Peter Holcombe

I read today that Peter Holcombe has passed away. Peter was one of the dwindling few of world wide dealer/experts that used to be prominent in the hobby. Peter was born in England and lived the last thirty years of his life in Switzerland. For most of his life he was an active dealer but for the last few years he was more of an expertiser. He tended towards the most esoteric regions of our hobby from Greece and Greek area to Chinese overprints and Thailand. He was especially good with British Commonwealth stamps. He issued certificates and signed stamps and was one of the more active expertisers in the world until he slowed down some ten years ago. Experts like Holcombe, not committees, used to be the norm in world wide philately. The Americans and the British have gravitated away from individual experts to where the Royal, British Philatelic Association, Philatelic Foundation, American Philatelic Expertisation service, PSE are all “committee expertisers” where stamps are supposedly passed on by several experts not one. The German Bundersprufer system has retained the old system. It is a federation of experts but each area still has one expert and that expert is the one who examines and passes on your stamps. Our system is supposed to be more sure, the idea being that the knowledge of the collective is greater than that of any individual. All I know for sure is that the American system is slower-getting an opinion can take months, not hours. And as far as surer? I would put my money out faster on a Peter Holcombe certificate on classic Greece than I would on any of the “committee experts” that I know.

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