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Bogus FDCs Rock Stamp Market

The largest quantity of bogus first day cover cachets ever to appear at one time are now on the market, reports Linn's Stamp News in its August 9th edition.

There's no firm estimate of how many covers are involved, but they come from a hoard estimated at 70,000-100,000 FDCs. The stamps and postmarks are believed legitimate; only the cachets are suspect.

The article is written by Carol Shelton, wife of AFDCS Expertising Committee chairman (and VSC member) Allison Cusick, although a disclaimer at the bottom of the article says that Allison was consulted only for technical matters in the article.

Many of the covers were sold by Nutmeg Stamp Sales in its April 15, 2004, mail sale. Nutmeg president David Coogle sent a letter to buyers in that sale, advising them that there might be problems with their purchases and offering a full refund.

A large number were "wholesaled" to A&M Enterprises in Wisconsin, which then sold them to two dealers, Lynn's Covers and Whit's Covers.

The hoard of covers belonged for former collector Ed. Ward of Iowa, who told Linn's he had never made a cachet himself and none of the covers in his collection were add-ons.

But the story doesn't end there. Greg Manning Auctions purchased Nutmeg from founder Andrew Levitt in February, about the same time that Levitt purchased the covers for Nutmeg. Levitt remains with the firm as a consultant, but GMAI installed David Coogle as president of the company.

According to a message posted on a Yahoo finance message board, Coogle, under his birth name of David Zelenak, was expelled from the American Stamp Dealers Association and the American Philatelic Society in the 1980s, and was convicted in 1992 of federal mail fraud for selling fraudulently-altered stamps, taking $124,000 from collectors.

Upon learning that an expelled member was heading Nutmeg, says the Yahoo post by "poorinvestor1," the APS suspended Nutmeg's ads from its American Philatelist magazine.

"Poorinvestor1" says that, in retaliation, Greg Manning has now canceled advertising in the AP for all of his stamp firms, which also includes (according to his Web site) Greg Manning Auctions, Ivy & Manning (formerly Ivy & Mader), and several numismatic and sports collectible operations.

The American Philatelic Society, contacted Thursday by The Virtual Stamp Club, had no comment.

Disclaimer: All of the information for the above messages was drawn from the article in the Linn's Stamp News online edition posted Thursday, July 29; the message posted on Yahoo by the pseudonymous "poorinvestor1;" and from the Greg Manning Auctions, Inc., Web site.

There is much, much more in the Linn's article, including reaction to the bogus cachets from both the American Philatelic Society and the American First Day Cover Society.

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