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Stamporama Approvals User Guide

If you have been to a stamp club meeting you may be aware of the approval books that are circulated by the American Philatelic Society.  They are usually focused on a theme or a geographic area and have a number of pages with stamps, from which you can select and purchase.  The Stamporama Approvals system works in exactly the same way.  Stamporama Members can create a Book and can add as many Pages to the Book as they wish.  Some standard Page Templates are provided on the Stamporama website, but sellers don't have to use them, they can use their own template or folio sheets or even stock book pages, as long as the stamps on each page are numbered from 1 to n (being the total number of stamps on the Page).  Item numbering on each Page always starts at 1.

For questions or problems relating to the approval books, the following people are available to assist you:

Technical problems:

Webmaster, Tim Auld (auldstampguy): email - auldstampguy@gmail.com

Auction/Approvals: Oversight, Rules, Administration, Disputes, Non-Payment or Non-Receipt of Purchase:

Auctioneer, Michael Generali (michael78651): Oversees and coordinates operations and compliance of all sales platforms (Auctions, Approvals, Classified Ads). Primary contact for questions and issues related to the sales platforms. email - michael78651@gmail.com

Back-Up Auctioneer, David Teisler (amsd): Assists the Auctioneer with oversight of the sales platforms. Secondary contact for questions and issues related to the sales platforms.

Assistant Sales Platform Moderator, Antonio Len-Rios (smauggie): Assists the Auctioneer with oversight of auctions and approvals.

Ombudsman, Daniel Cohen (dani20): Assists the Auctioneer as needed and/or required.


This User Guide will cover the following topics:

General Navigation

The Stamporama Approvals system has been designed so that it follows the navigation design used in the Stamporama Auction. 

General Navigation

Figure 1: General Navigation and Categories

In Figure 1 you see the top navigation bar which includes the common functions from the Auction such as Search, Show Categories, and the Sellers and Buyers dropdown menus which hold the common functions for selling and buying items.

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Approval Books are grouped in Categories. In Figure 1 above you see a screen shot of some of the Categories that are available in the system.  You will note that these Categories largely follow the Categories used in the Auction.  One difference between the Auction and the Approval Books is that the Approval Books can be placed in only one Category, whereas the Auction allows Auction Lots to be placed in multiple Categories.  

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The Book List

Clicking on one of the Categories (see Figure 1) will bring you to the Book List.

The Book List

Figure 2: The Book List

The Book List gives you important information about the Books available for you to browse. Clicking on a Book Description will take you to the Cover Page of the Book, which will give you information about the Book and the Terms and Conditions that are set by the Seller.  It is important that you are familiar with the Terms and Conditions under which the Seller offers the material.  The Stamporama Approvals assume the same general participation rules and terms of sale as the Stamporama Auction. If you are unfamiliar with the participation rules click here.

You can sort the columns of the Book List by clicking on the column headings. You can change the direction of the sort by clicking the heading a second time.

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Purchasing Stamps from a Book

As you browse through a Book you will move from the Cover Page through the Pages of Stamps or Covers that the Seller is offering for sale.  The pages are either from the standard templates or they have been custom created by the seller.  Either is fine, there are many ways to create the pages.  Stamps on each Page are numbered from 1 to n, where n is the highest numbered stamp on the page.

Stamps on the Page - part 1

Figure 3: Stamps on the Page - Part 1


Stamps on the Page - Part 2

Figure 4 - Stamps on the Page - Part 2

In Figure 3 you see an example of a Page in one of the Books. Please note: all stamps on a Page are offered at the same price. The cost for each item on the Page can be seen at the top of Figure 3. The system is setup so that prices per stamp may vary from Page to Page, but the same price will always apply to all stamps on the same Page. 

In Figure 4 you see the Purchase Buttons that are displayed below the page of stamps.  The Purchase Buttons correspond to the numbered position on the Page.  If you wish to purchase item number 34, you click on the button labeled "Purchase #34". When you click on the purchase button you will be committed to purchase the item, just like you are in the Auction. If you have setup in your membership profile that you want to be asked to confirm before you are committed to buy (see figure 4a), then when you press one of the purchase button, you will be asked to confirm that you want to buy that item before you are committed.  If you did not set your membership profile  to confirm purchases, or if you are not sure you want to purchase the item, DON'T CLICK ON THE PURCHASE BUTTON.

Request Confirmation before applying bid

Figure 4a: Request Confirmation flag in Members Profile

Also in Figure 4, you can see that a few of the numbered positions have been sold.  This is how the screen will appear after you click on the Purchase Button.

