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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Auction Disc. : Accurate descriptions

 

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..

14 Dec 2017
07:33:59pm
Since in recent discussions there has been an attempt to insure accurate descriptions of the items being offered in both, our auctions, as well as on the approval platform, I'd like to discuss the use of the word "Used" in the stamp's description.
First off, would be deciding what is meant by that term. To me, it implies that the stamp was affixed to some kind of envelope or parcel and posted in the mail stream, hopefully for prompt delivery.
Since we know that many, if not most, "CTOs" are now created in the printers plant during the printing process, I feel that that precludes being described as used.
That definition begs the question as to the status of "Favor Cancels". The most deceptive are the stamps with the cute corner cancellations on stamps that still retain their virginal undisturbed adhesive. I think they should never be described as "used" in an auction that requires, minor thins, hinge traces, pulled perfs and even tiny corner folds be disclosed to insure honesty.
I understand that once the gum is gone making the distinction may be simply a matter of personal opinion and bias.
So the floor is open for opinions.
Please start with your definition of "used" before offering an opine of other points.
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smauggie
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14 Dec 2017
07:49:40pm
re: Accurate descriptions

Hi Charlie,

I am the kind of person who likes to differentiate and specify things as accurately as possible.

That being said, and given the complexities of the term "used" you have brought up, I think that the term "used" must always be understood in the most broad sense as a stamp with a cancellation marking of some kind.

If buyers have questions about the type of cancel, they should contact the seller to get more details about the lot before bidding. Not all sellers will know the difference between an Australian KGV favor cancel and an Australian KGV CTO for example, and they are not required to.

Sellers are certainly free to be as descriptive as they like regarding their lot including the type of cancel featured. It is important though that the seller is correct in their identification. If the seller does not know, they should not guess. Of course as many do, they can certainly ask the community to assist in identification of a stamp or cancel.

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sheepshanks
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14 Dec 2017
08:14:06pm
re: Accurate descriptions

From, "The Language of Stamp Collecting" by David Rennie,

USED. A stamp with a cancellation confirming that it has been used for the purpose for which it was intended. If it has been used for some other authorised purpose the term will be modified to indicate this fact: for example "fiscally used" for a postage stamp used for fiscal purpose, or "postally used" for a fiscal used for postal purposes.
The term used will be further defined to describe the condition of the stamp and it's cancellation or postmark.

To me a FDC that does not have an address so therefore did not go through a complete postal system does not make a properly used stamp.
However in regard to Smauggie's point

" I think that the term "used" must always be understood in the most broad sense as a stamp with a cancellation marking of some kind."


This would also make those with Sharpie etc markings valid used stamps (which indeed they are, just not collectible). Not that we would include them in our collections unless otherwise a rarity.

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michael78651
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Moderator, MT Member

14 Dec 2017
08:21:08pm
re: Accurate descriptions

We actually have an article regarding descriptive terms for use in the sales arena. Here is the link:

https://stamporama.com/faq/faq.php?faq=descriptive-terms

I would like to hear more of user opinions relating to this subject. We do have plans to revise this article. So, you now have a chance to add your input for consideration.

Michael
Auctioneer

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14 Dec 2017
09:13:33pm
re: Accurate descriptions

First - I like the abbreviations - they are the ones I have been using since the mid-80's.

The advice is sound, and I don't think that the average member would have much trouble identifying how to describe a particular stamp. I gave up on the MH or MLH or MHR awhile back and list them all as MH. Light hinged is a matter of opinion and frankly a sliced early hinge left in place looks alot better to my eye than a messy back where the hinge has been removed. What is not acceptable is a visible "buckle" on the front of the stamp from over zealous licking. Soak it and press it and make it a MNG - it will look much better.

CTO's without gum can be difficult, and frankly I am not certain that "CTO" is needed for those countries where few collector's have ever seen a real cancellation. Also remember that not all CTO's are worth less than actual postal cancellations. Thinking here of the early Australian packs where CTO examples are sold at multiples of the catalog value for used.

