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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Approvals Disc. : Approval Book Sellers - Some Don'ts To Keep In Mind

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
21 Mar 2015
11:03:06pm
As a buyer, here are a few things that I have noticed with stamps that I have purchased through the approval books. Note that this does not pertain to just one seller as I have seen it from more than one.

- People are just going to insist on writing on the backs of stamps. Okay, I get that, and I know that I can't cut off their hands for doing so. However, DO NOT write on the back of an unused stamp, and state that the stamp is never hinged. Once you write on the gum, the gum is damaged, and the price of the stamp should be discounted accordingly. Also, in your description, you should state that there is writing on the back of the stamp.

- If you have a fetish to write on the back of stamps, write as lightly as possible. Pressing down too hard on the pencil makes the writing look nice, but it is next to impossible to erase such writing, and often the writing is etched onto the front of the stamp. Again, more damaged stamps, and the writing should be noted in the description.

- If there is writing in ink or other types of ink markings on the front or back of the stamp, it is damaged and the stamp is nothing more than a filler (an exception would be expertizing marks). Sellers should state that there is ink writing or markings on the stamp, and price the stamp accordingly, or best, throw it away if it is a common stamp. Unused stamps with this problem are not never hinged.

- When creating approval pages, some sellers are stacking the pages on top of each other. Then, they write on the page. By doing this, they are writing on top of the stamps on the page(s) below. Their handwriting (usually catalog numbers and price) then gets etched onto the front of the stamp(s) on the page(s) below. Don't write on an approval book page that has been placed on top of a page of stamps. What really looks bad is when the seller scratches out a mistake, and then writes the correction on the page. Makes the stamp below just a disaster and worthless.

Sellers, thanks for listening. Avoiding the above problems will help improve the quality of the offerings on SOR.
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BobbyBarnhart
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They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Benjamin Franklin
21 Mar 2015
11:56:05pm
re: Approval Book Sellers - Some Don'ts To Keep In Mind

Michael,

As always, I respect your observations, although I do not think that occasionally writing numbers on the reverse of difficult to identify used stamps qualifies as a fetish. Big Grin


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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
22 Mar 2015
04:14:00am
re: Approval Book Sellers - Some Don'ts To Keep In Mind

LOL.

I have a mechanical drafting eraser, so I can clean pencil marks off the backs of probably 95% of the used stamps that I encounter. It's the unused stamps with pencil/ink marks that are being peddled and priced as MNH that really irks me more, and it isn't just on SOR where this is found.

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AOP2B
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12 Apr 2015
04:11:06am
re: Approval Book Sellers - Some Don'ts To Keep In Mind

Dear Michael,

you say that "you have a mechanical drafting eraser".....I have a fair amount of stamps with light pencil notations on the reverse and would very much appreciate your thoughts on the best brand / model number etc of eraser to buy.

Best wishes,

Brian.

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TuskenRaider
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12 Apr 2015
03:42:19pm
re: Approval Book Sellers - Some Don'ts To Keep In Mind

Hi Brian;

Koh-I-Noor is available at Staples. I would recommend the AC version if they still make it.
Don't care for battery anything, as dead batteries are toxic waste in my opinion.

Also Koh-I-Noor "white vinyl" is the softest and is non-abrasive as it works very much like
a Scum-X drafting pad. The Scum-X product was a cloth pouch filled with crumbled Art-Gum.
This you would sprinkle over the velum paper and as you slide instruments around it would
roll along and pick up graphite dust from pencil lines and keep the drawing surface clean.

White vinyl sheds little pieces that roll around under the point of the eraser stick and pick
up graphite without abrasion. However nothing will work on ink pen markings. Further if
you attempt to use watermark fluid the ink may run and seep right thru the stamp. Try that
with a damaged cheepie first. Also practice on cheepies before using a mechanical eraser.
If the eraser stick is rotating from the edge of the stamp towards the center it can grab
the stamp and cause a bunch of wrinkles!

