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What are Your Thoughts on Stamp "Grading"?  
 

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Valued Member

United States
117 Posts
Posted 12/05/2016   6:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add paul78703 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Message
What are your thoughts on "professional" stamp "grading"? I do not know anything about the various grading services (as opposed to the stamp authentication services) -- I have been away from philately for a long while -- but the idea of grading stamps strikes me as intended primarily to push up the prices of stamps, even, or maybe especially, newer issues. For example, I recently saw one dealer advertising a common stamp, which normally sells for about 50 cents, for $40 because a grading service gave the stamp a "95." To me, that's crazy!
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3933 Posts
Posted 12/05/2016   7:13 pm  Show Profile Check Petert4522's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
All you have to do is search for the word "grading" on this forum and you can read all about it!
Personally I do not care much for the whole idea.

Peter
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849 Posts
Posted 12/05/2016   8:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jkelley01938 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Save your money and go by the descriptions and illustrations in the Scott Catalog.

Jack Kelley
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United States
306 Posts
Posted 12/06/2016   08:23 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add knuppster59 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My thoughts....I hate it!
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Posted 12/06/2016   09:25 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Meh. Sometimes my wife wants a Chanel bag, sometimes she wants a Kate Spade. Graded stamps are the luxury segment of a market that doesn't suffer for its existence. I've grown to appreciate it as a way to drive enough revenue to dealers to keep them in business to supply me with non-graded stamps was well. In other words, if the big spenders and "investors" want to pay those prices to partly subsidize my buys of good-quality mid-priced classics, that's fine with me.

Chris
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United States
306 Posts
Posted 12/06/2016   09:32 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add knuppster59 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My main beef is when a block or multiple stamps are doctored/broken apart in order to achieve a higher grade single stamp.
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Posted 12/06/2016   11:15 am  Show Profile Check TheArtfulHinger's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add TheArtfulHinger to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I will probably never buy a professionally graded stamp, but grading serves a certain purpose. The main benefit of grading is for those who want to play at the very high end of the market. With huge differences in price due to minor differences in centering, having a 3rd party service slap a grade on it removes much of the doubt on behalf of a buyer. Any seller can sell a stamp as SUPERB! and try and sell it for a multiple catalog value. Buyers are understandably reluctant to pay multiples of CV without some sort of assurance that they're actually getting what they think they're getting. If you're content with "average" F/FV stamps and expect to buy at less than catalog value, there is no need for grading. Your own eyes will suffice.
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USA
562 Posts
Posted 12/06/2016   12:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add kuhli to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
IMHO, graded stamps are a detriment to the hobby. while I get that graded stamps are an "investment" (many of the high graded "rare" stamps are locked away in vaults, seldom seen, even when transferred from one owner/investor to another), and not a hobby, when they are "traded" with publicity, it hurts the hobby. people with little/no interest in the hobby will see a high-graded rare stamp sold for 5-figure (or more) numbers, and suddenly think grandpa's old collection must be worth a fortune. once the reality that grandpa's collection is worth barely enough to cover this months car payment, not only does the little/no interest dwindle, it also creates animosity and bias against the hobby as a whole.
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Canada
110 Posts
Posted 12/06/2016   12:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add oceanguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I understand the basics of grading, but I have a hard time distinguishing very minor differences. I do wonder how they come up with the different numeric values they assign at the higher end of the spectrum. Perhaps measuring margins while under high magnification?
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United States
353 Posts
Posted 12/06/2016   7:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DJCMHOH to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Stamp grading to me just seems a way for collectors who are fortunate to have large disposable incomes to spend on the hobby trumpet the fact that they own "the best quality known" to their immediate collector friends or even the wider community as a whole. Grading is as much about the ego of the collector as it is about the intrinsic quality of the items being graded.

Just my 2 cents on the issue.
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China
249 Posts
Posted 12/06/2016   10:21 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add TomSwift to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Is it a US-only phenomenon? I have never once seen a Canadian graded stamp for sale (and very very few US stamps as well). I hope it doesn't catch on in Canada.
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United States
23 Posts
Posted 12/06/2016   11:06 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rismoney to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
On top of grading, the whole gum situation is overblown too.
MNH I get, but once you are nogum, lightly hinged, heavily hinged, or regum you compromised the seal. In the words of willy wonka- you lose, you get nothing-good day sir!

It's not mint. These botched stamps should then be priced starting at downward of 100% used catalog. This is the same thing as giving everyone's kid a trophy. If you have a never mailed stamp, but someone stuck a hinge on it 40 years ago, then they used it, though not for mailing- Too bad it's not mint. And ya know what, the elite trumpeteering collectors don't think these stamps are either.

These stamps, except for the rarities, (the ratings from Good to just below Superb) are remarketed in an attempt to get stamps in the hands of collectors that just do not hold weight or real investor value. Stamp investing essentially writes these off as wallpaper. These scraps are where the dealers have duped their buyers by selling wares at 60% of catalog, and purchasing at 20%. Catalog has no meaning. You are better off writing a computer program aggregating data from SAN and eBay to tell you what things go for.

I believe it is this state of affairs, the modern disregard for issuing quality stamps including bugs bunny, self adhesives, the fact that USPS has pushed worthless garbage collector series wares for decades, and the fact that mailing letters in general is approaching obsolescence has dragged the hobby into a much smaller niche. I anticipate it getting worse, as more old collectors die, their collections hacked up, and there being a glutton of stamps with no new collectors to reboot.


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Edited by rismoney - 12/06/2016 11:08 pm
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610 Posts
Posted 12/06/2016   11:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Hal to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Necessary for the person who has no knowledge or confidence in their ability to judge stamps. OR, to quote P. T. Barnum, "There's a sucker born every minute."
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Posted 12/06/2016   11:58 pm  Show Profile Check TheArtfulHinger's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add TheArtfulHinger to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
These stamps, except for the rarities, (the ratings from Good to just below Superb) are remarketed in an attempt to get stamps in the hands of collectors that just do not hold weight or real investor value. Stamp investing essentially writes these off as wallpaper.

There's no doubt that if you want the best return on your investment, money-wise, that NH is the only way to go. There's a limited quantity and a lot of people chasing them, so the only way to go is up, at least in theory. For those hinged stamps that might not bring a great monetary return, there's a different kind of return on investment, i.e. actually owning the stamps rather than just looking at empty spaces. Many collectors have decided they would rather fill more spaces than to have fewer stamps but in perfect condition. The purpose of the hobby is to get enjoyment, and owning a more complete collection is a reward in and of itself. That being said, the smarter investment, monetarily, is definitely to have a smaller but premium quality collection.
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Posted 12/07/2016   01:59 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Tom

I think it's a US-only phenomenon, fortunately. I also see cigarette cards graded (not just for centring, but often over-generously) by an organisation called the PSA. These are then encased (not sure how you then fit them into a collection) and marketed with fancy prices, probably to the gullible, eg

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1934-Garb...AOSwcLxYEUq3

Geoff
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United States
229 Posts
Posted 12/07/2016   12:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add 91stang to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Ahhem...
I have the high dollar stamps graded/slabed for a small fee to ensure a quality product.

Certified doesn't have to be millions of dollars-just a sound investment-

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