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Discussion - Member to Member Sales - Research Center
Stamporama Anniversary
The Stamp Club for People Who Love Stamps
Discussion - Member to Member Sales - Research Center

What we collect!
What we collect!

Approval Books Rules and Guidelines


Table of Contents


Rules For Buyers

Rules For Sellers

Other Applicable Rules

Automatic Approval Book Closure

Suggestions For Better Sales


The electronic approval books sales platform is unique to Stamporama. It is intended to provide members with the opportunity to sell stamps using an approval book-style process. Buying from approval books permits members to quickly obtain large numbers of stamps to add to their collections at prices usually much lower than elsewhere.

Buying and/or selling through the Approval Books sales platform is an acknowledgement that the rules relating to the approval books have been read and are understood.

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A. Rules For Buyers

A1. Purchasing a stamp from an approval book creates an agreement between the buyer and seller that the buyer will pay for the purchase no matter how large or how small based on the seller's terms and conditions and these rules.

A2. Buyers must pay for their purchases within 5 business days of receipt of an invoice from the seller. Buyers must notify the seller regarding any delay in payment.

A3. Buyers who have not received an invoice within 5 business days of completing purchases with a seller must contact the seller to request that an invoice be sent.

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B. Rules For Sellers

B1a. There are three types of approval books that must contain the following minimum items:

  • Standard Book: requires a minimum of 100 items, mostly single stamps
  • High Value Book ($$$): requires minimum 20 items with a minimum price of $3.00 for each item
  • Large Items Book: requires minimum 20 items (can be alone or in combination), such as covers, souvenir sheets. minitaure sheets, sets, blocks, multiples, and may include single stamps as long as those are not the main focus of the book

B1b. High Value Books ($$$) are required to comply with the following minimum requirements:

  • contain only single stamps (postal stationary is fine) and/or complete sets
  • have at least 20 items per book
  • contain philatelic items with a $3.00 minimum selling price
  • not contain bulk lots of single stamps
  • identify each item by catalog number
  • provide a citation of the catalog used, and the catalog year of publication
  • not contain damaged, altered, fake, counterfeit, etc. items

B1c.The use of an index on page 1 of an approval book, while not a requirement is recommended, especially for High Value Approval Books, and books containing multiple countries or topics.

B2. All items in any approval book must be directly related to philately and be in the chosen approval book category. World-wide and other non-listed categories must be posted in the "World Wide" category, and must be neatly arranged by country and/or topic.

B3. Each item must be identified by number. The number must be positioned so that it is clearly visible and does not overlap any other item. Numbers should preferably be located on the left side of or directly underneath the item to which it relates.

B4. Multiple copies of an item are limited to three, except for offerings such as: collectible cancellation types, pre-cancels, color shades, etc., and must be placed together on the same page.


B5. All items must include an image of the actual item being offered for sale. Representative images are not permitted.

B6. Stamps with defects must be identified by entering the word "Damaged" in the description. This includes repairs, thins, creases, pulled or torn perforations, scuffs, tears, stains, extraneous writing or markings in ink or marker (other than owner/authentication marks), etc. Defective items are not permitted in High Value ($$$) Books.

B7. Bogus, fake, forged, counterfeit, reprinted, repaired or altered stamps may be listed only for sale in Standard and Large Items books, and must be so identified. Describing a stamp as "counterfeit?" or "reperfed?", etc. is permitted when a seller is uncertain whether a stamp is genuine.

B8. Relying on authentication marks to list the stamp as genuine without an accompanying certification from a recognized authority is not permitted.

B9. Listing bogus, fake, forged, counterfeit, repaired or altered stamps as genuine is prohibited.

B10. The Auctioneer may grant a waiver for approval books when a limited selection makes the minimum item requirement rule unreasonable. Sellers must contact the Auctioneer to request the waiver, and a waiver must be granted, before the approval book is posted.

B11. Approval books that are not compliant with the rules are subject to closure without prior notice.

B12. Sellers must ship purchases within 5 business days of receiving payment. Sellers must notify the buyer regarding any delay in shipping.

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C. Other Applicable Rules


C1a. Members who can legally enter into a contract may purchase items in approval books.

C1b. Members must keep their profile information current.

C1c. Buyers and sellers must respond to communications from the other party and/or the Auctioneer as relates to the transaction including, but not limited to: invoicing, payment, shipment and receipt of purchases.

C1d. All transactions are conducted in United States Dollars. Sellers may accept payment in other currencies. Buyers should contact the seller regarding payment in other than United States funds.

C1e. Sellers and buyers may mutually agree to alter the terms and conditions of any purchase. However, unless mutually agreed upon in writing (private messages are acceptable) by both parties, the changes are not valid, and no assumption may be made by either party that the other agreed to the changes.

C1f. Stamporama’s role in the approval books is limited to providing a venue to facilitate buying and selling philatelic material. Stamporama assumes no liability, and does not guarantee any action or promise of action of buyers and sellers. Members using Stamporama's approval books agree to hold Stamporama and The Management Team harmless in all disputes that may arise between a buyer and seller.

C1g. Approval books found non-compliant with the rules may be sumarily closed at any time and without advance notice to the seller.


