Not just the OP, but as you point out, many others. This is a fine example of the adage, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." An individual sees a stamp, thinks that because (to their admittedly unknowing eye) it looks like one they found online that sells for hundreds, thousands, or millions, they must have the same thing.
Very much this.
I get emails through my website every week from someone who has been researching revenue stamps they have either found or acquired. They stumble across the first page on my site where the stamp looks like the one they have, see the estimated retail value I have assigned, and without context they jump to conclusions. They ignore cancel, usage, plate variety, color shade, etc.
Some even go so far as to make such broad assumptions as "all green stamps have the same value", e.g., contacting me through a page on R17c (3c Playing Cards cataloguing $200) when what they have is R19c (3c Telegraph cataloguing $3).
All novices and non-collectors tend to suffer from the same affliction: lack of knowledge creating lack of nuance, especially when it comes to condition. It's no different from somebody with a ratty torn Mickey Mantle rookie card thinking it's worth the same as a PSA Graded 10 sold at auction.
It's hard to educate non-collectors. I have a link on every item page on my website right smack dab next to estimated retail value marked "What is this?" that opens a page with the following text (I don't want to waste screen space on the main item page). I can't make them click on the link, let alone actually read and comprehend it...
Quote:What Is "Estimated Retail Value"?
Scott catalog values only tell part of the story when it comes to stamps, and this is even more true of revenues than front-of-book material.
There are a myriad of attributes that can positively or negatively affect the value of a revenue item compared to Scott value, in some cases by several orders of magnitude. These include, in no particular order:
The estimated retail value value I provide is my personal opinion and is specific to the exact item shown.
- Underlying condition of the stamp
- Type of cancel (manuscript, handstamp, printed, stencil, cut, etc.)
- The color of a cancel
- The intricacy of the design of a cancel
- The company whose cancel was used
- Where the stamp was used
- The date the stamp was used
- Aesthetics of the cancel, stamp, document, or any combination thereof
- The type of document the stamp was used on
- Ornateness of a document and its design
- Signatories to a document
- Lack of Scott Catalog attention (some listings have not been updated in decades and the values are meaningless)
- Lack of Scott Catalog listing entirely
- Plate varieties. There are many more than Scott lists.
- Valuation of mint stamps. Personally, I only consider 1st-3rd issue revenues to be "mint" and thus worthy of a premium if they have original gum, which are VERY scarce. More than 95% of the supposedly mint early revenues sold have no gum, and in fact are used (but uncancelled) stamps that were steamed, sweated, or soaked from documents. If it doesn't have gum it's not unused. Period.
It is based upon similar items I have seen at auction, in person at stamp shows, in catalogs, in other collections, and experience buying and selling from national revenue specialist dealers. It is my estimate of a full retail price; when buying from other collectors, in bulk lots, or online at venues like eBay or Hipstamp, the price garnered could be considerably lower. My estimate should not be taken as gospel or as an indicator of value for any other item; it is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as a buy or sell offer.
I think I may take that last paragraph and move it up to the very top...