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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Approvals Disc. : Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
14 Feb 2017
01:25:01pm
This is going to be controversial, but let's talk:

Should Approval Books rules mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?
And if so, at what price point?

Approval Books have been around now for over 3 years.
When we invented the platform and set it up for release, we purposely made as few rules as was possible. We encouraged all to use it, experiment and have fun with it.

We still have very few rules. And enforcement is still very permissive, by design!

The platform was designed to help collector dispose of their lower cost duplicates.
It has evolved.
Some are bending the intent of the platform, if not specifically the (very few) rules we have.

So I am wondering if it is not time to make a few changes to the rules, and the first one that comes to mind is IDENTIFYING THE STAMPS ABOVE A MINIMUM THRESHOLD.

One cannot expect it at the low end of the price scale.
But, how about requiring the category number or a year/description on all stamps listed above a minimum threshold.
Professional dealers do it on ALL stamps on commercial sites, with all the costs they incur, even when priced low. Yes on commercial sites!

Surely in a Club, with no cost to you for selling, an with an easy platform such as Approvals to sell large number of low cost stamps, and with no extra fees for membership or selling, and depending on unpaid volunteers to manage the systems, it is not too much to ask.

My suggestion is to REQUIRE identification of all stamps listed at prices above...say 15 cents.

What does our membership of sellers and buyers think about such a rash Laughing idea?
And if in favor of the idea, at what price point should we request it? Please also state if you are a seller or a buyer, or both.

rrr...


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rrraphy
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14 Feb 2017
01:34:40pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Equal to and above...15c? or 16c?
Just my suggestion, for discussion.

Please note that it is not mandated, but many sellers already do it, and I am grateful to them!

rrr...

PS: alternatively, numbering stamps range (cat # or year) on each page, but limiting the spread? This is harder to enforce though.

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smaier
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Sally
14 Feb 2017
01:36:58pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

I am a buyer only at this point.

I would vote for catalog numbers when a single stamp design may have many different issues with many different catalog numbers. Several sellers already do this.

I am not sure about a price point for mandatory catalog numbers. 15 cents seems too low to me to start making people add numbers, but I don't know how long it really takes to get a book ready. Many sellers have lots and lots of books.

Sure, I would love to see catalog numbers on all stamps but not if it is going to be a huge burden.

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cardstamp
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14 Feb 2017
01:52:19pm

Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Last year for awhile - I tried putting the Scott # on each stamp in the approval books. It was much more work to get the books together and it just took too long. I did not see any change in the amount of sales in the books. Also some of my larger buyers do not care Scoot #'s them - since they buy stamps based on other criteria - like the topic of the stamp (i.e. Animals, Olympics, etc).. However, I would be agreeable to add the Scott # for the stamp for higher catalog valued items but I think 15 cents is too low of a cut-off. I would suggest it should be done on stamps 50 cents or more. Steve

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Soundcrest
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14 Feb 2017
02:30:12pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

I always do it unless the book contains unlisted Scott issues (think Trucial related) which are pretty much all topicals. It is more work, but at least to me I don't know why people don't do it. If everyone sells the same as I do (and I don't know that to be true) then they have set up a little chart to refer to for pricing, as same priced stamps need to be on the same page. So, one of my stamps this week is Brazil #847. I had to look up the cv (0.70) to know it goes on the 20 cent page. If I had to do that, why not write the catalog number down? Same holds true for the lower denominations as well. I really don't know if anyone cares as with the price of Scott catalogs I don't know if people check price vs catalog (I think we had this discussion once before). Even if it was decided that we don't need catalog numbers I'll keep putting them in there. I know some people check them because I do make a mistake or two due to my excellent ability to type and when I go to break down the book and move it or restock it, I often find the misidentified stamp unpurchased

Greg

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cdj1122
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14 Feb 2017
02:39:36pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

With all due respect, I think that is a reversal of the intent to help sellers sell duplicates and buyers fill in empty spaces of common but locally illusive issues..
If you set the border at $5 or $10, perhaps. I think it is the job of the buyer to know what he, or she, is getting.
I cannot see sellers spending hours checking some catalog number for the kind of material that constitutes the bulk of the offerings.
Has there been some ground swell requesting something like this ?
I suppose it would generate a lot of pages priced at one cent below a required minimum.
Then there is the problem of which catalog to use, and how old is too old. Of what use is a Scott number and listing to any of the many members who use Gibbons, Facit, Michel, Yvert or the very useful N.V.P.H. and conversely if a foreign member uses Sakura to price his offerings, how helpful is that to most American collectors who may not have any idea what countries it covers, or whether it covers stamps, chinaware or Aname trading cards.


Now I suppose there could be a section for books with premium issues that would be naturally priced higher.

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meostamps
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14 Feb 2017
02:50:15pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

I am a seller on the approval book platform. I recently listed 4 books on Venezuela issues which had very good sales. As my main reason for selling is to help other members get material they want, I listed the bulk of my offerings at 5c each without checking Scott on most of them. Grouping them by series and offering duplicates when available made it much easier, IMHO for buyers to make their choices. For the few which I priced at 40c or more, I did give the catalog # along with the 2015 Scott CV. But those only accounted for appox 15 stamps out of more than 500 in those books. So if you are only looking for a price-point within this topic, I would vote for something closer to a 50c selling (not catalog) price.