C2a. Sellers must create their payment and shipping terms. Unless listed as optional, the terms must include, at a minimum, the following information: 

  • Payment methods accepted or excluded 
  • Shipping methods (optional) 
  • Shipping costs, including any ancillary shipping services offered 
  • Countries/areas excluded from sales (optional) 
  • Refund policy (optional) 
  • Any terms and conditions of sale that are different from those in the rules and procedures

C2b. If an approval book description does not include shipping terms, the seller must abide by the default terms stated below:

  • Postage charged to the buyer must be the exact cost of shipping the purchase from the seller to the buyer
  • No other fees may be charged to the buyer


C3a. The following listing practices are considered unacceptable:

  • Item offered for sale is not related to stamp collecting
  • Item offered for sale is also offered for sale elsewhere
  • Item improperly identified or described
  • Seller claims that item being offered for sale has an authentication certificate but does not provide a clear and readable image of the certificate, or the certificate is not from a recognized and competent authority
  • Image not provided, or poorly created (representative, too dark, out of focus, too small, improperly cropped, etc.)
  • Description contains comparative or superlative language ("scarce", "rare", "nice", "beautiful", etc.)
  • Description contains references to future value or investment potential
  • Items are not priced competitively compared to pricing of similar material for sale by others
  • Shipping and/or handling fees are excessive
  • Item contains information about and/or links to, other websites or outside promotions of internet auctions or sales

C4. Disputes

C4a. Buyers and sellers may file a dispute against the other party to a purchase for reasons such as non-shipment, item not as described, and non-payment. All disputes must be sent to the Auctioneer via Private Message, and should provide as much information as possible regarding the transaction and the problems associated with it. Posting complaints about a specific buyer or seller on the Discussion Boards is prohibited.

C4b. The Auctioneer shall be the final arbitrator in all disputes arising in the approval book sales platform. Participation in the sales platform indicates acceptance of the Auctioneer's authority to settle all disputes.

The Auctioneer may, without limitation:

  • Negotiate a settlement different from the terms listed in an approval book or as agreed upon in writing by the buyer and seller
  • Declare a purchase null and void
  • Suspend buying and selling privileges
  • Recommend that a membership be terminated

C4c. An Assistant Auctioneer and the Management Team's Ombudsman may act as arbitrator in any dispute at the request of the Auctioneer, and shall have the same authority as the Auctioneer.

C4d. In the event the Auctioneer is a party to a dispute, an Assistant Auctioneer or the Ombudsman, if not also a party to a dispute, shall assume the role of arbitrator.

C4e. The Auctioneer’s involvement in disputes is for the sole purpose of maintaining the integrity of the sales platforms. The Auctioneer does not act as a debt collector. The Auctioneer may attempt to mediate an acceptable resolution to disputes providing that the dispute is filed no later than 30 calendar days from date that the original invoice was issued. There is no guarantee, stated or implied, of a satisfactory resolution to any dispute. There also is no guarantee that a dispute will be accepted by the Auctioneer, especially if either or both parties varied from the rules and procedures.

C4f. A buyer filing a dispute that involved payment by personal check or through PayPal should file non-receipt disputes with PayPal or stop payment on the check when the seller does not or refuses to ship the items that were purchased and paid for. These actions are subject to the rules of PayPal or the buyer's financial institution, and are independent of any investigation conducted by Stamporama. The buyer must notify the Auctioneer when this action has been taken.

C5. Sanctions

Stamporama strives to maintain quality sales platforms for its members to buy and sell philatelic items. The cooperation of the members using the sales platforms is paramount to maintaining that quality. Members violating rules may be subject to sanctions as determined appropriate by the Stamporama Auctioneer and/or the Management Team. Note that the Sanctions are progressive, but may be escalated depending on the severity of the violation(s).

Sanctions imposed are:

  • seller's item(s) closed
  • access to sales platforms suspended for 6 months
  • access to sales platforms permanently suspended
  • expulsion from Stamporama

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D. Automatic Approval Book Closure

When 60 days pass without a sale from an approval book that is in "Open" status, the system places the book on the "Closing Soon" list. The seller receives a message that the book will be closed by the system in 15 days from the notification date.

When an approval book is in "Closing Soon" status, it remains there until it is closed. If 15 days pass without a sale from the book, the book is closed. If there are sales from the book at any time during the 15 day period, the book remains active, and the 15 day countdown starts over. The book is finally closed when no sales occur from the book within a 15 day period.

An approval book remains active, 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 book's status. Eventually every book is closed when interest in the book wanes.

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E. Suggestions For Better Sales

The following is a short list of suggestions to help sellers achieve better sales, and offer buyers a better experience when viewing approval books.

  • create books that are neatly organized
  • offer stamps that are different from those others are selling
  • make approval book titles specific and describe the contents of the books
  • limit, or, better yet, do not include damaged stamps that are of low catalog value
  • price damaged stamps less than sound stamps
  • make sure every stamp is fully visible, and not covered by part of another stamp or item number
  • include the catalog number and/or year of issue, as many buyers appreciate this
  • reduce the price of the stamps in an under-performing approval book
  • announce new approval books by posting a classified ad in the Discussion Board

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This page was last updated on August 7, 2020


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