American Philatelic Society

Pedro - StampsFrancePedro - StampsFrance
Tom Horn,
APEX Director
ext. 205

Krystal Harter,
APEX Coordinator
ext. 206

Frequently Asked Questions


How long does it take to get a certificate?

On average about 45 days, owners should allow 90 days.

Who can use the service?

Anyone, but non-members pay higher fees.

How much does it cost to have an item expertized?

Fees are based on the current Scott Catalogue value of an item. Other catalogues (Minkus, Gibbons, Michel, Yvert, etc.) may be used in the identification of the item on the certificate. For APS members fees begin at $20 and go up to 3%, depending on the Scott catalogue value. Items not listed in any catalogue may be initially submitted for a minimum fee of $30.

What about refunds?

If, in the committee’s opinion, an item was misidentified as a more expensive stamp and the fee was in excess of $30, the fee will be adjusted and a refund made for the difference, minus any expertizing and insurance expense. For example, the fee for a stamp with a catalogue value of $5,000 is $150 (3% of $5,000). After examining the item, the committee determines that the stamp is a counterfeit and returns it to the owner with the certificate so stating. The fee is adjusted to $30 and a refund of $120 is made to the submitter.

I have what I hope is an extremely valuable stamp, but in all probability is a counterfeit. Do I have to pay the full fee up front?

We decide on a case-by-case basis how to handle these situations. If arrangements are made ahead of time, we sometimes will accept an item with a potentially high value for the minimum $30 fee for APS members. It is accepted with the understanding that if it turns out to be a genuine, high-valued item, we will bill the owner for the difference.

How should I mail the item to the expertizing service, and how much should I provide in postage for its return ?

We always recommend registered mail because of the security provided by this class of mail. Those collectors who carry APS insurance should check their individual policy for coverage limits and requirements. For the return of an item, owners can provide self-addressed, stamped envelopes with enough postage to pay certified or registered mailing costs, or the cost of return postage can be included in the check along with the fee payment.

I just bought a stamp accompanied by a photocopy of an APEX certificate. What should I do?

Photocopies are not valid APEX certificates, when purchasing a stamp ask for the original certificate.

Which expertizing service is best?

That’s a matter of individual preference, usually formed by experience. We view all recognized expertizing organizations as serving the philatelic community in friendly competition. Other services have never failed to come to our assistance when called upon. In turn, we always are pleased to offer assistance when asked. This cooperation makes our job a very pleasant one.

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