Collecting defects and faults, pricing, etc.

Collecting defects and faults, pricing, etc.

Post by Carl Christens » Wed, 25 May 1994 22:08:03



I know this is going to shock the purists here, since we're always
taught to be the best centered, sound, original gum, never hinged
stamp.  But quite frankly I'm fed up with this.  As I have a little
more economic freedom to pursue rarer stamps now, I find that I've
been getting "burned" on items I've paid close to catalog value
for.  My most recent fiasco -- a mint NH VF US # 834, the $5
Calvin Coolidge from the 1938 Presidential series.  It looked
nice in the auction, and after my successful bid I took it home,
went to put it in the album, and noticed a tiny tear in the upper
right hand corner.  Trying to battle the dealer was no help -- he
thinks I did it of course.  Of anything that's ever gotten me
discouraged about stamp collecting, these past few experiences
has ruined me.

So I've come to the conclusion that I'm just not good enough to
discern a true gem from a faulty stamp -- at least not while at
a show or auction.  Therefore, I would be better off buying stamps
that I KNOW to be faults rather than be unpleasantly surprised
later.  

I was hoping to get some advice from people on rcs who buy many
faulty stamps, e.g. what kind of price should I look for, a %'age
of catalog value?  I'd like to get half-decent looking stamps --
i.e. pulled perfs, thins, tiny tears, not big chunks taken out
or stamps otherwise considered "space fillers."  Also, if anybody
knows a good source for this kind of stuff, please advise.  It's
mainly 19th & early 20th century US and UK stamps I'm interested in.
My collection of later stuff is fairly complete with the usual
sound stamps and I just need to keep up with my new issues
(in which faulty stamps can be used for postage ;-)

----
Carl M. Christensen                     Fox Chase Cancer Center
Senior Systems Analyst                  Department of Biostatistics

 
 
 

Collecting defects and faults, pricing, etc.

Post by David Mil » Thu, 26 May 1994 02:45:27



Quote:

>I know this is going to shock the purists here, since we're always
>taught to be the best centered, sound, original gum, never hinged
>stamp.  But quite frankly I'm fed up with this.  As I have a little
>more economic freedom to pursue rarer stamps now, I find that I've
>been getting "burned" on items I've paid close to catalog value
>for.  My most recent fiasco -- a mint NH VF US # 834, the $5
>Calvin Coolidge from the 1938 Presidential series.  It looked
>nice in the auction, and after my successful bid I took it home,
>went to put it in the album, and noticed a tiny tear in the upper
>right hand corner.  Trying to battle the dealer was no help -- he
>thinks I did it of course.  Of anything that's ever gotten me
>discouraged about stamp collecting, these past few experiences
>has ruined me.

Carl,

I'd be disallusioned too - that's pretty bad.  I do think, though, that this
in not the normal case with auction houses.  I've had very different
experiences, which may or may not cause you to give it another try (with
different sources!).  In my experience, the auction houses will generally
(70% of the time?) accurately describe stamps.  I've had to carefully read
the descriptions, as I tend to give the stamp more credit than it deserves
or is stated, but generally, it's described right.  In the other 30% or less
cases, it's wrong, either though the auctioneer's ignorance or purposeful
mis-describing the item.  I have *never* had any trouble returning any item,
either here in the US, or to dealers in France.  I just state the problem
with the item, don't place any blame, and return it.  Immediately.

As far as which auction houses I use, I have veered away from the smaller
houses, as the quality of the items seems lower, and the number of mis-
described items seems higher.  A rule of thumb - if the catalog has no color
pictures, it's probably in the latter category.  That's a pretty bogus rule as
I read it, but you get the idea.

Quote:
>So I've come to the conclusion that I'm just not good enough to
>discern a true gem from a faulty stamp -- at least not while at
>a show or auction.  Therefore, I would be better off buying stamps
>that I KNOW to be faults rather than be unpleasantly surprised
>later.  

I doubt that you're not good enough...  I have purchased faulty stamps
myself at shows, and each time, I had to blame myself for not doing my
research, or thinking I had a steal.  Yes, this shouldn't happen with
completely honest dealers, but at most shows, they don't wear nametags
with "honest" written on them.

Quote:
>I was hoping to get some advice from people on rcs who buy many
>faulty stamps, e.g. what kind of price should I look for, a %'age
>of catalog value?  I'd like to get half-decent looking stamps --

I don't do this, but certainly I wouldn't pay > 10% of catalog value for such
an item.  One note, though, *forged* stamps have a market of their own, and
are rather interesting, in an intellectual way.  I have a couple forgeries of
rare French stamps, which I otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford,
and got them for a lot less than the Real Thing (maybe 20%, can't remember).

Anyway, good luck, keep that magnifier out, and look at the backs...

Dave

 
 
 

Collecting defects and faults, pricing, etc.

Post by Wolfgang Richt » Thu, 26 May 1994 03:35:08


Quote:

>I know this is going to shock the purists here, since we're always
>taught to be the best centered, sound, original gum, never hinged
>stamp.  But quite frankly I'm fed up with this.  As I have a little
>more economic freedom to pursue rarer stamps now, I find that I've
>been getting "burned" on items I've paid close to catalog value
>for.  My most recent fiasco -- a mint NH VF US # 834, the $5
>Calvin Coolidge from the 1938 Presidential series.  It looked
>nice in the auction, and after my successful bid I took it home,
>went to put it in the album, and noticed a tiny tear in the upper
>right hand corner.  Trying to battle the dealer was no help -- he
>thinks I did it of course.  Of anything that's ever gotten me
>discouraged about stamp collecting, these past few experiences
>has ruined me.

