About BPA Expertising

The BPA Expert Committee was formed some eighty years ago. That first Committee was formed exclusively of those who earned their living through stamps - “professional” philatelists - who gave their time for nothing. Now, in 2013, nothing has changed, save the quantity of stamps to be expertised and the amount of time given without remuneration.
The original aim was to provide collectors with the opinions of those whose daily work was the handling of stamps, and whose practical experience of the forgers’ and repairers’ devilry was, in consequence, inevitably superior even to the most knowledgeable amateur. Again, nothing has changed.

Contact Details

Postal Address

PO Box 1141
Guildford
Surrey
GU5 0WR
England

Telephone

01483 890199

E-mail

sec@bpaexpertising.org

Fax

01483 890598

Chairman: G. Bodily
Expert Committee Chairman: J. Taylor
Directors: A. Claridge ∙ M. Harvey ∙ Dr P. Kinns ∙ D. Parsons ∙ I. Shapiro
Secretary: A. Myer
Registered No. 1360185 England V.A.T. Registration No. 321 6330 02
BPA Expertising Educational Charity Reg. Charity No. 1012050

What to do when sending items

Forms required - NONE
Deposit required - NONE
A covering letter will suffice.

If you are submitting from the UK

Some people send us a stamp, with a piece of paper on which is written their name and address, and a note saying “Please expertise.” This is OK. However, Mr Nice Guy says “Herewith Bermuda SG120d, unused. Please expertise.” 

If you acquired the item at auction, it can be helpful to include the name and date of the sale, and the lot number.

If you are submitting from overseas

As from the UK, plus the following:

  1. Write our VAT number (321 6330 02) on the outside of the envelope.
  2. Describe the contents as “Items for expertisation - not a trade export/import - value unknown until expertised.”
  3. Best not to call the contents “Stamps” as it seems to make some carriers nervous.
  4. DON’T state a value for the items, inside or outside the envelope. Until it is expertised, nobody knows the value.
  5. Send material by Special Delivery, or by Recorded Delivery if your insurance company are happy with that. 

 All submissions are acknowledged by post, fax or e-mail. If you have not heard from us within 7 days (UK) or a couple of weeks (overseas), it may be as well to check with us.

Certificates Issued

WHITE

White Certificates are issued for items considered genuine, bear the signatures of three Committee Members and a photograph of the item described.

PINK

Pink Certificates are issued for items considered to be forged, faked, repaired, etc.; they too bear three signatures and a photograph.

BUFF

Buff ‘Short’ Certificates/Forms are issued - at the discretion of the Committee - for items which cannot be given White or Pink Certificates, e.g. where an item is of nominal value, in poor condition, or where circumstances render it impossible to give an accurate opinion.

Scale of Charges

SINGLE CERTIFICATE:

White or Pink

  •  (Genuine or Forged) - catalogue (SG catalogue value - or most recent auction realization (including buyer’s premium) where appropriate.) value up to £2,000 - £40.00
  • Genuine item, catalogue value over £2,000  - 2% of catalogue value

 

SET CERTIFICATE:

A single Certificate for a complete set of 4 or more items, all used, or all unused.   The Committee reserves the right to charge surcharged or overprinted sets as single items, or as groups, as appropriate.   Where sets are found to contain both genuine and forged stamps, Certificates will be issued and charges made at the discretion of the Chairman of the Expert Committee.   Perfed Specimen sets (Victory, &c) are usually charged as a single stamp.

