Chapter 1 Introduction [NEXT] [HOME]

This chapter was last modified on [10-12-96 (Tue) at 07:48:12] . Please send all bug reports, additions etc. to the Editor, Gert Bultman.

Section 1.1 Intro

This is the WWW version of the FAQ. versions are available, as well as a Postscript printfile (generated from the TeX by dvips).

This FAQ was originally made for the STAMPS mailing list and most of the contributions center around issues discussed by members of that particular mailing list. Now that rec.collecting.stamps seems to be taking off, more input from that side is expected.

The document you're reading now is version 3.0 (generated 13-12-96). As in all discussion groups and mailing lists, the same questions keep popping up. This FAQ tries to answer some and hopefully sometime in the [distant] future most of them. The subjects discussed in the STAMPS list also very frequently lead to `lists', such as list of new issues, stamps, shops, dealers, topics etc. This FAQ will contain some of these lists, most most are available as separate documents either from the LISTSERV or the tiny fileserver run by Gert Bultman.

Most people on the STAMPS list have contributed in some way, by posting interesting messages. Credits are always given for longer pieces --- if you feel you've been left out, please tell me and I'll include your name in the appropriate place. If you want your contribution to be removed or edited, let me know.

Section 1.2 Disclaimer

I try to get all the information in this FAQ accurate and up-to-date, but --- being human --- I do make mistakes and not all inizeormation may be correct at the time you read this. However, neither I nor any of the other contributors to this FAQ may be held legally or otherwise responsible for any damage resulting from your use of any of the information contained herein. As you will understand, most of the information in this document is derived from personal opinions, experience etc. --- and what works for one person may well turn out to be disastrous for the next. Use the information and the advice given with care.

Section 1.3 The STAMPSLIST

The STAMPSLIST is owned by Geert Marien. The list used to be moderated, but this has changed halfway through 1993. People are requested to mail large messages/files to the list owner, instead of to the list. Geert will then make them available through the LISTSERV.

For the complete text of the current WELCOME message, send a request to the LISTSERV .

Section 1.4 LISTSERV functions

All commands must be in the body of a message to <> (BITNET users should use <listserv@psuvm>).

                              LISTSERV commands                              
| Subscribe to the STAMPS list          | SUBSCRIBE STAMPS John Jones       |
| Unsubscribe                           | SIGNOFF STAMPS                    |
| Get the list of available files       | INDEX STAMPS                      |
| Get logs for June 1992, first week    | GET STAMPS LOG9206A STAMPS        |
| Get logs for Oct. 1994, third week    | GET STAMPS LOG9406C STAMPS        |
| Find out who is subscribed            | REVIEW STAMPS                     |
| Get WELCOME text (very useful!)       | GET STAMPS WELCOME STAMPS         |

Section 1.5 Tiny fileserver

If you send a message to Gert Bultman <> with the subject header tfs get tfs-HELP, you'll receive the help file for the Tiny FileServer within an hour or so --- Dutch users even within a few minutes :-). Requesting tfs get tfs-INDEX will get you the current list of available files.

Some of these files are available from the LISTSERV as well, so use this service only if you're in Europe or definitely want the latest version of lists maintained at this site. (Please note that tfs is case-sensitive)

Section 1.6 Who subscribes to the list?

All sorts of people, from beginning to advanced collectors, in (mostly) the college and working-life agegroups. Both sexes are represented, but I'm not sure how many children --- anyone not yet in college :-) --- get to read the articles posted to the group. Maybe you can make a digest accessible to your local stamp club?

Don't be afraid to ask questions which you think may seem trivial to more advanced collectors --- someone will be happy to help you.

Post any information about stamps that you may think people will find interesting, but before posting, check the FAQ to check if your question has been answered/asked already.

Section 1.7 rec.collecting.stamps

(Contribution by Edwin L. Jackson)

The following questions are addresses in the next subsections:

Section 1.7.1 How did rec.collecting.stamps originate?

In October 1993, numerous messages were posted on rec.collecting indicating an interest in a separate Usenet newsgroup for stamp collectors. On Nov. 4, 1993, a formal Request for Discussion (RFD) was filed, followed by a month for discussion for and against the proposed rec.collecting.stamps newsgroup. An election was held from Dec. 1 to Jan. 2, and by a 363-9 vote, the newsgroup was approved. On Jan. 10, 1994, rec.collecting.stamps became an official newsgroup.

Section 1.7.2 What is the purpose of rec.collecting.stamps?