I also feel that the vast majority of material sold here does not warrant spending the time required to search for bent perf tips, one perforation slightly shorter than others, a possible minute thin that is in all probability part of a watermark, and all the other things normally done when selling more expensive stamps.

Mind you I haven't put anything up for sale for awhile and don't intend to. But I do enjoy the discussion boards and I do make use of the fantastic treasure trove of knowledge both on the boards and in other sections of the website. It is a true treasure.

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roy
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14 Dec 2017
09:22:51pm
re: Accurate descriptions

I think we are getting carried away with all these suggested requirements for descriptions of stamps in the auction and approvals.

There are certain norms in the stamp business, and I do not think that we should be trying to redefine them.

If that is your definition of "used" and what you want to restrict yourself to, by all means, do so. You can see from the images if the stamp qualifies for your personal tastes.

However, Scott defines its prices in "Unused" and "used" columns (see the front of any Scott volume). Furthermore, in periods where the expected condition is Cancelled to Order, Scott makes the notation that prices are for CTO and "postally used copies are worth more". I am confident that Gibbons, Michel and others use similar definitions. Thus, a specific requirement to specify that a stamp in this period of listings is "CTO" is overkill.

As far as FDC's are concerned, the market has determined (by buyer's constant choices) that the preferred FDC is unaddressed. Might not appeal to you, and there are some people who prefer "travelled FDC's", but they are in the minority and can pick up most of their covers at bargain prices relative to the same cover unaddressed. (This excludes the more exotic area of FDCs that have been posted to international destinations with receiving backstamps).

I am much more concerned with the lack of competency displayed by the sellers that I have encountered recently on Stamporama. In one case, every one of 6 lots of "MNH" stamps had tropically toned gum that was not described.

Let's focus on requiring decent scans, and the things that can't be seen in even decent scans, and never mind the semantics of issues that the buyers can easily discern for themselves.

Roy

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roy
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14 Dec 2017
09:35:06pm
re: Accurate descriptions

"I gave up on the MH or MLH or MHR awhile back and list them all as MH. Light hinged is a matter of opinion"



I my opinion, this is an abdication of professional responsibility on the part of a seller who adopts this attitude. The seller's informed opinion is exactly what I want in a description. "Lightly hinged" is clearly defined in the introduction to the Scott catalogue. "Mint hinged" can cover a wide array of exact gum condition, but the market in general expects to be informed of the presence of a hinge remnant. I further use the term "Heavy hinge remnant" to describe those early hinges. Receiving a heavy hinge remnant on a stamp described as "MH", would be my last purchase from such a seller.

The goal of these terms is not to try to pigeon-hole the stamp, but to accurately communicate the condition so that the informed buyer has a clear idea of what he can expect, in the absence of a clear scan of the gum side.

Roy
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Richmond
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15 Dec 2017
05:41:29am
re: Accurate descriptions

Having followed the link I do take issue with continued use of the word MINT in descriptions.

As can be seen from the list MINT cuts across several descriptions. I really don't see the difficulty in abbreviating a stamp or stamps as MNH etc. it's only 3 letters as opposed to 4.

Regards


Richmond

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15 Dec 2017
05:53:59am
re: Accurate descriptions

"I further use the term "Heavy hinge remnant" to describe those early hinges. Receiving a heavy hinge remnant on a stamp described as "MH", would be my last purchase from such a seller."



Thank you Roy, I do understand that and I should have further clarified my comment. A mint stamp which would not normally fall into the MLH category is usually just soaked and pressed and sold as no gum (MNG). There are often thins under multiple hinge remnants or any of the various assortments of homemade paper hinges found on old collections (especially the older collections from abroad in albums ending in the 1920's). I want to be the one surprised - not my customer.

A good customer of mine returned a rather expensive stamp from Hong Kong I sold as "MNH". He said not to feel bad because the only way he could tell was by inspecting it under a sign-o-cope and noting the presence of an extremely light shadow where the hinge had been, He noted it had not been detectable to the naked eye even under the usual oblique angle drill we put stamps through. I broke my own rule on that one and described it as VLH when I resold it - the new owner was very happy.

