has to pay the bills, cover their costs and make a reasonable profit - hence the nominal minimum value that catalogues put on most stamps.

Personally I use catalogues to indicate RELATIVE worth.

If I am buying something online that an Australian dealer simply can't provide (say 1962 Royalist Yemen imperforate miniature sheets), watching â„¢eBay patiently for a while can give you an idea of what the general market thinks something is worth.

Note I also watch Delcampe, because it is more eurocentric and gives a different slant on things.
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Post by SimonDunkerley »

Having spent countless hours over the years editing catalogues and researching prices, etc. my main focus has firstly been where to pitch the prices of the better items generally, and also the scarcer varieties, and that does not always mean the more expensive ones - I believe that sometimes the cheaper ones are very under-rated. My second focus has been to try to get the editors to adjust the relativities where I believe they need correction.

I am certainly not saying that the 'electronic' market is not important - it does have a place, however, my observations to date are that the prices for like items are generally (although not always) less than on the 'normal' market. Sometimes there are freak prices on ordinary items (I have had people bid up to 6 times my advertised retail on items such as a used KGV 1d green die 2 - and successfully supplied legitimate second chance offers to under-bidders). This applies equally with respect to the cheaper and the more expensive items. Of course as Geoff points out above, the quality of what is on offer is a crucual factor, and the finer points of this cannot usually be varified without an inspection of the actual item.

I have also seen other sellers sell items in relatively poor condition for above the retail of a good one, and when I have put a better example on at half the price there is no bidding. As I first noted, the eBay market is very fickle. So are many other things in life, and to some extent we just have to live with that. However, there is a chance to improve some aspects, so we should take that up.

Back to the catalogue editing: my time has focussed on the above areas mainly because (1) that is where my expertise is and what I am known for, (2) it is perhaps the most difficult area, and (3) the retail prices of the more regular stamps, such as a £sd Navigator set or a 1971 Christmas block of 7 or 25 can easily be found in printed/advertised retail lists. Whether they are actually selling at those 'list' prices is entirely another matter.

I have always held the view that just as one or a few very high prices does not necessarily mean that or all related items should be increased accordingly, the same is true of a low price or even a few low prices ... A true and reflective catalogue price may be somewhere in between. This will usually depend on a case by case analysis as to what the condition of the item was, what the other known examples are like amongst other issues. Sometimes all of the known examples of a rarity have blemishes/faults of some description.

In contrast, the more regular items are fairly freely available in better condition, so as Geoff rightly mentions above, if you are comparing the price from RJ and what is being offered on eBay, you may well be comparing apples with oranges and that is fraught with danger.

It is not only stamps that generally sell for less than their retail value on eBay - have a look at clothing, cd's, furniture, musical instruments ... the list is endless ...

... would this mean that manufacturers should reduce their recommended retail prices on these items? I don't think so.

Everyone likes getting a 'bargain' and sometimes you succeed. The important thing is that buyers of stamps on eBay educate themselves as to what they are getting compared to the description and what it would cost them in other markets. I would never buy a second hand car without having it checked out by the RACV or someone who knows more than I do about cars. So, if you are in doubt, don't hesitate to ask someone who you have confidence in.

Maybe a new section on this board could be for subscribers to list with a link items they wish to ask about, and those with the knowledge, time and desire can comment on them. Yes, it might expose items you wish to bid on or would rather 'keep secret' but it would be an educational step.

Simon Dunkerley
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Crappy stamps on Ebay and Auction houses

Post by Guest »

The world of buying and selling stamps is changing. A crappy stamp is a crappy stamp no matter where you buy it. I have seem them on Ebay and in some of the biggest auction companies.

I have bought some of my best stamps on Ebay and at Shreves Philatelic Gallaries. You have to know quality no matter where you buy. I don't pay much attention to Ebay description or for that matter Shreves descriptions.

