Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum

Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum

Post by P Edne » Tue, 16 Jun 1998 04:00:00



Aloha,
Just wanted to add my 2 cents worth to the discussion on Earl P.L.
Apfelbaum.

I used to live in the DC area and regularly attended all the auctions in
the area. We used to make jokes about  Apfelbaum when we attended the
Matthew Bennett auction in Baltimore as it was always the same couple
representing Apfelbaum. They would sit near the front and bid on
collections with more than one album. These would then be split down
into one album per lot for the Apfelbaum auction a month or 2 later.
Since they were usually bidding against collectors at the Matthew Bennet
auction, it was not worth bidding on the same broken down collection at
Apfelbaum's at a later date.

I also have a bad tale to tell about Apfelbaum. A good collector friend
of mine who lives in Philadelphia consigned a substantial U.S.
collection to Apfelbaum several years ago. It realized about $20,000 at
their auction. When it came time to get paid, Apfelbaum claimed that he
was going thru a financial crisis and could only pay the collector once
a month over a period of one year. My friend was furious as this was not
the original agreement. He was supposed to be paid in full 45 days after
the auction had ended. He consulted an attorney, and the attorney told
him that he could sue Apfelbaum, but that if he did, Apfelbaum would
stop making any payments, it could take years in court to get justice
and get paid for the original amount plus any damages. Facing this
problem, my friend reluctantly agreed to accept the monthly payments. No
interest was paid to my friend, so basically Apfelbaum got a $20,000
interest-free loan from my friend. Needless to say my friend, after he
was finally paid in full, made sure all the collectors he knew of were
aware of what Apfelbaum had done to him.

For this reason, I have avoided Apfelbaum's auction like the plague.

Paul Edney

 
 
 

Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum

Post by Jeff Purse » Thu, 18 Jun 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

> I was a faithful client for many years.

> Upon talking to "someone".......the promised Apfelbaum was not
> available........I was told that they really prefer to deal with
> collectors and do not like dealers due to the high rate of returns.
> Now Dahhh.....what does that tell me.

I don't know?  What DOES it tell you.

I find that comment very interesting.  Our experience is that while
collectors are an important segment of the auction buying public, MOST
lots at the public sales we attend are bought by dealers.  I would
estimate that as much as 60%-70% of the dollar volume goes to dealers.
Without dealer bids, a public auction could not survive.

While we often hear complaints from auctioneers about "picky" collectors
(including some of our clients), the most common complaints are about
dealers who are both critical and demanding when it comes to condition.
They are buying lots to sell to their customers.  They bid based on the
description.  When the lot comes in and they find it is "not as
described" they have no qualms about returning it.

Believe it or not, many collectors we've met over the years have told us
they have NEVER returned an item which was not as described.

When it comes to condition dealers, as a group, are more knowledgeable
and more realistic than are many collectors.  

Quote:

> A good friend of mine has also had bad experiences. He is a collector
> and bids on the higher priced items that he cannot obtain from local
> dealers. The items that he often won from apfelbaums were often with
> Minor damage, or included faults that were not described.

> The positive side to all of this is, that if you do not like the
> items you can send them back.

For obvious reasons I must preface my remarks by stating that while this
thread deals with Apfelbaum, my comments are general in scope and could
apply to ANY firm with a LIBERAL return policy.  (And some elements are
especially applicable to the new flood of on-line auctions, too.)

The major public auction firms (Siegel, Shreve, Ivy, Schiff, Manning,
etc.) will rarely hassle any bidder over a "justified" return.  If a
describer has made a mistake or a lot has been damaged during viewing,
then it is a matter of personal pride for an auctioneer to accept the
return and express his/her regrets for the error/inconvenience.
Unfortunately, many returns are not "justified."  Bidding at auction is
not the same as an approval service, but there are people out there act
as if it was.  They buy several lots and return the ones they don't
"want."

When a lot is sold in a public auction, the price is determined by the
competition.  Many times, the lot returned to an auction firm is
perfectly fine. From a consignor's point of view, this SUCKS.  You
thought the item was sold.  It was accurately described and now you are
being told it was returned.  There was another person willing to buy it
at one advance under the price the successful bidder paid, but that
opportunity has now been lost.  The auction firm has a fiduciary
responsibility to protect the consignor's interests, and so most return
policies are, in fact, very strict. They are strict for many valid
reasons.

