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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Approvals Disc. : Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
10 Dec 2016
01:17:05pm
There seems to be a continued series of problems with SCANS in Approval Books (AB).
I will work with all of you to get you to adjust your scanner to yield the format that I consider acceptable, per our rules:
Quote:

"#1 All items (stamps, sets, S/S, FDC, etc...) are clearly visible as scanned and numbered from 1 to n on each page?
NOTE: Please make sure that you indicate clearly any known defects. Please scan at a high enough resolution to clearly show the listed material."



Now this says nothing about scans that are too big, small..technically clear but not sized big enough for the aging eyes of many collectors, or put on old creased and soiled stockpages (looks terrible), or with numbers that mask the stamps, or stamps that ride on top of one another.
While I will be permissive at first, I will point to defects and tighten our standards to the point that some of you will want me to go away on vacation...lol, but really folks, SCANS ARE AN ISSUE THAT NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED!

Ideally I would hope that all sellers will try to reach the quality standards set (AS AN EXAMPLE..but he is not alone) by Greg (Soundcrest) in his latest book : Book #7787: Austria 1958-73 MNH Mostly Singles & A Few Sets(Soundcrest) https://stamporama.com/approvals/approvals_main.php?action=1&id=RABm3mi5ejIyg

Sellers, please take a look please, and emulate. And buyers, please provide encouragement to sellers who have outstanding books as well as suggestions to those that need help.
In this book, scans are perfectly focused, perfectly centered. Size is just perfect. Additional information has been provided (while not mandated, Greg has included cat numbers, and it is really a pleasure for a buyer to work with such a book).

Many sellers will get PM from me as I try to help you all remedy some of the flaws with your scans. It is NOT so difficult. Once you have it set up right, all your scans should fall in place. So don't mind me if I interject (privately) with a few suggestions. I have a lot to do, and so do you...We need better scans.
Thanks for listening.

rrr...

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lemaven
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10 Dec 2016
02:22:22pm

Approvals
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

Nice to know that Greg's scans have four dimensions of perfection, and others are crap, but some specificity might help. For those of us who scan, crop, then resize to fit...

1) What is the best resolution (or an acceptable range) to scan initially? I have used between 300 and 600 dpi and they seem very good depending on the situation (higher being best for single, higher value stamps and lower being acceptable for full pages of common).

2) After cropping, I I find it easiest to resize by pixels (with an automatic retention of the width x height ratio) what are the best pixel-width settings for:
.....Single stamps? (I have used around 200-500).
.....Horizontal strips, full/partial pages (I usually go with 700-750).

3) Any other things?

Greg: If you could put in your specs that would be fantastic and helpful.


I want to make sure I don't get a PM from grrrrrraphy about my scans. I was just getting Theresa to take it easy on me!!!

Dave.

P.S. Ralph, kidding aside, this is a tough (and probably mostly thankless) job so thanks for taking it on. I don't want you having a heart attack over this (and nobody likes being yelled at, even if they are innocent and even if they are only CAPITAL LETTERS). So I would just say at some point maybe just offer a helpful suggestion every now and then, kick back with a nice single malt, and let the market decide rather than trying to herd cats. I've seen some crappy scans on crappy pages with crappy crowding and have decided even if it's an area I'm interested in I will no longer look at those offerings let alone buy from them (assuming the stamps may also be crappy). I've also seen overlap on one particular seller's scans of multiple stamp offerings and know that it is simply a more efficient way to get the stamps in a given space and that they are always (with a 500+ purchase sample size) very nice with no hidden damage.




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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
10 Dec 2016
03:01:16pm
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

Thanks Dave for the advice, and also thanks to all who can contribute to improve the Approval Books scan quality of those in need.
We can all use your advice. Some books are truly stellar!

AND NO I WON'T YELL AT YOU DAVE..lol ( all cap Rolling On The Floor Laughingfor emphasis)... and you are making several good point.

