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Commentary on Graded Stamps

As stamp collectors, we believe PSE has done a great service to the hobby. Having PSE’s independent, third-party opinion as to grade helps define and level the playing field for all of us. Finally we have a common standard within which we can communicate, trade, and build our collections with confidence.

We believe stamp collecting should not only be a fun hobby, but a good investment as well. Buying graded stamps helps to not only insure that you are getting what you think you are getting when you purchase a stamp, but it turns your “hobby-dollars” into “wise-investment-dollars” because highly graded stamps are seeing tremendous growth in value.

One of the reasons we started our website, besides to promote the grading of stamps, which we firmly believe in, was to give collectors a chance to see what a “Very Fine”, “Extremely Fine”, or “Superb” stamp really looks like. There are so many stamps out there that are touted as being “Superb”, “Extremely Fine”, or even “Very Fine”, when in fact they would not “grade out”, i.e., they would not grade as such, by PSE. People are willing to pay good money for mediocre stamps that are labeled these terms by the sellers of the stamps, who of course are not independent third-parties to the transaction. They could instead buy a graded stamp and be confident with regard to what they are spending their money on.

Our goal at E & M Graded Stamps is to offer at a fair price, exceptionally well-centered, high-quality graded stamps. Even though we concentrate on the higher grades, we believe any graded stamp is a wise investment.

Though we have been major collectors for years, we are the “new kid on the block” as far as dealers go. Our web site was launched on May 1, 2006 and we have put a lot of love, money, and effort into it and are very proud of our site.

We sell only PSE graded stamps at fair prices, provide superior service, and we have a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. We post each stamp’s basic description and PSE grade, and we provide large, clear images of every stamp as well as all of its certificates. Please pay us a visit and check out our easy to browse web site at eandmgradedstamps.com and send your questions and comments to us at [email protected]

Let’s keep the discussion about graded stamps going!

Eileen Frohnen
E & M Graded Stamps
All life is precious, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential. Respect life, in whatever form it takes.


  • Whoa Hoa!!!!! I just went to your site and clicked on your featured stamp. Yipes? A PSE graded 70 Norse-American. Just absolutely gorgeous.

    And welcome to the Stamp Forum. On just a quick count we have had 3 dealers...including you...join in the past week. It's getting better folks! The days of members who frequent other forums coming here and trashing the place are over!!!!

  • E&M's site is very nice and have looked at their site extensively. Seems like I always miss all their 98's I need. Guess I need to keep a sharper eye out.
    We are at a threshold I think.I can soon see collectors(meaning a larger majority than currently) expecting a guarantee on stamps that are not graded. This will probably eventually cause a big change in the area of profitability for large dealers who have sold F-VF stamps at Scott VF retail +40% (or more) as "XF" and "Superb". this is not to say that all dealers are bad. I know I seem like a "dealer basher." Really I'm not. But anyone selling stamps is trying to make a profit and thus they are biased no matter how honest. It's a business and dealers are entitled to make an honest profit.
    Hope you guys do well and don't get too much competition from more sites springing up online in the coming months.
  • Looks like some more dealers are listed on the PSE homepage too. Even alot of those watching the market the past couple years were caught off guard when PSE updated the prices after the Washington Show. I think it was just a matter of time before the influx of new collectors and money into coins because of the state quarter program spilled over into currency and stamps. Probably just a slow drip for stamps with an occasional trickel, but that sure set the stage for a nice waterfall all of a sudden with the auction in DC.

    David Lawrence Rare Coins has been having a blast. They didn't waste anytime moving right into currency a couple years ago and now on into stamps with both sales and auctions. Shoot, they moved people from coins into currency and stamps by just having it available and the size of their coin clientel. Sooner or later some are going to buy at least one note or stamp even if they never do it again.