When you purchase items from a Page the items are sent to the Stamporama Invoicing system where they are grouped together with any Auction Lots that have been won.  When the seller is creating an invoice, items from the Approval Books will appear in the list of lots that can be combined on an invoice.  As a buyer you can expect to see Auction Lots and Approval Books items on the same invoice.

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Creating a New Book

The process by which you create a new Book is very similar to the way you post a new lot in the Auction.  On the Stamporama Approvals home page, under the Sellers dropdown menu you will see "Add a Book".

Add a Book

Figure 5: The Add a Book menu option


On selecting "Add a Book" you will be shown the Add a Book screen as shown in Figure 6.

Add a New Book

Figure 6: The Add a New Book screen

In the Add a New Book screen you will enter the Description or Title of the Book and you will select the Category that the book will be placed in.  One difference between the Approvals and the Auction is that the Books in the Approvals can only be placed in one Category.  Once you have entered the Description and selected the Category, press the "Next-Add First Page" button to start the process to add your first page.

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Add a New Page

You can add a new Page from the Create a New Book process as described above, or from the Edit/View a book option which will be discussed later in this User Guide.

Add a New Page - Screen 1

Figure 7: Add a New Page - Screen 1

There are three screens involved in the Add a Page process:

  1. The first screen where you enter the basic information about the Page; the Page Description, the number of stamps/items on the Page, and the Cost Per Item on the Page.  Please note: every item on the page has the same cost or price. See Figure 7.  The Page Description is optional and may be left blank while the Number of Items on the Page and the Cost Per Item are required fields.
  2. On the second screen you will be asked to upload the image of the page of stamps. This works just like the Auction Lot posting process
  3. The third screen is the confirmation screen.  On this screen you can deactivate cells on the Page if you are using a pre-numbered template and you have a stamp that takes up more than one cell on the Page.  If you find that you have unused numbers at the bottom of the page for any reason, you can deactivate them so that people can't accidentally try to purchase an item that isn't on the Page.


When you have finished entering the data on this screen, press the Next Button to go to the File Upload screen.

File Upload Screen

Figure 8 - Add a New Page - Screen 2 - Upload the picture of the page of stamps

Please Note: do not use the Back Page button in your browser to go back to the previous page to correct something that you have entered incorrectly. If you do, the initial page that you started will be left as an inactive page and the page that you are working on will be created as a new Page.  The result will be, for example, that the first Page in your Book will be created as page 2 because page 1 is left as an inactive page.

After you have uploaded the image file for the page of stamps, you will see the Confirmation Page:

Top of Confirmation screen

Figure 9 - Add a New Page - Screen 3 - Page Description and Cost of Each Item


List of Items on the Page

Figure 10 - Add a New Page - Screen 3 - Items on the Page


Process Buttons

Figure 11 - Add a New Page - Screen 3 - Add General Comments

In Figure 9 above, you see the Description of the Page along with the Cost Per Item on the Page.  Figure 10 shows the Items on the Page.  In this example we selected a page with 50 Items on the Page.  Note: each item can be disabled if needed.  To the left of the Enable/Disable button is the Item Description field where you can add information for each item, such as condition, or hidden faults.  Figure 11 shows the General Comment field where you can add any general comments about the Page, and at the bottom you have the process buttons.  If you press Save, the changes you made to the Page will be saved and the Page will be activated. If you press Save and Start Next Page, your changes will be saved, the Page will be activated and you will be taken to the first screen again where you can start adding another Page. The information entered for the previous page will carry over to the next page to give you a quick start to creating the next page.

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Edit/View Books - My Book List

To see the list of Books that you have created select the Edit/View Books function under the Sellers dropdown menu.

My Book List

Figure 12: Edit/View Books Menu Selection


The My Book List screen (shown in Figure 13) displays all the Books that you have created. The Book Number on the left uniquely identifies the Book within the system.  It is very useful when you are tracking back to a page in a book from the invoice system. When you purchase an Item from a Page, a record is created in the Invoicing system.  The item that has been purchased is identified by Book Number, Page Number and Item Number within the Page.  If you are the seller and need to come back to the Book to look at the items on the Page, one way is to come back to the My Book List and look it up starting with the Book Number.