Mike / meostamps


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angore
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14 Feb 2017
03:01:29pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

I may end up posting some duplicates at some point. If there is some best practice example, I would like to see it just for reference. I can save the image to use as a guide.

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smauggie
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14 Feb 2017
03:38:07pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Perhaps the intent was for stamp values to be 15¢ or less but I don't have a problem with higher-priced items in the approval books. As long as the approval book meets the other requirements it should be fine.

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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
14 Feb 2017
04:19:34pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Clarification. Catalog price is irrelevant.
Selling price is what we are talking about.

If a stamp lists to sell for 15c, 16c, 20c, ... or whatever price..at what point do you want the catalog, year information, or other description to become mandatory in Approvals. What I seek is information tying the stamp to some form of identification for the buyer. You all do it on auctions at any price point!

This is virtually required on all other platforms, for stamps that retail for even less than the numbers we are discussing.

You must all admit that the Approval Books today are much improved from the early books when first introduced.
More improvements is a natural pathway when you innovate...for me anyway... but I don't mean to make things more complicated and time consuming...I know that few really get "full pay" for the time they put in, and I am grateful to all my fellow collectors for what they do. But if we can get much better books for little incremental effort, why not look at it?
This is why I ask your opinion.

rrr...

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dell4c
14 Feb 2017
04:52:23pm

Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

I have sold and bought a number of stamps and think that if you want to add some description to the stamp based on selling value I would prefer the selling value be around $5.00 or more

I suspect most buyers know what they are looking at and don't need additional description unless there are differences in the stamp itself like watermarks. I've never been asked by a buyer for a stamp description of detail yet and with almost 25,000 stamp sales.

I generally don't bother with cataloguing each stamp as these are usually dups from collections I've bought or amassed through trading.

Unless there are lots of buyers who want this to happen I personalty don;t see any value in making it rule.

Bob

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ChrisW
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APS# 175366
14 Feb 2017
06:22:28pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

I would agree that a higher price (like above $1 or $5 selling price) you can require cat# I don't think it is worth the effort for items under $1.


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sheepshanks
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14 Feb 2017
06:36:59pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

While I can see the direction rrrphy is aiming at, I feel that for the lower priced items, as long as the stamps are in year order, then this should suffice.
Any single items of a higher purchase price (say $3) really belong in the auctions where market demand will decide the value.
I have sold some items here but not for a couple of years, I have not purchased anything. It did take extra time to sort into year order and I found that the top values needed to be separated to other pages. Not a problem if selling by the set.
Regarding additional identification, this enters the realms of watermark detection, secret marks, grills etc. This being an area I have problems with due to lack of experience and the vast number of variables.
I have a large number of earlier US stamps that I have not even attempted to start sorting, many duplicated and possibly ripe for sale but if I have to positively ID each and every one then they will never get to be sold. Maybe if I just lump 10 or 20 together and put them in Auction I can empty the stockbooks.
I agree that it makes easier buying if books are in year order but as already pointed out elsewhere, which catalogue becomes a problem. So, no to catalogue numbers.
I’d go with year order, better scans, clear labelling and faults listed.

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tomiseksj
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14 Feb 2017
07:03:02pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Once you have mandated a price point, will you next specify the catalog to be used?

I don't believe it to be necessary. If someone is listing items identified by a catalog that I don't use, the numbers are of no value to me.


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Soundcrest
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14 Feb 2017
07:34:08pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

But if the stamps are to be put in year order why not put in the catalog number? For me the more difficult part is typing the words "mint" or "used" Certainly MNH is necessary. One week I didn't do it and sales were off. I don't know if that was the cause or not but I wont do it again. That takes far more time than typing the catalog number on a keypad.

Before I even list a book it is written up in a notebook, with notations of * ** or x-x (no gum)along with a catalog number.

Me personally I'd rather see larger books. I tried listing the stuff that would not fit in one of my books (higher priced sets) in auction with BIN options and my result was zip, telling me that it is for the most part, two different sets of buyers just like every other site.

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sheepshanks
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14 Feb 2017
07:51:15pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Soundcrest, while it may be ok for those that have and keep their collections in Scott order a lot of us use SG, Michel etc. I have a 2014 Scott, bought ex-library which is my most up to date. For my GB I use a 2014 Concise, For Hong Kong it's one country SG, for commonwealth it is an older 1990 SG. I also have a Michel Germany (in German)and a Darnell 2003 for Canada.
Many of our members purchasing the "cheaper" stamps at auction maybe do not have a catalogue at all, some use internet world catalogues.
Which one should the seller use?

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Soundcrest
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14 Feb 2017
08:49:39pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

No doubt its a problem as to which catalog to use. This is why a site like Stampworld is trying to get everyone in the world to switch to one catalog - theirs. In theory its a good one as it is online, searchable (I use it all the time) but it would take some serious convincing (maybe if Scott continues to raise their prices to the point no one can afford their catalog) before more people than not would use it. They are more complete than Scott.

I looked at a book the other day where the seller was using a Y&T catalog.which I found interesting. I myself had sold only one or two stamps at auction that were not Scott listed,so I don;t have a feel as to which if any other catalogs are used. I only switch off Scott if it is unlisted there, but listed elsewhere.

I don't believe there should be a hard and fast rule for using or not using catalog numbers. What works for one seller might not work for another.

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rrraphy
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14 Feb 2017
09:19:39pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Again do not get hypnotized by the catalog number. This is one possible approach.

