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Getting an expert opinion.

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.

There are often minute differences in stamps that at first appear identical — different
papers, different printing plates and so on. And these differences can affect the value
of a stamp by thousands of dollars. That’s why collectors submit stamps to a process
called “expertising.”

“Expertising is the formal examination of postage stamps and postal history to determine
its condition and authenticity.” RUNS :09

Mercer Bristow is director of expertising for the American Philatelic Society. Because
the minute differences may be hard to detect, or even faked, those selling rare stamps
rely on expertising.

“The buyer knows that it has been previously been examined by a third party and deemed to
be genuine, with conditions.” RUNS :09

The A-P-S service, known as APEX,” shows submissions to collectors and dealers
knowledgeable about that stamp issue.

“We have currently on the committee about 120 specialists.” RUNS :05

APEX issued its first certificate for a stamp in 1903, and since then has issued opinions
on more than 214-thousand items.

There are other expertising services, but most are limited to U-S stamps.

“We basically do the world.” RUNS :02

Bristow says the most exciting stamp his operation will expertise... is in the future.

“Each year, we find new discoveries.” RUNS : 02

And it’s not just the owners who benefit when that happens.

“The major catalogues depend on expertising services to authenticate these items before
they are listed in the	catalogues.” RUNS :09

For more on the A-P-S expertising service, visit stamps-dot-org. It’s under “services.”

I’m Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more on stamps and stamp collecting,
visit virtual-stamp-club-dot-com.

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