Interesting. Their images of encapsulated stamps turn me off, but their expertiser model is an intriguing mystery....
Seriously, though, Blackstone invested or acquired them last year.
Is it possible they foresee a significant expansion in certification services in the coming 5-10-15 years? I can guess that a lot of baby boomers -- or their estates -- will be moving material of all sorts (comics, baseball and other cards, LP's, rock and movie posters, coins and maybe even stamps) into the various markets in the future. Is Blackstone banking on purchasers wanting to be reassured they are getting the real deal?
I suspect it is an expanding market they want to get a piece of, but could they grab market share from existing expertisers through faster or cheaper service (Blackstone's goal is not accuracy and service to philately, but fees)? Or through cross linkages to their other collectible expertising operations? They might very well.
PSE will probably still be getting a good deal of business as will other expertisers in our hobby. But perhaps Blackstone dba CCG thinks they can make some money meeting rising demand for more and faster service.
I think that the only one safe will be the PF with their cache and niche market, not to mention their non-profit status. With the kind of capital now behind CCG they could bury PSE if they choose with initial attractive fee structures and a heavy hitting group of experts. There will be raiding of personnel given the small pool of qualified individuals and many might jump ships of their own volition if the terms are right. I can see CCG swallowing PSE whole after an initial pummeling. PSAG will be gone.
1)Comprehensive knowledge of both vintage and modern stamps from around the world 2)Expansive knowledge as it relates to stamp printing, including printing processes, variants and errors 3)Outstanding abilities to detect counterfeit and altered stamps as well as to accurately and consistently grade stamps
No one has #1. There are people who are very very good at some countries, even perhaps several countries, but no one could possibly know such a broad, wide ranging group as this. 2)For the whole world????? 3) Again, for some countries it is certainly possible, perhaps even several. But no one knows all the counterfeits of every country. A HUGE reference collection would be required for all 3 to even be a remote possibility. It will be interesting to see what happens.....
If you sell a trading card over $750 authentication by CCG is mandatory. It seems quite possible that CCG is angling to extend its deal with eBay such that any expensive stamp will HAVE to be authenticated by CCG's subsidiary ASG. And thus they are going to need to hire a lot of experts - though as we all know, expertising stamps is way more complicated than expertising Pokemon cards.
As a collector of British and Irish (and some Dutch stamps), I would never accept their certificates. Any stamp expertiser that encapsulates stamps, I do not take seriously to start with. But they just have no credibility in my collecting areas.
Now, as for the important thing: working for them. No way! A drug free company. I think a secondary benefit should be free joints on Friday afternoon.
First off, I want to say that I have exactly ***ZERO*** desire to own a 'slabbed' stamp.
One advantage to having a slabbed stamp, that isn't discussed very often, is that it is (assuming the slabbing process/materials are stamp-safe) a good way to prevent damage. How many certs are out there that say "It is genuine", but the stamp has been damaged in the time since it was certified? So, there is at least one advantage to stamp slabbing.
Of course, there is no direct access after slabbing. Plus they take up a TON of volume compared to the volume of a stamp, or even a paper cert. One advantage to slabbing coins is that one 1885 Morgan Dollar (MS-65) looks pretty much like most other MS-65 1885 Morgan Dollars. If it weren't for toning, all coins would look exactly the same. At the micro-level is where high-grade coins get their grade, and this micro-level detail is not visible in a typical photo, so slabbing makes sense. Stamps have different margins, perfs, cancels, etc, so slabbing (in order to differentiate your stamp from all the others of the same issue) is not nearly as necessary.
I am amazed that the certifying companies, whether existing or newly entering the market, don't understand that the great majority of stamp collectors find stamp slabs to be a big negative.
I ***DO*** think we need expertizing abilities in more areas than we currently have. But, the problem isn't that there isn't a company to send that obscure stamp off to, but more that there is not a pool of universally accepted experts. The idea that any stamp certifying organization could possibly get experts to cover all aspects of philately is completely ludicrous.
I will stick with the certifying/expertizing organizations that I have been dealing with for years. I don't see this new company bringing much to the table. I see them SAYING they are, but I think I know better.