I am looking for relevant information, YEAR, orderly listing, CAT number or whatever else works to help buyer identify the stamp more easily, above a certain LISTING price threshold.
Simply organizing the stamps in approximate chronological order would help! Separating ordinary, from air mail, from postage due etc... separating M, MNH or used etc.. grouping stamps that are alike... many methods would help make the books better.

A pricing threshold to require better information is one way to get better books. And it happens to be the easiest to enforce.

I have worked a number of books lately that throw stamps randomly on pages with no order and no consideration for the buyer. Some feel like floor sweepings.
And yet they charge a lot for basically minimum value stamps. some sell a lot, so sell a little and some sell nothing at all.

If they listed them at 5c or 10c, even 15c I would not be offended..but charging more?

Above a certain selling price, I as a buyer expect more, so I am asking how YOU feel...buyers and sellers alike.
How can we help Approvals get better books without imposing too many time consuming requirements on the seller. do you care?

rrr...

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musicman
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14 Feb 2017
09:36:12pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

My opinion;

Due to the fact of there being MANY different catalogs out there, I think the ONE thing that would help the most is the accurate year of the stamp.

This would allow the potential buyer to fairly easily look up the stamp themselves.

For me personally, if a stamp is selling for more than a few dollars I will look it up anyway - with or without a catalog number noted.

I think it would be a very good idea to list a year. I also think anything listed for over 2 dollars should have that year posted.



And just a note to guys (and gals) like Greg who go over and above - thank you!Happy







Randy

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michael78651
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14 Feb 2017
11:07:55pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

With over 300,000 stamps and almost 100 five-inch binders, I cannot slog through the albums looking at whether I have a stamp or not. When I am buying online, I use my inventory spreadsheets. The bottom line is that if a seller doesn't use a catalog number to identify a stamp, I do not buy from that seller.

As a seller, I identify every stamp that I sell (provided the stamp has a catalog number) regardless of the selling price. I use Scott, but do provide Gibbons or Michel numbers when Scott doesn't list a stamp.

I agree with Greg that if you organize the stamps that are going to be sold, then you have already looked up the stamp and know the catalog number. It doesn't take that much more time to include a catalog number in the description box.

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rrraphy
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15 Feb 2017
02:16:14am
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Copy of Sally comments (smaier) as posted in the other discussion thread on Approvals. Well worth listening to:

Quote:

"As a buyer, the following would be very helpful:

1. Pictures big enough to see - if I can't read the denomination, it's too small.
2. Some kind of order - while catalog numbers are helpful, you still have to have whatever catalog is being referenced. I would vote for chronological order, having the years at the top of the page would be nice.
3. Grouping identical stamps together - it is annoying to have to page back and forth to see if a stamp is the same one you already bought (has happened to me in books with 20 or more pages)
4. Make the books neat and tidy - some have crinkles or tape on the vario pages - it is hard to tell if the stamp is damaged or if it is the sheet holding the stamp
5. Don't make me guess which stamp is which item number - some are so crammed with stamps per page, it is hard to tell for sure which number goes where sometimes
6. Stamps that have many catalog numbers per design would benefit from having the catalog numbers included, especially if the images are tiny
7. Shipping charges that are complicated just make me avoid the seller. I don't know how many stamps I might buy and don't want to get socked with a huge shipping fee at the end. If I know up front what the fee is, that helps me decide if it is worth it to purchase anything

Overall, I enjoy the Approvals and have found a few sellers that are just "the best". Thanks to all who put the Approvals system together and continue to maintain it."



rrr...

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
15 Feb 2017
08:00:29am
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

If you make it hard for the buyer, you may not get results you want.

As for price, when you start approaching catalog price, I would expect more and anything near the minimum catalog value should be identified just like a dealer would do. I can buy stamps online from some in the 10 to 15 cent range -- identified, guaranteed grade, etc.

I have not purchased anything yet (still working on my inventory - finished step 1 last night by capturing the details from stampworld.com) from the approval books but I have many open spaces so I will be aiming at the 10 cent and under items unless I need to just one to complete a set.

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Soundcrest
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15 Feb 2017
08:57:13am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

The difficulty for a seller to group stamps by year in addition to price is again back to the 24 page rule. I try to keep them in chronological order though do have semis and airs follow regular issues, rather than by year. If you had to put stamps for each year on a separate page then with the current set up you would run out of pages very quickly. Of course if the layout was changed so that multiple prices could be put on the same page then years make perfect sense and in fact that would be great. It would actually make the sellers job much easier (think quicker). I ruin many pages from albums because I have to write cat# and value next to each stamp. These pages I'd gladly give away for the postage but who wants marked up pages?

It would also allow for change over to using catalog values and then just give a discount on the invoice. I know with my price groupings some stamps come in at 40%, some at 30% all within the same group. Case in point - If a stamp/set is cataloging at $3.10 it gets put with my $3.50 group and is put on a $1.30 page. If I set my approval pricing at 37 1/2% CV, then I would just take the invoice and deduct 62 1/2%. It's a much easier system, but you would have to be able to have individual prices/ catalog values for each stamp.

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amsd
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15 Feb 2017
09:20:24am
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

I probably am doing the approval books wrong to begin with because, for me, it's a LOT of work to put a book together. I've had modest success, so there's some reward. And I usually add all sorts of information IF it's already readily available (that is, my stamp is already ID'd and priced and....). That said, the more onerous the book creation process is, the less likely I am to participate.

as to Maximum prices (or max prices before add'l requirements kick in), that seems counter to the idea of the approval books.

