When buying stamps you can either be your own expert or you have to trust the seller. In the latter case sometimes this means you have to trust a certificate or an opinion of an expert. I do make opinions for Armenian stamps. If you buy Armenian stamps, perhaps you get an opinion issued be myself. Let me tell you a short story about what happened a few days ago.
When browsing offers on eBay and I always see the many forgeries and fake overprints. Most of the time I simply ignore the often crudely made rubbish. Sometimes I write a short notice to the seller. Especially when the seller is member of APS or a similar organization or seems to be a pro stamp dealer. Most of the time a get thanks, sometimes I get no or a bad reaction. I know then the dealer is shady. It is like a little test. I do not waste time with the “hobby” of private sellers on eBay, Delcampe and Co. They almost always react aggressive and are not interested in learning or preventing damage to the customer. I guess they only want to get the better of their customers.
This offer caught my attention. The reasons: the overprint is so obviously wrong, it is a pain to see. Like a child tried to produce some new stamp playing with its stamp device.
So far nothing uncommon but the seller made some effort to show it is a professional dealer.
Wow. Even a picture of a very representative looking shop.
And lots of positive feedback ratings. How could they offer so crude forgeries? Perhaps a mistake. Armenian stamps are somewhat exotic to the usual stamp dealer. Lets give them a hint.
This is what I wrote. I did not take time to make an elaborate message but included my web-address so they can see I know what I am talking about.
Now I was surprised. They did react. And they got a stamp expert. Someone like me. Or perhaps someone even more professional and experienced “one of the most important philatelic expert”. Wow.
But how come he gives opinions about stamps and overprints he obviously does not know in the slightest? Lets us hope they are lying. If not, the expert is not worth a penny.
I checked the internet for Mr. Caffaz. I would like to write him. Perhaps he can explain why the dealer is trying to sell crap using his name. I could not find an email address of Mr. Caffaz, but he is listed on http://www.filatelia.fi/experts and I also found other auction listings with certificates under his name.
Here are items the seller is right now listing on ebay. All overprints are fake – and in addition, the forger used forged basic stamps.
Very ease to spot forged basic stamp – secret marks are missing and the smut on the outer frame is a dead giveaway. Shape of “2” is also totally wrong – look at swing in the foot, the size….
Same story here: basic stamp fake. Overprint wrong.
Likewise. The “1” is twice as big as the genuine one.
Again easy to spot basic stamp forgery, overprint wrong (“0″ tilted!”)
Finally a picture with a genuine “3” overprint. Can you spot the difference to the forgery?
Perhaps the forger had the shape of the “3” of the “35” overprint in mind, but did not realize, the “3” was always printed using the no serife type overprint.
It would be nice if Mr. Caffaz could respond to this. Perhaps someone can provide an email address? Why is he (if he is) signing stamps he has got no knowledge about? I think this damages his reputation as an expert.
PS: I wrote Mr. Caffaz to the email address he provided on his website, but got no answer.