The "Gum" Condition of a stamp

I think that the computer age lends itself greatly to the buying/selling for the stamp collecting hobby except for primarily one item, the GUM CONDITION. The photos of the front of the stamp in my opinion give a true assesment of the stamp HOWEVER even if a scan is taken of the back/gum, it is often impossible to view how it REALLY appears in person. This is a problem. When it comes to centering, I couldn't care less what the dealer writes because I can judge that by myself according to the photo. However, Regummed often can't be detected even via a photo of back for the most part, also gum skips, gum creases, gum bends what is a light hinge, a very light hinge, an extremely light hinge etc. These are critical items that can greatly affect the value & desireability of a stamp. For that reason, I'm thinking that selling/buying with a certificate might be a wise choice in this regard; along as for many other reasons. (even though in principle I think that grading should be in the eyes of the purchaser/seller in determining a grade, not an authority panel)
The cost /aggrevation/time consumption/hassle for paying for shipping a stamp & then having to pay to return the stamp because of gum condition that isnt desribed properly is a problem. How do my fellow collectors feel about this & any suggestions on how to get true depiction of the gum for a prospective buyer before they actually purchase the stamp ?

(I hope to be asking many questions to my fellow Hip Buyers/Sellers that I have in the upcoming months....thanks for listening, I'd appreciate your feedback even if you disagree)


  • 7 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Contact the seller to get true depiction of the gum before you actually purchase the stamp.
    And read Shipping Instructions & Returns Policy.
  • i purchased a stamp based based on photo of gum but when stamp arrived it didnt look like back of stamp photo'd. I've nevver seen a phot of gum that looks like the gum in person, did you?
    The front of stamp can be captured by a picture but not the gum. everyones assessment of lh, vlh, xlh is different. Should seller describe even the tiniest of gum skip etc? therefore buyer has to go by sellers assesment which presents difficulties. gum really lends itself to only be clearly assesed upon viewing in person.
  • Aps90195 , evidently sir you've never read the scott catalog where it describes gum condition. There is a whole section which also shows pics on what it should look like. In my experience the vast majority of sellers on HIP give a pretty good description of gum condition. Actually i believe you should probably only purchase MNH stamps so you don't need to worry about gum condition when buying online. Anything else you should buy at a show or in person from a dealer.
  • That is why a lot of people buy only used. LoL
  • Aps90195, what value stamps (purchase price) are you talking about?
  • If you ask 10 different collectors to describe the gun ob a stamp, you generally get 12 or more different answers.
  • edited August 1 1 LikesVote Down
    The absurdity of the situation hit me when I sold a rather expensive stamp with a hefty NH premium as NH and received a request to return the stamp that said something to the effect that they agreed it looked NH, and it might well be NH, but under close examination with a Sign o Scope it appeared that the shadow of a previous hinge may be apparent.

    Now I have no problem with that and fully refunded his payment upon return of the stamp. It's his money and it should be spent on something that makes him happy because this is a hobby and we are talking small pieces of paper here... But I now identify gummed stamps as MNH or MH. MH includes everything from a single, neat hinge remnant to truly VLH, I may lose a few sales but I have had -0- complaints. (actually never had any before either)

    Any stamps with multiple hinges, bends, skips, adhesions, offsets, etc get washed and sold as no gum.. I sleep better at night.
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