I use these infrequently as buyer and seller, so I don't think my comments have much realistic weight, and it's one of the few times when I don't care that folks ignore me, but it seems illconceived to add more rules.

David

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kajones
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15 Feb 2017
10:38:29am
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

As a Stamporama club member I am both a buyer and seller. Personally I feel as a seller it is a waste of time to identify stamps that I am selling for less than 50 cents. As a buyer I would want the stamp identified if it is over $3.00 for sure. I sort my stamps to sell by selling price and throw them in an envelope and after I have completed that country I then put then on the approval book page, so they are then out of order put listed by price. If they are a set I usually identify them.

I think we have to realize that we all have different kinds of buyers. We have those that are looking for stamps to fill the space and don't have a large value. But then there are those buyers that have been collecting for years and are usually looking for stamps of a higher value. In that case they will want to know the identity of the stamp.

Identifying stamps can be difficult at times. If I am unsure which watermark it has or which year it is, I will list it at the lower price and let the buyer decide if he wants to buy and identify. (Although I rarely do that. Especially if it is over $3.00)

I just want to say as a buyer I am very glad to have Stamporama and not ebay to purchase from. I think the education I get from this site is wonderful. I also think the people that are members are more trustworthy.


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Jansimon
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15 Feb 2017
10:58:37am

Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Like Bob (dell4c) I have sold over 25,000 items and still wait for the first buyer to ask for this kind of additional information.
I tend to see the approvals as our own take on the yard sale or charity / second hand shop where you can find bargains but do not expect detailed descriptions of all the goods on display. For me that's part of the charm of going through listings: you never know what you might find and perhaps you find something that the seller did not recognize as special and you end up lucky.

As a seller, any obligation to describe items with catalogue numbers would have me seriously reconsider selling through the approvals. Just imagine a book with 200 or 300 items and you first have to find the catalogue number for each one, than make a note of it and then enter it when you put the book online. Creating a book already takes time, but that would really be too much effort. Yes, if you want to sell expensive items, it makes more sense. Also from a selling point of view, because you want to justify why you ask for instance $5 for a single stamp. That - or $3 as some others propose - would be a sensible starting point for adding catalogue numbers.

When I buy things from the approvals, I rely on memory in case of cheap items. Only for more expensive items (should I really want to buy them) I take out the books and check. If it turns out I already have one of those cheap items: bad luck, but on the other hand, most of the time it is interesting trading material or I just resell it in one of my own approvals once I get to that area.

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15 Feb 2017
11:12:39am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Jings! Crivvens! Help Ma Boab!

Here we go again.

Stamporama is a "Club". Its members are wide and varied in "Expertise", "Ability",
"Expectation", "Requirement", etc. etc. etc..

Their collecting interests go from "Twopenny Blues on Registered Envelopes" to "Floor Sweepings"!!!

As the main page of Stamporama says there are members from all over the World. We do not all have copies of Scotts' Catalogue therefore Catalogue numbers can/may be useless. ( Are we heading to Isolationism?). Not everybody has an up to date Catalogue either. I am quite sure that the majority of "Sellers" do what they can. (What suits some does not suit others)

We hear that some Buyers want "This, That and the Other", "I will not buy from a Seller unless they do this etc etc ". That is a Buyers perogative.

The reverse is true as far as Sellers are concerned, as long as they stick to the Rules.

We have a set of "Rules/Guidelines" for the Approval System. Yes they can be changed but please, please keep in mind the abilities etc of other members other than yourself. OK you might be able to determine that a stamp is Scott, 111, or 111a, or 111b, or 111c., the Seller may not have that level of expertise.

Now as far as rrraphy's point. It seems sensible to ask for a better description for "higher priced items" in the Approvals. I would put the level at items over $1.00. However, surely the best place for "higher priced items" would be to put them in the Auction System with a "Buy It Now Price".

Please can we have some respect and toleration for other members collecting interests, abilities and levels of expertise.

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lemaven
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15 Feb 2017
05:12:29pm

Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

In management and sales roles, I've always found it useful to follow the concept "always start with why". Lots of "what" and "how" discussed, with many good points, but I still don't see a clear "why".

In the absence of a compelling reason (or any reason so far) I think I'd agree with those who suggest that not everyone can afford catalogs (whether for #, year, descriptions...) or has the time available to provide research on what should be "yard sale" stuff. If others do, hooray for them, but demand it from others rather than allowing free market forces to drive behavior? I'm a socialist (i.e. Canadian) but I don't get it.

Again, to support other's views, is that not what Auctions are for? Individual, specific, higher value issues where there is competition for the commodity - not a "first to get there free-for-all". I can see a clear "why" there.


On the other hand, I have occasionally applied the "if it ain't broke - break it" approach, but usually just when I want to stir up the pot and get certain employees to leave. Hopefully not the "why" here.

Dave.

P.S. ggrrrraphy, I think you're doing a great job taking this on (I couldn't do it, so I REALLY appreciate it). But WITH GREAT RESPECT I wonder if in this club setting it might be more worthwhile to say "here's a problem we're having consistently, and this is the harm being wrought, what suggestions would members have to help resolve this" rather than offering a solution (to a problem no one is aware of) and fielding arguments and counter-suggestions that create more endless/fruitless debates. At least this has been relatively free of "alternative facts".