I just wanted to clarify my statement - I always know what I mean but sometimes fail to add the words necessary for others to understand what I mean. That remains the only stamp I have had returned for hinging since I started in 1985.

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cardstamp
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15 Dec 2017
11:02:05am

Approvals
re: Accurate descriptions

I do not sell ANY MNH items here. Even when I come across some stamps that are MNH - unless they are expensive items I still list them as MH - just because they have been handled too much over time. However for approval books - I do not note Used or MH. If a buyer gets a stamp from me that looked from the image as MH but the back is heavy hinged or has a slight thin and they do not like the stamp - all they have to do is tell me and I gladly refund the cost and they do not even have to send the stamp back to me. I try to avoid putting up any damaged stamps or those with noticeable thins. As I am putting books together and see something like that I toss the stamp in the garbage and move on. Sometimes when I rush too much I miss some but again I will refund anything that anyone complains about. In fact if I see a stamp in poor condition when I go to package it - I will cancel that item from the invoice and refund the money if already paid right away before I send it out..Steve

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA

15 Dec 2017
06:16:17pm
re: Accurate descriptions

"This would also make those with Sharpie etc markings valid used stamps (which indeed they are, just not collectible). Not that we would include them in our collections unless otherwise a rarity."



Just like we accept 1800s stamps with pen cancels, Sharpies are indeed a legit cancel, especially on cover. The difference is that modern stamps are so common that we can choose a better stamp than one with Sharpie ink on it.

Collectors pretty much know what's CTO by country. Same cancel without gum on the back could be either a soaked CTO or a soaked stamp off a first day cover. Same souvenir connotation, rather than postal usage.

Still, I'm amazed at the big black obliterating cancels across stamps that people still bid on eBay! I always look for the best example I can find, centering, cancel etc on every stamp I buy. It must be pleasing to me to pay money to include it in my collection. On the other hand, if I'm sorting through a hoard, and come across a stamp I already own that's not fit, I'll use it as a place holder. For instance I was collecting early USA commemorative sets like Jamestown in mint condition. I bought a big collection lot on eBay that had stamps I needed in these series in used condition. So I included them in my album, to hold that spot until I find the right mint stamp at the right price.

"As far as FDC's are concerned, the market has determined (by buyer's constant choices) that the preferred FDC is unaddressed. Might not appeal to you, and there are some people who prefer "travelled FDC's", but they are in the minority and can pick up most of their covers at bargain prices relative to the same cover unaddressed. (This excludes the more exotic area of FDCs that have been posted to international destinations with receiving backstamps)."



I've always liked the traveled FDCs myself. I like them neatly addressed, either typed or with calligraphy type penmanship, down in the proper corner of the envelope and not hitting the cancellation. I actually try to vary the recipient to add variety to my pages. For instance, my 1940 Famous American FDCs all were bought one at a time with different cachets, addressed to different people. Value? Who cares? Modern US FDCs will never be worth anything anyway, so I collect for my enjoyment. I recently came across a few 1940s FDCs addressed to a fellow at "General Delivery, NYC". They had nice "General Delivery" back stamps, which made them much more interesting to me.



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Pogopossum

15 Dec 2017
09:49:42pm
re: Accurate descriptions

Shouldn't a mint stamp be exactly as it comes from the post office? As soon as it is in some other form, hinged, mounted, or in some other way, it is unused. A full sheet or in the original packing from the PO (buying online) are mint.

Kind of like a new car - as soon as it leaves the lot it's used. As soon as the stamp leaves the PO, it's unused, not mint.

