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Pen Cancels on 19th Century Stamps

How many points does PSE normally deduct for very light pen cancels? For example: if a stamp is in xf-s(95) condition but has a light pen cancel would it be downgraded to a 90 or 85? I know in the SMQ it states pen cancels receive up to -30 points.....ouch! I'm looking to buy a stamp that is being advertised as MNG, but I believe it is just in XF-S Used condition with a pen cancel. I'm just wondering if its going to be cost effective if PSE is only going to slap a 80 grade on it. I appreciate any and all comments. Thanks.


  • If it is a really nice classic stamp it might be worth it. It's interesting to note that PSE doesn't downgrade for precancels even though most collectors agree that such a cancel lowers the value(besides to precancel collectors) If you desire a high grade I would pass, my bet is they will knock off at least 10+ points just for being the pen type. Personally I haven't submitted any stamps with this type of cancel though.
  • coinpicturescoinpictures Posts: 5,345 ✭✭✭
    Interesting. I never realized that manuscript cancels are considered to be a detriment on 19th century regular issues.

    On pre-1898 revenues, pen cancels are the most common cancel method (85-90% of the population perhaps?), so there is no penalty for manuscript cancels; it is simply assumed that the catalog value is for a manuscript cancelled stamp. Premiums are usually applied for handstamped cancels, especially SON specimens, and rather high premiums are applied for preprinted (precancelled?) and/or typeset cancels.

    The great unknown is for mint OG examples, as there is no pricing information. Mint examples of early revenues normally did not make their way into circulation, and the populations are fairly small, not to mention that mint OG revenues don't appear to have a large collector base, at least not yet...
  • dougwtxdougwtx Posts: 566 ✭✭
    I agree with edueku about passing on the deal; unless it is a rarity. Pen cancel would be harder to sell if/when you wanted to sell it also. Also, if the cancel has been removed, I don't know if PSE would downgrade it even further, but I'm sure they would state it on the cert/slab as cleaned/removed cancel.
  • Thanks for the input. It's not rare, it's a 5c Columbian with a pen cancel. It just has nice centering and the pen cancel is very faint. It almost looks mint. I hate to pass on it, but can't be throwing good money after bad.

    I know for a fact that if you have a washed cancel, PSE will not grade the stamp and is considered a MAJOR fault. I sent in a pair of 11's with nice margins and color, thinking they were Superb MNG($$$$$$) and they ended up with a washed cancel and I sold them both for a whopping $25.
  • fbs - I have no idea about how PSE grades on pen cancelled stamps. Having said that, pen cancels were atypical at the time of Columbians and would be seriously de-valued by anybody looking for a nice used 5c Columbian. I don't mind a nice pen cancel on a #1 or #2 although the market does de-value those as well. Pen cancel removed, or lightened, is basically faked and should be heavily discounted.
    Richard Frajola
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