Now, consider this scenario:

  A firm which owns most or even all of the material it offers, doesn't
have to be as concerned about consignors as other firms which own a
lower percentage of material in their sales.  

  Management knows that if an item is described accurately and all the
faults are mentioned, the lot will bring only a small percentage of
catalog. (Let's say 3%-10% of cat.)  If, on the other hand, those
"minor" faults and defects which might not be spotted by less
sophisticated buyers are NOT mentioned, then the lot will bring a much
higher percentage of catalog. (Say 30% to as high as 100%, depending on
the country, issue, etc.)  

  Now, do the math.  The price differential between what accurately and
inaccurately described material brings is enormous.  So, every
misdescribed lot which sells and is NOT returned is a HUGE gain for the
seller.  But, you may ask, how can a firm get away with this?  It's
easy.  All they need is a liberal return policy.  It gives the
appearance of honesty and fair dealing.  

  The people who attend the sale and view the lots don't bid on the
clinkers because they put their money on the better items.  The lots
with undescribed problems almost always go to mail bidders.  And,
unfortunately, many of those mail bidders have an unjustified trust in
the firm they've been doing business with for many years. They bid with
confidence in part BECAUSE the firm has a liberal return policy.  A
trusting person thinks "They would never have that kind of policy if
they were making lots of mistakes. It would cost them too much money
when all the stamps are returned."

   Well, there's an old saying which goes, "If you throw enough ***
against the wall, some of it will stick."  Most of those lots never get
returned.  Of course the firm will take lots back.  They have all the
descriptions in the computer now, so they just rerun the item in the
next available sale.  Sometimes a lot will be returned several times
before it "sticks."  Sooner or later it will.

   There is a huge difference between a describer's honest mistake and,
what I refer to as a "conscious effort to deceive."  

   So, what can you do to protect yourself?

   First, if you are not knowledgeable, buy from dealers you can trust.
Auctions are not for everyone, and until you know enough to protect
yourself, don't bid.  A "bargain" which is not as described is no
bargain.

   If you do want to buy at auction, ask for recommendations from others
about which firms they have had good experiences with.

   READ the terms of sale and if there is something you don't
understand, ask about it.

   If you are a successful bidder, don't postpone examining the lots
you've bought.  Compare the item to the catalog description and if it
has a serious flaw not mentioned in the description, return it promptly
with a nice letter explaining your reason for the return.  Do NOT get
all pissy and accuse the firm of trying to rip you off.  It may have
been an honest mistake.  Judge the auction firm by how it resolves the
problem.  Most reputable firms will treat you well.

   Finally, if you notice a pattern of deception and errors, and you see
items you've returned being run in a subsequent catalog with the same
description it had when you bought it, move on. I guarantee you there
are more companies selling more lots than you could ever buy, so don't
keep doing business with a firm which does business that way.  If you
keep doing business with that firm, you pretty much deserve whatever
happens to you.

Best Regards,

Jeff Purser

--
      Jeff Purser & Melissa Wheeler, Purser Associates, Inc.
             Philatelic Auction Agents & Consultants
             37 Moody Lane,  Danbury, CT  06811-3805


 
 
 

Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum

Post by Jay T. Carrig » Thu, 18 Jun 1998 04:00:00


This is excellent advice.  In fact, it's so good that I'm not going to
snip any of it.

Here are a few personal observations.

1. I buy a lot of foreign collections at auction.  When I'm able to
   examine the lots, I'm often amazed at the high prices some of them
   bring.  I wonder how many of them ultimately get returned?

2. I think that most US auction firms probably have competent describers
   for US material, but not so for the foreign lots.  Sometimes they let
   their ignorance show in the description, but oftentimes you don't
   realize this until you examine the material.

3. I probably spend more in German auctions than in US auctions.  The
   describers in Germany are almost always accurate.  (Of course, I
   don't know how good they are in describing US lots.)