Angel

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d1stamper
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15 Feb 2017
08:50:44pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

michael78651 said it best for the buyer. Sometimes the seller has to put a little more effort into to selling than they wish.

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bobgggg
President Cortlandt Stamp Club
16 Feb 2017
07:26:32am
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

As a buyer only, and just my opinion,.... my grandfather would say, " Why fix something that's working well "Applause I just cant comprehend why a buyer would be looking for an expensive stamp in a Approval book, rather then in a auction listing.

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Soundcrest
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16 Feb 2017
09:16:03am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

I cannot say for this site, but it is a completely different set of buyers for approvals(store) than auction. I have put things up for auction on ebay at 20% CV, had them not sell and put them in my store at 60% CV accepting best offer and have either gotten 60% or slightly less. It makes no sense to me at all but it happens quite often. Personally I have found that high catalog value stamps don't do well here in either type of selling venue, be it at 20% at auction or around 37 1/2% in approval books.

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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
16 Feb 2017
11:59:16am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Jings! Crivvens! Help Ma Boab!

I've forgotten what I was going to say!!!

It must not have been of importance.

Ah yes I remember. Stamporama is a "club". With MEMBERS, Some BUY, Some SELL.

The world will not collapse if a stamp has no description, cat number or cat value placed on it.

Get real ------ if you want every detail listed ------ go to a specialist dealer.

We are here for some FUN and Education with like minded people. To ENJOY our HOBBY.

Please terminate this thread as we go through this nonsense every phase of the moon.

We do this so often it now appears in "Old Moore's Almanack". (The Brits will recognise the reference).

As previous people have said, "The System works, Leave it alone."

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ernieinjax
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16 Feb 2017
12:06:46pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Image Not Found


The Moon today is in a Waning Gibbous Phase. This is the first phase after the Full Moon occurs. It lasts roughly 7 days with the Moon's illumination growing smaller each day until the Moon becomes a Last Quarter Moon with a illumination of 50%.




Ian boils it down for everyone once again...

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rrraphy
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16 Feb 2017
01:20:44pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

I want to make my point by using a book as an example. I am NOT singling out any one book or any one seller, but this is what as a buyer I would like to see improved, and this book illustrates it well.

Book #8336: ALAND ISLANDS - Great Selection of MNH Stamps - Mint Never Hinged

Now this offer a very good choice of MNH stamps to pick from. And it meets ALL our current rules, so it can list here on Approvals and remain for as much as one year (or less if no sales occur for several months).

But:

Stamps are all priced at $1.00
No cat number appears anywhere
The order is random
Duplicates are spread about on different pages
There are 104 stamps in this book, so technically at the price set over $100 of stamps listed.


As a buyer I find it extremely hard to use!
I feel that all stamps at this price should have a cat number associated with them, or a year, or a descriptive reference.
I feel the book should be organized in chronological order, and not random order. After all, all stamps are at the same price, so the seller does not need separate pages for separate prices.
I feel the duplicates should be placed next to one another.
I feel these requirements should be mandated by our rules. as they stand today, they do not serve well the buyer here.

Again, I am not singling out any one book or buyer but using this one as an example. We have no rule requiring the extra effort it will take on the part of the seller.
How much more time would it take to organize it better and add additional information? Not much with just 104 stamps! (my opinion, and I have sold quite a bit here to know what it takes)

So do we want to regulate Approvals to make the books better or not. It is up to us to set the standards..this is an SOR unique platform made available to our membership. I personally would require such books to indicate cat numbers or years. I cannot regulate the chronological order as a moderator, it is an impossible task, but I can suggest it be followed as best possible to weed out what I refer to as "floor sweepings books" (this is NOT such a book, by the way, but some are).

So how about imposing cat numbers or year information for all stamps above a certain level...and we could start at $X (Currently thinking we start at 29c or 49c for example)..would make for better books, and for most sellers it would add just a little more work, but not really that much!

I do not want to regulate and request additional information for stamps sold at the low end of the scale, but I would like to beg sellers to organize their books better, by listing it as a goal...not impose it as a rule.
But I think it is mandatory that HIGHER priced stamps sellers provide more information, and organize their books better, or they should go sell them on auctions, and not in Approvals.
And depending on how it goes after we try, we can modify the threshold when we gain experience (up or down or not at all).

Rules changes require the OK of the Management Board. I am seeking here the membership's feedback, before I embark (or not) on any request for rule changes, which will be set by the Management Team, and not just by me. I am personally committed to making Approval Books better, not just to accept that it is what it is. I am interested in continually adapting and making changes to achieve more functionality and to better serve our membership. The argument of "if it ain't broke don't touch it" has no value to me whatsoever. (or we would all be driving horse drawn carriages, or using telegraphs to message one another)

Approvals will not become a static dinosaur as long as I am involved in this Club and this program. I want it to remain an innovative leader, and I seek your guidance on this issue, which, as I stated in my first post, will be controversial, I know. Thanks to the many opinions expressed so far. I will summarize and make my point to the Management team in a few weeks, and hope any future moderator will continue on this track.


rrr...

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ernieinjax
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16 Feb 2017
02:25:38pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Quote:

" I am personally committed to making Approval Books better, not just to accept that it is what it is. I am interested in continually adapting and making changes to achieve more functionality and to better serve our membership. "




Ralph,

I think your intentions are commendable. I know you have worked tirelessly to make the approvals all that they are today. If memory serves correctly, I think I remember reading that the whole approval platform was your brainchild. Its truly unique to the philatelic community. My only input is that I'd be careful not to impose any restrictions or constraints that might ward off someone wanting to use the platform.