What I do pay attention to is the photo. What someone says is VF or XF or for that matter SUPERB is their opinion. I make my own judgement. If I buy a stamp and it is creased and it does not say that in the description, then I send it back, no matter where I buy it, and all collectors(buyers should do the same).

Here is a scan of one of my best ebay purchases. It would be hard to find this stamp in any full service auction house cat. I guess my point is you decide what the stamp grading is. You don't need anyone else to tell you. Then you base your buy price on the quality or grade you have assigned.

That's what I do. When I started collecting stamps, the jewish gentleman that gave me a few free stamps said to me., "Buy the best quality that you can afford" , and you can't go wrong. I still practice this advice in all my purchases.

Anthony

http://www.stampwants.com/CANADA-MINT-NH-SUPERB-158-BLUENOSE ... iondetails[/url]
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Post by moonlight »

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a crappy stamp is a crappy stamp

Post by moonlight »

The world of buying and selling stamps is changing. A crappy stamp is a crappy stamp no matter where you buy it. I have seem them on â„¢eBay and in some of the biggest auction companies.

I have bought some of my best stamps on â„¢eBay and at Shreves Philatelic Gallaries. You have to know quality no matter where you buy. I don't pay much attention to â„¢eBay description or for that matter Shreves descriptions.

What I do pay attention to is the photo. What someone says is VF or XF or for that matter SUPERB is their opinion. I make my own judgement. If I buy a stamp and it is creased and it does not say that in the description, then I send it back, no matter where I buy it, and all collectors(buyers should do the same). Here is a scan of one of my best â„¢eBay purchases.

It would be hard to find this stamp in any full service auction house cat. I guess my point is you decide what the stamp grading is. You don't need anyone else to tell you. Then you base your buy price on the quality or grade you have assigned. That's what I do.

When I started collecting stamps, the jewish gentleman that gave me a few free stamps said to me., "Buy the best quality that you can afford" , and you can't go wrong. I still practice this advice in all my purchases.

Anthony

http://www.stampwants.com/CANADA-MINT-NH-SUPERB-158-BLUENOSE ... iondetails
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Post by Wcracker »

SimonDunkerley wrote:Everyone likes getting a 'bargain' and sometimes you succeed. The important thing is that buyers of stamps on â„¢eBay educate themselves as to what they are getting compared to the description and what it would cost them in other markets.Simon Dunkerley
They sure do and me especially.
I sell lots of world stamps on ebay and for me its just a hobby. I don't really care if they sell for under the market value. I collect Australian, I don't really know that much about other world stamps, I start my lots at the same price and hope that someone out there will get a bargin (I make sure that I post quality stamps and if there is one with corner missing or has been folded I make sure it goes in the discription) and sometimes when a lot goes for more than I expect I wonder what stamp pushed the price up. I find it fun and it's good to meet other stamp collectors around the world.

Ebay to me is where you can get a good bargin.
Stamp dealers is where you get the most quality and in my view I think the pricing in the catolagues should come from where the quality is.

As it has been said before ebay is a bit of a hit and miss.
BUT ITS THE PLACE I LIKE TO SHOP FOR MY STAMPS. Its fun and even I will pay more for a stamp than what it is worth on there if I need to fill that gap.
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Post by GlenStephens »

Anthony .... do you want to use that lovely stamp as your avatar?

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Post by GlenStephens »

SimonDunkerley wrote:
Maybe a new section on this board could be for subscribers to list with a link items they wish to ask about, and those with the knowledge, time and desire can comment on them. Yes, it might expose items you wish to bid on or would rather 'keep secret' but it would be an educational step.

Simon Dunkerley
Simon .. a really excellent and constructive idea, and I moved a thread today to this forum exactly along these lines -- perhaps you might like to advise this member:

http://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?p=11990#11990
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Post by SimonDunkerley »

Anthony - I agree with you. Ultimately it is up to the buyer to examine the stamp and make a judgement on the condition and whether to accept or reject it accordingly.