4. Regarding Jeff's last paragraph ("there are more companies selling
   more lots than you could ever buy"), this is certainly true for nearly
   everybody.  I've never had a problem finding places to spend my money!



Quote:


>> I was a faithful client for many years.

>> Upon talking to "someone".......the promised Apfelbaum was not
>> available........I was told that they really prefer to deal with
>> collectors and do not like dealers due to the high rate of returns.
>> Now Dahhh.....what does that tell me.

>I don't know?  What DOES it tell you.

>I find that comment very interesting.  Our experience is that while
>collectors are an important segment of the auction buying public, MOST
>lots at the public sales we attend are bought by dealers.  I would
>estimate that as much as 60%-70% of the dollar volume goes to dealers.
>Without dealer bids, a public auction could not survive.

>While we often hear complaints from auctioneers about "picky" collectors
>(including some of our clients), the most common complaints are about
>dealers who are both critical and demanding when it comes to condition.
>They are buying lots to sell to their customers.  They bid based on the
>description.  When the lot comes in and they find it is "not as
>described" they have no qualms about returning it.

>Believe it or not, many collectors we've met over the years have told us
>they have NEVER returned an item which was not as described.

>When it comes to condition dealers, as a group, are more knowledgeable
>and more realistic than are many collectors.  

>> A good friend of mine has also had bad experiences. He is a collector
>> and bids on the higher priced items that he cannot obtain from local
>> dealers. The items that he often won from apfelbaums were often with
>> Minor damage, or included faults that were not described.

>> The positive side to all of this is, that if you do not like the
>> items you can send them back.

>For obvious reasons I must preface my remarks by stating that while this
>thread deals with Apfelbaum, my comments are general in scope and could
>apply to ANY firm with a LIBERAL return policy.  (And some elements are
>especially applicable to the new flood of on-line auctions, too.)

>The major public auction firms (Siegel, Shreve, Ivy, Schiff, Manning,
>etc.) will rarely hassle any bidder over a "justified" return.  If a
>describer has made a mistake or a lot has been damaged during viewing,
>then it is a matter of personal pride for an auctioneer to accept the
>return and express his/her regrets for the error/inconvenience.
>Unfortunately, many returns are not "justified."  Bidding at auction is
>not the same as an approval service, but there are people out there act
>as if it was.  They buy several lots and return the ones they don't
>"want."

>When a lot is sold in a public auction, the price is determined by the
>competition.  Many times, the lot returned to an auction firm is
>perfectly fine. From a consignor's point of view, this SUCKS.  You
>thought the item was sold.  It was accurately described and now you are
>being told it was returned.  There was another person willing to buy it
>at one advance under the price the successful bidder paid, but that
>opportunity has now been lost.  The auction firm has a fiduciary
>responsibility to protect the consignor's interests, and so most return
>policies are, in fact, very strict. They are strict for many valid
>reasons.

>Now, consider this scenario:

>  A firm which owns most or even all of the material it offers, doesn't
>have to be as concerned about consignors as other firms which own a
>lower percentage of material in their sales.  

>  Management knows that if an item is described accurately and all the
>faults are mentioned, the lot will bring only a small percentage of
>catalog. (Let's say 3%-10% of cat.)  If, on the other hand, those
>"minor" faults and defects which might not be spotted by less
>sophisticated buyers are NOT mentioned, then the lot will bring a much
>higher percentage of catalog. (Say 30% to as high as 100%, depending on
>the country, issue, etc.)  

>  Now, do the math.  The price differential between what accurately and
>inaccurately described material brings is enormous.  So, every
>misdescribed lot which sells and is NOT returned is a HUGE gain for the
>seller.  But, you may ask, how can a firm get away with this?  It's
>easy.  All they need is a liberal return policy.  It gives the
>appearance of honesty and fair dealing.  

>  The people who attend the sale and view the lots don't bid on the
>clinkers because they put their money on the better items.  The lots
>with undescribed problems almost always go to mail bidders.  And,
>unfortunately, many of those mail bidders have an unjustified trust in
>the firm they've been doing business with for many years. They bid with
>confidence in part BECAUSE the firm has a liberal return policy.  A
>trusting person thinks "They would never have that kind of policy if
>they were making lots of mistakes. It would cost them too much money
>when all the stamps are returned."