Just trying to muddy the waters...Big Grin


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Author/Postings

Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
14 Dec 2017
07:33:59pm

Since in recent discussions there has been an attempt to insure accurate descriptions of the items being offered in both, our auctions, as well as on the approval platform, I'd like to discuss the use of the word "Used" in the stamp's description.
First off, would be deciding what is meant by that term. To me, it implies that the stamp was affixed to some kind of envelope or parcel and posted in the mail stream, hopefully for prompt delivery.
Since we know that many, if not most, "CTOs" are now created in the printers plant during the printing process, I feel that that precludes being described as used.
That definition begs the question as to the status of "Favor Cancels". The most deceptive are the stamps with the cute corner cancellations on stamps that still retain their virginal undisturbed adhesive. I think they should never be described as "used" in an auction that requires, minor thins, hinge traces, pulled perfs and even tiny corner folds be disclosed to insure honesty.
I understand that once the gum is gone making the distinction may be simply a matter of personal opinion and bias.
So the floor is open for opinions.
Please start with your definition of "used" before offering an opine of other points.

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".... You may think you understood what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you think you heard is not what I thought I meant. .... "
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smauggie

14 Dec 2017
07:49:40pm

re: Accurate descriptions

Hi Charlie,

I am the kind of person who likes to differentiate and specify things as accurately as possible.

That being said, and given the complexities of the term "used" you have brought up, I think that the term "used" must always be understood in the most broad sense as a stamp with a cancellation marking of some kind.

If buyers have questions about the type of cancel, they should contact the seller to get more details about the lot before bidding. Not all sellers will know the difference between an Australian KGV favor cancel and an Australian KGV CTO for example, and they are not required to.

Sellers are certainly free to be as descriptive as they like regarding their lot including the type of cancel featured. It is important though that the seller is correct in their identification. If the seller does not know, they should not guess. Of course as many do, they can certainly ask the community to assist in identification of a stamp or cancel.

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canalzonepostalhisto ...
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sheepshanks

14 Dec 2017
08:14:06pm

re: Accurate descriptions

From, "The Language of Stamp Collecting" by David Rennie,

USED. A stamp with a cancellation confirming that it has been used for the purpose for which it was intended. If it has been used for some other authorised purpose the term will be modified to indicate this fact: for example "fiscally used" for a postage stamp used for fiscal purpose, or "postally used" for a fiscal used for postal purposes.
The term used will be further defined to describe the condition of the stamp and it's cancellation or postmark.

To me a FDC that does not have an address so therefore did not go through a complete postal system does not make a properly used stamp.
However in regard to Smauggie's point

" I think that the term "used" must always be understood in the most broad sense as a stamp with a cancellation marking of some kind."


This would also make those with Sharpie etc markings valid used stamps (which indeed they are, just not collectible). Not that we would include them in our collections unless otherwise a rarity.

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michael78651

Moderator, MT Member
14 Dec 2017
08:21:08pm

re: Accurate descriptions

We actually have an article regarding descriptive terms for use in the sales arena. Here is the link:

https://stamporama.com/faq/faq.php?faq=descriptive-terms

I would like to hear more of user opinions relating to this subject. We do have plans to revise this article. So, you now have a chance to add your input for consideration.

Michael
Auctioneer

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"Author: Seasons of Fantasies and Dreams, The Whitechapel Fog"

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Webpaper

In loving memory of Carol, my wife for 52 years.

14 Dec 2017
09:13:33pm

re: Accurate descriptions

First - I like the abbreviations - they are the ones I have been using since the mid-80's.

The advice is sound, and I don't think that the average member would have much trouble identifying how to describe a particular stamp. I gave up on the MH or MLH or MHR awhile back and list them all as MH. Light hinged is a matter of opinion and frankly a sliced early hinge left in place looks alot better to my eye than a messy back where the hinge has been removed. What is not acceptable is a visible "buckle" on the front of the stamp from over zealous licking. Soak it and press it and make it a MNG - it will look much better.

CTO's without gum can be difficult, and frankly I am not certain that "CTO" is needed for those countries where few collector's have ever seen a real cancellation. Also remember that not all CTO's are worth less than actual postal cancellations. Thinking here of the early Australian packs where CTO examples are sold at multiples of the catalog value for used.

