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The Stamporama Auction and Approval Books offer members the opportunity to buy and sell stamps and other philatelic-related items. Both platforms are limited to philatelic-related items, including stamps, covers, supplies, catalogs, albums, album pages, literature, and other philatelic ephemera. Those participating in the auctions and approvals are expected to follow all rules and procedures (see the Auction Tutorial).  Failure to do this may result in the loss of buying and selling privileges, or termination of membership.

Buying and/or selling through the Auction and/or Approval Books sales platforms is an acknowledgement that the rules relating to the auction and approval books have been read and understood.

Sections listed in red are addressing the Approvals platform.  Black pertains to the auctions (and it can also pertain to approvals).


Table of Contents

A. General Rules

B. Buying Rules

C. Selling Rules

D. Shipping Terms

E. Unacceptable Listing Practices

F. Disputes

G. Sanctions

H. Tips


Rules Relating Specifically to Approval Books

C. Selling Rules

G. Approval Books Closure

H. Tips


A. General Rules:

A1. Members who can legally enter into a contract may participate in the auctions.

A2. Purchasing a stamp from an approval book or from an auction creates an agreement between the buyer and seller that the buyer will pay for the purchase no matter how large or how small and is based on the rules below and the seller's terms and conditions. If there are discrepancies between the seller’s rules and these rules, SOR’s rules will be the ones honored.

A3. Members must keep their profile information current.

A4. Buyers and sellers must respond to communications from the other party and/or the Auctioneer as relates to the transaction including, but not limited to: invoicing, payment, shipment and receipt of purchases.

A5. All transactions are conducted in United States Dollars. Sellers may accept payment in other currencies. Buyers should contact the seller regarding payment in other than United States funds.

A6. Stamporama’s role in the auctions is limited to providing a venue to facilitate buying and selling philatelic material. Stamporama assumes no liability, and does not guarantee any action or promise of action of buyers and sellers. Members using Stamporama's auctions agree to hold Stamporama and The Management Team harmless in all disputes that may arise between a buyer and seller.

A7. Sellers and buyers may mutually agree to alter the terms and conditions of any purchase. However, unless mutually agreed upon in writing (private messages are acceptable) by both parties, the changes are not valid, and no assumption may be made by either party that the other agreed to the changes.

A8. Auctioneers will attempt to assist in any disputes between buyer and seller.

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B. Buying Rules:

B1. Placing a bid, buying an approval lot, or using the Buy It Now feature creates a legal contract between a buyer and seller. By submitting a bid, buying an approval lot, or using the Buy It Now feature, buyers acknowledge that they have read and understand the auction rules and the seller's terms and conditions, and that they will pay for the lot if they are the highest bidder at the time the auction closes, or the first to use Buy It Now feature or purchase the approval lot.

B2. Bids may not be retracted.

B3. Buyers must pay for auction lots purchased within 5 business days of receipt of an invoice from the seller, unless other terms have been specifically stated by the seller in the item listing or invoice. Buyers must notify the seller regarding any delay in payment. All time frames assume electronic payment and communication; time may be extended for those paying by check, money order, cash, or stamps (assuming those are accepted per the seller’s terms).

B4. Buyers who have not received an invoice within 5 business days of completing purchases with a seller must contact the seller to request that an invoice be sent.

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C. Selling Rules:

C1. All items offered for sale must be directly related to stamp collecting.

C2. Bogus, fake, forged, counterfeit, reprinted, repaired or altered stamps may be listed for sale, but must be so identified. Describing a stamp as "counterfeit?" or "reperfed?" etc. is permitted when a seller is uncertain whether a stamp is genuine. Authentication marks on the stamp are not considered authoritative.

C3. Intentionally listing bogus, fake, forged, counterfeit, repaired or altered stamps as genuine is prohibited.

C4. Sellers must have possession of the items being offered for sale.

C5. The items cannot be listed on Stamporama and be offered for sale elsewhere at the same time.

C6. All lots, except as otherwise provided, must include at least one image of the actual item being offered for sale. Representative images are not permitted.

C7. Lots consisting of large stamp mixtures or collections must include at least one image that shows some or all of the items in the lot.

C8a. Reliance on images alone to show defects is not permitted. All lots of single stamps and sets of stamps must include, at a minimum, descriptions of all defects. This includes repairs, thins, creases, pulled or torn perforations, scuffs, tears, stains, extraneous writing or markings in ink or marker (other than owner/authentication marks), etc. For large stamp mixtures and collections it is permissible to describe only the overall condition of the lot.