>   Well, there's an old saying which goes, "If you throw enough ***
>against the wall, some of it will stick."  Most of those lots never get
>returned.  Of course the firm will take lots back.  They have all the
>descriptions in the computer now, so they just rerun the item in the
>next available sale.  Sometimes a lot will be returned several times
>before it "sticks."  Sooner or later it will.

>   There is a huge difference between a describer's honest mistake and,
>what I refer to as a "conscious effort to deceive."  

>   So, what can you do to protect yourself?

>   First, if you are not knowledgeable, buy from dealers you can trust.
>Auctions are not for everyone, and until you know enough to protect
>yourself, don't bid.  A "bargain" which is not as described is no
>bargain.

>   If you do want to buy at auction, ask for recommendations from others
>about which firms they have had good experiences with.

>   READ the terms of sale and if there is something you don't
>understand, ask about it.

>   If you are a successful bidder, don't postpone examining the lots
>you've bought.  Compare the item to the catalog description and if it
>has a serious flaw not mentioned in the description, return it promptly
>with a nice letter explaining your reason for the return.  Do NOT get
>all pissy and accuse the firm of trying to rip you off.  It may have
>been an honest mistake.  Judge the auction firm by how it resolves the
>problem.  Most reputable firms will treat you well.

>   Finally, if you notice a pattern of deception and errors, and you see
>items you've returned being run in a subsequent catalog with the same
>description it had when you bought it, move on. I guarantee you there
>are more companies selling more lots than you could ever buy, so don't
>keep doing business with a firm which does business that way.  If you
>keep doing business with that firm, you pretty much deserve whatever
>happens to you.

>Best Regards,

>Jeff Purser

>--
>      Jeff Purser & Melissa Wheeler, Purser Associates, Inc.
>             Philatelic Auction Agents & Consultants
>             37 Moody Lane,  Danbury, CT  06811-3805


 
 
 

Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum

Post by Tad Macki » Thu, 18 Jun 1998 04:00:00


One test I use is the early US Newspaper stamps.  Facsimiles and fakes
of these are endemic, but at the same time pretty easy to spot.  When I
see these in a dealer's stock, I try to point out the fakes to him.
Most dealers will relabel them as fakes (they are still collectible).
Some dealers don't, and you will find the same fakes in their stock next
month - these are dealers to avoid.

Regards,

Tad Mackie

Quote:

> This scenario also applies to retail dealers.  If an item is returned, it
> may go right back into stock.  Eventually someone will buy it.

> I once purchased a Washington-Franklin flat plate coil pair from a dealer
> that I occasionally patronized at area shows, and who held himself out as
> somewhat of an expert on the W-F series.  I sent it out for certification
> and it came back as a fake (an imperforate pair with fake perfs), so I
> returned it.  Next time I went through that dealer's stock, the same pair
> was there.  He doesn't get any of my business anymore.

> --
> Tom McFarland

> Remove .uturn from e-mail address for replies.

 
 
 

Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum

Post by Tom McFarlan » Fri, 19 Jun 1998 04:00:00


This scenario also applies to retail dealers.  If an item is returned, it
may go right back into stock.  Eventually someone will buy it.

I once purchased a Washington-Franklin flat plate coil pair from a dealer
that I occasionally patronized at area shows, and who held himself out as
somewhat of an expert on the W-F series.  I sent it out for certification
and it came back as a fake (an imperforate pair with fake perfs), so I
returned it.  Next time I went through that dealer's stock, the same pair
was there.  He doesn't get any of my business anymore.

--
Tom McFarland

Remove .uturn from e-mail address for replies.



snip

Quote:

> Now, consider this scenario:

>   A firm which owns most or even all of the material it offers, doesn't
> have to be as concerned about consignors as other firms which own a
> lower percentage of material in their sales.  

>   Management knows that if an item is described accurately and all the
> faults are mentioned, the lot will bring only a small percentage of
> catalog. (Let's say 3%-10% of cat.)  If, on the other hand, those
> "minor" faults and defects which might not be spotted by less
> sophisticated buyers are NOT mentioned, then the lot will bring a much
> higher percentage of catalog. (Say 30% to as high as 100%, depending on
> the country, issue, etc.)  

