Frequently Asked Questions 

 

We were established in 1976 and are one of the world’s largest companies buying and selling stamps, postal history and other philatelic collectibles.

Our offices are in Knutsford, Cheshire in the North West of England. We are owned and managed by Vincent Green and Mike Harlow.

Each week we hold a Mail Bid Sale which you can enjoy online but you can also request an illustrated catalogue for each sale (that’s right, we print 52 Mail Bid Sale catalogues every year!)

We also hold a Public Auction 4 times each year with an auctioneer wielding his gavel and a room with bidders competing with online bidders from around the world.

We buy stamps directly and we also auction them on commission. We are a friendly firm who enjoy what we do!

Our weekly Mail Bid Sales (Kwik-Bid, Sandafayre, Express and Hunters) do not have a room with bidders like our Public Auction; instead we accept bids by mail, email, fax, telephone or online and it's all administered from our offices & auction rooms with lots being mailed to the winners from all over the world quickly and efficiently.

At the sale close time the highest bid is reduced to one bidding step above the next highest bid, or if there are no other bids the lot is sold at the reserve price.

A typical example of how the bidding works:

 

1) Your bid is £100 on a lot which we've estimated at £100 - £120

The lot has a reserve price of £80

2) Another bidder bids £90

3) You win the lot for £91.

 

Another example:

1) Your bid is £100 on a lot which we've estimated at £100 -£120

The lot has a reserve price of £80

2) Another bidder bids £200

3) That other bidder wins the lot at £105. So you don't win the lot, better luck next time.

 

Another example:

1) Your bid is £100 on a lot which we've estimated at £100 -£120

The lot has a reserve price of £80.

2) There are no other bids.

3) You win the lot for £80.

 

The selling is achieved using a program and the only manual interventions made by us is if we are undertaking any special instructions on behalf of a bidder (see some typical examples below but we'll try to accomodate anything if it's possible and does not unfairly disadvantage other bidders).

 

Unlike other sales which are totally online (we also publish a matching printed sale catalogue) we do not show ‘live’ bidding online nor do we disclose current bids to third parties for the following reasons:

-It allows you to give us complex instructions regarding your total spending limit in one Mail Bid Sale

-If your spending limit is reached you can even tell us the order in which you would like your bids applied so you have a better chance at winning your favourites

-It allows you to bid on two or more similar lots but to give us an ‘either / or’ instruction, so you only win one lot.

-It allows you to cancel your bids at any time prior to the auction close.

-It maintains the confidentiality of your bids and purchases

-Also our many non-web clients (clients who still bid by post, telephone or fax) would be disadvantaged compared to web clients if we posted current bids online.

 

All the lots sold in our Mail Bid Sales have a buyers premium of 17% which includes an amount in lieu of VAT added to the sales price.

 

If you have any questions please get in touch.

 

Every few months we hold a public auction near our offices in Knutsford, Cheshire. 'Cheshire Stamp Auctions' is a traditional auction with a public lot - viewing period and a public auction held in a room of keen bidders with an auctioneer wielding his gavel.

The lots are shown on this site several weeks before the auction and bids can be left for our auctioneer who will execute them on your behalf. Bidders from around the world can also join the auction room and bid live on our internet platform which is available on this site from around 30 minutes before the auction begins. From that time you will no longer be able to leave bids from this site.

The buyers premium charge of 22% which is inclusive of an amount in lieu of VAT is applied to the hammer price of each lot. Please note that this is higher than the buyer premium charge in our Mail Bid Sales (17%) and the collection / accumulation lots are sold without the blanket satisfaction guarantee we give with our Mail Bid Sale lots, so it is the responsibility of the buyer is to view, make enquiries or otherwise satisfy themselves that the lot is suitable before the auction.

Like all major auctions we charge a Buyers Premium on top of the hammer price of the lots, the charges are:

MAIL BID SALES 17%.

PUBLIC AUCTIONS 22%.

These Buyers Premium charges are inclusive of an amount in lieu of VAT and are applied to the hammer price of each lot. Please consider this additional charge when making your bids.

