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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Personalized Stamps - A New Phenomenon by David Miller

There seem to be an increasing number of personalized stamps with Salvation Army images appearing on the market. These, in the main, emanate from the Netherlands. I find this trend a little worrying as theoretically there is no limit to the number of designs that can be produced. Add to this the fact that these stamps are being sold at a considerable premium above cost, let alone face value, and the result could be that collectors will pay very high prices for stamps that will never gain major catalogue recognition.

There are potential issues too with copyright on some of the images used. For example I have seen the red shield on one such stamp and what appear to be postcard images used on others. Whilst these stamps obviously create welcome income for the postal authorities concerned, I very much doubt that their intention was that the service should be used in this way. My investigation suggests that the intention was that buyers would use the service to have printed stamps for family events such as birthdays and weddings, not to enable individuals to turn themselves into stamp issuing authorities

The only motive that I can see in producing these stamps is profit, and while I agree that honest profit is not a bad thing, I am afraid that I cannot agree that these issues are of any benefit to the collector.

Whilst I am sure that there is no intent to deceive on the part of those producing these stamps, what happens when they are sold on? The potential for collectors to be deceived into thinking that these are produced by the postal authority as a special issue no doubt exists. The copyright issue is one for the postal authorities that are actually printing these stamps. It beggars belief that they apparently make no attempt to verify that the customer ordering these ‘stamps’ has a legal right to use the images. Surely this must mean that the relevant postal authority is leaving themselves open to actions for breach of copyright.

I have reason to believe that there are now around 70 plus of these Netherlands "stamps" produced. This has only strengthened my belief that they are being put on the market purely to make profit from uninformed collectors. They are not official issues of the Dutch Postal Authority, but they are valid for postage.  To whoever is having these printed please stop!!!!!!! You are doing nothing but harm to Salvation Army philately.

1 comment:

Rob Brettle said...

I agree - it is impossible for the collector of Salvation Army stamps to have one of each in their collection.