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What are Your Thoughts on Stamp "Grading"?  
 

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Posted 01/01/2017   03:19 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Quite. Take a look at this cigarette card, graded by a US company. The catalogue price for this is 1.80. In the real world, one card from this common set would go for a few pennies. I just hope some hapless American buyer isn't taken.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1938-CHUR...AOSwt5hYZDpI
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Posted 01/01/2017   06:25 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stampman2002 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This is obviously a topic where strong opinions exist.

I used to collect coins, back when they were more affordable to the average Joe. I was very good at "grading" the coin as to whether it was AU or BU, but the problem most collectors faced was the day of reckoning when you attempted to sell the coin. If it was not graded by one of the top companies that "slabbed" coins, the dealer would argue every conceivable point to reduce the price from a BU coin to XF, which is quite a drop. Now I get that dealers have overhead, but the advent of the Greysheet bid/sell spread provided a reasonable buy/sell pricing where the collector could expect a reasonable price and the dealer a reasonable profit.

Fast forward to stamps. How many of you have been sitting at a dealer's booth at a show or in a shop and had someone bring in some better material and wanting to sell it? All of a sudden, the dealer who just moments before was touting how strong the market is and why the prices of his stamps were reasonable does a 180 when talking to the seller. Now, the market is down, or there's no demand for the material or .... whatever reason you've heard. Again, it's understood that dealers need to buy carefully and that stamps are much more fragile than coins, but what is a reasonable mark-up, especially for better material?

I think grading, when combined with the authentication side of the equation, will continue to grow and it will benefit the hobby in the long run.

Until we reach the point where coins are now, that the "good stuff" has been graded and slabbed, the best advice I can offer any collector is to become knowledgeable about what you collect. I only collect U.S. stamps. I've made it a habit every year to add more reference books to my philatelic library to increase my knowledge of what I collect and I highly recommend other collectors take the time and spend the money to do likewise. Once you've bought the books, READ them! I literally have several hundred books on U.S. stamps and I've read every one of them, some multiple times. The knowledge gleaned from these sources has been invaluable and helps inform any decisions I make to buy a stamp and the price I'm willing to pay for them.

So, I'll come down off my soapbox and cease pontificating, as I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir for most of the readers here.

By the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR! to everyone.
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Posted 01/01/2017   3:04 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Some who are novice may get burned by a few ultra common ultra high priced "gems" sold by some dealers, but many others will find great enjoyment, challenge, camaraderie, and even potential rewards from pursuing third party numerically graded stamps.


This has the right balance, for me. Those commenting that grading is a "scam" or a "world class rip-off" or that a buyer of a graded stamp could get "taken" seem to think that there is some kind of absolute value or price for each stamp. There isn't. For some buyers, the numerical rank assigned to a graded stamp confers a premium in value and the grade provides an objective way to distinguish the stamp from others. Later, when they want to sell that stamp, they are likely to find another buyer who has the same opinion.

"Scam," "world-class ripoff," "get taken" - that's your opinion, others believe differently, and that's the reason that grading has enjoyed continued appeal.
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Posted 01/01/2017   4:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add paul78703 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The end result of grading will be (a) that (some) folks will get pickier and pickier about the tiniest differences in stamp quality, and (b) that the prices of all stamps, especially better common stamps, will be pushed up a lot, which is what dealers want. The professional "graders" will grade more and more stamps, especially common ones, and will issue more and more "population reports," which will show people that their stamp is so "inferior" to so many others and will encourage them to "upgrade" from a 90 to a 95 or even a 98! And how will they know the 95 is better than the 90? Because the professional grader told them so!

It will damage the hobby. It will drive up the price of common stamps just as coin grading as driven up the price of common coins.

In the past few days, I have visited a few online dealers' websites which have PSE-graded stamps for sale. I am astonished at the prices they are demanding for common stamps, oftentimes 50-100 times catalog, just because a huckster at PSE graded the stamps 95 or 98.
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Edited by paul78703 - 01/01/2017 8:06 pm
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Posted 01/01/2017   8:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rgstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I like grading, in general.

However, I think many mistakes were made in the system (I guess randy shoemaker was father of grading?)

