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Condition of stamps

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Clifford T Ward
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Condition of stamps

#1

Post by Clifford T Ward »

Further to my introduction theme. I mentioned that i collect Victorian Penny Reds.
These are the 1864 to 1879 with the letters in all four corners.
Now i appreciate that the oldest of these stamps is over 150 years old. So you would think that you could be forgiven for going easy on yourself with regard to condition. But i guess that not accepting faulty stamps is what we should all aspire to.
Having said that i have checked my penny reds as i have purchased them and have set aside those that are faulty.
Well now i am in the process of going through them quite thoroughly so that i have for example in my best used set found that out of 101 that i have checked most carefully only 27 are what i would class as good; i.e. they have no major faults on them, and are acceptable for their age and condition. The other 74 are mainly failing to be acceptable because they have toning to one degree or another, or are trimmed on one edge or another, but do not have major faults, such as pinholes, tears, creases etc.
Now my question and concern, because this is driving me up the wall is, am i being too tough on myself and should i ignore some toning if it is only one perf involved? Or should i continue to have almost too high a condition expectation of these stamps?
Any comments welcome. No need to mention that i am mad because i have realised that a long time ago!

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jimp
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#2

Post by jimp »

No you are not being too picky.
I have the full run of 1d red plates (no 77) and I regularly improve their quality.
I now have almost one half of them with a superb cds and none of the run have any faults. All are very fine used.
I am now looking at a full run of mint. Thinking that it may take some time (and money)
I also have nearly recomstructed plate 129, but I am struggling for the last 10, not having located 1 for 6 months.

Quality is very important in stamp collecting.

Clifford T Ward
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#3

Post by Clifford T Ward »

Thanks for that jimp.
That has given me heart and a direction to follow.
I am working my way through them being very careful to write up each one with regards to condition.
I have over 3,000 so it is going to take some time, but i think you are right. If something is worth collecting
well then you might as well go for the best. Well done for restoring my faith in human nature!

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#4

Post by jimp »

Pleased to help Clifford.

Milo9696
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#5

Post by Milo9696 »

I actually like the patinas of old used and abused, cancelled, and beat up look of stamps. Makes the stamp more unique, and shows the life cycle it was intended for in the first place. I'd rather have a beat up, smashed or burnt guitar that Jimi Hendrix played at a hundred concerts with, than one he had bought, touched, and never played. So what if it was never strung, never plugged in, and still brand new. Really??? That's cool, and better than the one he actually used?!? Bahhh
Quality?? Pffffft!! Who cares. If a stamp is used, ripped, torn, bent, cancelled, hinged, faded, big freaking deal. It's better than not having it at all. That's how I look at it. It's all in the eye of the collector, and what they want out of it. It's art in whatever way you wanna behold it. Just my opinion. Give me a 150 year old stamp that was licked, stuck, sent, cancelled, went on a traveling adventure through multiple hands to somehow end up in my binder. That's cool to me!! A brand new one never used, is just a boring old brand new one. No real life or history to it I think.

jim-fairfield
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#6

Post by jim-fairfield »

I can see both sides of this one, though to some extent, I do like to have stamps in my album that look nice. (But Milo9696, something like you, I see stamps that have done their duty as postage and show some signs of it something like soldiers who have come back with injuries and are now honored.) So as you can see, I'm a little divided here, though now I am starting to lean toward replacing damaged ones at least.
Ultimately, I don't think we can come up with an absolute right answer on this, but I do like to hear about different people's approaches and their thinking. In the end, it's all in how you like to collect.
Jim Shead - Fairfield, Iowa

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#7

Post by jmh67 »

I guess it depends very much on the stamp itself and the circumstances around it. My "philosophy" is this:

In order to put a single stamp in my album, I generally look for the best specimen that I can find, Ideally, that means no tears, no missing perforation teeth, no thins, no bends, no dirt spots, a legible cancellation, reasonable centering. In some cases, it can mean the least damaged one.

Sometimes, however, a flaw can also be a sign of something gone wrong during production, and that is usually worth keeping, even if it is only for a trade. I shouldn't throw away oddities like a severely misperforated stamp or one with noticeably misaligned colors.

On piece, when the emphasis is not on the stamp alone, I may accept a damaged stamp, and even more so on an entire envelope or postcard. That may be the case if the postmark is of more interest that the stamp, or if the piece of mail obviously has seen a bit of the world, if there are transit markings, and so on. I guess these may be the battle-scarred "soldiers" that Jim mentioned. They've got stories to tell, after all.

Real, hard-boiled specialists may even keep damaged stamps for comparison purposes - sometimes it is easier to identify a variety if you can put it side-by-side with a known one, for instance if you are hunting plate flaws. I've heard of collectors cutting pieces off examples of the common variety in order to get closer to the places where these flaws are expected to occur.

Martin

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