Some people are under the misunderstanding that just because someone is a member of the American Philatelic Society (APS), they must be a reliable person to deal with. That isnít always true.

This isnít a slam against the APS. Itís just that as an organization with dozens or a few hundred new members every month, itís impossible to check everyone out in detail. If the applicant has done business with an APS dealer member, that dealer may be able to vouch for their business transactions. But sometimes, you just do not know.

If you look at the monthly membership report, there are usually one or more expulsions from the society. Most expulsions are for failure to settle a philatelic indebtness. In other words, a member kept some philatelic material without paying for it.

The risk of dealing with an APS member is reduced, but not zero. As a dealer, Iím more trusting of someone who is an APS member than someone who is not a member. There is always the chance though that I hit that bad apple that will soon be on their way out of the society.

The same is true of APS dealer members. Yes, the society policies their dealer ranks. But once in a while, a bad apply can get it. Luckily, they usually donít last too long before they too are expelled from the society.

The APS is a very large society with over 30,000 members. Itís a great society and if you are not a member, I would recommend becoming one. Itís not a perfect society. No society can be 100% perfect. The APS does a fine job trying to vet people who join. But a few bad apples are always able to slip through the cracks.