That 50¢ Bluenose is a superb looking stamp and if the back is as good as the front would sit nicely in anyone's collection :D

This is the type of quality I recommend, with the general excpetion being where a stamp or item is not recorded as such. I do know collectors who will never have a complete collection in their chosen field because they are very fussy on quality - and that is their right.

Of course it costs more than an average stamp, however, in my younger days at auctions (and I attended my first stamp auction at 12) I was told:

'the quality remains long after the price is forgotten'

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Post by Guest »

Hi Glen. I would like to use that stamp as my avatar. How do I do it??

Anthony
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Post by ozstamps »

Well your IP address differs from moonlight, so please log in first and make your request.
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Post by Guest »

Yes, the gum is as nice as the front.

Another story I would like to share about ebay and second chance offerings.

I bid on a Canada Scott # 158 bluenose on Ebay which I thought was superb. I was outbid by a fellow dealer and lost the item.

The next day the seller sent me a second chance offer for a bluenose at my last bid price. I said, I would have to see the stamp before I could agree to the price I bid. The seller said he would send me a scan and then I could decide. He also told me that the gum side was perfect and I didn't have to worry.

This is the stamp.
http://www.stampwants.com/CANADA-MINT-NH-SUPERB-158-BLUENOSE ... iondetails


From that day if I get a second chance offer, I take notice.
It worked out well.

Sometimes you get outbid, and you get a chance the next day for a better one.

I think that if I won that stamp in the first place someone else would have got this one.

It was my lucky day.

Anthony
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Post by moonlight »

I keep forgetting to log in...

Hi Glen. I would like to use that stamp as my avatar. How do I do it??

Anthony
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Post by ozstamps »

Personally I'd use the corner copy.

All the info info is here -- re-size in photobucket as "thumbnail" and you are set!

also you can post the images above right here, from your site .. that part you can do in seconds - post if you get into trouble:

http://www.stampboards.com/viewforum.php?f=18&sid=66494039063dd4f9952c5a1329db175f
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Post by ozstamps »

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Post by SimonDunkerley »

Just an observation ... the first thing I noticed was that the certificates are consecutive numbers, then on a very quick 'eye-ball' jumping from scan to scan it appears these two stamps were once siblings the first one sitting above the corner example ...

they make a very nice pair indeed!
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Post by SimonDunkerley »

I meant to mention before that in the last three days I discovered the 'StampWants' website and have communicated several times with one of the bigger sellers about a USA coil stamp that was graded 100 with a certificate and yet it has some short perfs ... I asked him how such a stamp could be rated as perfection??

His response was that they do not grade the stamps and that if you are picky you can fault every stamp. I have to disagree.

At some time in the future I will be writing a paper on condition, grading and related issues, and find it fascinating that in the USA they are generally not as fussy on perfs as we are here! Many would recall the case of the single $5 Columbus that fetched a crazy $60,000++ yet if it were a £1 or £2 kangaroo with a perf at the base largely missing it would have sold for about half the normal price at best; not a massive premium.

Do they have a grading system for such issues in Canada the same as the USA or is it one of their own??

Some of my articles can be read on my website at www.simondunkerley.com


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Post by ozstamps »

SimonDunkerley wrote:
Just an observation ... the first thing I noticed was that the certificates are consecutive numbers, then on a very quick 'eye-ball' jumping from scan to scan it appears these two stamps were once siblings the first one sitting above the corner example ...
When Andrew masters the image posting we can all see - that delightful as they are, they were not a vertical pair - unless someone has trimmed down one margin at least!

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Post by ozstamps »

Top one may have had RH margin trimmed (nothing wrong with that) -- the perf match does seem near perfect in my view anyway.
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Post by moonlight »

Yes the stamps were sent to the Greene Foundation at the same time. I don't know if they are siblings or not. They came from different owners. One was American and one was Canadian. Although these stamps are not rare by any means they sure are nice to look at. I believe it is one of the most beautiful modern stamp engravings of all time. Enjoy.

