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Friday, February 10, 2006

The Expert Issue

To expertize or not to expertize?

I seldom have too many doubts about expertizing items in my own collection. The issue of yes/no arises far more often when it comes to something I plan to sell... when is it worthwhile, when is it not?

Over the years, one of the things I have noticed is that getting an expert opinion from a recognized expert costs a lot more in the US than it does in Europe. I know several (well-known, I might add) European experts from whom I can get five color photo certificates for about $100. The same certificates in the US would cost twice that, or something more. This difference is important enough to me that the only certificates I buy from US authorities (typically the Philatelic Foundation or APS) are for US stamps... otherwise, it is simply not worth my while.

Besides, in many cases the US expertizing bodies lack the specialized knowledge needed to (as was recently the case) warrant the authenticity of a very rare Swedish postmark, for example.

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