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Canada/Other : Are they crazy?

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Harvey
I think, therefore I am - I think!
29 Mar 2021
05:47:06pm
I noticed someone on E-Bay selling a NS bisect that wasn't tied to a piece or cover. They wanted a huge price (over $1000) for a stamp that might be a regular issue chopped in two. The seller must be insane, or he's hoping a potential buyer is. Is there any way to tell if this is an actual bisect by looking at the cut? It is used but without a cover to tie it to the stamp seems useless to me. Any comment on whether the stamp has any actual value? I would say that it is just a hugely damaged stamp with little value!
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jmh67
30 Mar 2021
03:02:56am
re: Are they crazy?

I've thought about the question of bisects being genuine or not, but I don't believe there is a reliable criterion. There are too many variables and contrary effects. It may be possible under very favorable circumstances to tell from a postmark or manuscript cancel that crosses the cut edge whether the stamp was cut before or after marking. But in particular if the ink has soaked into the paper (and on older stamps it usually did), or if the cancel is light or has been applied in the "wrong" direction, this does not help at all. In short, I agree that bisected stamps should at least be on piece, and tied to the latter properly.

Perhaps inform the seller politely that the offer is at least very doubtful?

-jmh




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StampCollector
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30 Mar 2021
12:43:53pm
re: Are they crazy?

If you do, good luck getting a reply to your question.

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pigdoc
31 Mar 2021
10:31:42am
re: Are they crazy?

My experience is limited to the DWI 4c bisect that was used for only about 4 months in early 1903 to remedy the shortage of stamps to cover the official reduction in the local rate from 3c to 2c. An interesting aspect of this use was that there was a rule that senders could not simply deposit a letter in a box for posting with a bisected stamp attached. These had to be passed across a counter at a post office for cancellation. However, in practice, this rule was ignored, and this led to some unusual usages and cancellations arising from commercial, non-philatelic use (see below).

Bisects of this issue on cover are fairly common. In fact, today, they are The Most common DWI cover. But, the vast majority of these are philatelic, not commercial, or genuine postally used. There is also evidence that individual collectors created many of these covers, presumably on speculation. And, in that context, it would be a very poor decision by anyone to soak that bisect off its cover (or piece). Because the 'tie' is what validates the official use of a bisect! Any attestation to the contrary would be suspect.

Particularly in the earliest part of the allowed period-of-use, the vast majority of cancellations were favor cancellations for collectors. There was initial frenzy in creating these covers, in fact 8% of all bisected stamps were cancelled on the official first day of issue (January 20)! And, 18% of all bisected stamps were cancelled on the next day! After some time, collectors' frenzy died down, and genuine postally used examples became a bit more common, relatively speaking. These are much more valuable to postal historians.

The point is, that if you're interested in collecting a bisected stamp for its significance in the Grand Scheme of Things, do the research to understand the conditions of its use and then use that to guide your purchase decision. If you're just wanting to fill a space, it doesn't really matter much, I guess...

In collecting the DWI 4c bisect, I'm looking for the most extreme rarity. This would be a bisect of a single, identifiable plate position (#51) which has an inverted frame, AND a streak of misplaced color that enables it to be plated. (It must be remembered that the "inverted frame" was not even discovered until long after the use of the bicolored stamps was discontinued!)

There is also a situation where bisects on covers were cancelled with receiver cancellations at some POs BEFORE the official first day of use at those POs. (The first day of use varied across the various POs.) It is generally recognized from the circumstances, that these were not philatelic covers.

-Paul




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Bobstamp
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31 Mar 2021
11:27:51pm
re: Are they crazy?

If I ever decide to collect Danish West Indies stamps, Pigdoc will be my guru!

I'd like to add this: The seller of that bisect may just be ignorant, an uninterested in learning more. He may assume that he has a very valuable stamp and just wishes to help out some collector who, he may not realize, is equally ignorant.

Early on, when I first got back into collecting, I learned two important things:

• Stamps tied to a cover can provide some assurance that they are not forgeries. But not complete assurance: several years ago my stamp club, the British Columbia Philatelic Society, hosted a speaker who is an expert on forgeries, and has been called as a crown witness in forgery trials. He told us about suspicious Canadian covers that were being sold on eBay. He tracked down the seller, who turned out to be a teacher who was creating the covers at home, using old blank envelopes and his computer to create very realistic, "postally used" covers. He probably wasn't a criminal as such, but just a guy who was fairly talented as a "digital artist" and was more interested in creating his "art" than in making big bucks from it. After our speaker explained the facts of life to him, he promised to stop trying to sell his covers. Did he? I have no idea. As an earlier post mentions, however, most legitimate covers that are franked with "oddball" stamps are probably philatelic. That's certainly true of the occupation stamps printed by the Germans for use in the Channel Islands, nearly all of which were used domestically by collectors mailing them to themselves or to other collectors. It's unusual to find legitimately used Channel Islands covers from that period. See Channel Islands at War) for links to several web pages.

• The first stamp album I bought (as an adult), for Canadian stamps, wanted me to collecting coil singles. My next album, for U.S. stamps, had spaces for pairs of coil stamps, which is the only "foolproof" way to collect them. That's because many stamps issued in sheets have also been available as coils. A regular stamp with wide margins can easily be trimmed to make it look like a coil single.

There's nothing like a little knowledge to help a stamp collector build a decent collection and avoid wasting money.

Bob




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snowy12
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07 Jul 2021
03:53:03am

Auctions
re: Are they crazy?

Not quite the same ,but this US eBayer seller has these two Indonesian Interim Period stamps for sale ,he quotes Scott's numbers for both but his price is 5 x what Scott's has in their catalogue.Go figure!!!
Brian

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banknoteguy
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07 Jul 2021
07:58:43am
re: Are they crazy?

On eBay it has always been a "caveat emptor" situation. There are always many, many scams or outright frauds being offered up everyday.

There are things a smart buyer should think about before bidding/buying on eBay:

1) Does the seller offer returns? (even if they don't you can generally force them to accept a return if you pay via Paypal). Offering to accept returns is a mark of an honest seller.
2) Is this a too good to be true situation? If so, something is likely wrong. Pass.
3) Is this a private auction (bidders not identifed)? Pass, easier to manipulate.
4) Does the seller have a lot of positive feedback? (This can be faked but is pretty hard to fake a massive amount)

Finally eBay does not care what sellers sell (except in a few very specific instances), they just want their cut. For example, eBay does not care if sellers are selling outright forgeries of practically anything -- coins, stamps, etc. I know this because I have been involved in trying get eBay to stop listing Chinese fake coins. eBay decided they could not police such things and do not even try now.

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Harvey
I think, therefore I am - I think!
07 Jul 2021
07:58:56am
re: Are they crazy?

It's quite common to see the same stamp with prices ranging from a couple dollars to a couple hundred with no apparent difference in the quality of the stamps. It's also common to see outrageous shipping prices. No consistency whatsoever!

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