Is a rare stamp or postmark genuine ? To find out, one can consult the experts.
The Philatelic Federation’s Expert Committee (Keurkomitee) provides expert opinion about stamps and philatelic items and issues individual, internationally recognised photo-certificates which give its assessment of items submitted to it.
When a stamp or other item is submitted for expert checking, it is scanned to ensure security. Then follows a process to correctly identify it, confirm its authenticity or otherwise, and assess its condition.
An item may be seen by five or six individuals but frequently the full panel of twelve experts will examine a ‘difficult’ or contentious item. The panel is made up of local philatelists who freely give their time and expertise.
This important and often exacting work can take a while, especially as the experts are spread country-wide, yet every effort is made to keep the processing period to a minimum.
The outcome is the expert certificate which is signed by at least three panel members.
The experts use advanced equipment, including an ultra-violet scanning device and microscope. Full record is kept of work in progress and work done. The panel uses an extensive reference library and a reference collection of forgeries.