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.
August 01, 2015 07:37 PMIt didn’t take long for the doom-and-gloomers to weigh in with their prognostications following the July 24 announcement from the American Philatelic Society that it hired former political aide Scott English to be the next executive director of the nation’s largest stamp club. Read More ›
July 30, 2015 08:04 PMIn the Editor’s Insights columns in the July 20 Linn’s Stamp News monthly and the Aug. 10 weekly Linn’s, I mentioned Linn’s Editorial Advisory Board without giving too much detail. Linn’s goal is to engage its audience both in print and online and to grow this audience. The role of the newly formed Linn’s Editorial Advisory Board is to assist us achieving these goals by keeping us focused on the needs of our audience and helping us adapt to today’s market. Read More ›
July 30, 2015 09:01 AMAs in previous years, Rarities Week, the series of sales conducted June 22-26 by Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries in New York, included several name sales as well as an assortment of notable items from around the world. The week kicked off with something of a do-over: a sizable assortment of better United States stamps and covers that had appeared in four previous sales, but whose winning bidder then failed to pay for them. Read More ›
July 23, 2015 04:35 PMThe Tieton, Wash., post office is a simple 1935 cement block building with a slat wood facade. Townsfolk in the agricultural community of 1,200 in central Washington believe the post office could become a landmark, if only the United States Postal Service would allow them to cover the front with a stamp-like mosaic. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s senior editor Denise McCarty discusses the hiring of a new executive director of the American Philatelic Society, the new Linn’s Editorial Advisory Board and the upcoming APS Stampshow.
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz discusses the largest souvenir card produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The card is one of three issued to honor the centenary of San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke discusses Canada’s recently recalled $1.20 Dinosaur Provincial Park stamps featuring inaccurately described Hoodoo rock formations.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman discusses the discovery of another pane of the intentionally created upright variety of the $2 Jenny Invert stamp.
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.