  • Nice commentary and enjoyed looking at your site........
    "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum"
    (If you want peace, prepare for War).........Semper Fi
  • A very nice site, congratulations.
    I am of the belief though that grading stamps should be left entirely to the collectors, and dealers, of course, who have to sell them. Part of the beauty of collecting stamps, to me, was the absence of third party grading.
  • Mike -
    Spoken like a true veteran! How many years have you been collecting? More than a few, I'll bet! You are not alone in your opinion. There has been some resistance to third party grading by collectors and even some dealers who have been around for a good long while and don't want to see any changes to their art. I respect your opinion and your standing as a veteran, and I can certainly understand where you are coming from.

    There are some considerations with leaving grading to the collector and dealer, as I see it, which I would like to just put out there.

    As a dealer, I would grade all my stamps as Gems and Superbs. (And I would thank you for the permission to do that.) Why not grade them as Gems and Superbs. They truly do look good to me. And, after all, I am trying to sell them. Has anyone successfully sold stuff by downplaying it? Isn't that what marketing is about, selling the "sizzle"? Plus, I would be using my grading system. It may differ from your's or anyone else's. Who is to say my system is wrong? And who knows how knowledgeable I am? There is no graduate degree in stamp grading that you have to get in order to become a dealer. The knowledge and experience levels of a dealer might be different than another's, or there may be gaps in the knowledge and/or experience base; just as the knowledge and experience level of collectors varies, so it does with sellers. (I readily admit that I don't know everything even though I sometimes like to think I do!)

    Let's not forget what certainly motivates most of us to do things....pride and ego. The dealer is human and has pride and ego, and the collector certainly has pride and ego! You know, the "my collection is nicer than your collection", or "I have the only stamp of this kind known to exist" kind of thing. Men, especially, have this competitive drive just by virtue of being male. It's OK, guys, it's the way nature made you, and it's probably a good thing too because without it, the human race would probably cease to exist! Anyway, we need to remember that pride and ego are very strong forces that undoubtedly factor into the grading process when it is done by one of the interested parties.

    Of course, I'm probably getting way off base here. By what you said, you are probably meaning (please clarify if I am wrong) that the collector will decide for himself what the grade is and thus temper the dealer's grade, should the dealer have been a little over-enthusiastic in the grade he gave the stamp. But, in order to properly grade the stamp, the collector should have the stamp "in the paper" (have it in hand), not always feasible every time you want to "maybe" purchase a stamp. Then, the collector has to be knowledgeable and experienced enough to grade the stamp. What if he is not? If he is somewhat so, what if he has gaps in his knowledge and/or experience base? What if he is fairly new to collecting? Will he recognize that the "Superb" stamp he is wanting to buy is perhaps not really Superb to anyone but the seller who is using his own personal grading system? OK, say the collector grades the stamp. What system and standards is he using? His own personal system and standards? What happens when he maybe wants to sell that stamp and then is on the other end of the stick? (Boy, I'd better stop! We could go 'round and 'round here...I think I'm actually getting dizzy!)

    Anyway, I hope you see my point. I believe independent, third-party grading is bringing some much needed conformity and standards to the art of stamp collecting and selling. I also feel that it helps level the playing field, and provides some support and reassurance to collectors.

    Please do a posting, anyone who reads this and has an inclination. I, for one, would be interested in hearing what you have to say and I'm sure everybody else would too. Let's keep this discussion going!

    All life is precious, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential. Respect life, in whatever form it takes.
  • I basically said or touched on all this stuff months ago and except a certain stamp dealer was offended that I disagreed with their misleading selling/description/etc tactics to sell lower value stamps on ebay with ungraded PSE certs and the wording on their website about PSE graded stamps. So even with 3rd party grading, inexperienced people will still be misled to a degree. Oh well it's a declining hobby as far consistent mainstream big profits. But everyone will continue to talk about how to save it.
  • And another , wow this was just short of 3 years ago!
  • SCDHunterSCDHunter Posts: 686 ✭✭✭
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