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Stamporama Approval Books User Guide

If you have been to a stamp club meeting or are a member of the American Philatelic Society (APS), you may have seen APS sales circuit books. They contain up to 16 pages of stamps that you can purchase. The unique Stamporama Approval Books work in a similar manner. Members create approval books containing up to 24 pages of stamps. Standard Page Templates are provided, but are not required to be used. Sellers can use their own templates, folio sheets or even stock book pages, as long as the stamps on each page are numbered from 1 to n (being the total number of stamps on the page). Item numbering on each page always starts at 1.


For questions or problems relating to the approval books, the following people are available to provide assistance:

Technical problems:

Webmaster, Tim Auld (auldstampguy)

Oversight, Rules, Administration, Non-Payment or Non-Receipt Disputes:

Auctioneer, Michael Generali (michael78651)

Assistant Auctioneer, Antonio Len-Rios (smauggie)

Assistant Auctioneer, David Teisler (amsd)

Ombudsman, Daniel Cohen (dani20)


This User Guide covers the following topics:


General Navigation

General Navigation

Figure 1: General Navigation and Categories

The top navigation bar (Figure 1) contains the common functions for use in the approvals. The seller and buyer dropdown menus contain the common functions for selling and buying.

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Approval Book Categories

Each approval book is grouped in one of 20 categories. The Approval Book Categories list (Figure 1) shows the number of books available in each category, and the total number of approval books listed. Approval books can be placed in only one category.

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The Book List

Clicking on a category displays a list of the approval books that are available in that category.

The Book List

Figure 2: The Book List

The Book List provides information about the approval books available for browsing. Clicking on a book description opens the cover page of the selected book, which provides information about the book and the seller's terms and conditions. It is very important to read the seller's terms and conditions as you will be required to comply with those terms when you make a purchase from that seller. Before you start buying or selling in the approvals section, you must acquaint yourself with the rules. If you are unfamiliar with the rules, click here.

Sort the columns of the Book List by clicking on the column headings. Change the direction of the sort by clicking the heading a second time.

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Purchasing Stamps from a Book

As you browse through an approval book you will move from the cover page through the pages of items that the seller is offering for sale. The pages are either from the standard templates or they have been custom created by the seller. Items on each page are numbered from 1 to n, where n is the highest numbered item on the page.

Stamps on the Page - part 1

Figure 3: Stamps on the Page - Part 1


Stamps on the Page - Part 2

Figure 4 - Stamps on the Page - Part 2

Figure 3 shows an example of a page from an approval book. Note that all stamps on a page are offered at the same price. The cost for each item on a page can be seen at the top of Figure 3. Prices per stamp may vary from page to page, but the same price will always apply to all stamps on the same page. 

Figure 4 shows the purchase buttons that are displayed below the page of stamps. The purchase buttons correspond to the item numbers on the page. For example, to purchase item number 34, click on the button labeled "Purchase #34". When you click on the purchase button you are committed to purchase the item. If you setup your membership profile to be asked to confirm before you buy an item (see figure 4a), then when you press one of the purchase buttons, you will be asked to confirm that you want to buy that item. If you did not setup your membership profile to confirm purchases, or if you are not sure you want to purchase the item, DO NOT CLICK ON THE PURCHASE BUTTON!

Request Confirmation before applying bid

Figure 4a: Request Confirmation flag in Members Profile

Figure 4 shows that a few items have been sold. This is how the screen appears after you click on the Purchase Button, except that items you purchased are always displayed in red text.

When you purchase items from a page, the items are sent to the invoicing system where they are grouped together with any auction lots you may have won. When the seller creates an invoice, items bought from approval books and the auction appear on the invoice.

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Creating a New Book

To create an approval book, go to the Approvals home page. Under the Sellers dropdown menu you will see "Add a Book".

Add a Book

Figure 5: The Add a Book menu option

On selecting "Add a Book", the Add a Book screen appears as shown in Figure 6.

Add a New Book

Figure 6: The Add a New Book screen

In the Add a New Book screen, enter the description or title of the book, and select the proper category for the book. Approval books can only be placed in one category. Once you have entered the description and selected the category, press the "Next-Add First Page" button to start the process to add your first page.

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Add a New Page

You can add a new page from the Create a New Book process described above, or from the Edit/View a Book option that will be discussed later in this User Guide.

Add a New Page - Screen 1

Figure 7: Add a New Page - Screen 1

There are three screens used in the Add a Page process:

  1. The first screen is where you enter the basic information about the page; the page description, the number of stamps/items on the page, and the cost per item on the page.  Every item on the page has the same price (see Figure 7).  The page description is optional and may be left blank while the number of items on the page and the cost per item are required.
  2. On the second screen you will be asked to upload the image of the page of stamps.
  3. The third screen is the confirmation screen. On this screen you can deactivate cells on the page if you are using a pre-numbered template and you have a stamp that takes up more than one space on the page.  If you find that you have unused numbers at the bottom of the page for any reason, you can deactivate them so that people can not purchase an item that is not on the page.

When you have finished entering the data on this screen, press the Next Button to go to the File Upload screen.

File Upload Screen

Figure 8 - Add a New Page - Screen 2 - Upload the picture of the page of stamps

Do not use your browser's Back Page button to go to the previous page. If you do, the initial page that you started will be left as an inactive page and the page that you are working on will be created as a new page. The result will be that the first page in your book will be created as page 2, because page 1 is left as an inactive page.