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Post by ozstamps »

Many would say this one comes close. :)

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Post by SimonDunkerley »

I was going on a very quick view from one screen to another and having had a few glasses of red wine earlier tonight ... on seeing them together above, the perfs are almost a perfect match - from my experience the margins on such stamps across the globe are often trimmed.

In the above scans they do appear to have aged slightly differently, however, that is also nothing unusual.

Anyway, I agree it is a beautiful stamp to look at and two lovely examples :D
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Post by ozstamps »

Simon if you look at the black background the scans are very differently exposed, hence the blue intensity varies on the under-exposed one, as does the background "black" which is dark grey.

The perfs as I posted do look a perfect pair to my eye.

Like Anthony says it is one of the steel engraved classics. :)
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Post by moonlight »

In Canada, I am not aware of any group that has started a numerical graded system. I myself do not want one. I think this is a big scam myself. Why would anyone pay $1500.00 for a stamp that Cat. for .20 cents.

There were hundreds of millions if not billions printed of that 20 cent stamp, and there is 10's of thousands that could possibly get a grade of 98 and 100. We are in the "dot com" of stamps. The bust on these is near.

If you have any of those 20 cent stamps and you could sell them for 1500.00 now is the time. You never know you might be able to buy them back after the bust for 30 cents. Lets get real. Who is buying them. I can't see a dealer doing it. I can't see a knowledgeable collector doing it. Who is buying them?

Not me.

I have a hard time buying classic Canada at any price. This is where you should be buying. If it is Germany, or GB, or USA or Australia, buy the classics in the best condition available and if you can't find it today, then wait, be patient, keep looking, and you will be ready when it appears.

Forget about the modern graded stamps. They are a fad, so don't get burned. The only people that love these graded stamps are the people doing the grading and the auction companies doing the selling(higher commissions).

A word about the BIG AUCTION COMPANIES who have lowered there standards and their responsibility to their client base for even putting in these 20 cent stamps in their auctions.The big auction companies are going to get sued(class action) by all the inexperienced collectors.

Mark my words. When we hear about people loosing their life savings buying 20 cent stamps, you are going to see the law suits flying. This is the USA, home of the class action suit.

I tell the Auction companies, look out. Your going to take the blame. Buyer beware doesn't always work when you are in court.

Anthony
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SimonDunkerley
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Post by SimonDunkerley »

I am also not a fan of the current grading 'fad' in USA - from where I sit it strikes me as a classic 'boome-bust' scenario without too much substance.

The biggest problems I see is that whoever is doing the grading ... and I have been in contact with one of the prominent 'PSE' experts is that there are inconsistencies in how stamps are graded; they say that a grade of 100 represents a 'range' of condition and that no stamp is perfect.

In my eyes, you can't get a higher score than 100 out of 100, so if no stamp is perfect, then no stamp can score 100, FULL STOP.

However, a look through the 'StampWants' website reveals a list of stamps graded 100 ... and priced accordingly ...

I am a great believer in quality and in getting the best examples that are available and have researched and written extensively on the prices of Australian classic and better stamps for many years ... and agree with your sentiments above.

Although I am not a USA lawyer and cannot comment on where it would go in a court situation, all I can say is that I am glad I am not involved in such a market.
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Post by admin »

ozstamps wrote:
SimonDunkerley wrote:
Just an observation ... the first thing I noticed was that the certificates are consecutive numbers, then on a very quick 'eye-ball' jumping from scan to scan it appears these two stamps were once siblings the first one sitting above the corner example ...
When Andrew masters the image posting we can all see - that delightful as they are, they were not a vertical pair - unless someone has trimmed down one margin at least!

Image links inactive. Removed
A superb looking stamp design, it really is. :)
,
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DCP23
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Post by DCP23 »

Agree with moonlight completely!

Not only have I bought some of my very best stamps on ebay, sometimes I got tremendous bargains otherwise unobtainable, and sometimes I have in fact even bought stamps that had old printed descriptions from 'traditional' auction houses (eg. Stanley Gibbons Auctions) still attached to them.
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