We accept the following payment methods:

Credit / Debit Cards

Unlike many companies, we do not charge you for paying by credit card. Payment by credit/debit card ensures your items are sent out in the shortest possible time.

Most of our clients authorise us to charge their cards at the time of bidding, although this is not mandatory.

We do not keep your credit / debit card details as this information is encoded away from our computer servers. If you enter your card number onto our site we never have sight of that number and your card is charged using the exchanging of an electronic 'token' with the card- issuer.

Credit/Debit cards - Visa, MasterCard, JCB and Diners Club (sorry, but we cannot accept AmEx, Maestro or Discover). Please note, the first time you pay us using a credit/debit card we will require your 3 digit security code (or 'CV2' number). This is located on the reverse of your card. The security code is required for your FIRST PURCHASE ONLY.

Other methods:

Sterling cheques drawn on a personal account (kindly allow 2-3 days for clearance)

Sterling bank drafts

Sterling / US$ cash

UK Postal orders (as long as the orders and the stamps stuck to the front add up to the invoice total)

US$ cheques drawn on a personal checking account (these cheques must be sent for clearance and this process can take over 5 weeks. Goods will not be released until the cheque has cleared).

US$ cashiers cheques (ensure that a UK clearing banks name appears on it and that the amount is printed by the computer and not just handwritten)

Foreign cheques must include an extra £10 for bank charges. Please note, cheque clearance can delay shipment by up to 6 weeks.

Foreign cash (must include an extra £10 for bank charges)

Direct transfers (pay through your bank to our account at National Westminster Bank Plc., Knutsford, WA16 6EG, UK.)

PAYPAL. If you wish to pay by this method kindly contact us on stamp@sandafayre.com (THIS IS NOT OUR PAYPAL REFERENCE, DO NOT SEND MONEY TO IT) but please note that we ABSOLUTELY NO NOT ACCEPT PAYPAL PAYMENTS AGAINST PUBLIC AUCTION INVOICES.

Our bank account details can be found here.

Yes! One of the benefits of our weekly Mail Bid Sales is that you can give us complex instructions including such things as a total spending limit, or even a total spending limit with lots being sold to you in your personal preference order until your limit is met (so even if your favourite lot is a higher lot number than your least favourite you can bid on that first). You can give us instructions at any time by email, telephone or by using the "Ask a Question" function on one of the lots you are bidding on. Typical instructions might be:

“total spend £300 in the sale please” or

“total spend £300 in this order of preference, lot 5113, 5002, 6678, 5980, 7033, 5061”

Remember! Our Public ‘Room’ Auctions are different to our regular Mail Bid Sales and that we cannot always manage complex instructions in a fast- moving auction room, and the lots are sold in numerical order, so we recommend either clear basic instructions several days before a sale or that you bid live online or in the room yourself.

Bidding on lots in our weekly Mail Bid Sales couldn't be easier...once you've logged in or registered there are 2 ways you can place your bids:

Bidding from the lot description screen is a fast and convenient way to bid. You will notice that each lot has a field in which you can enter your bid. To use this feature, simply enter your bid amount (and select a ‘bid boost’ if you wish) and click the 'Place Bid' button. If you have any additional instructions you can always add them to the "Ask a Question" feature on that lot, or simply email us such things delivery instructions, spending limits or anything else we can help with. You will received a confirmation email and your current bids can be seen from your account area.

The other way is to add any lots which interest you to your "Wishlist" and then bid from your Wishlist screen, this is the slightly more popular way of bidding as it gives you a great overview of the lots you are interested in. From the Wishlist you can either bid on, retain or remove whatever lots you want.

You can send us bids straight from the lot description and the auctioneer will execute your bids for you in the room, we do not charge for this service although we cannot accept bids from 30 minutes before the start of the auction.

You can bid in the auction room in person, simply register when you arrive to obtain a paddle number.

You can bid live during the auction from our online bidding platform where you will be able to see and hear the auctioneer. We recommend registering to bid as early as you can before the auction and the online platform goes 'live' on our site 30 minutes before the auction begins.

You can bid live from thesaleroom.com but please be aware that they will charge you an additional fee on top of the hammer price & our byuers premium.