C8b. Single stamps and sets of stamps with a general catalog value of less than $5.00 USD that contain any or all of the defects described in Rule C8a may not be offered for sale in the auctions. No damaged stamps may be sold in the approvals.

C8c. Stamps that have extraneous writing or markings in pencil may be offered for sale in the auctions, but this condition must be disclosed in the item description. The same applies to owner/authentication marks (see also Rule C2 regarding these marks).

C9. Catalog and/or reference values must be supported by citing the source and publication year of that value. Value estimations are permitted, but sellers must state the justification for the estimation.

C10. All lots must have a minimum bid. If the optional Buy It Now feature is used a fixed selling price equal to or greater than the starting bid must be entered.

C11. All lots with a bid at the time the lot closes must be sold to the high bidder at the high bid price indicated by the auction system.

C12. Lots may be withdrawn by a seller prior to the end of an auction, but only for extraordinary reasons, and only with the approval of the Auctioneer.

C13. Sellers must either issue a full refund, including shipping fees, or provide a suitable replacement, as agreed upon between the buyer and seller for any lot sold that is not as described. Return of a misidentified item is at the seller’s discretion and cost.

C14. Shilling is illegal. Anyone acting alone or with another in such a manner will have their membership terminated. Sellers may not bid on their own lots.

C15. Sellers must ship purchases within 5 business days of receiving payment. Sellers must notify the buyer regarding any delay in shipping.

C16. Submission of an auction lot is an acknowledgement by the seller that the auction rules and procedures have been read and understood. The seller also warrants that all lots being offered for sale are as described in each lot's description.

C17. Images are not required for lots consisting solely of literature or supplies.


C18a. There are three types of approval books that must contain the following minimum items:

  • Standard Book: requires a minimum of 100 items, mostly single stamps
  • High Value Book ($$$): requires minimum 20 items with a minimum price of $3.00 for each item
  • Large Items Book: requires minimum 20 items (can be alone or in combination), such as covers, souvenir sheets. minitaure sheets, sets, blocks, multiples, and may include single stamps as long as those are not the main focus of the book.

C18b. High Value Books ($$$) are required to comply with the following minimum requirements:

  • contain only single stamps (postal stationary is fine) and/or complete sets
  • have at least 20 items per book
  • contain philatelic items with a $3.00 minimum selling price
  • not contain bulk lots of single stamps
  • identify each item by catalog number
  • provide a citation of the catalog used, and the catalog year of publication
  • not contain damaged, altered, fake, counterfeit, etc. items.

C18c.The use of an index on page 1 of an approval book, while not a requirement is recommended, especially for High Value Approval Books, and books containing multiple countries or topics.

C19. All items in any approval book must be directly related to philately and be in the chosen approval book category. World-wide and other non-listed categories must be posted in the "World Wide" category, and must be neatly arranged by country and/or topic.

C20. Each item must be identified by number. The number must be positioned so that it is clearly visible and does not overlap any other item. Numbers should preferably be located on the left side of or directly underneath the item to which it relates.

C21. Multiple copies of an item are limited to three, except for offerings such as: collectible cancellation types, pre-cancels, color shades, etc., and must be placed together on the same page.

C22. Stamps with defects must be identified by entering the word "Damaged" in the description. This includes repairs, thins, creases, pulled or torn perforations, scuffs, tears, stains, extraneous writing or markings in ink or marker (other than owner/authentication marks), etc. Defective items are not permitted in High Value ($$$) Books.

C23. The Auctioneer may grant a waiver for approval books when a limited selection makes the minimum item requirement rule unreasonable. Sellers must contact the Auctioneer to request the waiver, and a waiver must be granted, before the approval book is posted.

C24. Approval books that are not compliant with the rules are subject to closure without prior notice.

C25. Sellers must ship purchases within 5 business days of receiving payment. Sellers must notify the buyer regarding any delay in shipping.

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D. Shipping Terms:

D1. Sellers must create their payment and shipping terms. Unless listed as optional, the terms must include, at a minimum, the following information: 

  • Payment methods accepted or excluded 
  • Shipping methods (optional) 
  • Shipping costs, including any ancillary shipping services offered 
  • Countries/areas excluded from sales (optional) 
  • Refund policy (optional) 
  • Any terms and conditions of sale that are different from those in the rules and procedures

D2. If a lot description does not include shipping terms, the seller must abide by the default terms stated below:

  • Postage charged to the buyer must be the exact cost of shipping the purchase from the seller to the buyer
  • No other fees may be charged to the buyer

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E. Unacceptable Listing Practices:

E1. The following listing practices are considered unacceptable, and may result in summary closure of an auction lot:

a. Item offered for sale is not related to stamp collecting

b. Item offered for sale is also offered for sale elsewhere

c. Item improperly identified or described

d. Seller claims that item being offered for sale has an authentication certificate but does not provide a clear and readable image of the certificate, or the certificate is not from a recognized and competent authority.

e. Image not provided, when required, or poorly created (representative, too dark, out of focus, too small, improperly cropped, etc.)

f. Description contains comparative or superlative language ("scarce", "rare", "nice", "beautiful", etc.)

g. Description contains references to future value or investment potential

h. Item contains information about and/or links to, other websites or outside promotions of internet auctions or sales

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F. Disputes:

F1. Buyers and sellers may file a dispute against the other party to a purchase for reasons such as non-shipment, item not as described, and non-payment. All disputes must be sent to the Auctioneer via Private Message, and should provide as much information as possible regarding the transaction and the problems associated with it. Posting complaints about a specific buyer or seller on the Discussion Boards is prohibited.

F2. The Auctioneer shall be the final arbitrator in all disputes arising in the auction and approvals sales platforms. Participation in the sales platforms indicates acceptance of the Auctioneer's authority to settle all disputes.

The Auctioneer may, without limitation:

  • Negotiate a settlement different from the terms listed in an auction lot or as agreed upon in writing by the buyer and seller
  • Declare an auction null and void
  • Suspend buying and selling privileges
  • Recommend that a membership be terminated

F3. An Assistant Auctioneer and the Management Team's Ombudsman may act as arbitrator in any dispute at the request of the Auctioneer, and shall have the same authority as the Auctioneer.

F4. In the event the Auctioneer is a party to a dispute, an Assistant Auctioneer or the Ombudsman, if not also a party to a dispute, shall assume the role of arbitrator.

F5. The Auctioneer’s involvement in disputes is for the sole purpose of maintaining the integrity of the sales platforms. The Auctioneer does not act as a debt collector. The Auctioneer may attempt to mediate an acceptable resolution to disputes providing that the dispute is filed no later than 30 calendar days from date that the original invoice was issued. There is no guarantee, stated or implied, of a satisfactory resolution to any dispute. There also is no guarantee that a dispute will be accepted by the Auctioneer, especially if either or both parties varied from the rules and procedures.

F6. A buyer filing a dispute that involved payment by personal check or through PayPal should file non-receipt disputes with PayPal or stop payment on the check when the seller does not or refuses to ship the items that were purchased and paid for. These actions are subject to the rules of PayPal or the buyer's financial institution, and are independent of any investigation conducted by Stamporama. The buyer must notify the Auctioneer when this action has been taken.

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Stamporama strives to maintain quality sales platforms for its members to buy and sell philatelic items. The cooperation of the members using the sales platforms is paramount to maintaining that quality. Members violating rules may be subject to sanctions as determined appropriate by the Stamporama Auctioneer and/or the Management Team. Note that the Sanctions are progressive, but may be escalated depending on the severity of the violation(s).

G1. Sanctions imposed are:

  • seller's item(s) closed
  • access to sales platforms suspended for 6 months
  • access to sales platforms permanently suspended
  • expulsion from Stamporama

G2a. Automatic Approval Book Closure
When 60 days pass without a sale from an approval book that is in "Open" status, the system places the book on the "Closing Soon" list. The seller receives a message that the book will be closed by the system in 15 days from the notification date.

G2b. When an approval book is in "Closing Soon" status, it remains there until it is closed. If 15 days pass without a sale from the book, the book is closed. If there are sales from the book at any time during the 15 day period, the book remains active, and the 15 day countdown starts over. The book is finally closed when no sales occur from the book within a 15 day period.

G2c. An approval book remains active, 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 book's status. Eventually every book is closed when interest in the book wanes.

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H. Tips For Better Sales

The following is a short list of suggestions to help sellers achieve better sales, and offer buyers a better experience when viewing approval books.

  • create books that are neatly organized
  • offer stamps that are different from those others are selling
  • make approval book titles specific and describe the contents of the books
  • limit, or, better yet, do not include damaged stamps that are of low catalog value
  • price damaged stamps less than sound stamps
  • make sure every stamp is fully visible, and not covered by part of another stamp or item number
  • include the catalog number and/or year of issue, as many buyers appreciate this
  • reduce the price of the stamps in an under-performing approval book
  • announce new approval books by posting a classified ad in the Discussion Board.

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This page was last updated on September 12, 2021


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