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Soundcrest
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16 Feb 2017
02:42:11pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

As long as we don;t need the year as well as a catalog number its fine as adding a year as well would more than double the time it takes to create a book.

For what its worth this is my procedure. It varies a little depending on what I am working from. In this case it was Gabon packets and some in individual glassines.

Everything is put into 8 1/2 x 11 cards by price, with a cat# underneath. They are then transferred to black stock sheets. I admire anyone who uses the ones where you have to manually enter the numbers and by hand and mount the stamps. The stock sheets are cheap enough though by now I have a couple of hundred tied up in old books - but thats a completely different issue that has no answer. Kudos to the person who figures out what to do about buyers not buying from old books (besides simply taking them down, adding to it and putting it back up - because the same stamps that were in a half empty book, now sell in a full one with no price changes)

The number on the right (005,010,020 etc is the price on the page. This is based on catalog value and I have a little chart that I use with a range. 005 5 cents, which are all stamps of minimum CV. 010. 10 cents for a range of 30-45 cents. Etc. 005 is also the prefix of the page when I scan it and resize within the folder. It would be saved as 005-1 as there can be many pages with the same price

Within the block you see the catalog number and condition, x being mint, xx, mnh etc. No need to write a small circle for the used. Its a default value. The 4 across match the position within the stock card that I scanned. The number with a circle around it indicates the number of stamps within the group. Notice the second group has a circles 8 for the 10 and a 8 for the 20. Two groups on this page so it must be cropped and saved as images 010-1 and 020-1. The number on the right (117) is the scan number. I sometimes have another number that is my page counter due to the 24 page problem. With one of my books this week I had more stamps than pages so I had to stop at 92 sets. Nothing I could do about it. The rest will go into another book or restock an existing book.

This is the way I do every book. If it helps anyone, that would be great. I number everything with a poor mans version of Photoshop called Paintshop. It allows me to number very easily. I could use it to crop but I like working with the scanner software that accomplish's the same thing.Image Not Found


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Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
16 Feb 2017
02:51:38pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

What is wrong with the Status Quo? (apart from the fact they are an awful rock band)

Why must every one/thing be "improved"/"changed"/"remodelled"/"advanced"/"reinvented"/"progressed" ?

The majority of the time the "improvement" leads to just making things more complicated.

Look at all Ebays/Delcampe/Goggle/Faecesbook/Witter's so called improvements.
Have they improved?

NO THEY BLOOMIN WELL HAVN'T.

All these "progressions" have come about because some geezer at a desk has had a "bright idea".
May I point out the Postal System as a Prime Example of "great progression".

In the latter part of the 19th Century a millworker in Manchester could post a note at noon to his wife, saying he was working late and she would receive it by 5pm and his evening meal would be ready for him when he got home late. ( not burnt or dried out) He cannot do that today through the post. Some "Improvement" eh. (All right he can email today but he couldn't in 1980).

The current System evolved through a lot of hard work, time and effort by the originators and they should be congratulated for the work they have done BECAUSE the system is used on a daily basis by many members, who have various skill levels, thus enhancing their enjoyment of our wonderful hobby.


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HungaryForStamps
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16 Feb 2017
03:13:00pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

I don't buy or sell approvals, but can't help commenting. Please feel free to ignore.

Requiring a catalog number has little benefits, except the seller's that have the time to deal with the extra work will probably sell more. The lazy buyer will think they have less work, but because the buyer should always confirm the ID anyway, there's little point to the extra burden put on the seller?

Disdavantages:
- Not everyone has same catalog
- Not everyone uses a catalog
- You can't mandate a particular catalog
- Identification can be difficult and beyond the ken of some collectors for some issues
- Identification is time consuming
- Buyer has to make their own identification anyway

Advantages:
- Buyer has someplace to start with their confirmation of ID, provided they use the same catalog
- Maybe not an advantage: buyer has an easier recourse for refund should the ID be incorrect
- Book might be better organized

Forcing an ID from seller means you will have fewer items for sale over $.50 or $1.00 (whatever the threshold). The buyer still needs to do the same work to ID the stamp. What catalog is used? It would be a mistake to mandate a particular catalog, so why bother?

The only person a disorganized approval book hurts is the seller. Buyers should pass on books that are difficult to deal with. If they don't, then they must have spotted something they want.

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whitebuffalo
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16 Feb 2017
03:50:27pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

As a buyer only,(so far)I'll pay $.10 a stamp from a well organized book, before I'll pay $.07 apiece for the same stamps in a book that's just been haphazardly thrown together. It's just my opinion, but books that aren't at least reasonably organized by order of issue, or at very least, by the year, are just too hard to navigate.(of course taking into account the price per page factor) I've backed out of several approval books because there was simply no rhyme or reason to them and placing duplicates on different pages, almost seems like a sales trick.

I know this is a club and it needs to be a bit looser then other venues, but at the same time, business is being conducted and the overall structure does need to be competitive with the other venues.

I always want to buy stamps through SOR first, but life is too short to spend 2+ hours sorting through an approval book that if fairly organized, would only take about 30 minutes or less.


WB

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lemaven
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16 Feb 2017
03:55:58pm

Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Quote:

"...this is what as a buyer I would like to see improved, and this book illustrates it well...Book #8336: ALAND ISLANDS..."



