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.
blogIn this column in the Aug. 24 issue of Linn’s, I referred to the American Philatelic Research Library in Bellefonte, Pa., as a “gift to stamp collectors.” The BNAPS library and the APRL are two of many libraries available to stamp collectors, and some philatelic libraries are available online. Read More ›
blogIt’s often been said that one of the salutary benefits of collecting stamps is the friendships made along one’s philatelic journey. If I were asked to place a value on the bonds thus forged with collectors in locales near and far, I would be rich beyond measure. A few of these hobby friends I have never met in person. Read More ›
blogToday, Nov. 11, 2015, is Veterans Day. Over the years, a number of United States stamps honoring those who have served in our nation’s armed forces have been issued. Read More ›
blogMy previous blog post focused on a mystery: the apparent indentations of paper clips on United States Purple Heart forever stamps that were used to mail payments to the circulation department of my employer, Amos Media in Sidney, Ohio. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke reports on a new Charlie Brown computer-vended postage stamp that is sold only through post office self-service kiosks.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses Great Britain’s final stamp issue for 2015, a Star Wars prestige booklet, and reveals what is included in its stamp program for 2016.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses a registered 1967 cover from Qatar that recently sold for almost $1,200 and the latest discovery of an Upright Jenny Invert pane.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman announces that Linn’s has been named official daily publisher of World Stamp Show-NY 2016 and provides an update on the reorganization of the Scott catalogs.
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.