I also feel that the vast majority of material sold here does not warrant spending the time required to search for bent perf tips, one perforation slightly shorter than others, a possible minute thin that is in all probability part of a watermark, and all the other things normally done when selling more expensive stamps.

Mind you I haven't put anything up for sale for awhile and don't intend to. But I do enjoy the discussion boards and I do make use of the fantastic treasure trove of knowledge both on the boards and in other sections of the website. It is a true treasure.

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www.hipstamp.com/sto ...

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14 Dec 2017
09:22:51pm

re: Accurate descriptions

I think we are getting carried away with all these suggested requirements for descriptions of stamps in the auction and approvals.

There are certain norms in the stamp business, and I do not think that we should be trying to redefine them.

If that is your definition of "used" and what you want to restrict yourself to, by all means, do so. You can see from the images if the stamp qualifies for your personal tastes.

However, Scott defines its prices in "Unused" and "used" columns (see the front of any Scott volume). Furthermore, in periods where the expected condition is Cancelled to Order, Scott makes the notation that prices are for CTO and "postally used copies are worth more". I am confident that Gibbons, Michel and others use similar definitions. Thus, a specific requirement to specify that a stamp in this period of listings is "CTO" is overkill.

As far as FDC's are concerned, the market has determined (by buyer's constant choices) that the preferred FDC is unaddressed. Might not appeal to you, and there are some people who prefer "travelled FDC's", but they are in the minority and can pick up most of their covers at bargain prices relative to the same cover unaddressed. (This excludes the more exotic area of FDCs that have been posted to international destinations with receiving backstamps).

I am much more concerned with the lack of competency displayed by the sellers that I have encountered recently on Stamporama. In one case, every one of 6 lots of "MNH" stamps had tropically toned gum that was not described.

Let's focus on requiring decent scans, and the things that can't be seen in even decent scans, and never mind the semantics of issues that the buyers can easily discern for themselves.

Roy

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BuckaCover.com - 80,000 covers priced 60c to $1.50 - Easy browsing 500 categories
14 Dec 2017
09:35:06pm

re: Accurate descriptions

"I gave up on the MH or MLH or MHR awhile back and list them all as MH. Light hinged is a matter of opinion"



I my opinion, this is an abdication of professional responsibility on the part of a seller who adopts this attitude. The seller's informed opinion is exactly what I want in a description. "Lightly hinged" is clearly defined in the introduction to the Scott catalogue. "Mint hinged" can cover a wide array of exact gum condition, but the market in general expects to be informed of the presence of a hinge remnant. I further use the term "Heavy hinge remnant" to describe those early hinges. Receiving a heavy hinge remnant on a stamp described as "MH", would be my last purchase from such a seller.

The goal of these terms is not to try to pigeon-hole the stamp, but to accurately communicate the condition so that the informed buyer has a clear idea of what he can expect, in the absence of a clear scan of the gum side.

Roy
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Richmond

RICHMOND FC PREMIERS 2017, 2019, 2020
15 Dec 2017
05:41:29am

re: Accurate descriptions

Having followed the link I do take issue with continued use of the word MINT in descriptions.

As can be seen from the list MINT cuts across several descriptions. I really don't see the difficulty in abbreviating a stamp or stamps as MNH etc. it's only 3 letters as opposed to 4.

Regards


Richmond

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15 Dec 2017
05:53:59am

re: Accurate descriptions

"I further use the term "Heavy hinge remnant" to describe those early hinges. Receiving a heavy hinge remnant on a stamp described as "MH", would be my last purchase from such a seller."



Thank you Roy, I do understand that and I should have further clarified my comment. A mint stamp which would not normally fall into the MLH category is usually just soaked and pressed and sold as no gum (MNG). There are often thins under multiple hinge remnants or any of the various assortments of homemade paper hinges found on old collections (especially the older collections from abroad in albums ending in the 1920's). I want to be the one surprised - not my customer.

