The American Philatelic Society (APS) boasts two of the world’s largest philatelic reference collections.
With one for fakes and forgeries and another for genuine stamps and postal history, the reference collections are housed in about 1,400 albums spanning nearly 140 metres in length. They’re available to expertizers with the American Philatelic Expertizing Service (APEX), the expertizing arm of the APS, plus other researchers who are members of the U.S.-based society of stamp collectors.
Established in 1995, the APS Collection of Genuine Stamps and Postal History represents nearly all countries and stamp-issuing entities, including Canada.
Many APEX submissions deemed “not genuine” have also been donated to the APS Reference Collection of Fakes and Forgeries, which was established and managed by the late James Beal in the 1970s.
In addition to countries, the reference collections also include hunting permit stamps, international exhibition souvenirs, examples of stamp printing methods, postal stationery and more. Their estimated value is upwards of $8 million US (about $9.96 million Cdn.), according to the APS.
To view online previews of the collection – including one for Canada – visit stamps.org/services/reference-collection.