My Book List

Figure 13: My Book List

Clicking on the Book Description in Column 2 will take you to the Edit a Book screen. The Page column is the number of pages in the Book. Last Added is the date and time that a page was last added or modified.  The Status can be Active, Inactive or Retired.  Only Active Books are shown to potential buyers.  A Book is Inactive if you are still working on it and so haven't changed the Status to Active. Retired status is where you have decided to take the Book out of circulation because most of the stamps have sold or you just don't what it available anymore but want to keep it grouped separately from the Inactive Books.  You can permanently delete a book from the Edit a Book screen.

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Edit a Book

The Edit a Book screen is accessed from the My Book List screen.  The screen is shown in Figure 14.

Edit A Book

Figure 14: Edit A Book

In the Edit a Book screen you can change the Description or Title of the Book, you can change the Category that the Book is in and you can change the status of the Book.  To make the Book visible to other members you have to change the Status of the Book to Active. Pressing the Edit Pages button will step you through each Page in the Book allowing you to edit each Page.  Pressing Add a Page will take you through the process of adding pages to the Book.  It is the same process that the Add a Book process took you through. Preview a Book will let you see the Book just as buyer will see it.  Delete Book will delete the Book completely from the system.  There is a confirmation required on the deletion request, but be careful because you will not be able to recover the Book if you delete it.

Please note: The model of Stamporama Approvals are the APS circuit books. We have no minimum page limit, but books should offer a substantial selection of stamps in the chosen area. Please use your best judgement. Do not clutter the system with books containing only a handful of stamps. Also, please make sure that all stamps are uniquely numbered on your pages before activating your book.

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Edit a Page

When you click on the Edit Pages button in the Edit a Book screen you will be taken to the Edit a Page screen. You can navigate forward and backward through the pages in the Book by pressing the Next and Prev buttons found on the left hand and right hand side of the screen. The figures 15 & 16 show the Edit a Page screen.

Edit a Page - Part 1

Figure 15: Edit a Page - Part 1


Edit a Page - Part 2

Figure 16: Edit a Page - Part 2

Figures 15 & 16 are taken from a page created by one of our members (rrraphy).  As shown in Figure 15, the screen gives you the ability to change the Page Description, the Cost Per Item (all items on the page have the same cost) and the address to the image file for the picture of the page of stamps.  If you want to upload a new image, press the Upload button on the right of the Page of Stamps Picture line.  Figure 16 shows how you enable/disable items on the page.  In the text box to the right of the Item Number you can enter any information that pertains specifically to the stamp in that position.  In the General Comments you can enter any information that applies to the whole page.

When made a mistake with the number of items on the page and you need to add more Items, you can use the Add Items to Page button.  If you make a mistake and added too many items on the Page, you can't delete them, but you can inactivate them.

In Figure 16 you can also see the Delete Page and Change Page Number buttons.  These pages will only be visible if there are no sold items on the Page.  The Change Page Number button can be used in the situation where you have deleted a page and have create a new page that you want to reposition as the deleted page in the list of pages in the Book.

Please Note:

  1. If when you were initially creating the Page you pressed the Back Page button on your browser from the Upload Image screen, the Page that you were creating will be left as an inactive page and the page that you thought was going to be the first page will be created as the second page.

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Automatic Approval Book Closure

When there has not been a sale from an approval book in 60 days, the book is automatically identified by the system and placed on the "Closing Soon" list. The list is viewable from the menu bar in the Approval Books Section. The seller receives a message that the book will be closed by the system in 15 days from the notification date. If desired, a seller may place the stamps on sale to try to generate sales, manually inactivate the book to make changes to it, create a new book using the remaining stamps, etc.. When an approval book has been placed on the "Closing Soon" list it remains there until it is closed. If there are no further sales from the book, it will be closed in 15 days. If there are sales from the book after it was placed on the Closing Soon list, the book will be closed 15 days after the last sale in order to give more time for the seller to obtain some additonal sales from the book.

There are two time frames in place:

1. The 60 day countdown starts when a new approval book is posted, and restarts after each sale is made from an open approval book.

2. When 60 days elapse without a sale from the approval book, the book status is changed to "Closing Soon".

3. The 15 day countdown starts when an approval book is moved to "Closing Soon" status, and restarts after each sale is made from an approval book in "Closing Soon" status.

4. When 15 days elapse without a sale from the approval book, the book is closed.

An approval book will remain open, regardless of whether it is in open or "Closing Soon" status as long as there are sales from the book within the time frames related to the approval book's status. Eventually all books will "time out" as interest in the book wanes, or the book is sold out.

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Last updated December 16, 2017


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