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What's wrong with this stamp

Why is this number 425, cert #01203510, not graded at 95?

Cert 01203510


  • Not centered well enough, bottom margin is too small. If the bottom margin were more equal to the other 3 you might have even gotten a 98. It does seem that you have to have unusually margins on these to score a 98 though.
  • I was kind of hoping someone else would see something wrong with the cert. I knew I had sent in a 462 but they changed it to a 425 after they found a watermark. Look at the cert an you will see that a 1c stamp has been certified as a 2c stamp. A grade of 90 is better on the 1c than on the 2c.

    I will call them and probably have to send it in for a cert correction. I wonder if this would qualify as a rare EFO.

  • I put the 242 in the scanner and scanned at 1200dpi and then used Photoshop to take measurements. The shortness you see on the bottom is because of the perf tips and not because the margins are different. It is my understanding that the margins are measured from the perf hole to the design. That being the case the measurements are as follows.

    Top left: .027" - .68mm
    Top right: .026" - .66mm
    Bot left: .027" - .68mm
    Bot right: .027" - .68mm

    Side measurements

    Upper left: .033" - .85mm
    Lower left: .033" - .85mm
    Upper right: .033" - .85mm
    Lower right: .034" - .87mm

    It appears that the difference between a grade of 90 or higher is that the side margins are larger than the top and bottom.
  • I've had this happen once or twice (PSE makes a printing error). I was able to call them and they sent out a corrected cert. There was no need to send the stamp back in.

  • The lower grade may be due to the couple short perfs at the top and bottom.
  • The bottom margin is definitely smaller on the 1c or either the image I'm seeing is highly distorted. I think I have mentioned that I eyeball stamps at the sharpest angle possible from the side (almost on edge)to compare margin size. I can look from the edge of my monitor to compare the two margins, if you are measuring with a ruler it is very easy to be off .05 mm in measurement and the margins are a small fraction of difference in size At the angle I described the perf holes will delineate the margin forming as straight a line as the design itself, it has the appearance of looking down a sidewalk in miniature. You should try it just to see how easy it is to compare margin size, of course you have to look from both sides of the stamp as the perf holes sometimes tilt slightly towards or away from the design. (The top row of holes on your stamp does this, and likely some of the other sides)I have seen computer programs for measuring stamps(like EZ Grade I think), but I have never tried that although I can see there would still be room for error. I have seen EZ grade stamps on ebay and I wasn't very impressed at the "grades" the stamps were given. Also if you flip the stamp image upside down you might be surprised at how different the centering looks. I have actually never measured a stamp for centering but as you can see from my PSE submissions I do pretty well.

    IMO the perfs on the bottom are all of reasonable/moderate length and shouldn't have anything to do with the grade. Of course there always those dreaded perf thins: the whole perf is there but the back or front side of it is slightly thinned, it's easy to miss if not dipped.
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