Linn’s reported last week that eBay, the giant online commerce site, decided to shutter its popular oversight programs that helped identify and remove problematic stamp listings.
EBay cited costs and other issues in its decision, but it said that it remained committed to maintaining a marketplace where sellers and buyers can interact with confidence.
Some of the dealers who worked with eBay on the oversight programs are understandably concerned that problems with fraudulent and misdescribed listings will continue, and perhaps increase.
We sympathize with these concerns.
Nonetheless, the overriding rule to remember is this: let the buyer beware.
Of course, there is no substitute for knowledge. And the best way to gain that knowledge is from other collectors.
When I began buying items on eBay in the late 1990s, my understanding of 19th-century postal history was scant at best.
Before bidding on any cover that caught my attention, I would study the listing and ask the seller questions.
If the seller did not provide images of the cover, I asked to have them added to the listing or sent directly to me. Such a request has never been denied.
Additional, more specific questions would be sent to collectors or specialists who understood the postal history of the era.
They invariably would point out things that I had missed, or would identify suspect markings or other telltale signs that the item had problems.
In most cases, when such issues were pointed out to the seller, the listing would either be removed, or the seller would point out the problems in the listing description.
On occasion, the seller did not take kindly to having an item called into question. When that happened, I crossed him off my list of trusted sellers.
The point of all of this is acquiring the necessary education to avoid making a purchase that you will regret later.
In the meantime, we await whatever changes eBay might make in the wake of discontinuing its oversight programs.
Linn’s digital edition delivered on Saturday
In cased you missed it, we announced last week that the digital edition of Linn’s, beginning with this Aug. 11 issue, is now available two days earlier: on Saturday instead of Monday.
This change is yet another acknowledgment that news is now available in seconds and minutes, not in hours and days.
We feel that it makes more sense to get the news to you in a more timely manner. Once we have the news, there is no reason to hold onto it any longer than is necessary.
Also, it is our hope that a Saturday delivery to your in box will afford you more time to read and enjoy each issue without the distractions that typically mark the start of the work week.
Once you have finished reading your issue of Linn’s, be sure to check Linns.com regularly for the latest philatelic news from around the world.
We post new content there on an almost daily basis.
If you haven’t tried the digital edition of Linn’s, an annual subscription costs just $19.99.
To receive 52 digital issues of Linn’s, go to https://subscribe.amospub.com/lsn/SubscriptionNew.
October 09, 2015 02:00 PMLinn’s managing editor Charles Snee reported the recovery of a block of three of the 1845 5¢ New York postmaster’s provisional stamp, once part of a block of 10 that was stolen from the Benjamin K. Miller collection in 1977. Read More ›
blogThis month marks my fifth anniversary writing the monthly auction report for Linn’s Stamp News. That’s 60 columns, totaling more than 100,000 words (enough for a decent-sized novel), all about our favorite hobby. Read More ›
blogWhen this cover was listed on eBay in mid-September, it didn't take long for some knowledgeable collectors to recognize this piece of postal history for the gem that it is: an early trans-oceanic survey cover for a Pacific route that included Midway Island, which would become famous as the location of a pivotal 1942 naval battle during World War II. Read More ›
blogIn mid-September I traveled to London, England, to attend Autumn Stampex, one of two British national stamp shows sponsored by the Philatelic Traders’ Society, Great Britain’s national stamp dealers association. The show took place Sept. 16-19 at the Business Design Centre in Islington (central north London), a comfortable and attractive venue for a stamp show. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman talks about the recovery of a block of three 1845 5¢ New York Postmaster’s Provisional stamps taken in an infamous 1977 stamp heist.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses current events that relate to the stamp hobby, including the relocation of a stamp show in Sweden due to the Syrian refugee crises, and new stamps honoring Pope Francis and the British monarchy.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke talks about a record fifth win for wildlife artist Joseph Hautman in the federal duck stamp art contest, and see the painting that will appear on next year’s federal duck stamp
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz questions Bolivia’s choice for the design of a 2013 stamp honoring the country’s efforts to protect its migrants in foreign lands.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.