Youíll get a laugh out of this. Although the buyer is probably crying all the way to the bank.

I saw a lot titled ď$237 face value in postageĒ. It was all modern booklets. I was going to bid on it as discount postage; however, the lot description stopped me in my tracks. The fine print at the end said that these were booklet covers only with no stamps. If the stamps were included, the face value would have been $237 according to the covers.

The lot was probably worth $5 or $10 to a booklet collector who may have wanted the covers. The lot generated several bids and sold for almost $200. Iím pretty sure the buyer didnít read the fine print and thought they were buying mint stamps. I bet they were in for a surprise when they received their package! I hope they got their money back.

Another trend Iíve notice on eBay is that certain sellers donít offer any description of the stamps at all for large lots. They post the auction with links to dozens of pictures. The description is along the lines of ďHere are the pictures. Look closely to figure out the appropriate bid.Ē Are the stamps hinged? Damaged on the back? Regummed? There are a lot of stamp traits that are not evident from just a far away picture of the fronts.

Someone recently wrote in the philatelic press that they contacted several buyers who were offering stamps that were obviously reperforated or regummed. The sellerís response was long the lines of ďIím selling this for a friend.Ē The auction continued to closing.

I donít fault eBay. With thousands of auctions posted every minute, there is no way to police the honest sellers from the crooks. Iím sure auctions for other collectibles (coins, artwork, antiques) have similar crooks in their midst. Caveat emptor!