A good customer of mine returned a rather expensive stamp from Hong Kong I sold as "MNH". He said not to feel bad because the only way he could tell was by inspecting it under a sign-o-cope and noting the presence of an extremely light shadow where the hinge had been, He noted it had not been detectable to the naked eye even under the usual oblique angle drill we put stamps through. I broke my own rule on that one and described it as VLH when I resold it - the new owner was very happy.

I just wanted to clarify my statement - I always know what I mean but sometimes fail to add the words necessary for others to understand what I mean. That remains the only stamp I have had returned for hinging since I started in 1985.

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cardstamp

15 Dec 2017
11:02:05am

Approvals

re: Accurate descriptions

I do not sell ANY MNH items here. Even when I come across some stamps that are MNH - unless they are expensive items I still list them as MH - just because they have been handled too much over time. However for approval books - I do not note Used or MH. If a buyer gets a stamp from me that looked from the image as MH but the back is heavy hinged or has a slight thin and they do not like the stamp - all they have to do is tell me and I gladly refund the cost and they do not even have to send the stamp back to me. I try to avoid putting up any damaged stamps or those with noticeable thins. As I am putting books together and see something like that I toss the stamp in the garbage and move on. Sometimes when I rush too much I miss some but again I will refund anything that anyone complains about. In fact if I see a stamp in poor condition when I go to package it - I will cancel that item from the invoice and refund the money if already paid right away before I send it out..Steve

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Tom in Exton, PA
15 Dec 2017
06:16:17pm

re: Accurate descriptions

"This would also make those with Sharpie etc markings valid used stamps (which indeed they are, just not collectible). Not that we would include them in our collections unless otherwise a rarity."



Just like we accept 1800s stamps with pen cancels, Sharpies are indeed a legit cancel, especially on cover. The difference is that modern stamps are so common that we can choose a better stamp than one with Sharpie ink on it.

Collectors pretty much know what's CTO by country. Same cancel without gum on the back could be either a soaked CTO or a soaked stamp off a first day cover. Same souvenir connotation, rather than postal usage.

Still, I'm amazed at the big black obliterating cancels across stamps that people still bid on eBay! I always look for the best example I can find, centering, cancel etc on every stamp I buy. It must be pleasing to me to pay money to include it in my collection. On the other hand, if I'm sorting through a hoard, and come across a stamp I already own that's not fit, I'll use it as a place holder. For instance I was collecting early USA commemorative sets like Jamestown in mint condition. I bought a big collection lot on eBay that had stamps I needed in these series in used condition. So I included them in my album, to hold that spot until I find the right mint stamp at the right price.

"As far as FDC's are concerned, the market has determined (by buyer's constant choices) that the preferred FDC is unaddressed. Might not appeal to you, and there are some people who prefer "travelled FDC's", but they are in the minority and can pick up most of their covers at bargain prices relative to the same cover unaddressed. (This excludes the more exotic area of FDCs that have been posted to international destinations with receiving backstamps)."



I've always liked the traveled FDCs myself. I like them neatly addressed, either typed or with calligraphy type penmanship, down in the proper corner of the envelope and not hitting the cancellation. I actually try to vary the recipient to add variety to my pages. For instance, my 1940 Famous American FDCs all were bought one at a time with different cachets, addressed to different people. Value? Who cares? Modern US FDCs will never be worth anything anyway, so I collect for my enjoyment. I recently came across a few 1940s FDCs addressed to a fellow at "General Delivery, NYC". They had nice "General Delivery" back stamps, which made them much more interesting to me.



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Pogopossum

15 Dec 2017
09:49:42pm

re: Accurate descriptions

Shouldn't a mint stamp be exactly as it comes from the post office? As soon as it is in some other form, hinged, mounted, or in some other way, it is unused. A full sheet or in the original packing from the PO (buying online) are mint.

Kind of like a new car - as soon as it leaves the lot it's used. As soon as the stamp leaves the PO, it's unused, not mint.

Just trying to muddy the waters...Big Grin


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