Something else folks, over-crowded pages are a turn off! A well presented page beckons the potential buyer and sells itself, while a "crappy" page is enough of a turn off to make one run away, from this book as well as from all others you may put out! So apart from scanning quality, presentation (a non written rule) is also something I will look at (eventually...but right now I am overwhelmed)...lol you all get a moment of respite.

Also contrast is a good point to keep in mind. Black is best as background, and white is worse. The right color background helps display the stamps and enhances the experience..and it shows potential flaws..so another thing to keep in mind! (on my printed pages I always used colored paper..and experimented with many colors..and I find blue (I use "lunar blue"..not the pale blue ) a most effective background color) On the black background stock pages many use, please make sure the pages are not so beat-up and dirty as to mask the stamps..

Anyone wants to guess how many "interventions" At Wits EndI am currently processing...Rolling On The Floor Laughing

Grrr... (the G is for you Dave)

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cardstamp
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10 Dec 2016
05:41:06pm

Approvals
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

The way I put together my books using the template I have - I have always used white paper. Using a black background and stock sheets would not work for me. I admit that is not the best solution and I hinge the stamps onto the pages. I do not sell any never hinged items via the approval books - so this has always been the easiest and most efficient way for me to do this. I admit I have damaged some stamps taking them off the approval pages - but that does not happen to often. I always drop those stamps off the invoice. However, based on Ralph's suggestion - I just ordered some Lunar Blue paper - so when I get it - I will try using that color instead of white. I could have done that a long time ago - just never paid attention !! Steve

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lemaven
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10 Dec 2016
06:14:39pm

Approvals
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

Agreed on the crowding of Approvals pages as the buyer is deciding on one stamp at a time.

For Auctions of larger lots the rule is probably more flexible, "depending"... For example, I am currently selling a bunch of pages of Hungary stamps I recently got in a "Mystery Box". But since they are jam-packed, and I'm only taking out anything egregiously damaged, then offering at "Stupid-Dave Wholesale" of less than 1/2c each it's not worth my time (or buyer's pocketbooks) to space them nicely.

And no problem with anything you say to me Ralph. After all, Ernie goes for my jugular whenever I poke fun at The Donald, but I know even he still loves me... Big Hug

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
10 Dec 2016
08:24:56pm
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

To clarify the comment regarding large lots in the auctions:

For larger auction lots, in addition to at least one image showing some or all of the lot, it is necessary to state the overall condition/quality of the stamps in the lot. However, note that if nothing is stated, ALL the items in the lot are considered to be sound. If they are not, then a buyer can dispute the purchase as being "not as described".

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lemaven
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10 Dec 2016
10:19:12pm

Approvals
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

Good general point, but I think I've got myself covered with my description Michael.

Notwithstanding a crafty American lawyer finding that one of 128 stamps purchased for 25c total (and discounted shipping) has a bent corner perf and then launches a class-action suit...

Big Grin

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
13 Dec 2016
11:33:56am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

Jings! Crivvens! Help Ma Boab!

It all boils down to the technical expertise of the individual,
The software they are using
The hardware they are using
The viewers occular capabilities.

As a point of note, Soundcrests scans are too big for my monitor, even set at 75%. But if 25% of the members are able to see them, then thats fine. I ain't bothered.

PERFECTION is UNOBTAINABLE when dealing with HUMANS!!

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
13 Dec 2016
11:41:03am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

Another thing that determines quality is the line speed of your internet connection.
If I scan at 200 psi an A4 sheet is about 10,000 KB. My line speed maximum is 33KB/second. It would take ages to download just one scan.
Those of us that are on a data limit per month would soon use up ALL our data sending scans at those levels.

I shall now get off my soap box.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
13 Dec 2016
03:32:17pm
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

Dave, there are no problems with your auction listings. I think they are well done. I just wanted to make sure that everyone understood how to handle larger lots in the auctions.

