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An old post of mine from the Frajola board....

Well I don't think I was too far off...................

Posted Aug 1, 07 2:54 by Zac Burke

Zac Burke

For those who don't care for grading.
All common high grade stamps do not sell for 5000X catalog.
This , of course,depends on your definition of "common"
Nor are they all 5c or 3c commemoratives.
It is not easy to find 10,000 common "raw" stamps that grade 98 or higher.(go ahead and try, you will likely spend more than the task is worth.)
Common 98's(1930's on) do not consistently sell for $500, maybe at auction, or incredibly difficult issues/scott #'s(i.e. rotary issues) but those are the exceptions. Take a look on Ebay at completed auctions of common 98's. I think you will find it is far less than $500(probably less than $200). There are (grade) 100's that can be had for less than the $500 figure. Many dealer sell prices for these common stamps are way under $500. I think it's humorous that when one who does not care for grading, posts here, it is nearly always about commons selling for ridiculous prices,that one can look through any collection and find 50 98's(or something to that effect),and that the market will collapse because non-collector/investors are spending 5000X each what all of these common stamps are worth. That sure hasn't been my experience as a collector who has submitted 250+ stamps for grades.(well no it's not 2,800 stamps Nick : )
Because common high grade(i.e. 100's) stamps have sold for very high amounts(usually at auctions) does not mean that earlier (say i.e. pre 1920 or so) stamps are going to suddenly decline in value.(The later common graded stamps have already come down in price, as the population has grown) As has been noted previously in the SMQ just because a stamp sells for $1500 at auction,doesn't mean that figure is a true realistic value(if that can be defined) Thus PSE doesn't usually put the highest price a stamp has brought at auction, as the listed value in the SMQ, except in the event of a very rare stamp.
Here are some common stamps that are hard to find raw and that would grade 98 or higher.
#633 (1927)
#640 (1927)
#692 to700(1931)
#717 (1932)
#718 (1932)
#720 (1932)
#727 (1933)
#728 (1933)
#732 (1933)
#729 (1933)
Granted these are all rotary press issues, but they are all pretty much "common."
Any dealers who aren't interested in the grading craze, that have the above raw stamps that will grade at least 98, I will pay a more reasonable 5 to 10X Scott catalog.(This is a real offer)
As far as the market bursting, it might happen. But I see a more reasonable, gradual change. As the population grows on common stamps the real-world prices will decline(and as previously mentioned already have IMO).Those who have paid to much at auction are probably going to lose some of their investment, if that is initial interest. Stamps that there are still very few graded 98 or higher, after 100's of examples have been submitted, are probably going to hold a significant value, common or not. I wrote a year or two ago on the pretty much unread PSE message board that common(post 1930) stamps that will grade 95 aren't really worth submitting(value/cost). Take a look at prices on common 95's now. Some are as cheap as $20 or $30 if one looks in the right places.(PSE submission cost post #405 is $18)
I do think that those who are against grading, should have some better arguments than what is usually posted here(with the exception of Ken L.)
It's pretty easy to tell those who have had basically no experience with 3rd party grading(just their perception of it). They seem to be more knowledgeable than any of us gradies who do have some amount of experience!


  • I think you hit it pretty much on the head. At the time I believe you were posting to blind eyes hoping someone could see what you were saying. Today there are still the naysayers that don't like grading. I believe the best thing to come out of grading is a clearer definition for the various grades. These definitions are available to the average collector and has helped the average collector level the playing field when buying stamps from dealers. The discussions are usually about the highest grades but there are a lot more collectors buying stamps with confidence down in the 75 to 90 range.

    Very good future thinking, keep it up!!
  • Yeah Rolin, I happened upon this old post when I was trying to find a scan of the one used #324 98J (one and only highest graded and the next highest is a lone 95) that was sold at auction a couple years ago, it had INCREDIBLE centering and margins BUT had a guideline at top, which is usually always a grade lowerer. Technically the stamp shouldn't have graded higher than 95J. I was told it was a judgment call. I can see that, as it is an incredible stamp. But move ahead two years: I've finally found my first used #324 that I think is worth grading, but guess what? It has a guideline too. Now I have a stamp that is at least a 95 and I'm wondering if it is going to get dinged for the guideline, even though it is less prominent than that on the 98J.
  • The only thing you can do is send it in and wait. If it does not come back with a good grade, appeal based on the 98j.

    Tell me, is your perfs on the top and bottom not perfectly aligned like on the 98j.

  • Yes but that's not really much of an issue on either stamp I don't think. Mine is not as well centered but an easy 95, maybe if I can ever post a pic here I will show you.
  • Forgive all the editing, I was attempting to get the image into the message. No luck. If your stamp lines up like this or even better and the straight line is less obvious, you might get a surprising grade back.

    See my previous message for image.
  • The 98J (which is extraordinary)is better centered than mine but has a more intrusive guideline. Like I mentioned mine is a good 95 for sure, and that's tough considering the top two grades to date are one 98J followed by one 95. When I send it in I will probably attach a note referencing the 98J's guideline issue.
  • Not sure what you mean exactly about the perfs being aligned as a grading issue.
  • I could send you an image if you PM me your email address, I don't see the little lock icon on your posts so I can't write you.
  • If you look close at the scan I put in my one post, you can see that the top and bottom perfs do not line up. Either it is reperfed or one perforation wheel was slightly out of alignment. If you line up the perfs then the portion that I moved to the top sits about 1mm to the right.
  • OK I see what you are getting at , but that isn't a sound technique for judging whether a stamp is reperfed or not (of course it has a lot to do with what issue and what type of perforator was used so in some cases it is, like with modern stamps) From what I have learned is that on these early US issues, in most cases each perforator wheel was a separate entity, and did not specifically have each perforator pin lined up with the one directly across from it. Thats why when you look at sheets from those early years you rarely see the perf holes meet exactly at the same place on every stamp, if the wheels were aligned with each other they would. As a matter of fact on coil stamps if you find the holes line up perfectly it's a red flag to check that it isn't a fake coil made from an imperforate example. Have you ever seen the book, How to Detect Damaged Altered and Repaired Stamps by Paul W. Schmid? It has a lot of really good basic information on the subject.

    Here is a quote from the book speaking of a fake perforated coil pair made from an imperforate pair;"...note that the top perforation hole in each row of the bogus pair is exactly the same distance from the pair's top edge. However, since each of the perforating wheels is a separate entity, the only common part being the shaft to which they are attached, such a coincidence would be highly unlikely."

    The authentic coil stamps were perforated in the same manner as the regular sheet stamps of the same period on the same type of machine with the only difference being that they only made one pass through the perforator (if it was a one direction perforator)

    Well I meant for that to be a shorter post but you know how it goes sometimes : )
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