Frequently Asked Questions about our Expertization Service

1. Submissions and Forms

We do not have forms. Just send the items, properly packaged in stock cards, plastic cover holders and the like, with good cardboard in the envelope, as you see necessary. Mail by registered, insured or certified mail, your choice, to Liane Sismondo, P.O. Box 10035, Syracuse, New York, USA 13290-3301. We can also receive courier mail; in this case, telephone first for a different address (1-315-422-2331). Please include your telephone numbers and/or e-mail address.

2. Basis for Price of our Service

Charges for stamps are 3.75 % of catalogue value, with a minimum fee of US $31.00. The fee for stamps and covers that are found to be counterfeit is a minimum of US $31.00 for stamps and a minimum of US $50.00 for covers. There is a US $18.00 supplement for most stamps on cover and a $11.00 supplement for many stamps with surcharges and overprints. There is a plating charge of $12.00.

The charge may be more for stamps and covers where value depends mostly on the authenticity of one or more postmarks (i.e. 20 cent catalogue value for mint Vs $200.00 for used). Higher charges may be expected for expertization which depends on plating work or authentication of some difficult surcharges and overprints. For example, there are many covers from French colonies with stamps with overprints and surcharges which take much work to ascertain authenticity. There may be a higher charge for these. In some cases we would charge the $50.00 basic cover price and a price for the authentication of each stamp with overprint or surcharge. Other examples of plating include Poczta Polska overprints. We will be happy to quote a price before embarking on the work, if you ask us to do so.

Our normal maximum price per item is US $500.00. If the cost of our work is expected to be more than that, which sometimes happens with some very rare of extremely difficult items, we will not proceed without an agreed price.

For items with a catalogue value over $5,000.00, our base prices increase. The minimum fee for stamps is $50.00 and $100.00 for covers. Our maximum price increases to $500.00. Forgeries of stamps with catalogue value equal or over $5,000, and which require plating or other study for their determination will be charged $100.00 flat fee.

3. Discounts

Discounts are applicable for bulk submissions, such as many examples of the same stamp or specialized collections of the stamps of one issue. Under special conditions, some discounts may also apply to repeat business.

4. Sets of Stamps

We do not have a fixed rate for sets of stamps. By way of example, we charge $115 for a hinged set of 1934 Vatican provisionals.

5. Signing and Marks

We normally sign with pencil, used stamps, mint hinged stamps and covers provided that they have (a) substantial value and (b) excellent condition. We do not sign mint Never Hinged items, items too delicate to sign, or items with faults.

6. Time

Our normal turnaround time is usually fast. Some backlogs are inevitable, especially in advance of the auction seasons. We handle material in order of receipt. If you need your material by a particular date, please make this request in writing. We recognize emergencies do happen. For an additional fee, we can often arrange for Expedited certification, usually within one business day. Please provide advance notice.

7. Returns and Insurance

We charge you for the cost of returns. Normally we return mail registered. Sometimes, by mutual agreement, we return stamps by certified or insured mail when the savings are warranted. We can also send your stamps by Express Mail, Federal Express, etc. We expect that you have proper insurance for the mailing in both directions. If you do not, we will be happy to inform you of the cost of appropriate insurance, at the time of returns.

Note: The U.S. Post Office does not insure mail to foreign countries. Please contact us if you wish your package insured.

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