FINE USED and VERY FINE USED stamp quality

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Many sellers on eBay use the terms 'FINE USED' and 'VERY FINE USED' probably assuming that the terms mean nice stamps. In fact the terms are designed to refer to stamps which are much better than average. There are exact definitions of the terms, Stanley Gibbons uses the measure relating to;

GENERALLY, "sound in all respects, without creases, bends, wrinkles, pin holes, thins or tears. If perforated all perforation teeth should be intact, it should not suffer from fading, rubbing or toning and should be of clean, fresh appearance"

CENTRING, "appear in the exact centre of the perforated area" with FINE there may be some slight movement.

CANCELLATION, Stanley gibbons provide graphic examples which show a ;
  • VERY FINE as having a light circular cancel over about 25% of the stamp.
  • FINE would be a light circular cancel over not more than 50% of the stamp.
  • GOOD USED, any other form of cancel, including non CDS (Circular Date Stamp) and heavy postmarks.

Often it seems that the graphics indicated on some auctions listed as FINE USED can obviously be classified as a lesser grade merely by looking at the item. Remember Good Used have a CV of as much as a 50% discount on the FU CV indicated in catalogues.

DON'T pay high prices for stamps which are obviously less than Fine Used.

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