You can check with us to see if an Auction Agent will be attending, they will sit in the room and bid on your behalf. They charge for this service.

This site accepts bids down to a fixed 75% of our estimated value range; this is not the same as a reserve so it’s possible to win lots at less than this amount if the reserve is lower, or fail to win if the reserve is higher.

Please note that our website does not accept bids below 75% of the lower estimated value, even if you have chosen an additional 'bid boost' which if used would take the bid above that 75%.

This site accepts bids down to a fixed 75% of our estimated value range; this is not the same as a reserve so it’s possible to win lots at less than this amount if the reserve is lower, or fail to win if the reserve is higher.

Please note that our website does not accept bids below 75% of the lower estimated value, even if you have chosen an additional 'bid boost' which if used would take the bid above that 75%.

A reserve price is the minimum amount a lot will be sold for as determined by the owner. Reserves vary, but are usually between 75% of the lower guide price and the upper guide price.

Please note that our website does not accept bids below 75% of the lower estimated value, even if you have chosen an additional 'bid boost' which if used would take the bid above that 75%.

Bid Boosts are a percentage of your bid amount which you have the option to attach to your bid but it will only be invoked should another bid be received which is higher than yours, this is to ensure that you either win the lot or that your competitor does not win the lot at less than you were willing to pay. Bid Boosts are completely optional.

See the examples below to see how Bid Boosts work:

Example 1.

Step 1. Your basic bid for a lot is £100, and you select a 30% boost

Step 2. We receive another bid of £110 on the same lot

Step 3. Your bid boost is invoked so you win the lot for £115 - one bidding step above the next highest bid

 

Example 2.

Step 1. Your basic bid for a lot is £100, and you select a 30% boost

Step 2. We have no other bids on the lot, the reserve price for the lot is £75

Step 3. Your bid boost is NOT invoked, so you win the lot for £75

 

Example 3.

Step 1) Your basic bid for a lot is £100, and you select a 30% boost

Step 2. We have no other bids on the lot, the reserve price for the lot is £110.

Step 3. Your bid boost is invoked to get your bid to the reserve level so you win the lot for £110

(please note that our website will not accept bids below 75% of the lower estimate, even if a 'Bid Boost' then takes the bid above that level)

   

Example 4.

Step 1. Your basic bid for a lot is £100, and you select a 30% boost

Step 2. We have another bid of £200 on the same lot

Step 3. Your bid boost is invoked so your competitor wins the lot for £135 - one bidding step above the maximum you were prepared to pay.

 

Please note that your Bid Boost may result in you winning on a non- standard bidding step in our Mail Bid Sales. For example your £180 bid with a Bid Boost of 30% will result in you winning the lot at £234 if another bid of £230 has been received. In our Public Auction the auctioneers decision is final.

The highest price you are prepared to pay NOT including the Buyers Premium (please allow for the additional 17% buyers premium charge which will be added to your invoice).

Your maximum bid can be raised further by using the ‘Bid Boost’ feature in order to beat higher bids or to match the reserve price or to ensure a competing bidder does not win the lot for less than what you were prepared to bid.

Please note that our website does not accept bids below 75% of the lower estimated value, even if you have chosen an additional 'bid boost' which if used would take the bid above that 75%.

The Estimate (on our site shown as "Est" or "Estimate"), is the price guide we put on each lot that reflects, in light of current market conditions, what we believe the lot is worth.

It is NOT a catalogue value (such as Stanley Gibbons, Scott or Michel) which in the vast majority of lots will be substantially higher than our Estimate!

Bidding increments (often referred to as bidding steps) are the increments we ask you to use when making bids. We have very small bidding increments to ensure that you don’t have to pay more than you have to.

Bidding increments:

£1 - £100, £1 steps

£100 - £500, £5 steps

£500 - £1000, £10 steps

£1000 upwards £25 steps

 

Our site accepts bids in £1 steps however bids received of non-standard amounts will be reduced to the next correct step (for example, a bid of £103 will be reduced to £100)

Sometimes a 'Bid Boost' which has to be taken to its maximum may cause a lot to be sold at non-standard bid step but this is rare (for instance a £90 bid + 30% may beat a £105 bid by being sold at £107). There are other rare instances where lots may be sold at a non-standard bid steps and we use our best judgement on all occasions.

