authenticity & Auctions
Real or Fake – The Authentication
One of the great benefits to Philatelic collecting is the Expert Committees around the world that issue “Letters of Authenticity” and many times can also verify the stamps provenance of previous owners. Nothing gets by these Experts and their special Committees that usually consist of 4 or more Experts and buyers can rely on their opinions much like Gemologist Letters for grade and color that are issued for diamonds. Like a diamond, stamps are a singularly made item, whereas with antiques, firearms, antique cars, etc. there are many moving parts that can easily be replaced of forged. All of these Experts are excellent and highly recommended to secure your purchases and discoveries. Contact me for a list of experts world wide in your area of interest.
Prior to the year 2000 there was No Buyers Premiums what-so-ever the Auction Fees were only charged to the seller and never the buyer. However, when the Big Auction Houses conspired together in a secret meeting in New York they established a Price Fix scheme where they all agreed to charge a Buyers Premium that you now have to pay every time you Bid & Buy at Auction. This scheme was investigated by the FBI and others and some arrests were made, yet in the end the buyer got stuck having to pay an average of +20% on top of every auction purchase. This had a dual affect not only did the auctions double their annual profits, but it also put the small dealers out of business as they could not compete with the Auction Houses which could drop their sales commissions to Zero and just charge the Buyer +20%.
A caveat on auctions as I have noticed over just the past few years is their grading condition has gone way down. You might buy a set of stamps only to find one with a pin hole or a thin. You do have an option to return the items and get a full refund from the Auction if you act quickly otherwise they will not accept returns and you’ll be trapped with whatever you have. Always utilize your return privilege, they may try to argue with you. But, hold your ground and get a refund. Best option to this is hire a knowledgeable agent to represent you, and or buy from Dealers that you have built a relationship with that you trust. Look at the Auction fees in 1995 versus 2000 these are from the Book entitled “Art of the Steal by Christopher Mason”. However there are some great Philatelic Auctions in America and Europe contact me for this list of the Best!