>   Now, do the math.  The price differential between what accurately and
> inaccurately described material brings is enormous.  So, every
> misdescribed lot which sells and is NOT returned is a HUGE gain for the
> seller.  But, you may ask, how can a firm get away with this?  It's
> easy.  All they need is a liberal return policy.  It gives the
> appearance of honesty and fair dealing.  

>   The people who attend the sale and view the lots don't bid on the
> clinkers because they put their money on the better items.  The lots
> with undescribed problems almost always go to mail bidders.  And,
> unfortunately, many of those mail bidders have an unjustified trust in
> the firm they've been doing business with for many years. They bid with
> confidence in part BECAUSE the firm has a liberal return policy.  A
> trusting person thinks "They would never have that kind of policy if
> they were making lots of mistakes. It would cost them too much money
> when all the stamps are returned."

>    Well, there's an old saying which goes, "If you throw enough ***
> against the wall, some of it will stick."  Most of those lots never get
> returned.  Of course the firm will take lots back.  They have all the
> descriptions in the computer now, so they just rerun the item in the
> next available sale.  Sometimes a lot will be returned several times
> before it "sticks."  Sooner or later it will.

>    There is a huge difference between a describer's honest mistake and,
> what I refer to as a "conscious effort to deceive."  

>    So, what can you do to protect yourself?

>    First, if you are not knowledgeable, buy from dealers you can trust.
> Auctions are not for everyone, and until you know enough to protect
> yourself, don't bid.  A "bargain" which is not as described is no
> bargain.

>    If you do want to buy at auction, ask for recommendations from others
> about which firms they have had good experiences with.

>    READ the terms of sale and if there is something you don't
> understand, ask about it.

>    If you are a successful bidder, don't postpone examining the lots
> you've bought.  Compare the item to the catalog description and if it
> has a serious flaw not mentioned in the description, return it promptly
> with a nice letter explaining your reason for the return.  Do NOT get
> all pissy and accuse the firm of trying to rip you off.  It may have
> been an honest mistake.  Judge the auction firm by how it resolves the
> problem.  Most reputable firms will treat you well.

>    Finally, if you notice a pattern of deception and errors, and you see
> items you've returned being run in a subsequent catalog with the same
> description it had when you bought it, move on. I guarantee you there
> are more companies selling more lots than you could ever buy, so don't
> keep doing business with a firm which does business that way.  If you
> keep doing business with that firm, you pretty much deserve whatever
> happens to you.

> Best Regards,

> Jeff Purser

> --
>       Jeff Purser & Melissa Wheeler, Purser Associates, Inc.
>              Philatelic Auction Agents & Consultants
>              37 Moody Lane,  Danbury, CT  06811-3805


 
 
 

Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum

Post by LULSTMP » Fri, 19 Jun 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

>Date: Wed, Jun 17, 1998 01:39 EDT
>Message-id:
>>>> snipped

Excellent advice Jeff.........I found it enlightening and am sure many other
readers here will, as well.
 
 
 

Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum

Post by John Murr » Fri, 19 Jun 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

>This scenario also applies to retail dealers.  If an item is returned, it
>may go right back into stock.  Eventually someone will buy it.

>I once purchased a Washington-Franklin flat plate coil pair from a dealer
>that I occasionally patronized at area shows, and who held himself out as
>somewhat of an expert on the W-F series.  I sent it out for certification
>and it came back as a fake (an imperforate pair with fake perfs), so I
>returned it.  Next time I went through that dealer's stock, the same pair
>was there.  He doesn't get any of my business anymore.

Ignorance is one thing, but intentional fraud is another. Once a dealer has a
certificate stating an item is faked, forged, altered, damaged, etc. it is
unethical for him to offer it as anything else. If he disagrees with the
certificate, his options are to return it to the appropriate expert committee
for review or submit it to another expert committee for their opinion. If this
dealer has an APS / ASDA membership, this is *real* cause for a complaint. I do
not offer the high c/v frequently faked W/F coils for sale *unless* they have a
certificate of authenticity.