Bidding increments (often referred to as bidding steps) are the increment guidelines our auctioneer will use. These steps are a little wider than our Mail Bids Sales.

Bidding increments:

£1 - £25 £1 steps

£25 - £100, £5 steps

£100 - £300, £10 steps

£300 - £1000, £25 steps

£1000 - £2000 £50 steps

£2000 - £3000 £100 steps

£3000 - £10,000 £250 steps

£10,000 auctioneers discretion.

Bids received to be executed by the auctioneer of unusual ‘off step’ amounts will usually be rounded down to the step below and will not take precedence over a similar bid unless received first, however in the busy auction room environment the auctioneers decision on bid increments is final.

Our terms and conditions are set out here

Our Privacy Policy can be viewed here

The Lot Alerts service allows you to create a profile of what you are interested in and each time a new lot matching those interests appears in our sales the Lot Alert service will send you an email with all the details.

From time to time we may review your existing Lot Alert profiles or create new Lot Alert profiles for you. Please let us know if we can improve this service for you in any way.

It's easy to use and you can alter or add new criteria yourself at any time.

Alternatively you can contact us and tell us what you are interested in and we'll do our best to create a profile within the Lot Alert service which is most likely to work for you. 

For Example:

If you are interested in World War Two period covers / mail you could type "1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, covers" in the 'Keywords' section. If you were interested in that period for the entire world then simply leave the "Your Primary Interest" field empty and it will find anything new each week from every section of our sale. If you are interested in WWII covers but only from Europe you can select "Europe" from the "Your Primary Interest" menu and if you are only interested in the WWII covers of France and Germany you can select those two countries from the "Refine" menu which will appear once you've selected "Europe" and you will create TWO profiles.

If you want mint or never hinged mint stamps from the same periods and areas then you would do the same things as above but simply type 'mint' instead of 'covers' so your keywords would show "1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, mint"

Enjoy playing around with this but remember, we are happy to set it up for you, just contact the office.

We believe that we have the best and fastest packing and shipping department in the stamp auction world!

For both Mail Bid Sales and our Public ‘Room’ Auctions we will ship your items as soon as full payment has been received. Often this is the very same day, even if you have purchased boxes and heavy albums..

The service we use to ship your items determines how quickly you’ll receive them – this can be anything from a next day service to up to 7 days for overseas shipments.

Shipping costs are shown against each lot.

If you purchase multiple lots in the same sale we combine them and heavily discount the shipping costs.

The postal service we use (i.e. a First Class post / Airmail service versus or a Signed for/Courier service) will depend on the value of your lot(s).

We use new modern packing materials and endevour to offer an efficient service at a competative price. 

We want you to be delighted with every purchase from us!

That’s why we offer a full, 100% money back guarantee on all the lots we sell in our weekly Mail Bid Sales. If you're not happy- send it back!

It's as simple as that. You'll receive a full refund of the lot price and - on all our Mail Bid Sale lots - the buyers premium. See our Terms and Conditions (Ts&Cs) for more details and for information about how to send an item back to us. To qualify the lots must be returned in ‘as sold’ condition and presentation (clearly we don’t mind stamps being inspected but a collection should not look different or be otherwise altered) and Sandafayre must have either been alerted or received the lot back within 28 days of the sale close date.

The lots in our Public Auctions do NOT carry the same blanket guarantee as the lots sold in our Mail Bid Sales.

In these Public Auctions it is THE BUYERS responsibility to inspect the lots and make enquiries prior to the auction and we do not give refunds on collections, accumulations, stocks or any other type of multi- item lot. However individually described items or sets which are not part of a larger collection which are not described accurately can be returned for a refund. Similarly items or sets with alteration or damage not mentioned in our description where such alteration or damage could not reasonably be identified from photographs, scans or other images we have made available before the auction can also be returned. The images form part of the description. We may require an opinion to be rendered by an expert or expert body before making any refund.

Don’t worry!

