Stamp montage

About BPA Expertising

The BPA Expert Committee was formed nearly ninety years ago. That first Committee was formed exclusively of those who earned their living through stamps – professional philatelists – who gave their time for nothing. Now, nearly a century later, nothing has changed, save the quantity of stamps to be expertised and the amount of time given without remuneration.

The original aim was to provide collectors with the opinions of those whose daily work was the handling of stamps, and whose practical experience of the forgers and repairers devilry was, in consequence, inevitably superior even to the most knowledgeable amateur. Again, nothing has changed.

Submitting Items for Expertisation

What to do when sending items
Forms required – None   •    Deposit required – None
A covering letter, with a credit card number will suffice.

If you are submitting from the UK
Some people send us a stamp, with a piece of paper on which is written their name and address, and a note saying “Please expertise.”   This is OK.   However, Mr Nice Guy says “Herewith Bermuda SG120d, unused.  Please expertise.”   (If you have bought the item at auction, it can be helpful to include the name and date of the sale, and the lot number.)

If you are submitting from overseas
As from the UK, plus the following:

1.  Write our VAT number (321 6330 02) on the envelope.
2.  Describe the contents as “Items for expertisation – not a trade export/import – value unknown until expertised.”
3.  Best not to call the contents “Stamps”  as it makes some carriers nervous.
4.  DO NOT state a value for the items, inside or outside the envelope. Until it is expertised, nobody knows the value.

Send material by Special Delivery, or by Recorded Delivery if your insurance company are happy with that. All submissions are acknowledged by post, fax or e-mail.   If you have not heard from us within 7 days (UK) or a couple of weeks (overseas), it may be as well to check with us.

Methods of Payment

If you have not submitted before, then either: send a credit card number or, wait for us to send you a pro-forma invoice when the item is ready.   Don’t send a “deposit” cheque – the thought is appreciated, but it is never for the right amount and only leads to unnecessary to-ing and fro-ing, and cheques for amounts like £2.87.

Credit cards: We accept payments by Visa or Mastercard. Given the cost of cheques, envelopes, postage, etc.,

not to mention the time involved with us writing to you, you to us and us posting the item, credit cards are undoubtedly the convenient option.

Payments from overseas: We accept, as well as credit card payments:

Cheques in sterling payable in London.

Cheques in other currencies – allow at least £10.00 for conversion costs.

Frequently asked questions

Anonymity: The identity of the person submitting an item is never divulged to the Committee. Other provenance however, other evidence, other opinions, can be helpful and should always be presented when submitting items.

Time taken: Shortest possible, consistent with accuracy. Allow a minimum of 4-5 weeks. If you want to ring and find out what’s happening, please do – it won’t speed things up any but, if it makes you feel more relaxed, go ahead. If an auction house is chasing you, tell them that we have the item and give them our number.

The BPA do NOT expertise:

• Varnish’ inks
• ‘Albino’ varieties
• Bisects – unless on cover
• Great Britain: the LOW value (½d-1s) Edward VII and George V shades listed only in the SG Spec. Catalogue.   (All Part 1 shades are expertised)
• ‘Treasury Roulettes – unless on cover.
• Australia: The Perforated “OS” issues
• New Zealand: The “OPSO” issues – unless on cover
• Falkland Is: 1921-28 Prussian Blue, SG76c
• Canada: SG63a
• Straits: SG64c

But they DO expertise

• The low value (1/2d-1s) Edward VII and George V shades listed in the SG Part 1 catalogue.
• The Specialised shades of all other areas of G.B  (QV Surface Printed, George V Seahorses, etc)
•   Certain varieties not listed by SG
• Pre-stamp covers
• In fact most things philatelic,  except items at left

Terms and Conditions of Acceptance


Stamps or other philatelic items submitted to BPA Expertising Ltd are at owner’s sole risk and neither the Company, the Secretary, nor the members of the members of the Expert Committee can accept liability, either collective or individual, for loss or damage however caused.

• Neither the Company nor the members of the Expert Committee can accept any liability, either collective or individual, for any opinion expressed. The Catalogues used to describe items will be the current editions of Stanley Gibbons publications.

• If the Committee is asked to re-examine an item on which an opinion has already been expressed, a second charge may be made. Such re-examination may only be requested by the item’s original submitter. Re-submission by any other person will normally be treated as a fresh submission.

• The Committee does not issue duplicate Certificates. If a replacement Certificate is required, the item must be resubmitted.


Certificates Issued

Scale of Charges

SINGLE CERTIFICATE: White or Pink (Genuine or Forged) – catalogue value** up to £2,000 – £40.00
Genuine item, catalogue value over £2,000 – 2% of catalogue value

SET* CERTIFICATE: White or Pink (All genuine or all forged) – catalogue value up to £6,000 – £120.00
Genuine set, catalogue value** over £6,000 –  2% of catalogue value

SHORT CERTIFICATE: (Common or damaged stamp – issued at the discretion of the Committee)- £20.00

*A single Certificate for a complete set of 4 or more items, listed as such by SG, all used, or all unused, and listed as such by SG. The Committee reserves the right to charge used, surcharged or overprinted sets as single items, or as groups, as appropriate. Where sets contain both genuine and forged stamps, Certificates will be issued and charges made at the discretion of the Expert Committee. Perfed Specimen sets (Victory, &c) are usually charged as a single stamp.