Basically, its broad purpose is to promote philately through service and education to stamp collectors. Specifically, as stated in the RFD:


A philatelic mailing list already exists with 315 subscribers. While volume varies, it is not unusual for ten to fifteen articles a day to be posted to the mailing list. Articles are occasionally posted to rec.collecting inquiring as to the existence of a philatelic news group. Stamp collecting is a hobby which spans national boundaries and the subjects depicted on stamps encompass every topic known. The stamps list has already been used by educators to reinforce the classroom learning experience by inviting people from around the world to send postcards to the class as part of the lesson plan. The American Philatelic Society (APS) is about to launch a major campaign to promote youth philately and the Philatelic Computing Study Group, an affiliate of the APS publishes "The Compulatelist" quarterly.


rec.collecting.stamps is intended to be an international forum for the dissemination of philatelic information and discussion of all things related to philately. Articles posted would include, but not necessarily be limited to:

- Techniques for handling, mounting, sorting, keeping, displaying, and cataloging stamps. - Advice to beginners. - Help in identifying and appraising stamps. - Information about new issues. - Articles, reprints, and announcements from philatelic societies and clubs. - Announcements of stamp shows. - Solicitations to exhibit. - Philatelic computer clip-art for use in club newsletters. - Offers to trade stamps. - Private party (non-commercial) offers to buy or sell stamps.

A gateway between the stamps list and rec.collecting.stamps might eventually be established.

Section 1.7.3 Is rec.collecting.stamps moderated?

No. Any user is free to post any message (subject to legal, network, site, and common sense guidelines).

Section 1.7.4 For how long are messages posted to rec.collecting.stamps?

It varies. A few sites post Usenet messages for as little as a day, while others post for up to a month. A recent survey of site policies showed the average length of posting on Usenet to be 8 days. But the length can vary according to category of the newsgroup, how busy the newsgroup is, and local site policy.

Section 1.7.5 Is there a rec.collecting.stamps archives?

The postings of the current month are available through the rcs fileserver tfs. Send a message to <> with the following subject header: tfs get News/rcs.dd-mm-yy with dd etc. replaced by day of month etc. (always use two digits).

Section 1.7.6 What is the Stamp Trader's List (STL)?


The Stamp Trader List (STL) contains the names & e-mail addresses of stamp collectors & dealers who wish to establish connections & trade stamps with other people on the Internet. Full updates of the STL are posted to the Internet twice a month, normally on the 1st and 15th day of the month.

As of August 15TH, 1996, there are 608 STL listings.

It's an introduction service with absolutely NO FEES OR CHARGES involved. It's up to STL subscribers to get in touch with some- one who appears to have similar collecting or trading interests.


********************************************************************* Casbolt, Melvyn Mel Made the following comment on August 9th

"I've had a listing in the Stamp Trader List for a few months now and have found it to be a remarkably successful way to trade."


E-Mail: Tom Kemp Location: Garland, Texas, USA

Tom made the following comment about the STL on May 21st:

"I'm very happy with the STL listings. They are proving more productive than Stamp Pals International or Linn's "Trading Post Horn." They are easier to work with since the introduc- tions and feeling out for fit can be done so quickly and eco- nomically online. So, my thanks to the STL for providing this service. I look forward to many months of enjoyable stamp swap- ping with contacts made through the STL."


Keith Radebaugh of Indiana in the USA had the following to say when he e-mailed a request to delete his STL entry in May, 1996.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the STL. I feel like the STL & the Internet is one of the best things to have happened to stamp collecting. I have to leave because it was so successful that I couldn't keep up and I traded away all of my duplicates. I'm sure I'll be back."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Collectors MUST provide the STL with an e-mail address, regular postal mailing address & full name before we will add their entry to the STL. We appreciate phone & fax numbers as well.

**************ATTENTION STAMP DEALERS****************

If you are a DEALER, part-time or full time, we require the same information as above. In addition, mention of the fact that you are a dealer MUST be included in the NOTE portion of your entry, & we REQUIRE phone numbers and fax numbers as well.

Your hometown & state, or country will be of interest to many. We won't include street or other forms of addresses for North America in the entries, nor do we recommend such a practice in other parts of the world.

The most important things to be included in an STL entry are the e-mail address, full name, Offers, Wants, Notes, Web Page address and philatelic society affiliations.

In the note section, it's helpful to provide some info on how you might like to trade. With common stamps, most traders like to trade on a 1 for 1 basis in packets of 25, 50, 100 or more.

If you would like to trade stamps with higher values, then it be- comes important for others to know what catalogue you are using. In the US & Canada, the Scott catalogue is the one most used. However, in the rest of the english speaking world, the Gibbons is usually used. Many other catalogues are used in non-english speaking nations.

If you are a member of a philatelic society, include that info as well, as there will always be those who would be much more will- ing to trade or do business with those who are members of an or- ganized philatelic group.

If you have a Web Page, add that information to your entry!

The STL WILL NOT post detailed Want Lists or Have Lists. That's a matter between the prospective trading partners.

Here's an example of a recent STL entry in the present format!

