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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : Certification

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spikeola
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20 Jan 2018
12:32:05pm
How do we go about getting stamps appraised and certified? I have heard of companies such as Mystic and Kenmore but imagine they charge big bucks for their time. I also wonder if my stamps would be worth it? I have some that I have seen certified that have a rather high value. I also Know that there are so many factors to that value...meaning mine could be worthless...thanks for the help.

Michael
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51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
20 Jan 2018
12:57:40pm
re: Certification

For US stamps

Professional Stamp Experts
http://www.psestamp.com

The Philatelic Foundation
http://www.philatelicfoundation.org

The American Philatelic Expertizing Service (APEX)
https://stamps.org/Stamp-Authentication


For other countries there may be more specialized experts.

Cert costs typical are based upon catalog value (which drives me nuts). If a stamp is submitted for a high catalog value stamp but it turns out to be fake, they charge a flat rate (usually around $30-$35).

Before sending in for a cert, it is often best to submit a good quality scanned images on one of the forums like this one. Knowledgeable folks can take a look and advise if the stamp is legitimate enough to spend the money on a cert.
Don

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michael78651
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20 Jan 2018
02:03:15pm
re: Certification

Mystic and Kenmore, among most other dealers are not recognized professional stamp experts.

Do as Don suggested and post an image of the stamp in question. People will be happy to help you with information from which you can decide whether to submit for a certificate or not.

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ChrisW
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APS# 175366
21 Jan 2018
07:27:01am
re: Certification

Yes, agree with Don. Given the cost of the cert., it become not cost effective to certify stamps below a certain CV (say maybe $100?). Now we have stamp forums where there's a lot of experts willing to help out for free Nerd


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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
21 Jan 2018
12:33:58pm
re: Certification

The thing that I cannot understand is when I see very common stamps, like 3 cent commemoratives, graded with certificates. Who the heck does that?

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
21 Jan 2018
02:06:35pm

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re: Certification

hope this all made sense, Michael

get certificates for stamps that you think MIGHT be rare and valuable, but do as much homework as possible in advance to weed out fakes, forgeries, and just common stuff. In my 30+ years collecting, I have had only one stamp expertized.

David

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CF1957
21 Jan 2018
02:38:03pm
re: Certification

Ben Franklin
The thing that I cannot understand is when I see very common stamps, like 3 cent commemoratives, graded with certificates. Who the heck does that?


Because "certifiers" like
Professional Stamp Experts
http://www.psestamp.com

take ordinary modern stamps, give them a 100 rating, put them in a plastic sleeve with a fancy registration and a contrived fictitious value way more than the CV

The latest fad is to take a perfectly good sheet of inexpensive stamps cute off part of the adjoining stamps and call them "jumbos" so they can charge exorbitant amounts
Image Not Found
A typical jumbo or is it a dumbo

It seems to be working, the one above had a catalog value of $25 and got $450 in an auction from what I thought was a reputable auction house

If you look at some of their "products", it seems the only and main criteria is centering.

Post the image here and if the value is there check out the fees and use a company that has a certfication guarantee. Also if the stamp is non US better to have it expertized by a country specific body like BPP (Germany) COMEX (Spain) Greene (Canada) etc - many will give you a low cost evaluation before a costly certification.
Some philatelic online societies give free evaluations.

Don't use stamp dealers like Kenmore or Mystic

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spikeola
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21 Jan 2018
04:46:12pm
re: Certification

Thanks for all The great Information. Guess I have to just take my time and learn. I currently am just sorting, Identifying, cataloging and preserving. I will focus on that first and post anything I am having trouble with. Thanks again.

Michael

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51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
21 Jan 2018
05:11:50pm
re: Certification

Do not confuse ‘certification’ with ‘grading’; two completely different things.

Certifications are opinions and are used as a second opinion. The experts who cert a stamp are generally right but they do indeed make some mistakes at times. Additionally, certifications can ‘age’ poorly; it other words as technology and the knowledge based expand each years sometime this invalidates older certifications. A good cert will often go a long way when selling online since it gives buyers a bit more comfort that the stamp is identified and described correctly.

Graded stamps are highly controversial but are often attractive to investors (as opposed to collectors) since they are typically slabbed (encased in plastic) and command higher prices. But because grading stamp encourages the splitting up of large multiples blocks, many postal historians and those who care about our hobby hate them and feel they are responsible for destroying important, historically significant material. There are some folks who feel so strongly about this issue of graded stamps that they will not support any dealer or auction house that sells graded stamps.

Grading is also a difficult topic because there is no real standard across the hobby on what the grading terms or numeric values mean. What one catalog defines as XF another might define as Fine. Then add in the fact that there is a major software application which ‘grades’ stamp but ONLY on the centering of the stamp, the software ignores things like faults and gum condition. If anyone is getting into graded stamp they really should do a lot of discovery and be careful. A common stamp typically worth 10 cents can often be seen listed from $50 or more.
Don

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