I saw "the same book" and decided not to buy any. Why? Because I didn't see anything compelling to buy at the time; and would not have been positively influenced to do so even if they were in compliance with an elaborate set of rules.

But in the past 30 days I have bought more than $300 of Approval stamps from 4 primary sellers (and about 7 in total). Why? Because they had stamps that I wanted and I didn't need them to be in compliance with an elaborate set of rules.

So, again, why?

Quote:

"What is wrong with the Status Quo? (apart from the fact they are an awful rock band)."



Admittedly, they are no Slade, Ian. But Pictures of Matchstick Men is a classic. Now there's a debate worth having! Why? Uh, because...

Dave.

P.S. I started a new Discussion Thread so we can stick to arguing about the need for more rules here, and divert the more enjoyable music criticisms elsewhere. Check it out.



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Soundcrest
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16 Feb 2017
05:18:56pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Being on the US side of the pond we know little of Staus Quo. However, consulting my British Hit Singles book, they had 20 top 10 hits in the UK. I have never even heard of the other 19.

Absolutely off topic but Ian did bring them up.....

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cdj1122
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17 Feb 2017
05:15:51am
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

If you make it hard for the buyer, you may not get results you want.

And as Adam Smith so sucintly wrote, the "Invisible Hand" of the marketplace will do the work.
And thus we see the stamps being offered scooped up every day.
I have toyed with the idea of putting selections on the approval board, but doubt that I'd even bother if it meant that much work, more work to sell duplicates than it has been when I bought them.

To me stamping in its different facits has been fun, an avocation taken up to enjoy. I compare them to the torn movie stubs I find in my pocket after taking a date to a movie and dinner, a piece of nostalgia that will not matter to me in a few more years.
Now, if I were a dealer or consdered myself like the vest -pocket dealers of old, selling duplicates to supplement an income or a paltry retirement check, and for that matter handling items of higher value than the nickel and dime (With inflation that is now 50¢ to a $1.00 or so.) issues that predominate in the approval books it might be necessary tedius work to boost sales.
Not being such a dealer, full or part time, having to spend time and energy looking up listings in some catalog that, at best, is a year or two out of date and represents a "price' that virtually all agree is far from accurate, seems somewhere between frivelous and futile.
So if requiring some kind of catalog numbers and listings suits some sellers, sobeit, but make the plateau high enough to not burden members who find it unnecessaery.

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cdj1122
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17 Feb 2017
05:42:58am
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

" ....I want to make my point by using a book as an example.
Book #8336: ALAND ISLANDS - Great Selection of MNH Stamps - Mint Never Hinged.
...............
But:

Stamps are all priced at $1.00
No cat number appears anywhere
The order is random
Duplicates are spread about on different pages
There are 104 stamps in this book, so technically at the price set over $100 of stamps listed.

As a buyer I find it extremely hard to use!....."

I didn't. I rolled back a few feet, pulled the Aland Islands Album off the shelf, glanced at the extremely attractive stamps, noticed the prices and that they seemed all mint.
I thought, " Nice Aland issues are hard to find, but they seem overpriced."
Book closed and album back on the shelf.
Moved on.
I did not even think to wonder whether there was a catalog number or listing. Or if they were in order or sorted conventionally. I have most of them and the ones that might fill a space are too dear for me.

Besides, they were all MNH .
Another besides, I use Facit for Scandinavia.
Moved on.


" ....I feel that all stamps at this price should have a cat number associated with them, or a year, or a descriptive reference.
I feel the book should be organized in chronological order, and not random order. After all, all stamps are at the same price, so the seller does not need separate pages for separate prices.
I feel the duplicates should be placed next to one another.
I feel these requirements should be mandated by our rules. as they stand today, they do not serve well the buyer here. ....."

I agree, Ralph, they could and perhaps should be, and I also think my pension check should and could be doubled.
Annually.

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Soundcrest
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17 Feb 2017
06:13:11am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

The strange thing is - for the seller of book 8336, I looked at other books he had and saw that his Russia books have not sold much worse than mine and I indicate catalog number on everything. This of course makes me wonder if it is indeed worth the extra time as I have a LOT of Russia that is not in books due to the amount of time it takes to look them up if they are not already on album pages. I can see both sides of the issue quite clearly

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Larryd
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17 Feb 2017
12:52:14pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Although I always include Scott numbers with my approval offerings, I would not favor a rule that mandated use of either numbers or year of issue information. I think those that buy stamps from my approvals may favor that method of listing, but no one has mentioned it to date. As a buyer, I work from want lists and ignore any offerings that don't include Scott numbers...but that's just me! Admittedly, including Scott numbers adds some time to preparing approval books, but I don't think it adds much time if your stock is already arranged in catalog number order.

I find that it actually saves me a lot of time in returning unsold approvals to my stock (and these often sell when included in a book at a later date).
It's obvious from the responses to date that there are probably as many different methods of both offering and shopping for approvals as there are members of the club, and making the rules on approvals more restrictive would be counter-productive in my opinion.

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AntoniusRa
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17 Feb 2017
07:32:13pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

I have only looked at the approval books a few times and for me it is pretty much a waste of time. To sell stamps correctly it takes time, unfortunately most stamps are not worth the time to list correctly. I believe that if you cannot do something correctly then you shouldn't bother. I hardly ever list stamps of minimum value for that reason. I search by (Scott) catalog number and if a number is not provided I am not a buyer. There are still a lot of cheap stamps I need but without a catalog number I am not likely to be a buyer. My feelings are that a stamp listed for sale should show the following information in the order shown. Country, catalog number, year of issue, denomination, mint or used, a good scan, sub number info, faults if any. Color and topic are secondary and catalog value and grading are things for the buyer to lookup up or decide.

