A common question in the stamp collecting world is: where can I get my stamp expertly valued? Oftentimes, if an individual wants to sell a rare stamp, a buyer will require a certificate of authenticity. Why? Well, because there have been several instances where a catalogued stamp has turned out to be a fake, or a stamp has been cleverly altered to make it look like something it is not. Who wants to buy a fake? (see article:Fakes and Forgeries-Beware!)
How will the experts evaluate your stamp? There are several things they can look out for: (see article:Fakes and Forgeries-How to spot them!)
- Is the size correct?
- Is it printed on the right kind of paper and using the same printing method as the genuine article?
- Are the perforation measures correct?
- Is the stamp the right color?
- Has a cancellation been removed to make it look like a mint stamp?
- Has it been regummed?
- Has the stamp been repaired in any way to make it look like it is a better condition than originally?
In order to determine these different factors, obviously an excellent knowledge is required on the part of the expert, as well as abundant reference material. There are even various instruments which can be used to evaluate the genuineness of the stamp such as:
- Paper micrometers
- Binoculars and microscopes
- Ultraviolet and infrared lights
- X-ray fluorescence and spectro-photometers
- Photometric color determination equipment and color swatches
If a stamp is found to be the real deal, then the individual or organization will issue a certificate of authenticity. These documents often possess security features themselves in order to prevent someone from forging the actual certificate.
So, which experts can you turn to in order to authenticate your stamps?
The Vincent Graves Greene Foundation in Toronto has been an expert in the field since it was established in 1975 by Vincent Graves Greene himself. Mr. Greene was a prominent philatelist, often referred to by his companions in the stamp world as «Canada’s Grand Old Man». An expert in the field of British North America stamps, he was the recipient of many honours and awards from various philatelic societies. The Foundation, which bears his name, continues in the long tradition of providing expertization service to collectors all over the world.
Another eminent expert you can turn to is Richard Gratton in Windsor, Quebec. In addition to providing expertization services, Mr. Gratton also serves on the Canadian Stamp Advisory committee. This committee helps determine what subjects will appear on the stamps issued by Canada Post.
Here’s hoping your stamps end up being some of Canada’s rare stamps!