Thanks everyone for the thoughtful responses. First off the reason there is a seperate post from me was I was asking in my other first post about where to find an archive of certs, I started a new post to discuss this stamp specifically. Apologies I am not the best at forums but there is nothing weird going on.
My father and I have similiar thoughts about things being rather fishy: famous dealer, low number on the cert, unlikely to be a used 317 since there have not been any, stamp looks to good, etc.
However, as one poster stated they see perfs, I don't see that under a loop. The quality of the images are terrrible, they looked pretty good when I took them but got destroyed by the image limit of 300KB. The lines are clean, but being able to adjudicate whether this is trimmed is beyond our capabilities.
We agree there is only one solution and that is to send this stamp back in for expertising. Before we send it in, we are asking APS if they have this record on file of certifiying this stamp, if they say no I think we have our answer.
Whether it is fake or not, between our two collections it has given my father and I very much to discuss and we are considering it as one of the most unusual stamps in our collections.
When we find out what it is, I will post back. Maybe we can get a quick answer from APS, but it may of course take months to expertise
Quote: The "certificate is not valid. A genuine certificate would have an image of the stamp attached with an embossed stamp through it tying it to the certificate. The stamp itself is too well centered for the issue. Whomever faked it should not have strove for perfection.
For today, yes, but that is a false statement for certs issued in 1964.
As to the OP, I would send in both the piece and the cert. If reexamination continues to show the item as genuine, the cost of the certificate is well worth the price. If not genuine, then the cost of the new certificate is the lowest price and still worth the effort.
If genuine, you and you dad have found a very nice item.
I notice that the perfs appear to line up (top to bottom) so I checked a few on the Siegel site; I ones I looked at do not have perfs that line up. I do not know enough about how these rare coils were perforated (and being a dialysis day too lazy to look up) but perhaps someone here can speak to this. Don
Because this stamp was in a glassine marked "#317" with the certificate folded so the cert looked like a blank backing slip, it languished for over 50 years in my father's collection.
As suggested, we wrote Ken Martin at APS (Expertising Director) to verify this certificate was issued by APS. He noted that they can't confirm or deny they issued this certificate (they do not have a copy in the archives) because there is uncertainty whether copies were kept for any certificate in 1964. He also noted that photos became standard in the 1970s and it is extraordinarily rare for APS to disagree with a prior APS certification.
As far as the comment "a used #317 does not exist" – that Seigel has had 111 auctions of mint #317s and zero used #317s appears to support this conclusion. However, the dash in the Scott Catalog suggests that at least one used VF #317s exists, but there's insufficient sales data from which to project a value. Check it out: Page 27a of 2022 Scott Catalog reports: "A dash ln the value column means that the stamp is known…" So we reached out to Scott's consultant Sergio Sismondo to understand how Scott concluded that somewhere there is an extant used #317. But he has not responded thus far. Does the dash verify for everyone else that a used version must exist? We are wondering if Scott may have known about our certification from APS back in 1964 when they were confident enough to include a dash in the catalog.
We have just today send the stamp and original APS certification back to APS to confirm their original certification.
Indeed, it's an interesting saga, but we keep coming back to the APS cert that is both embossed and watermarked. We are as curious about the cert as we are the stamp and I am sure APS will enjoy reviewing the cert with their name on it. Now it's a waiting game and I will definately post back with the outcome in a few months.
Well, I was wondering if anyone would make a comment about the person who submitted this item to the APS back in 1964. Herman Herst was described as the "stamp world's most esteemed dealer" in the photo caption of the obituary written for him by The New York Times when he died at age 89 in 1999. Within the text he was described as, "...stamp world's most revered dealer, auctioneer and collector and by far its most garrulous booster and most prolific authority...." Elsewhere he is referred to as "Legends of philately #1."
Pat, as he was called, would not need to get much if anything certified. With his understanding of philately, it speaks volumes that he chose to send this item in for a certificate as to do so was to indicate that he could not disprove it as a 317. Of course in 1964 he could not know everything as at that time he had been only a full time professional philatelist for 31 years, having won the APS Luff Award in 1961. I am not counting the 17 years between being bitten by the philately bug and opening his first store on Nassau Street. He still had 35 more years ahead.
I look forward to your report after review of the "patient" by the current expertizing group. If found as genuine, I also expect to see an article in The American Philatelist, magazine of the APS. Please give them permission to write the story, even without using your or your father's name.
Here's a decade-older APS cert, with a picture of the specimen. PF and RPSL were also using photos at this time, why doesn't an APS from the '60s? It is curious how "casual" the #317 cert appears, by comparison.
"Do no look exactly alike?" To be fair, they look nothing alike. If genuine (someone had said they have a few certs that look like the OP's), what on earth made APS change their format from office-official to back of the napkin? Maybe this was done at a show or fair, the way coins and sports cards can be done now?
They did not "change the format". The certs were in two parts, just as PF certs are today. One half would normally go to the person who sent in the stamp, and one part stayed in house with APS. The in house part had no reason to look "more official". Somehow in this case, the part that usually stayed with APS got out and is what was shown at the beginning of this thread. The cert above is the part that normally went out to the person who sent in the item. I have 2 from this era myself; they look just like this one except the side perforations between the two halves have been cut off in this scan.