I would not deal with an auction house or bidboard service unless
they give me the option to return items that are not sold as
represented. Such places do exist. For example, I phone in bids on
items at 2 local bidboards, sight unseen, knowing that if the item
is not as represented, I can return it. I have in fact done so
several times with no problem and no tried to accuse me of deliberately
damaging the stamp in order to get a refund.

Quote:
>I was hoping to get some advice from people on rcs who buy many
>faulty stamps, e.g. what kind of price should I look for, a %'age
>of catalog value?  I'd like to get half-decent looking stamps --
>i.e. pulled perfs, thins, tiny tears, not big chunks taken out
>or stamps otherwise considered "space fillers."

The going rate seems to range from 10% to 20% on these kind of stamps.
--

  Academic Computing Services
  Simon Fraser University                 Telephone: (604) 291-4449
  Burnaby, B.C. Canada V5A 1S6            Fax:       (604) 291-4242
 
 
 

Collecting defects and faults, pricing, etc.

Post by David L » Thu, 26 May 1994 06:09:35



Quote:
>I know this is going to shock the purists here, since we're always
..etc..
>for.  My most recent fiasco -- a mint NH VF US # 834, the $5
>Calvin Coolidge from the 1938 Presidential series.  It looked
>nice in the auction, and after my successful bid I took it home,
>went to put it in the album, and noticed a tiny tear in the upper
>right hand corner.  Trying to battle the dealer was no help -- he
>thinks I did it of course.  Of anything that's ever gotten me
>discouraged about stamp collecting, these past few experiences
>has ruined me.

..etc..

Do not feel like the Lone Ranger in this regard... :)  :)

More times than I care to remember, I've bought material at auctions or
from dealers and didn't bother to examine it closely for whatever reason..

This is especially important at an auction with a dealer that you don't
deal with regularly.. You MUST examine all interested lots before the
auction and then after successfully bidding on it before you take it
home.. As a dealer, he/she will not take your word for it if you find a
stamp is damaged when you get home and examine it more closely.. If you
have a good relationship with a certain dealer, he/she might trust you
and accept it in return.. Many lots get damaged during inspection before
an auction by careless collectors; that's why it's so important to re-examine
everything you buy before you leave.. Mail auction is particularly tricky;
that's why it's importrant to do business with a dealer you trust..

However, that's why auctions is the cheapest way to build a collection; but
you must be careful...

Over a period of time, you will learn to know which dealers you can
trust and bid accordingly.
.
.
.
...

 
 
 

Collecting defects and faults, pricing, etc.

Post by RicFarr » Thu, 26 May 1994 13:29:01



Quote:
Christensen) writes:

about stamps with faults.

Know you feeling about this never higned nonsense.  Have been
purchasing off a seconds list from Dale Enterprises for seveal years
now - mainly old US stuff.  Most of the stamps look quite good and in
fact on some I cannot find a fault.  Pay between 20%-50% of current
Scott for these.  Good company regular lists and quick reply to your
order.  This may be a start.

Ric Farr

 
 
 

Collecting defects and faults, pricing, etc.

Post by Elliot Omi » Fri, 27 May 1994 06:44:12


: right hand corner.  Trying to battle the dealer was no help -- he
: thinks I did it of course.  Of anything that's ever gotten me
: discouraged about stamp collecting, these past few experiences
: has ruined me.

This guy is the "bad apple" and this says nothing about your ability
to discern defects.  Reputable dealers take returns, period.

: I was hoping to get some advice from people on rcs who buy many
: faulty stamps, e.g. what kind of price should I look for, a %'age
: of catalog value?  I'd like to get half-decent looking stamps --
: i.e. pulled perfs, thins, tiny tears, not big chunks taken out
: or stamps otherwise considered "space fillers."  Also, if anybody
: knows a good source for this kind of stuff, please advise.  It's
: mainly 19th & early 20th century US and UK stamps I'm interested in.
: My collection of later stuff is fairly complete with the usual
: sound stamps and I just need to keep up with my new issues
: (in which faulty stamps can be used for postage ;-)

As far as face-free defects go, it depends highly on the item.  For
commoner things, I would say 10-20% is a good target.  With more difficult
material (just *try* and find a Scott 25 where the perfs clear the four
frame lines) it may be higher, perhaps 20-35%.  I would say 30% +- is
about the absolute limit on stuff with known discernible defects.  And you
can quite often get it for less.  

The problem with dealers who deal in "seconds" is that's all you're
ever going to get from them.  I'd say buy out of the half-price box on the
higher end dealers in the bourse and spend time looking at the things
carefully.  If there's any doubt in your mind, leave it at the table,
there'll always be another one (unless you collect "Z" grills ;-) ).  

As for auctions, deal with reputable dealers.  Talk to collectors, find
out who is reputable and who isn't.  I've steered clear of a few houses
simply because others have told me "they're difficult on returns".  

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Elliot H. Omiya, KC6DAL     Borland International Inc.          -=<EHO>=-
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------