Just some suggestions....
TuskenRaider

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Bobstamp
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12 Apr 2015
05:22:20pm
re: Approval Book Sellers - Some Don'ts To Keep In Mind

Caution is always in order in stamp collecting. A paper conservator who spoke a few years ago to my club warned that any attempt to mechanically erase marks on paper or simply to clean it will damage paper fibres. If the pencil notations on the back of stamps isn't visible from the front, and they probably aren't, then I don't see much reason to remove them.

Bob

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GeoStamper
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Steve
13 Apr 2015
12:21:03am
re: Approval Book Sellers - Some Don'ts To Keep In Mind

Concerning those marks on the backs of stamps: just as important as the pressure used to write the notes are the softness of the lead and the type of paper used to make the stamp.

I didn't realize this until recently when I had to erase and re-do a number of marks. Almost all of the marks came off easily with a soft white drafting-type eraser (non-mechanical to be sure). On a few stamps, the marks did not seem to come off. In my case, I think the failure to erase came from using too hard a lead and the paper type.

Don't know a whole lot about paper types and their ability to erase, but in some cases two stamps of the same type were hard to erase while others in the same group were not.

Since harder leads produce lighter marks, the writer needs to apply more pressure to achieve legibility. So a softer lead (say HB) lead will be easier on the stamp than a harder (say 2H) lead.

Finally, erasing marks should be done with gentle single-direction strokes, away from the center of the stamp. The standard back and forth erasing motion is much more likely to damage the stamp, as is erasing toward the center of the stamp. I agree with Bob's suggestion however: if the mark cannot be seen from the front, it might be best to just leave it be.

-Steve


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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
13 Apr 2015
01:41:16am
re: Approval Book Sellers - Some Don'ts To Keep In Mind

I use a light touch with my mechanical eraser. I have never thinned/damaged a stamp when removing pencil marks. I experiments with erasing ink marks on the back of a stamp. That required heavy pressure on the paper, did not get off all the ink, and did damage the paper. Erasing pencil marks from an unused stamp will damage the gum. Also, if you try to erase anything on the face of the stamp, you will damage/erase the design.

My eraser is old. It is an Alvin, model #EE-175. I bought it at a garage sale for $5.00. It listed for $80.00 new at the time.

For the eraser I use a white plastic eraser stick. The brand I used to use is no longer available. When my last stick is finished, I will start to use Pentel "Chic Eraser" refills in a pack of four (ZERBP4-K6 / 05417)(UPC 072512054178). I bought it at Office Max. It actually fits my eraser better. I will find out how well it erases the back of stamps. The notes on the eraser says that it doesn't tear paper.

If you get one, practice of cheap stamps, so you don't risk damaging anything valuable. You do have to learn how to hold the stamps so that they don't go flying off when the eraser touches it. Also, move the eraser lightly on the paper in a single direction. Light pencil marks come off very quickly. Heavy pencil marks don't come off easily, but such marks often protrude through the front of the stamp, thus ruining the stamp. I toss those stamps.

A good reason to remove pencil marks from stamps is that the information written is often wrong (catalog number, catalog value), or it appears to be wrong as there is not notation of what catalog was used. Useless information that damages the stamp more than the eraser will. The paper on the backs of stamps is not intended to be used for a ledger sheet.

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"My book, "The Whitechapel Fog" is available on Kindle!"

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AOP2B
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13 Apr 2015
05:23:51am
re: Approval Book Sellers - Some Don'ts To Keep In Mind

Much food for thought....thanks to you all for your very interesting and informative replies.

Best wishes,

Brian......on a beautiful early Spring day here in Scotland.

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fredcdobbs
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APS # 224327
13 Apr 2015
07:46:47am
re: Approval Book Sellers - Some Don'ts To Keep In Mind

When I get stamps with pencil notations on the back that I will be keeping, I cover them with a hinge. Big Grin

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