After you have uploaded the image file for the page of stamps, you will see the Confirmation Page:

Top of Confirmation screen

Figure 9 - Add a New Page - Screen 3 - Page Description and Cost of Each Item


List of Items on the Page

Figure 10 - Add a New Page - Screen 3 - Items on the Page


Process Buttons

Figure 11 - Add a New Page - Screen 3 - Add General Comments

Figure 9 shows the Description of the Page along with the Cost Per Item on the Page. Figure 10 shows the Items on the page. Items can be disabled, if needed. To the left of the Enable/Disable button is the Item Description field where you can add information for each item, such as condition, or hidden faults.  Figure 11 shows the General Comment field where you can add any general comments about the page, and at the bottom you have the process buttons.  If you press Save, the changes you made to the page will be saved and the page will be activated. If you press Save and Start Next Page, your changes will be saved, the page will be activated and you will be taken to the first screen again where you can start adding another page. The information entered for the previous page will carry over to the next page to give you a quick start to creating the next page.

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Edit/View Books - My Book List

To see the list of Books that you have created select the Edit/View Books function under the Sellers dropdown menu.

My Book List

Figure 12: Edit/View Books Menu Selection

The My Book List screen (shown in Figure 13) displays all the books that you have created. The book number on the left uniquely identifies the book within the system. It is very useful when you are tracking back to a page in a book from the invoice system. When you purchase an Item from a page, a record is created in the invoicing system. The item that has been purchased is identified by book number, page number and item number within the page. If you are the seller and need to look at the items on a page of a particular book, one way is to view the My Book List and look it up starting with the book number.

My Book List

Figure 13: My Book List

Clicking on the Book Description in Column 2 takes you to the Edit a Book screen. The Page column shows the number of pages in the book. Last Added is the date and time that a page was last added or modified. The Status can be Active, Inactive or Retired. Only active books are shown to potential buyers. A book is Inactive if you are still working on it and have not changed the status to Active. Retired status takes a book out of circulation, but keeps it grouped separately from the inactive books. You can permanently delete a book from the Edit a Book screen.

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Edit a Book

The Edit a Book screen is accessed from the My Book List screen (see Figure 14).

Edit A Book

Figure 14: Edit A Book

In the Edit a Book screen you can change the description, title, category and book status. To make the book visible to other members you have to change the book status to Active. Pressing the Edit Pages button steps you through each page in the book allowing you to edit each page. Pressing Add a Page takes you through the process of adding pages to the book. It is the same process that the Add a Book process took you through. Preview a Book lets you see the book as a buyer does. Delete Book deletes the book permanently from the system. There is a confirmation required on the book deletion request as a safety measure to avoid accidentally deleting a book.

There is no minimum page limit, but the maximum number of pages permitted in a bvook is 24. Books must offer a substantial selection of stamps in the chosen category. The Approval Book Rules state the minimum requirement for the contents of an approval book. Also all stamps must be uniquely numbered on each page. Review each page in your book before you activate it. Approval books that are not compliant with the rules are subject to being inactivated by an Auctioneer, and may not be reactivated until the book is in complaince with the rules.

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Edit a Page

When you click on the Edit Pages button in the Edit a Book screen you will be taken to the Edit a Page screen. You can navigate forward and backward through the pages in the Book by pressing the Next and Prev buttons found on the left hand and right hand side of the screen. The figures 15 & 16 show the Edit a Page screen.

Edit a Page - Part 1

Figure 15: Edit a Page - Part 1


Edit a Page - Part 2

Figure 16: Edit a Page - Part 2

Figures 15 & 16 are taken from a page created by one of our members (rrraphy).  As shown in Figure 15, the screen gives you the ability to change the Page Description, the Cost Per Item (all items on the page have the same cost) and the address to the image file for the picture of the page of stamps.  If you want to upload a new image, press the Upload button on the right of the Page of Stamps Picture line.  Figure 16 shows how you enable/disable items on the page.  In the text box to the right of the Item Number you can enter any information that pertains specifically to the stamp in that position.  In the General Comments you can enter any information that applies to the whole page.

When made a mistake with the number of items on the page and you need to add more Items, you can use the Add Items to Page button.  If you make a mistake and added too many items on the Page, you can't delete them, but you can inactivate them.

In Figure 16 you can also see the Delete Page and Change Page Number buttons.  These pages will only be visible if there are no sold items on the Page.  The Change Page Number button can be used in the situation where you have deleted a page and have create a new page that you want to reposition as the deleted page in the list of pages in the Book.

Please Note:

  1. If when you were initially creating the Page you pressed the Back Page button on your browser from the Upload Image screen, the Page that you were creating will be left as an inactive page and the page that you thought was going to be the first page will be created as the second page.

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Automatic Approval Book Closure

When there has not been a sale from an approval book in 60 days, the book is automatically identified by the system and placed on the "Closing Soon" list. The list is viewable from the menu bar in the Approval Books Section. The seller receives a message that the book will be closed by the system in 15 days from the notification date. If desired, a seller may place the stamps on sale to try to generate sales, manually inactivate the book to make changes to it, create a new book using the remaining stamps, etc.. When an approval book has been placed on the "Closing Soon" list it remains there until it is closed. If there are no further sales from the book, it will be closed in 15 days. If there are sales from the book after it was placed on the Closing Soon list, the book will be closed 15 days after the last sale in order to give more time for the seller to obtain some additonal sales from the book.

There are two time frames in place:

1. The 60 day countdown starts when a new approval book is posted, and restarts after each sale is made from an open approval book.

2. When 60 days elapse without a sale from the approval book, the book status is changed to "Closing Soon".

3. The 15 day countdown starts when an approval book is moved to "Closing Soon" status, and restarts after each sale is made from an approval book in "Closing Soon" status.

4. When 15 days elapse without a sale from the approval book, the book is closed.

An approval book will remain open, regardless of whether it is in open or "Closing Soon" status as long as there are sales from the book within the time frames related to the approval book's status. Eventually all books will "time out" as interest in the book wanes, or the book is sold out.

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Last updated Novembner 22, 2019


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