Getting a stamp expertised is an essential step for collectors, particularly when dealing with high-value or rare stamps. An expert committee will authenticate the stamp, confirm its genuineness (or otherwise), and provide the owner with a certificate stating their opinion. An example of a certificate is show below.
A stamp with a certificate can sometimes increase a stamp's worth and may enhance its appeal to potential buyers. Furthermore, expertisation provides collectors with peace of mind about their purchase and the accuracy of their collection. It also ensures that the stamp is accurately catalogued and can be valued and compared to other stamps in the philatelic market.
You may see a stamp listed on a site such as eBay, Delcampe, Catawiki, or HipStamp, or in an Auction catalogue, or dealer’s website, that states that the item comes with a certificate.
We would encourage collectors to review which expertising body issued the certificate. We would also encourage collectors to buy from a trusted philatelic professional as unfortunately, it’s not just stamps which can be tampered with or forged, certificates can be too.
In some cases, dealers will agree to having an item expertised for you. Or, provide a money-back guarantee should you seek expertisation and find that what you purchased was not accurately described.
The PTS Code of Conduct, which all of our members comply with, includes a number of points relating to expertising/ certification, all aimed at providing assurances to those who deal with a PTS Member, including PTS Members, Royal Philatelic Society London, and the British Philatelic Association. The PTS also has its own expertising arm, PTS Expertising Ltd.
Extracts from the PTS Code of Conduct:
“3b. Where a member supplies an item with a certificate of genuineness his description must agree with the certificate and any remarks concerning condition.”
“4. A recognised certifying expert or expert committee shall include those of the PTS Expertising Ltd, Royal Philatelic Society and the British Philatelic Association. A recognised expert or committee is one that; has an expert who is highly regarded and widely recognised for certifying such an item, undertakes proper diligence in reaching the opinion, records the opinion and can uphold the opinion. There must always be doubt if the most obvious expert is not used.”
“5. Members are reminded to ensure that a certificate belongs to the corresponding item and that the condition of the stamp or item has not changed since the issue of a certificate.”
“6a. Members who sign certificates of genuineness must satisfy themselves and, if requested to do so by the Council, that they have the expertise or they can rely on the expertise of others to make such a certification. With the exception of the PTS Expertising Ltd., the PTS logo or any reference to the association must not appear on any certificate of genuineness or attachment.”
With experts having extensive knowledge and experience, they can spot minute details, including variations and errors, that a collector may miss. This attention to detail can make all the difference when it comes to the rarity and value of a stamp.
Moreover, getting a stamp expertised can also open doors to new opportunities for collectors. Expertisation certificates are often required when entering stamps into prestigious philatelic exhibitions or auctions. Having an expert's certification increases the chances of acceptance and can attract higher bids from potential buyers.
There is also that thrill of receiving your certificate that confirms a stamp is what you thought it was! Hurray!
So next time you come across a rare or valuable stamp, consider getting it expertised to fully understand and realise its potential in the philatelic world.
The PTS provides expertisation services for GB stamps (with some exceptions). PTS Expertising Ltd. prides itself on the following:
Our flat charge is based on the actual work done; we take the view that it rarely takes any longer to check out a stamp cataloguing £10,000, than it does one cataloguing any other figure and that it is not logical to base the charge on the catalogue value alone.
Our procedures are anonymous; a well-known specialist dealer will receive exactly the same impartial treatment as a newcomer to the hobby. Our flat fee structure means that we can have no financial interest – real or theoretical – in the opinion given.
Our target is to provide an opinion within 8 weeks of receipt of items (This may vary in the summer due to holidays).
For more information, or for details on how to submit a stamp for expertising, visit www.thepts.net/pts-expertising
PTS Members receive a discount on PTS Certs, including a further discount for submissions of 10 items or more.