Learn About Stamp Collector Certificates

Learn About Stamp Collector Certificates

Stamp collecting has been a very popular hobby and has been thriving for several generations all over the world. Technically referred to as philately, stamp collecting is an art itself, requiring great discipline among its enthusiasts.

Perhaps a great reason for the popularity of stamp collecting is the stories about valuable stamps. A lot of people have heard that some of these little things could sometimes cost thousands of dollars. Finding a rare and valuable stamp is often a philatelist’s dream. Unfortunately, this induces some people with bad intentions to create forged stamps. As such, many stamp collectors find their craft to be risky. Luckily, such anomalies can be avoided by making use of expert stamp collector certificates.

Like anything valuable, such as jewelry, money, signature clothing, rare stamps are subject to forgery. The regrettable proliferation of fraudulent stamps has led avid collectors to look for ways to protect themselves. The most popular way doing so is availing the services of expert stamp collectors and organizations to certify the authenticity of stamps being purchased.

One of the most sought after authorities in stamp collecting is the American Philatelic Society (APS), which offers such certification service which they refer to as expertizing service. A collector simply sends a stamp in question to the American Philatelic Expertizing Service (APEX), the certifying division of APS, to their headquarters at Pennsylvania. The service has been around since 1903. The stamp is then assigned a number and then photographed. The stamp is then examined by up to five expert collectors among 170 philatelic specialists. The identity of the collectors who availed of the service would not be disclosed to the experts, and conversely, the experts’ identities would not be disclosed as well.

The service could take 90 days to be completed. A unanimous decision must be made by the experts and if the panel fails to do so, APEX declines to give an opinion refunds all fees, less administrative charges. Once a formal opinion is agreed upon, it is written on a certificate and returned to the owner with the item. The comments made by the panel would be kept in the permanent records of APEX for future reference. Opinions are limited only of stamps’ genuineness and the APEX never accepts requests for market value appraisal. If the owner disagrees with APEX’s opinion, there is an option for reexamination within a year from the issuance of the certificate.

The APEX provides a guarantee on their certified items. If a collector buys a stamp with an APEX certification attesting the item’s authenticity but it is subsequently shown to be fraudulent, misidentified, or modified, APEX would pay up to 5,000USD provided that the guarantee is still valid and there are no other warrantees given for the item. Items that were subject to change (thinning, disturbance of the gum, torn, etc.) after the issuance of certificate would not be included in the guarantee. Should APEX’s certification be proven wrong, the service will purchase the item from the owner. The value of the item will be determined by APEX based on the selling price, receipts submitted by the owner, placed value of the item during the time of certification, and the judgment of a panel of experts.

Should APEX disagree with the contention to its certification, the owner may appeal to a disputes panel comprised of three members of the American Philatelic Society. And the decision of the panel would be based on Pennsylvania state laws, which would be binding for both parties.

The fees for the service begin at 25USD for an item valued at 1,000USD or less according to the Scott catalog. Items of higher value would be charged 2% of the appraised value according to the catalog. Items not listed in the catalog would be initially charged 25USD. Should an item of a high value be considered counterfeit, its fee would be adjusted to the minimum fee of 25USD, the difference with the original rate paid would be refunded.

There are other expert stamp collector certificate issuance services. Some of the are listed online. Many avid followers of philately find such services very valuable, saving time, effort and money, and decreasing the incidents of forgery. With expert stamp collector certificates, the world becomes a better place for serious philatelists.

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Article from articlesbase.com

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