**SG catalogue value – or most recent auction realisation (including buyer’s premium) whichever is the greater.

• Charges for stamps not listed in the Catalogue, or the value of which is greatly enhanced when on cover or in multiples, or for stamps which are genuine but repaired – will be assessed by the Expert Committee.

• GB “Official” stamps: These items are subject to a surcharge of £17.50 for the use of specialist equipment.

• If no opinion can be expressed, there will be no charge other than return postage.

• The right will be reserved to charge extra for items involving extensive research and enquiry but, whenever practical the Expert Committee Secretary will obtain the submitter’s approval prior to the incurring of additional expense.

• Once submitted and logged into the system, with all the routine work that that entails, items may not be withdrawn save in exceptional circumstances. In such cases the Committee reserve the right to levy a charge no less than 50% of the potential certificate cost.

• In the absence of instructions to the contrary, all items will be returned by Special Delivery or (overseas) by Tracked & Signed, Tracked or Signed (whichever is available for the destination), the cost of such postage, packing, etc., being charged to the submitter.

V.A.T.: All invoices, except those relating to items received direct from and returned direct to submitters outside the E.U., will be subject to Value Added Tax at the current rate. Invoices for items received from submitters resident in E.U. countries (other than the United Kingdom), who are registered philatelic traders and who have furnished BPAE Ltd with their registration numbers, will not attract V.A.T.

The B.P.A. Expertising Educational Charity

Charity registration number [England and Wales] 1012050

B.P.A. Expertising Limited ‘[the Company’] expresses opinions on the genuine nature and authenticity, or otherwise, of postage stamps, their cancellation and the envelopes or covers to which the stamps have been affixed.

It charges fees for this service and by 1991 had acquired a forgery collection and books and other working papers to help the work of the Company. It also made modest profits from time to time from giving its opinions. The Directors of the Company make no charge for their services.

In 1991 it was decided by the then shareholders of the Company to protect and preserve the assets of the Company for the benefit of the public by forming a charity to which those assets could be given and to which charity any profits made by the Company could be given by way of a deed covenant [subject to any limitations imposed by UK tax law from time to time].

This was done by Declaration of Trust in April 1992 and by the subsequent registration of the Charity with the Charity Commissioners. The Charity has five Trustees and four of them hold all the shares in the Company on trust for the Charity.

The reference collection of forged, altered and faked stamps and covers and other items together with the reference library formed by the Company over the long period referred to above was transferred into the ownership of the Charity and items are still so transferred after acquisition by the Company.

The reference collection and the reference library are available to the Directors and to bona fide members of the public who the Trustees of the Charity believe have a legitimate interest in obtaining information from the reference collection.

The objects of the Charity are: 

(i) The promotion of research into the postal systems of the world, past and present, with particular application to their stamps [and their methods of production and printing] and the publication of the useful results of such research, and the education of the public about such matters

(ii) To advance public education in philately and postal history with the purpose of stimulating the interest and knowledge of persons of any age who will thereby be able to pursue and take part in (i)

(iii) to support other charities which have similar objects in whole or in part.

Applications to the Charity
Any person wishing to have help with research and publication within the objects set out above should write to the Corresponding Trustee. Any person wishing to support the work of the Charity by giving money, or reference material, or books or items which can be sold for the benefit of the Charity to help more research and publication should write to the Corresponding Trustee.

Current projects are:
• A book on the postage due stamps of Zanzibar
• A book on the stamps of India overprinted for use in Zanzibar
• A book on forgeries of handstamps recently discovered
• A book on forgeries and faking involving covers and cancellations [handstruck and manuscript] of the Cape of Good Hope
• A book on the rectangular stamp issues of the Cape of Good Hope
• An index/synopsis of correspondence between De La Rue, the Agent-General for the Cape of Good Hope and the Cape Colony Government in the 188s and 1890s
• A book on the stamps of Great Britain used in Malta

Pending projects waiting for further input
A book updating the British Post Offices in the Persian Gulf and the British stamps used there

Subject matter of applications
The subject matter which can be the subject of research or publication is not limited but the Trustees’ preference is for books relating to the production and printing of stamps, their classification, errors in their printing, forgeries, alterations and faking of them and how they were used by reference to covers, envelopes, letters and other original sources.

No stamp issuing country is excluded. Every proposal is considered on its merits and the trustees subject any draft book to scrutiny of an independent referee chosen in consultation with an author so that an academic standard can be adopted.

All applications must fall within the objects of the Charity as set out above.

The Corresponding Trustee is: Colin Hoffman, Esq, 9 Oaker Avenue, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 2XH
Telephone Nos: 0161 445 8480 (H) 07831 524098. To Email: click here

Books for sale
Four books published by the Charity are currently in stock and available for purchase. For details see this page.

Contact Us

    BPA Expertising Ltd
    PO Box 1141, Guildford
    Surrey GU5 0WR, England

    Tel: 01483 890199
    Fax: 01483 890598


    Chairman: G. Bodily
    Expert Committee Chairman: J. Taylor
    Directors: A. Claridge, M. Harvey, Dr P. Kinns, I. Shapiro, P.Frost
    Secretary: A. Myer

    Registered No. 1360185 England
    V.A.T. Registration No. 321 6330 02
    BPA Expertising Educational Charity Reg. Charity No. 1012050