John Murray
APS 175318

 
 
 

Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum

Post by Aps k » Fri, 19 Jun 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

>I once purchased a Washington-Franklin flat plate coil pair from a dealer
>that I occasionally patronized at area shows, and who held himself out as
>somewhat of an expert on the W-F series.  I sent it out for certification
>and it came back as a fake (an imperforate pair with fake perfs), so I
>returned it.  Next time I went through that dealer's stock, the same pair
>was there.  He doesn't get any of my business anymore.

That is grounds for expulsion from APS, and probably from ASDA too. Did you
file a complaint?

Ken Lawrence

 
 
 

Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum

Post by Tom McFarlan » Sat, 20 Jun 1998 04:00:00


No, unfortunately I did not.  This incident happened several years ago and
I was admittedly a neophyte at such things.  I had just gotten to the point
of being able to buy a few expensive (for me) items for my collection.
Although I had had a couple of items expertized before that, this was the
first time that I had received a bad certificate and had to return the
item.  I guess I was just happy to get my money back.

--
Tom McFarland

Remove .uturn from e-mail address for replies.



Quote:

> >I once purchased a Washington-Franklin flat plate coil pair from a
dealer
> >that I occasionally patronized at area shows, and who held himself out
as
> >somewhat of an expert on the W-F series.  I sent it out for
certification
> >and it came back as a fake (an imperforate pair with fake perfs), so I
> >returned it.  Next time I went through that dealer's stock, the same
pair
> >was there.  He doesn't get any of my business anymore.

> That is grounds for expulsion from APS, and probably from ASDA too. Did
you
> file a complaint?

> Ken Lawrence

 
 
 

Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum

Post by thing.. » Tue, 30 Jun 1998 04:00:00


Of the catalogs I received from them, it seemed to me that the stamps shown
were overgraded.  In my view, a lot of the XF stamps should have been graded VF
or F/VF.  Maybe I am too "picky", but I think XF should look pretty
well-centered.

Daniel Thingvold

 
 
 

Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum Re: Earl P.L. Apfelbaum

Post by John Murr » Wed, 01 Jul 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

>Of the catalogs I received from them, it seemed to me that the stamps shown
>were overgraded.  In my view, a lot of the XF stamps should have been graded VF
>or F/VF.  Maybe I am too "picky", but I think XF should look pretty
>well-centered.

The problem is that there is no accepted standard of stamp grading, if there
were it would be possible to have a stamp's grade spelled out on an expert's
certificate in unambiguous terms.  The Scott catalogs supposedly value stamps in
the grade of Very Fine and even has pictures of certain issues/periods that it
considers Fine/Very Fine, Very Fine, and Extremely Fine. Even that is not
acceptable to everyone since some people have difficulty with the assumption
that a grade's definition can vary by issue.

Apfelbaum's grading policy is clearly spelled out in their catalog: they grade
according to issue with stamps typical [i.e. "average"] for that issue
considered "very good", those just better than typical "fine", much better than
typical "very fine", etc.

While grading is somewhat a matter of interpretation, quoting catalog values is
not.  Dealers and collectors alike are quick to quote a stamps catalog value
even though its grade or condition fall short of what the catalog value is
intended to represent. It's no great surprise that it was dealer pressure that
caused Scott to change from Fine/Very Fine pricing to Very Fine pricing.
Perhaps, as collectors we should refuse to buy their catalogs until they revert
to valuing stamps in "average" with minor defects.

With the advent of the Internet and grass roots communication possible in a way
never possible before it's possible to *force* the APS & ASDA to adopt and
publish strict standards of stamp grading.  Dealers who are flagrant overgraders
would be at risk of losing their good standing in these organizations.

Now with that all said, when an auction catalog pictures a stamp, pair, plate
block, etc. the reader should be able to grade the item for himself and place an
appropriate bid REGARDLESS OF THE GRADE STATED IN THE CATALOG. In Apfelbaum's
most recent Mail Sale [#458] there were stamps *pictured* in the catalog and
graded as Very Fine that I graded Extremely Fine [as well as the other way
around].  Of course, I bid accordingly.
John Murray
APS 175318