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General Philatelic/Gen. Discussion : The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
29 May 2019
02:54:29pm
I thought I would start a "Hall of Shame" to show links to stamps being offered for sale that are nothing more than frauds. This will hopefully help collectors learn to avoid the fraudsters, and see and learn why what are called "rare" stamps are not.

Feel free to add to this thread if you run across any.

Here's the first one:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/George-Washington-2-cent-Red-Stamp-Rare/303170990755?hash=item46966632a3:g:i0sAAOSwOnBcybAr

This is a damaged stamp that is worthless. If you want one, they are very common and can be bought for just a few cents. Note that the fraudsters don't even identify the stamp with a catalog number. The only notation is that the stamp is supposedly "rare".

United States Scott #599, 2020 value = $0.25
Seller's price = $1,000.00

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
29 May 2019
03:11:02pm
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

Here is another one:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/George-Washington-Red-2-Cent-Stamp-Rare-Used-post-mark-but-still-valuable/123784891910?hash=item1cd2278e06:g:wJIAAOSwEShc2xKj

Note the out of focus and distant photograph. There's no way to identify this stamp if you wanted to. The seller certainly didn't ID the stamp, and I doubt wants you to either. Note the lack of philatelic intelligence with the statement, "used postmark but still valuable" in the title. In the item description, the seller states that the stamp has a cancel, but it is still Rare (bold is as the seller entered the description).

Seller's buy it now price = $999.00

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1938324
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29 May 2019
04:11:57pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

This is interesting. The 1st person (kayraven92) has 0 Feedback. The 2nd person (978lindadiianni has 867 Feedback. All Positive. How can this be? The 3rd person (toshe_) has 0 Feedback, and has only been Selling on Ebay since April 19. What if we drive these people nuts with 2 cent Bids, increasing to 4 cents, and so on?

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StampCollector
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29 May 2019
04:18:27pm
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

This is a great idea. And after looking at all three links the fact that two of them show (0) after
the user name should be enough to steer clear of these listings.
I've seen enough of such listings and always wonder if people actually do fall for these type of scams.


Moderator Note: The "third link" referenced in this reply has been deleted. The seller did the right thing, and reduced the starting bid for the stamp to a reasonable amount, and no longer resides in the Philatelic Hall of Shame. Some sellers do correct their mistakes. MG

(Modified by Moderator on 2019-06-04 14:50:37)

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Cactusjack
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29 May 2019
04:39:07pm

Auctions
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

Not only are these people asking astronomical prices for the stamps but they add shipping costs as well. You would think that they could afford free shipping for those prices.

Jim

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philb
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29 May 2019
04:54:05pm

Auctions
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

Years ago a fellow had a scott international album on ebay for ten thousand dollars, i merely asked him what made him think the album was worth 10 thousand and he called me every name in the book and then some. Oh well, i got over it.

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51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
29 May 2019
06:53:15pm
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

I developed a community project on Stamp Smarter about 5 years ago for ‘listing reviews’; it has about 2000 reviews. It is cross indexed so you can search by seller name, catalog number, etc. Additionally, for this Stamp Smarter community project we typically contacted the seller before the listing ended to see if they would be willing to improve/change the listing. Over time we found that about 66% of the contacted sellers were happy to either remove the listing or edit it.

Some lessons learned…
1. The sellers should be contacted before shaming anyone, this filters out those who might have simply made a mistake.
2. Screen captures should be include with each post; eBay removes listing after a period of time and any links go dead.
3. This thread could have legal implications. Libel laws apply so oversight is critical. It is fine to post ‘In my opinion this listing is incorrect’ but it is libel to post ‘this person is a crook’.
4. The thread title should be changed, just being included in a thread named ‘Hall of Shame’ could be problematic for the website owner.

But I agree that education is the only weapon in the war against fraud and deception. I am constantly amazed at hobbyists who will spend years learning stamps but spend no time learning who they are buying from.

eBay has brain-washed many people into thinking that 'feedback' is meaningful. eBay business model includes getting people to forget common sense and buy something sight unseen. To do this, they have established a meaningless feedback system meant only to improve their profits. It is the fox watching the henhouse.

eBay scammers have 40-50+ accounts, so it is easy to build positive feedbacks. Additionally and even scarier is that anyone can go buy existing high feedback eBay accounts. So next time you think to yourself, 'this person has a great feedback score so I can buy with confidence' remember that the seller could be a convicted felon who just purchased the account this afternoon.

The flip side is also true. If I have a vendetta against a person, it is easy to make a large number of purchases with the intent of simply trashing their good feedback rating.

lastly, it is well documented that eBay will remove negative feedbacks for the largest accounts on request. Anyone who believes that a seller can make 100,000+ transactions without a single complaint clearly has never been in business. Even great sellers have bad transactions incusing those in which the seller was the one who was in the wrong. Whitewashing these feedbacks invalidates the entire feedback system.

Don

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Snick1946
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APS Life Member
29 May 2019
07:35:01pm
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

Phil, I think I also contacted him, as I recall he lived in Utah.

