EXPERTISING YOUR STAMPS
Getting one’s stamps expertized can be a trying , and expensive process, but some stamps really need to be expertized. Generally speaking, because of the expense of expertizing, collectors tend to expertise only the more expensive stamps. Stamps are expertized to determine their authenticity and condition. Expertizers will identify stamps correctly and will also identify any flaws that stamps have or which have been repaired.
Determining where to send your stamps for examination can be challenging. Factors to consider are the time it takes to have the stamps examined and returned, the costs for examination and certificates (be sure to consider all of the fees charged including the shipping costs.), whether or not the expertizer guarantees his opinions, and certainly the reputation of the expertizers.
The following are some of the most well known expertizers. Most of them have a web site which details their service and their rules and fees charged. Before you select a specific expertizer be sure you carefully read their terms before you send them anything.
The Philatelic Foundation, 341 West 38th St., 5th Floor, New York, NY 10018 (www.philatelicfoundation.org) – takes 4-6 weeks on the average and is more expensive than other services. They charge 5.5% of the submitted catalog value or a minimum of $27 per stamp. No guarantee is offered.
The American Philatelic Society, 100 Match Factory Place , Bellefonte, PA 16823 (www.stamps.org/stamp-authentication) – takes about 45 days on the average for examination and the fees start at $20 per item for APS members and $40 for non-members. The APS guarantees its opinions for a period of 5 years.
Bund Philatelistischer Prüfer (Association of German Expertizers), (www.BPP.de) – is a guild with many expertizers – each specializing in a specific area of German philately, the turnaround time will vary greatly among the expertizers – some will take ten days and some as much as 2-3 months. The examination rates can be negotiated with each expert but generally average 4% of catalog value with a minimum charge of 5 Euro per stamp. Many expertizers will charge only a nominal fee for stamps found to be forgeries. The BPP guarantees its opinions. (Their web site is in English!)
Dr. Ulrich Ferchenbauer, Postfach 359, A 1181 Vienna, Austria – specializes in Austria through 1938.
Sismondo Philatelic Expert, P.O. Box 10035* Syracuse, NY 13290 3301(www.sismondostamps.com) – expertises worldwide classic stamps – takes about 8 weeks and charges 3.75% of catalog value with a minimum of $31 per stamp. There is no guarantee offered.
There are many other expertizers most of whom specialize in relatively narrow areas such as one country. Often an expertizer who handles a small area is the best choice for specific stamps and covers)