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Stevo45
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17 Feb 2017
07:47:11pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

NO ... And certainly not by Scott cat number.

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17 Feb 2017
10:20:53pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

If someone is looking to fill their empty spaces, generally they should have an idea of what they are missing and be able to keep their eye out for it.

I buy approvals that either attract me for my general collection or my QVs and Belgian Railways. I wouldn't go to Approvals for my more advanced collections because I'm not going to find what I want anyway.

The Approvals are supposed to be fun - a great way to get rid of duplicates.

I think consideration should be made when thinking of ways to improve or change things - more is not always better.

If there were mandates to include catalogue numbers or years or CVs, etc, etc - how many people are we limiting from being able to use the Approvals for their original intent?

A lot of collectors don't own catalogues or use different ones or even online ones like Stampworld.

There are others who do not have the physical ability to create approval books that require a lot of hard work - they want to put their duplicates in a book and if they sell, great - they have money to buy others they want.

Personally I require physical assistance to create approval books - I have a number of disabilities that just make it impossible for me to even create an approval book if I had to search for every stamp to decide how to classify it. One reason why when I put books together they are all at a minimal price - if someone gets a stamp that has a watermark or perf variety that makes it a gem for their collection - congratulations (just don't tell me the $0.05 stamp you bought from me has a $300 CV because of it's watermark! That would just make me cry).

I can't physically do the legwork of identifying my duplicates that are in envelopes. The person who assists me is not a stamp collector.

Making all these kinds of changes? It would just suck out all the enjoyment of Approvals. SOR Approvals are *not* online stamp stores. If you want in depth details when buying someone else's duplicates, I don't see the SOR Approvals as being that avenue.

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roy
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18 Feb 2017
08:36:39am
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

Quote:

"Making all these kinds of changes? It would just suck out all the enjoyment of Approvals. SOR Approvals are *not* online stamp stores. If you want in depth details when buying someone else's duplicates, I don't see the SOR Approvals as being that avenue."



I'd say that Kelly's summation and the number of "likes" on her post sums up the issue nicely.

Roy
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lerivage
19 Feb 2017
04:45:21pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

The fewer rules, the better, as there are no argument on how to bypass them, how to enforce them, how to discipline people, etc!

I buy and sell on approvals and enjoy it a lot. My objective is only to collect stamps and share with worldwide friends. I know what I buy by looking on the picture. If the picture is unclear I send a message and the answer provides the solution.

For sure once in a while the catalog number helps, mainly when, as mentioned above, there are different watermarks or other specific features.

In addition I do not have any Scott catalog and do not plan to buy any as I prefer to spend money on stamps.

To summarize: from my point of view: a bad idea.

Michel

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
20 Feb 2017
10:40:33am
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

I suppose if there were a surfeit of virtually 90% - 100% unsold books
lying around gathering pixel dust on the approval book list while those
with Mitch's requirements;
"..... Country, catalog number, year of issue, denomination,
mint or used, a good scan, sub number info, faults, if any ..... "

flash their way to 90% sold faster than a hinge mark absolutely
destroys their collectability, the solution would be apparent.

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d1stamper
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20 Feb 2017
12:35:47pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

I would like to see catalog number, but with people using many difference catalogs, I can see why this is not needed.

I would like to see the the year or range of year of the stamps as this should help everyone regardless of what catalog they use.


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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod. Retired Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Retired consultant
20 Feb 2017
02:30:13pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

SUMMARY: (THANKS TO ALL WHO COMMENTED)

NO CONSENSUS
NO number that all agree
NO method that all agree

Except, I hear consistent requests that:

Books to be (AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE) organized sequentially
Books to indicate YEARS or YEAR RANGES, when possible
Books to GROUP DUPLICATES and not disperse them on many pages.
Books to group countries per page, when multiple countries.
Books to try to id somehow higher valued stamps (no cut off agreement)
Book images to be clearer and sized correctly for easy identification.

In other word, general agreement that books could BE BETTER ORGANIZED AND TO DISPLAY THE STAMPS BETTER.

Did I forget anything?

I will not request any rule change, but I will make suggestions to sellers, when appropriate, to help get better books.

Closing this discussion, unless anyone want to add another comment to the above.

rrr.. (as moderator of Approvals)


PS: look at Book #8374 Topical Series LVS954 So nicely done!
And look at Book #8362: Phillipines #2 (Jimjih) Such a clever way of using pages in sequence to display in an approval Book

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20 Feb 2017
10:13:07pm
re: Should Approval Books mandate the identification of stamps above a certain price?

" ...Did I forget anything?..."

Yes, perhaps. Under the file "Better organized" it could be suggested that as far as possible stamps be set upright and nt on it's side, especially some head right and others head left but have one contestant place for the designation..
And as far as possible place the number at the bottom left, or at the bottom night.
Several times over the years I have gone along merrily picking stamps only to suddenly notice that the number five I chose was really number six. Not a big thing when selecting low value stamps, but confusing weeks later to discover I've been sent a stamp I clearly would not pick that was on the side of what I wanjtedto choose.

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