Russian stamps 10 kopecks imperforate, strip of five, largest multiple known. Ex Fabergé

Russian stamps 10 kopecks imperforate, strip of five, largest multiple known. Ex Fabergé

January 25, 2012

Is the description correct?

There is a sad practice among some dealers, including famous ones, which I will call the 'Deceptive Description'. 

Stamp (and cover) collecting is a fine art, where the most subtle detail can increase - or decrease - both the philatelic AND commercial value of any item. It is therefore essential for the potential buyer, who doesn't have the stamp or cover in front of the eyes, to have the most accurate description as possible.

This, of course, can represent a great disadvantage to any unscrupulous seller if the material is not first choice. As an unfortunate consequence, it is not a surprise that some sellers decide to manipulate the description of their lot ... in order to manipulate the buyer.

As an exemple, I bought recently on Ebay a copy of Russian Levant (Michel 1) sold in Germany as "Nachdruck/Falsch" (Reprint/Fake), as I wanted to add such item to my reference stock of fakes and forgeries.

What came in my letter box two days later was ... a poor quality color photocopy from the sold item!

I just checked the feedback from this seller and I was not the first victim; what amazed me was that this seller even got the nerve to defend himself with some comments in the vein of  "the lot was described as fake ... Cannot you read?". Human nature is unbelievable, isn't it?

In the philately world, you don't need to be an expert to know there is a (value) difference between a photocopy and a reprint, even a  fake one. But in the dictionary cannot a reprint be a photocopy as well? Not in philately. So here lies the 'gray zone', in which unscrupulous dealers enjoy themselves to the detriment of serious collectors.

There are plenty exemples out there for you to check. Last year I blogged about the unclear descriptions of Russia #1 pen cancelled (removed) but sold with the very ambiguous description 'Looks unused', in order to boost the emotions of the buyers.

Such practices are absolutely unethical. Philately is a knowledge-based hobby, where the meeting of precision and financial investment is making a happy marriage. Therefore, check the descriptions and do not hesitate to ask precisions.

It is better to have a good wedding than a bad divorce.

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