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Saturday, November 14, 2009

The strangeness of "Condition"

"Sound stamp?" That's a matter of opinion...
This morning, I have been spending some time on the Internet, looking at stamps for sale in the APS "Stampstore" online.

I find people's interpretation of a stamp's condition rather astonishing, sometimes.

How can a stamp be "fault free," when the scan clearly shows a corner is missing?

How can an 1872 stamp from Sweden have a "natural straight edge," when it is a global fact that all Swedish stamps issues prior to 1920 were perforated on all four sides-- without fail?

This confuses me, a bit. It also offends me a little, because there seems to be a hidden implication that I am "too ignorant to know any different."

Maybe what also bothers me about it is that it seems like a "hit and hope" approach-- sellers do not necessarily lie about something, but "describe" it, and then hope that the next sucker won't notice that something is wrong. I grant you, not everyone can be an expert on the stamps of every country... but if I were to offer material for sale from a country I am not all that familiar with, you can be sure I'm going to spend so time getting to know that country's stamps in the catalogue, before I put anything up for sale. And if I'm a buyer, I'm going to educate myself about what I am buying, as well.

The other thing that makes me scratch my head is sellers who think someone is going to pay 75% of catalogue value for a stamp that's little more than a space filler. What? WHAT?

I'm really not curmudgeonly, by nature!

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