I have been collecting stamps for nearly 20 years and you might think that is long enough to learn how to distinguish genuine item from forged stamps. VERY UNTRUE . On several occasions I've ended up with forgeries- some sold intentionally, some by accident.
Recently I purchased Penny Black that was advertised as MNH and valued by the seller at £6000. There was no chance to spot forgery from the picture included by the seller. When this beautiful item arrived I decided to take it for valuation to STANLEY GIBBON in London (399 The Strand, WC2R 0LX). It turned up to be USED item but perfectly cleaned and an expert was only able to spot it when using microscope. They valued this particular item at £110-£130 but because it was cleaned the value dropped further and was around £80-£90.
My advice is:
1. When buying expensive stamps on ebay alway take it for valuation to an expert. STANLEY GIBBON charge only £5 per stamp and they will do it for you while you wait.
2. Never bid for a stamp where the photograph looks blurred or or the wording is ambiguous
3. Don't rely on the dealer's feedback score - forgery I've mistakenly bought was from dealer with 100% positive feedback and total feedback over 3000,
4. Don't take the dealer's word for it being a certain plate number, check against references,
5. Pay with paypal, this will allow you to open dispute if stamp turned up to be forged. Once you supply written expertise that item was wrongly described paypal will refund your money.
6. Before purchasing on ebay ask seller to guarantee 14 days money back.
Be aware that there a lot of forgeries out there.
IF YOU HAVE FOUND THIS GUIDE TO BE HELPFUL, PLEASE VOTE BELOW, SO I KNOW I'M NOT WASTING MY TIME!! THANKS.