White or Pink

  • (All genuine or all forged) - catalogue (SG catalogue value - or most recent auction realization (including buyer’s premium) where appropriate.) value up to £6,000 - £120.00
  • Genuine set, catalogue value over £6,000 - 2% of catalogue value
 

SHORT CERTIFICATE

  • (Common or damaged stamp - issued at the discretion of the Committee) - £20.00

Other

  • Charges for stamps not listed in the Catalogue, or the value of which is greatly enhanced when on cover or in multiples, or for stamps which are genuine but repaired - will be assessed at the discretion of the Committee. 
  • If no opinion can be expressed, there will be no charge other than return postage.
  • The right will be reserved to charge extra for items involving extensive research and enquiry but, whenever practical the Expert Committee Secretary will obtain the submitter’s approval prior to the incurring of additional expense.
  • GB ‘Official’ stamps: These items are subject to a surcharge of £17.50 for the use of specialist equipment.
  • Once submitted and logged into the system, with all the routine work that that entails, items may not be withdrawn save in exceptional circumstances. In such cases the Committee reserve the right to levy a charge no less than 50% of the potential certificate cost.
  • In the absence of instructions to the contrary, all submitted items will be returned by Special Delivery or (overseas) International Signed For/Airsure, the cost of such postage, packing, etc., being charged to the submitter. 
  • V.A.T.: All invoices, except those relating to items received direct from and returned direct to submitters outside the E.U., will be subject to Value Added Tax at the current rate. Invoices for items received from submitters resident in E.U. countries (other than the United Kingdom), who are registered philatelic traders and who have furnished BPAE Ltd with their registration numbers, will not attract V.A.T.

 

Payment

If you have not submitted before, then either: send a credit card number or, wait for us to send you a pro-forma invoice when the item is ready. Don’t send a “deposit” cheque - the thought is appreciated, but it is never for the right amount and only leads to unnecessary to-ing and fro-ing, and cheques for amounts like £2.87.
 

Credit Cards

We accept payments by Visa or Mastercard, adding the Card company’s charge to us (currently 3.5%) to the invoice total. Send us the card number, expiry date and the security number on the reverse.

Payments from overseas

We accept, as well as credit card payments:

  1. Cheques in sterling payable in London. 
  2. Cheques in other currencies - allow at least £15.00 for conversion costs.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Anonymity:

The identity of the person submitting an item is never divulged to the Committee. Other provenance however, other evidence, other opinions, can be helpful and should always be presented when submitting items.

Time taken:

Shortest possible, consistent with accuracy. Allow a minimum of 4-5 weeks. If you want to email and find out what’s happening, please do - it won’t speed things up any but, if it makes you feel more relaxed, go ahead. If an auction house is chasing you, tell them that we have the item and give them our number.

The BPA do NOT expertise:

  1. “Varnish” inks 
  2. “Albino” varieties 
  3. Bisects - unless on cover 
  4. Great Britain: the LOW value (½d-1s) George V shades listed only in the SG Spec. Catalogue. (All Part 1 shades ARE expertised) 
  5. Australia: The Perforated “OS” issues 
  6. New Zealand: The “OPSO” issues - unless on cover . 
  7. Canada: SG63a

 

The BPA DO expertise:

  1. The low value (½d-1s) George V shades listed in the SG Part 1 catalogue. 
  2. The Specialised shades of all other areas of G.B (QV Surface Printed, George V Seahorses, etc)
  3. Certain varieties not listed by SG
  4. Pre-stamp covers In fact most things philatelic, except items 1-7

 

Terms and Conditions

Stamps or other philatelic items submitted to BPA Expertising Ltd are at the owner’s sole risk and neither the Company, the Secretary, nor the members of the Expert Committee can accept liability, either collective or individual, for loss or damage however caused. In the unlikely event that a package is lost in the mail - incoming or outgoing - the responsibility for insurance is that of the submitter.   BPAE will supply the tracking number of outgoing packages but are not otherwise liable.

Owners are therefore advised to insure their submitted items against all relevant risks.

  • Neither the Company nor the members of the Expert Committee can accept any liability, either collective or individual, for any opinion expressed.
  • The Catalogues used to describe items will be the current editions of Stanley Gibbons publications.
  • If the Committee is asked to re-examine an item on which an opinion has already been expressed, a second charge may be made. Such re-examination may only be requested by the item’s original submitter. Re-submission by any other person will normally be treated as a fresh submission.
  • The Committee does not issue duplicate Certificates. If a replacement Certificate is required, the item must be resubmitted.
  • Photographs and scanned images of submissions are the copyright of BPA Expertising Ltd