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ADVICE FROM THE SAGE ON EXPERTISING PHILATELIC MATERIAL

AND OBTAINING CERTIFICATES OF GENUINENESS



It is always advisable to get valuable stamps which might be the subject of the forgers' art expertised by one of the internationally recognised expert committees. They will of course charge for the service, but a certificate of genuineness enhances the value of a stamp and makes its sale easier.

There are many ways that stamps can be altered to increas their value, and expertising will not only determine if a stamp is or is not genuine, but also if it has been altered in any way - for example been chemically treated to remove a cancellation and change it from a used stamp to an unused one, or been reperforated to improve its appearance and make it a more desirable specimen. Other little tricks that the forgers get up to are changing a common shade of a stamp to a scarce shade, adding fake overprints to turn the stamp into a scarce variety and regumming stamps that have lost their gum to increase their value. These alterations are difficult to detect unless you have knowledge and experience of what to look for. Hence the need for an expert whose reputation is respected to certify a stamp as genuine.

There are several organisations that provide an expertising service, and those recognised and respected as the most reliable in their respective fields are shown below. Each has its own scale of charges, usually based on the catalogue value of the stamp. A lesser fee is usually charged for a 'bad' certificate.

Examples of typical Certificates issued by expertising bodies:
Royal Philatelic Society London 
Certificate, 1917.
Royal Philatelic Society London Certificate, 1917
Philatelic Foundation Certificate, 1987.
Philatelic Foundation Certificate, 1987

Check with the expertising body before sending any items for their opinion - they will probably require the item(s) to be submitted under cover of a form they provide and to receive the expertising fee in advance. There may be other special requirements such as sending by recorded post, identifying the item with a catalogue number, etc. The expertisation process can take several weeks or even months in some cases - the expert committee may not meet too frequently - and experts from other countries may need to be consulted, or considerable research may be required.

All Countries and Periods - Highly Recommended for expertising Great Britain
and British Commonwealth items:

RPSL Expertising Service,
The Royal Philatelic Society London Ltd,
41 Devonshire Place, London W1G 6JY
Telephone: 0207 9357 7332

All Countries and Periods - Recommended for expertising Great Britain items:
BPA Expertising Ltd,
PO Box 1141, Guildford, Surrey GU5 0WR
Telephone: 01483 890199; Fax: 01483 890598
Email: sec@bpaexpertising.org
Note. BPA Expertising Ltd was originally set up by the British Philatelic Association which is now defunct and has been superceded by the Association of British Philatelic Societies (with whom BPA Expertising Ltd has no connection).

All Countries and Periods - Highly Recommended for expertising United States items:
The Philatelic Foundation,
70 West 40th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10018, United States
Email: philatelicfoundation@verizon.net
Website: http://www.philatelicfoundation.org/expertizing/expertize.htm

All Countries and Periods - Recommended for Expertising United States items:
American Philatelic Expertizing Service (APEX),
American Philatelic Society,
100 Match Factory Place, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 16823, United States
Website: For information about the APS Expertising Service follow the link under 'Services' in left-hand Menu on their website at - http://www.stamps.org

References:
1. Article in Wikipedia on Expertising
2. Article on the Marks Used by Experts



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