eBay Guides - Graded Stamps and Expertized Stamps Buying Guide
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Graded Stamps and Expertized Stamps Buying Guide

Stamp collecting, also called philately, has been around as long as stamps themselves. With a virtually endless variety of stamps from around the world, and the establishment of reputable grading systems that enable them to be bought and sold with confidence, eBay Canada has ushered in a new era in stamp collecting.

Understand Expertized Stamps and Graded Stamps

Understand Expertized Stamps and Graded Stamps

Like any other collectable, the physical quality and rarity determine the value of stamps. Expertized stamps and graded stamps help to ensure that what you are buying is the original article.

Expertized stamps have been deemed original. The stamp has had no restoration work done on the glue or the printing. Expertized stamps are usually accompanied by a colour picture and a certificate of authenticity.

Despite the usefulness of a unified stamp grading system, it wasn't until 2001 that one was developed. Over the past four years, the system has been upgraded and scrutinized, and its usefulness has become apparent. With a standard stable grading system, it's possible for collectors to buy and sell stamps on an even playing field.

The PSE (Professional Stamp Experts) grading system is based on two main characteristics: soundness and centring.

  • Soundness: Soundness determines the overall physical quality of the stamp. It addresses issues like spotting, creases, wrinkles, and tears. A faultless stamp is in perfect condition: no creases, spots, or staining. The rating then degrades through very minor faults, minor faults, fault, major faults, and damaged. Damaged stamps are wrinkled, torn, spotted, creased, or otherwise not in good condition. 

  • Centring: Stamps that are well-centred are generally more appealing and sell for more than off-centre stamps. Cutting and perforating the stamps occurs after printing, so it is not uncommon for some stamps to be visibly off centre. However, as technology increased over time, stamps have become consistently more centred, so what is considered a “Fine” rating for an older stamp might be just an average rating for a more modern stamp.

Remember: since eBay does not review stamp listings for authenticity or any other attribute as to quality, it is up to you to research the stamp as well as grading and expertizing issues before you buy.

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Learn Stamp Collecting Terms

Learn Stamp Collecting Terms

There are many terms specific to philatelic circles which are especially important when evaluating expertized stamps and graded stamps.

  • Crease: A fold in the stamp. They can be rated from faint to heavy and are sometimes pressed or ironed out.

  • Fading: Lightened ink from natural causes. 

  • Imperforate stamp: Stamps originally sold without perforations. 

  • Natural translucency: A condition that is often confused with a thin spot. It is usually ignored. 

  • Original gum: A stamp with gum that is in the same condition as it was when applied by the manufacturer. 

  • Pin hole: A tiny hole that light can be seen through.

  • Previously hinged: The gum on the stamp is original, but it has disturbances that have happened since printing. This could be a sign of tampering, or caused by natural causes. 

  • Redistributed original gum: The original gum has been redistributed across the back of the stamp, hoping to hide gum imperfections.

  • Regummed: New gum has been added to the stamp. 

  • Repair: Any attempt to cover up previous damage to the stamp. 

  • Re-perforated stamps: The addition of perforations to defraud collectors. 

  • Scrape: A fiber disturbance caused by a surface abrasion. 

  • Staining: A discolouration of the stamp’s colour.

  • Trimmed perforations: The stamp’s perforations have been trimmed since its issue.

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Find Expertized and Graded Stamps on eBay

Find Expertized and Graded Stamps on eBay

Once you know what type of expertized stamps or graded stamps you want, go to the Stamps portal, and start searching for items on eBay.

  • Categories: The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links for Confederate States, Errors, Coils, and more.    

  • Keyword search: Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find duck stamps, type "duck stamp" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try shopping eBay Stores, tell the eBay Community what you want by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a match becomes available.

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Buy Expertized and Graded Stamps With Confidence

Buy Expertized and Graded Stamps With Confidence

Before making your purchase, make sure you know exactly what you're buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your purchase

Carefully read the details in item listings.

  • Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.

  • If you want more information, ask by clicking the "Ask seller a question" link under the seller's profile.

  • Always make sure to complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay protection programs.

  • Never pay for your eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so you feel positive and secure about every transaction.

  • What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have?

  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?

  • Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies. Do they offer a money-back guarantee? What are the terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the unlikely event that a problem arises during your transaction, eBay and PayPal are there for you.

  • Pay safely with PayPal: PayPal enables you to pay without the seller ever seeing your bank account or credit card numbers. In fact, PayPal protects buyers 100% against unauthorized payments from their accounts. Plus, with PayPal Buyer Protection, your purchase can be covered up to C$1,250.

  • eBay Security & Resolution Centre: Visit the Security & Resolution Centre to learn how to protect your account and use eBay's quick and efficient resolution tools.

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