I don't think he was a scammer, just an incredibly arrogant guy who felt contempt for anyone who didn't think what he had to offer was wonderful. The album and the stamps were really ratty. He proudly told me he'd gone through the entire collection with a catalog, added up the values and that's how he arrived at his asking price. Clearly he thought I was trying to scam him and get his treasure for nothing. I wound up telling him to go ahead, you won't sell this for hundreds let alone what you're asking.It was a hoot to see him relist it lower and lower, last I saw it was close to $100 starting still with no bidders.

He shared something with the sellers linked to here. He looked to be an amateur collectible dealer selling stuff he finds at estate and garage sales. Somehow these guys never can figure out that stamps are different than selling advertising memorabilia.

His last message to me was something like 'have fun playing with little pieces of paper'. Then again he might not have been the same guy, lots of them out there.

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lemaven
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29 May 2019
08:07:58pm
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

Take a look on Kijiji as well, usually full of common items astronomically priced.

I often email the person with something like "I saw you selling a 2c Red Washington for $1,000. I have 4 of the same stamp. I'll sell them to you for just $500 each and you can double your money. I'll even cover the shipping cost. Please let me know how many you want so I can give you my PayPal account info to transfer the money".

Lots of fun responses generally follow...

Cheers, Dave.

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1938324
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30 May 2019
03:42:23pm

Auctions - Approvals
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

Not to beat this subject to death, but did you notice that none of these 3 Sellers accepts returns. Cute.

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StampCollector
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30 May 2019
07:29:27pm
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

Here's another one.
TUAAOSwQKdcy-aO>https://www.ebay.com/itm/Very-rare-1-cent-1902-series-green-Franklin-it-has-11-horizontal-perf/163709632156?hash=item261ddabe9c:gSmugTUAAOSwQKdcy-aO


(Modified by Moderator on 2019-06-02 06:46:32)

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Snick1946
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01 Jun 2019
09:34:31pm
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Scott-564B-NEW-DISCOVERY-UNLISTED-12C-CLEVELAND-PAIR/273841426483?hash=item3fc2389033:g:V8YAAOSwplNc1i5o

Well this guy is a real pathfinder. He's listing a used pair of what he styles Scott 564b, apparently there is no such number in Scott, but.. he has discovered one. He goes into some detail about his find and is offering you a chance to own the only example of this stamp. I'd find all this more credible if he wasn't clearly a junk peddler.

I think I've found a new pastime. Go to any Ebay stamp category- Us seems best- filter for highest first and you'll see a ton of this stuff.


(Modified by Moderator on 2019-06-02 06:45:54)

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
02 Jun 2019
01:10:05am
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

I wouldn't find anything credible about any of these stamps being offered for sale like this.

What does a true stamp collector do when they think they have made a discovery? Ask questions to see what others think, then they ship it off for a certificate. None of these rare stamps and finds have anything close to a certificate, but you will find the once in a while dupe who bought a fake stamp for $10,000.

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
02 Jun 2019
06:49:49am
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

Sellers like this have been with us forever and really more interested in who would buy it.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
02 Jun 2019
10:23:29pm
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

A quick search on Ebay shows at least 38 listings where the seller claims the stamp to be US Scott #596 (and #594).

That's pretty good, considering only 15 of #596 are known to exist. Most of the 15 have a Kansas City, MO pre-cancel, yet one of the listings has a different pre-cancel. #596 is a sheet stamp, but at least one seller's image of the stamp shows a coil.

Of course none of the listings include notice that the seller has a certificate of authenticity.

....sigh...

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
02 Jun 2019
10:33:08pm
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

Here's one that the seller calls a "machine slashed error" of a common modern stamp. The seller provides a regular copy of the stamp to show comparison for the error.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/error-machine-slashed-5-cent-Washington-Issue/202483336385?hash=item2f24f284c1:g:S2oAAOSwufpb1LXP

You decide.

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ikeyPikey
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04 Jun 2019
01:51:54pm
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

Quote:

"Some lessons learned…
1. The sellers should be contacted before shaming anyone, this filters out those who might have simply made a mistake.
2. Screen captures should be include with each post; eBay removes listing after a period of time and any links go dead.
3. This thread could have legal implications. Libel laws apply so oversight is critical. It is fine to post ‘In my opinion this listing is incorrect’ but it is libel to post ‘this person is a crook’.
4. The thread title should be changed, just being included in a thread named ‘Hall of Shame’ could be problematic for the website owner."



Re Don's #3 & #4, see the surprising Modern Forgeries article on p840-847 in The American Philatelist (Sept 2018), wherein the out-of-business company whose source materials have been misappropriated is named, and one dead guy is named, and numerous other parties go by such monikers as "yet another online vendor", "the auctioneer", "the consignor", etc.

And, yes, the links expire, so screen shots (the Snipping Tool in Win10 is easy, and works well) should accompany the links.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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youpiao
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12 Jun 2019
04:25:01am
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

It would be more helpful to post screenshots of the listings, rather than links. As noted earlier, one of the linked listings was revised, and, if you want this thread to be a useful resource for members, links will be dead after 3 months.

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
12 Jun 2019
07:22:30am
re: The Philatelic Hall of Shame - Caveat Emptor!

I agree that these "shame" images should be posted directly and what is not correct iis noted for long term educational purposes.

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