All our Mail Bid Sale lots come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. You'll receive a full refund of the lot price and the buyers premium. See our Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) for more details and for information about how to send a lot back to us. To qualify the lots must be returned in ‘as sold’ condition and presentation (clearly we don’t mind stamps being inspected but a collection should not look different or be otherwise altered) and Sandafayre must have been alerted or received the lot back within 28 days of the sale close date.

The lots in our Public Auctions do NOT carry the same blanket guarantee as the lots sold in our Mail Bid Sales. In the Public Auctions it is THE BUYERS responsibility to inspect the lots and make enquiries prior to the auction and we do not give refunds on collections, accumulations, stocks or any other type of multi- item lot.

Individually described items or sets which are not part of a larger collection which are not accurately described can be returned for a refund WITHIN 14 DAYS of the date of auction or Sandafayre must be informed WITHIN 14 DAYS of the date of auction that the lot is being returned. Similarly items or sets with alteration or damage not mentioned in our description where such alteration or damage could not reasonably be identified from photographs, scans or other images we have made available before the auction can also be returned for a refund WITHIN 14 DAYS of the date of auction or Sandafayre must be informed WITHIN 14 DAYS of the date of auction that the lot is being returned UNLESS AN EXTENTION has been requested. The inspection of any lot before the auction by the buyer or a person acting on behalf of the buyer constitutes acceptance of that lot as described.

An extention request is a request made before a Mail Bid Sale or Public Auction that a lot can be returned for a refund later than the time limits specified to qualify for a refund on the basis that the item is being sent to an acknowledged expert or expert committee for examination. This expertisation process can take some time so it is understood, once we have agreed to "an extention" that should that expert conclude that the item is not what it was sold as that we agree to refund the purchase price and buyers premium of that lot.

Lots 'on extension' must be paid for prior to the stamp being sent to any expert or committee of experts.

Please remember that all our Mail Bid Sale lots are satisfaction guaranteed, even collections and accumulations (see “Are the lots I win in the Mail Bid Sale guaranteed?” and also our Mail Bid Sale terms and conditions) however this does NOT apply to lots bought in our Public ‘Room’ Auctions.

Your Wishlist is probably the best area from which to manage your selections as you can get everything together before making your bidding decisions.

Simply add a few lots to your Wishlist then take a look, you don't have to bid on anything, it's a safe area.

You do need to log in or register for this service.

We often use abbreviations in our lot descriptions, here's a few of the most popular ones:

M or MINT = unused with original gum, previously or currently hinged

MINT NH = mint never hinged, the same as Unmounted Mint. see NHM.

NHM = never hinged mint = unused with original gum never previously hinged or otherwise mounted by affixing anything to the gummed side.

UNUSED = as mint but without gum

U or USED = used, postmarked or otherwise cancelled.

Alphabetical list: 

AU$ = Australian Dollars

BET = between

BLK = block (4)

C$ = Canadian Dollars

CANC = cancelled

CAT = catalogue value or catalogue name.

CDS = circular date stamp

COLLN = collection

CTO = cancelled to order, or cancelled by favour.

F = fine

FDC = first day cover

FDI = first day of issue

FU = fine used

GBP = Great Britian Pounds – the currency for all transactions on this site

INCL = including

M = mint

MARG = margin

MINT = unused with original gum, previously or currently hinged

MINT NH = never hinged

M/S = miniature sheet

NHM = never hinged mint

OG = original gum

OPT = overprint

OVPT = overprint

P = perforation

Perf = perforation

PPC = picture postcard

P.STAT or P/STAT = postal stationary

SELN or VALS TO = selection to (not a full unbroken run)

SET = complete set as listed to top value

STC = stated to catalogue (a catalogue value not calculated by us so whilst appearing to be somewhat accurate we can't guarantee accuracy)

SURCH = surcharge

U = used, a stamp with some form of cancellation denoting postal or revenue usage.

UNUSED = as mint but without gum

USD = United States Dollar

VALS = values

VARS = varieties

VF = very fine

VFM = very fine mint

VFU = very fine used

WMK = watermark

W/N = within

W/O = without