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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Cancellations-- no not Postmarks

I am sad to say that I have not been able to find any updated information about the Austin Stamp Show. As best I can tell, the event has been cancelled, for 2006. Normally, it takes place sometime in the Spring, but I have found no evidence that there will be a 2006 event.

It made me think about the "regionality" of stamp collecting. As long as I have lived in Texas (20+ years), I have been very aware of how few people collect stamps around these parts. I live in a city of 1 million+ people, and there's not even support for one single stamp show per year. As long as I have been selling on eBay (since May 1998), I have noticed that the stamps I sell-- predominantly Scandinavia-- either get sent back to their country of origin, or they end up being sent to some place on the west coast, typically California, or the area between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.

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.