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mikek5
16 Nov 2017
08:48:01pm

Approvals
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

I tried to talk to a seller that it would be a lot easier to buy from his approvals if he would resize his pages. As of now, that has been ignored; so i don't buy. I sell both in approvals and auctions. I resize the pictures at 895 pixels and that seems to be the perfect size. Maybe the person who oversees the approvals might give these sellers a suggestion. I seemed to get nowhere with them.

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Stevo45
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17 Nov 2017
01:34:01am
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

Quote:

"I tried to talk to a seller that it would be a lot easier to buy from his approvals if he would resize his pages. As of now, that has been ignored; so i don't buy. I sell both in approvals and auctions. I resize the pictures at 895 pixels and that seems to be the perfect size. Maybe the person who oversees the approvals might give these sellers a suggestion. I seemed to get nowhere with them."



Yep, I agree totally - I also tried to encourage some sellers to make their Huge images smaller.

I find a page size of 850 to 900 pixels wide is just right, Any larger and it will not fit the allocated space on my laptop which I use mostly for purchases.

Scan @ 300 or 200 & reduce to 100 Resolution and the images will be clear.

Cheers

Steve


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Soundcrest
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17 Nov 2017
05:18:33am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

I scan at a 300dpi resolution (stockcards) and then crop images using the software that came with the scanner (Media Impression). I then go into Jasc (a poor mans photoshop - software that is over 10 years old) and look for any images that are greater than 250kb as somewhere around that size, images are too big for monitors, at least mine (25") without scrolling. I admit I do miss one or two. That is what I do for auctions. For approval books, I scan at 300dpi and then again in Jasc, reduce the size to 45% and save it. I crop the various pages (as you can see on the index) as there is more than one page to a stockcard.

If the images are too big for most monitors (I myself have my eye on a 32" for $249 on Amazon) let me know and I'll reduce the pages to something smaller.

Reading all the posts I see the overcrowding issue pop up. No doubt, but there are times when it is just about impossible to fit 100 items into now for me 22 or 23 pages. Yes I know all about "sets can count for the number of stamps in the set" but I seriously doubt people will waste their time with a book of 50 items even if they are all sets. If I lose sales due to overcrowding, so be it. Me, I'd love 50 page books but I do not see than happening.



Greg

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lemaven
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17 Nov 2017
06:10:20pm

Approvals
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

I posted a couple scans on the testing discussion page - take a look.

I usually scan my Vario pages for Approvals at 600 dpi and resize width to 900 pixels (the ratio is set to "proportional" and I usually have to crop a bit to get the height under the cutoff for posting). That's extra time spent when you add up all the pages - and not sure of the payoff.

But for this exercise, I used soundcrest's 300 dpi / 850 width idea with no cropping of the Vario page - and it was certainly faster. And then cropping out an individual stamp (e.g. for an Auction) also provided a decent/fast result.

My only question is this (subjective, and perhaps it's because it's almost bedtime)...

The images don't seem to be as sharp as I would like.

Did a reposting of the same sheet/stamp at a higher initial resolution with resizing to fit the posting requirements, for comparison.

I don't see a difference with the resolution difference for "better quality" viewing, so maybe the focus should be on size for easier viewing?

Dave.



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Soundcrest
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17 Nov 2017
08:03:25pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

600dpi would be a higher resolution but I'm not sure it is necessary. Certainly 300 should do the trick unless you are selling real high end stamps. The whole cropping thing speed etc I think has more to do with the memory capacity of the PC as well as how often you restart it. I used to restart maybe once a month but now once a week as I found things just slowed down. I am also an XP dinosaur.......

Greg

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
18 Nov 2017
07:21:38am
re: Approval Books SCANS SCANS SCANS...

For simple tasks of editing images, a simple tool may work faster.

For example, if I want to convert a screen shot to a jpg, I just use Microsoft Paint which is on every Windows machine.

By the time you can load a more complex program, you can usually get Paint running, pasted, cropped, and saved. Programs like Paintshop, Gimp, Lightroom, etc. all take a lot of time to load all those features you will never use.

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