As discussed on previous thread, the grading standards for centering on imperforate stamps has caused damage to the hobby.. Stamps cut from multiples/blocks to achieve grades of 98J or 100J are "produced artificially" for collectors and do not represent true usage. These stamps are altered from their natural states to produce a desired look for collectors. I believe the PF should change grading standards for imperforates before every remaining plate block disappears. Classic imperforate stamps which contain more than a certain percentage of surrounding stamps should be deemed ungradeable by the PF. Time to put an end to this . PF is nonprofit and could step up to plate. Lead by example. PSE and PSAG totally different story, as they will never reverse course.
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Posted 01/01/2017   9:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Hal to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As I said before SCAM as an example: Does anyone REALLY think this stamp's value is $100 or $30 ???

http://www.ebay.com/itm/PSE-GRADED-...AOSwiwVWSq6D

http://www.ebay.com/itm/US-SC-913-M...AOSwe-FU-cEV

Grading is a marketing scam adopted from coin dealers to push the $-value in the stamp market to make "dealers" more $$$. It is meaningless, based on the quantity of good centered material available. You can buy the above anywhere in this condition for 10c to $1.00. You're an uneducated collector or just a plain fool to spend money on a graded stamp when you have a pair of eyes and more than two brain cells to rub together that is unless you are loo lazy to look at the stamp you're buying and if you're doing that --- you shouldn't be collecting.


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Posted 01/02/2017   06:19 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It is just economics (supply/demand). At any given price, there are buyers. Some have a lot of disposable income...look at Las Vegas. You can buy a lot of stamps for what many lose there. The premise is there are just enough willing to pay these premiums. Once a graded stamp is sold, the fundamentals (the supposed cost to get it graded) is gone so prices should drop when resold. I wonder if dealers pay premiums for graded stamps or is it a one way deal.

It would be interesting to know what percentage of these graded stamps are in dealer's hands versus collectors.
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Al
Edited by angore - 01/02/2017 06:23 am
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Posted 01/02/2017   10:06 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Once a graded stamp is sold, the fundamentals (the supposed cost to get it graded) is gone so prices should drop when resold.


Huh?!
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Posted 01/03/2017   07:13 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Huh?!


It is not the best analogy, If a dealer sends off items to be graded, he has an upfront cost to cover the expenses for grading. Once they sell it to a collector and then collector sells back to the dealer or collector, they will not get the graded price. It is sorta like buying stamps from USPS. You pay the face value to get it the firs time but when re-selling the market determines the value.
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Al
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Posted 01/03/2017   10:20 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
... as an example: Does anyone REALLY think this stamp's value is $100 or $30 ???
http://www.ebay.com/itm/PSE-GRADED-...AOSwiwVWSq6D
http://www.ebay.com/itm/US-SC-913-M...AOSwe-FU-cEV
... You can buy the above anywhere in this condition for 10c to $1.00.


Those are offering prices; the stamps may sell for less. But yes, I don't think these are 10c to $1 stamps. If you do, please post a few links to the dozens you are assuming are available, with exactly the centering shown in the above links. I couldn't find any easily.

It's possible, even for common stamps, that only one sheet or a few were perforated with the quality of centering shown in these examples, and almost all the stamps from those sheets were used and lost to collectors. It is indeed possible that this level of centering is rare and justifies a price far above the catalog minimum.
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Edited by cjpalermo1964 - 01/03/2017 10:21 am
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Posted 01/04/2017   7:44 pm  Show Profile Check matttodd1's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add matttodd1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Classic imperforate stamps which contain more than a certain percentage of surrounding stamps should be deemed ungradeable by the PF. Time to put an end to this . PF is nonprofit and could step up to plate. Lead by example. PSE and PSAG totally different story, as they will never reverse course.


PSE actually does have a policy now in place along these lines. They will not grade an imperforate stamp if more than about 25% of the adjoining stamps are included in such a jumbo.
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Posted 01/04/2017   8:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rgstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
matttodd1,

that is great news. I was not aware of this policy. At least it is a start. Perhaps it should be 15% but at least it something

rg
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Posted 01/04/2017   8:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rgstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
need to stop this:

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Posted 01/05/2017   10:32 pm  Show Profile Check sinclair2010's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add sinclair2010 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
PSE actually does have a policy now in place along these lines. They will not grade an imperforate stamp if more than about 25% of the adjoining stamps are included in such a jumbo


Is that published somewhere? I can't find it.
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Posted 01/06/2017   07:21 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I guess for some there are two grades: collectible and not collectable
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Al
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