************************************************************************ Hoo, Mark de Location: Bergen (NH), The Netherlands Offer: Several TOPICALS, Underwaterlive, Holland mint and used. Lots of European stuff, Australia, Bulgaria Want: Underwaterlive and the Dutch carribean island ARUBA. (Both mint and used) Note: Contact by e-mail. Only trade. One for one, no sell or buy. UNDERWATERLIVE/ARUBA Havelist available on my web page. WWW-Page: Societies: Member #50 of RAPC, Radio Amateur Poststamp collectors Club.

It's recommended that you provide as much info of a general nature as you can! Please try to keep your listing to no more than 12 lines of text, with a maximum of 72 characters per line.

Please use a format similar to entries that appear on recent updates of the STL that appear on many places in the stamp collecting community on the Internet! Don't send us an e-mail filled with information, and expect us to sort it out into an entry for you. Our time counts too.

E-mail your entry to Phil Guptill: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Only one entry per subscriber will be permitted in any single update of the STL. Occasional modifications are fine.

Taking the time to have a WANT LIST & a HAVE LIST available to e-mail or snail mail to other traders will greatly enhance your chances to become a popular & good trading partner, especially if you want to trade uncommon stamps.

You might not have anything available for trading purposes, but that doesn't mean you can't list on the STL. Newcomers and those who initially only wish to buy stamps are more than welcome to participate. On the other hand, we don't accept entries from those who only wish to sell stamps, whether they are dealers or collectors. It will be helpful if you will indicate that you are willing to BUY or SELL stamps. Stamp dealers are welcome as long as they are willing to trade with STL subscribers.

In today's highly mobile society, it's understood that there will be frequent changes of address or changes of online providers and e-mail addresses. Please be thoughtful of your fellow traders, and provide the STL with any change of e-mail address, or a dec- ision not to participate any longer, in a timely manner.


For those who would like to receive the entire Stamp Trader List by e-mail, the fastest way that we know of is to use a fine pub- lic service provided by Geert Marien, the STAMPS Listserver. We must hasten to point out that the full STL is about 308,000 bytes at this writing, a fairly good sized document. It will be e-mailed to you in several different e-mails.

All one has to do is to send an e-mail to:

Leave the subject line BLANK and on the first line of the message body, simply type:


Most of the time, within just a matter of minutes, the entire STL will be found in your incoming e-mail box!!!

Geert's list is a public service for collectors on the Internet & some very interesting discussions take place there. It's a great place to ask stamp collecting related questions. Give it a try. For details about subscribing to Geert's service, please send an e-mail to Geert at: or to:

For those with worldwide web access to the 'Net, the STL can be viewed and downloaded or printed out as this is written, at no less than the following WWW sites:

Bjoern Munch's original STL site in Norway:

Joe Luft's US site, where you'll also find a road map to any- thing relating to stamp collecting on the Internet:

Thomas Schmidt's Germany site:

Alan Arnold's Australia site:

Hans Mortensen's Denmark site: {NEW ADDRESS}

Jose Rodenas's Spain site:

Hans Karman's Australia site:

Matt Matzoll's Australia site:

Scott Virtes' San Diego, California site:

Henry & Phil Stevens' New Hampshire site:


Thanks to Patrick Lamastus: THE STL IS NOW AVAILABLE IN THE HTML format for those with Netscape and other WWW browsers at all "official" STL sites. Special thanks also to Hans Mortensen, Jose Rodenas, Hans Karman, Jorge Biera and Giorgio Chianetta for many valuable contributions to the STL and the stamp collecting community on the Cyberspace Express.

Hans Karman has put together an html version of the STL that makes it much easier for those of us with Net Browsers to find entries for other subscribers with similar trading interests. It's carried on several sites, and is probably a good view of a format that many compilers of similar lists will use in the future. We hope to have full Spanish & Danish language ver- sions of the STL available soon.


The STL is also available from Ed Jackson's FTP site at the Uni- versity of Georgia:

Once in the archive, Ed has the STL as a complete file for Macs and as a complete file for PCs. It's also available in generic text as a 7 part file.

If all else fails, upon request, the STL can be e-mailed to subscribers in 7 part text files or 7 part html files. Requests for any speci- fic parts, including the latest Sneak Preview, will be honored as well. The most recent 7 part STL is approximately 308,000 bytes in size.


We now have a one part zipped file, in both the text & html format, that we will update once a month sometime soon after the 15th. At this time the zipped files are 102,500 bytes for the text version, and 111,560 bytes for the html version.

########################################################### Now that we have the Webbable (html or hypertext) version available, subscribers, particularly new ones, may wish to have us send them the complete and most recent STL files in either the text or Webbable format. For those with world- wide web browsers such as Mosaic & Netscape, it's a real time saver to be able to e-mail to those you'd like to try to trade with directly from their STL entry.

