Changes in Certification

The first American Philatelic Society certificate was issued over a hundred years ago and it was for a US Occupation of Cuba issue. Following the standards of the time the certificate simply said that the stamp was genuine. The first certificates took their role as “certificates of genuineness” seriously. They said nothing about the quality of the stamps, often not even mentioning if the gum was genuine or not and they certainly never graded the stamps. By about 1930 it was common to see the issue of gum addressed on Philatelic Foundation certificates, though this practice was not mandatory and many regummed stamps were passed as og. About this time too, certificates began to address the issue of quality with major repairs being mentioned for the first time. It wasn’t until the late 1980’s that hinging became a matter to be passed on by experts and the first NH certificate were issued by the Philatelic Foundation in the late 1980s. The greatest changes in stamp certificate history began with the creation of the Professional Stamp Expertisers certificate about twenty years ago. This for profit organization began as an offshoot of a coin expertising group that had a made a fortune in the coin grading certificate craze and began to issue graded certificates that made a big point of mentioning every imperfection on the stamp. Graded certificates burned themselves out a few years ago with huge premiums being paid for common stamps in perfect condition. Many unknowlegeable collectors and dealers bought these stamps at prices that look ludicrously high only a few years later. The evolution in stamp certification has been a slow change of emphasis from genuineness to quality.

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