Ethics Are More Important

Ethics Are More Important Than Profits
By Peter Mosiondz, Jr.

The temptation to make fast, easy money is part and parcel of any business. Stamp dealing is no exception.

But to stay in any business for a considerable period of time (for us it has been 38 years now), and to be able to gaze into the mirror with a clear conscience, one must adhere to a strict code of ethics. We ASDA members take our code very seriously.

It is equally important to apply the golden rule in every transaction. In my opinion that means to treat everyone with the same degree of courtesy, honesty and respect that we ourselves would like to be treated in the same situation.

That being said, there are still some who insist on preying on the unwary. Happily we have not encountered any ASDA members who play in that manner.

One chap, we’ll call him Eddy, brags to all who will listen, anytime or anyplace, about his conquest of the “widow trade”. Just how he has been able to locate these grieving souls so quickly has not been revealed. We can picture Eddy offering his handkerchief to the heart-stricken widow as they ride together in the hearse.

The story goes that he befriends the widow as soon as possible, posing as
a collector friend of the late husband. An offer to share a lunch or two is imminent and followed up on occasion up with one or more social visits. All the while there is nary a mention of selling the stamps. The intent is to pass himself off as a great friend and benefactor.

Then when he has his intended “victim” in the palm of his hand, the discussion shifts immediately to the disposition of the stamp collection. The pressure is heightened as necessary. The pitch might go something like this. “You know you should really be thinking of turning your husband’s stamp collection into ready cash that you can use for your expenses. I do not want you to talk to any stranger who will not offer you a fair price. I would be willing to look at his collection and make you a very generous cash offer. I am certain that he would have liked it this way”. Apparently many have fallen for whatever line he uses. He seems to get many referrals.

Eddy once boasted that he bought a huge collection so cheaply that he figured the Zepps at face value. I gave him a duly deserved chastisement and he has not spoken to me since. No loss on my part. He is not a member of either the ASDA or APS. What to do?

First, I notified both societies of the true name and told them of the character (or lack thereof) of this hapless individual. Secondly, I always strive to educate collectorswhenever possible on the hazards of not leaving clear instructions on disposing of their cherished stamp collection. This will be the topic of an upcoming article in this publication. Stay subscribed!

On the other hand, if one has discovered a method of transporting one’s collection to that great stamp club in the sky, please inform yours truly without haste. We are not getting any younger ourselves.

On the subject of ethical behavior, another area of great concern is that of passing off defective or overgraded stamps to an unsuspecting collector or investor. That very slight thin is still a thin, even if it may only be detected in fluid. It must not be sold as a sound stamp. That stamp that barely made Fine must not be passed off as some Extremely Fine to Superb gem. Needless to say, these tactics do not fool the seasoned collector. We are concerned here with the beginner. Education is the key. If you are not certain of grading or detecting flaws, seek help from established ASDA member dealers and read the wonderful philatelic literature that is available on every subject imaginable.

There are many other examples of getting one’s fingers burned. The best advice that we can offer to any collector is to deal solely with ASDA members. You’ll be glad you did.