Simply make your request to: ###########################################################

All questions, comments & suggestions are welcome. Normally, we are prompt to respond to STL e-mail. In fact, if you don't hear from us within 72 hours, chances are that we didn't get your e-mail, or there's a problem with your e-mail address, or our PC or provider.


Trades should be completed promptly; within 14 days or less from the time that the front end of a trade is received, the back end of the trade should be mailed. Unless agreed to by both parties in a trade, via e-mail, with copies to the custodian of the STL, the back end of a trade MUST be in the return mail no more than 21 days after receiving the front end of a trade. STL subscribers must not agree to trade with anyone for philatelic material that is not in their possession when they agree to terms of a trade, with the exception of common new issues that are readily available at a local post office, BUT ONLY FOR THE FRONT END OF A TRADE, in that case.


************************************************************************ We would all do well to remember that some of us can access the Internet with little, or no cost. On the other hand, there are many collectors who pay handsomely to access the r.c.s newsgroup & to send & receive e-mail on the Internet, especially those who subscribe to some of the major, regional and local providers who assess extra fees to process Internet e-mail. ************************************************************************

For those who might wish to access the STAMPS FAQ (frequently asked questions) with a Net Browser, please check out & visit:

The STAMPS FAQ at the WWW space kindly provided by Joe Luft:

If you have any questions about protocol or procedures, or would like to submit your entry and required info, just e-mail it to:

Phil Guptill..APS#114183..ATA#50965-3 RPSC#19422...PCSG#1044 Internet address:


August 22, 1996 revision

Section 1.7.7 How does the usenet philatelic newsletter service operate via rec.collecting.stamps?

The philatelic news service carried on rec.collecting.stamps is a volunteer approach to promoting the greater exchange of philatelic information through Usenet. The service has no organization, no employees, no legal charter, and no source of income. Rather, it is a bottoms-up approach to communication that exists only to the extent that philatelists contribute articles--particularly those that can be used by newsletter editors.

The news service has no impact on what can be posted on rec.collecting.stamps, where any user can post any message. What the service seeks is an increase in news stories, substantive articles, announcements (e.g., prospectus for an upcoming stamp show exhibition), personal recollections, quizzes, entertainment articles, and so forth. While larger articles are helpful, editors also need for filler [short, one- or two-paragraph material to fill out a column space].

Material may be contributed directly to rec.collecting.stamps, with no moderation, editing, or grouping of articles by subject matter. However, Ed Jackson has agreed to serve as a volunteer editor/modernator. At least once a week, he will post numbered releases of one or more articles specifically intended for newsletter editors. Anyone desiring their articles to be part of these releases can send their article via e-mail to <> and he will perform the usual editorial functions (checking spelling, capitalization, and punctuation according to a common style manual) before posting it as a numbered release on rec.collecting.stamps.

In either case, one thing will be important. Do not post copyrighted material (unless permission to reprint has been obtained). In addition to all types of legal hassles, the goal of the philatelic news service is to provide articles and material that editors can use in their newsletters without worrying about copyrights. Also, by posting--at least to the news service--it will be assumed that you (or, if written by someone else, the author) give permission for the article to be reprinted in stamp club newsletters. Requests from other sources (e.g., the commercial philatelic press) to reprint will be referred to the submitter of the article.

Section 1.8 Advertising on rcs

This is an issue confronting Usenet and Internet--especially unmoderated newsgroup (e.g., "Get rich quick. Earn big "). There seems to be no problem with personal buy/sell/trade ads from individuals, but commercial business ads are another matter. If you have used Usenet for any length of time, you should be familiar with the fact that perceived abuse of a newsgroup's charter often quickly leads to flaming of the abuser.

Section 1.9 Related lists and newsgroups

The newsgroup rec.collecting usually features one or two articles per day related to stamps. If you cannot read Usenet News, I'll be happy to forward you the relevant articles on a daily basis. Just send an e-mail message requesting this (use a subject line like Forward rec.collecting to Gert Bultman and don't forget to state your correct e-mail address.

There's a list related to coins (and to a lesser extent, paper money). Subscribe by sending mail to <>.

Section 1.10 Net trading etiquette

Contacts made on the Internet are usually very casual & friendly. Personally, I've only had (very) good experiences and I have traded stamps, coins & paper money with about two dozen people now.

Never post want lists or lengthy advertisement of what you're offering to the list.

Always keep in mind that e-mail is a very fast medium and that it is very easy to exchange exact data about what you are going to trade and what you want in return. This may save you a lot of slower and more expensive snailmail messages and/or misunderstandings.

If you are trading more expensive stamps and you are using catalogue values as a basis, make sure to use the same catalogue. Valuations can differ as much as 200% or more between different catalogues.

Section 1.11 Foreign Languages and ASCII postings

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