Auction Rules & Guidelines

Submission of material for sale or submission of purchase bids to the CPSA for any of its auctions implies an agreement on the part of the sellers and buyers to abide by all auction rules and guidelines stated herein.

  • Submission of Material - Each item submitted for auction must be clearly described, cataloged, and priced. An estimated and/or minimum price must be provided for all items that cannot be cataloged (refer to the paragraph on "Pricing" for guidance on the subject). The auction manager will return any material that is not clearly described, cataloged, and priced. It is strongly suggested that prospective sellers send a list of the material they wish to sell to the auction manager before sending the material itself so that the auction manager can review the list and provide additional guidance and instructions for preparation and shipment of the actual material. The CPSA will not return any material submitted without prior auction manager approval that is found not to be suitable for auction, unless the sender prepays for its return with full insurance coverage. The CPSA will also not be responsible for any material sent to it without insurance coverage. Only philatelic material or closely related material such as philatelic literature will be accepted for sale through these auctions. No philatelic material subject to the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba will be accepted.

  • Lot Descriptions - Standards for describing the material submitted for auction will in general be very strict.

    1. Condition. Every attempt will be made to clearly describe all items offered for sale. The following guidelines will be followed when specifying the condition of stamps: poor--a stamp that is defective in one or more ways (e.g., thinned, torn, missing perforations, stained); fine--a stamp that is poorly centered, carries an undesirable cancellation, or has minor defects such as short perforations or is heavily hinged; fine-very fine--a stamp that is reasonably centered and cancelled, is lightly hinged if unused, and has no defects; very fine--a stamp that is well centered, has an appealing cancellation, looks fresh, has no hinge remnants if unused, and has no defects; superb--these are the gems of philately: superb centering, superb cancellation if used, mint if unused, fresh looking, and with no defects.

    2. Gum - After consultation with other members, we have decided to change the meaning of the word "mint" in our auction descriptions to simply mean "unused". All of the stamp descriptions will hereafter clearly specify the condition of the stamp's gum whenever it is described to be mint or unused. The following abbreviations will be used to specify the condition of the gum on mint stamps: mnh = mint never hinged; mlh = mint lightly hinged; mog = mint original gum; mhh = mint heavily hinged; mgd = mint gum disturbed; mng = mint no gum. "Lightly hinged" will be used to designate stamps that were once hinged but whose hinge has been removed completely leaving no hinge remnants attached to the stamp and leaving the stamp's gum minimally disturbed. "Heavily hinged" will be used to designate those stamps that have big portions of unremovable hinges or multiple hinges attached to their backs.

    Please note that unused stamps without gum will usually be priced as used when citing their catalog value with the prices followed by a plus (+) sign--this policy is due to the fact that usually catalog prices for unused stamps are for stamps with original gum. However, when quoting the price of some 19th Century stamps without gum that are extremely rare in unused condition, the catalog price for the unused stamp followed by a negative sign (-) may be used as reflecting a better estimate of the stamp's value. In the latter case, the fact that the stamp lacks the gum will be clearly noted.

    3. Pricing. - All catalog numbers and pricing are from the Cuba section of the latest edition of the Scott's Catalog unless otherwise indicated. Edifil catalog numbers and pricing are from the 2002 Catálogo Especializado de Sellos de Cuba and will be shown as U.S. dollars or Eurosl. A seller must indicate a "minimum price" for any lot submitted for sale and these will be listed in a column separate from the one for catalog prices; these minimum prices will be the starting price for bidding on all lots. Minimum   prices must conform with the guidelines for acceptable bids specified in the "Bidding Increments" paragraph below. Please avoid sending lots with a minimum price lower than $10 to be included in an auction; instead, combine several items of lower price together into a single lot selling for  $10 or more. Estimated prices will not be posted for any lot, since they are totally subjective and can lend themselves to misleading the buyers.

    4. Abbreviations - Following are some standard abbreviations used in the descriptions of the auction lots:

    3x8 or (3x8)--3 rows by 8 cols.

    b4--block of 4

    2x3 b6--horizontal block of 6

    3x2 b6--vertical block of 6

    c--cent(s), centavo(s), or céntimo(s)

    cds--circular date stamp

    cb4--(sheet) center block of 4

    cgb4--(sheet) center gutter blk of 4



    dcds--duplex cds

    ds--date stamp


    Ed--Cat. Edifil Especializado 1997

    f-vf --fine to very fine

    FDC--first day cover

    FFC--first flight cover

    H&G--Higgins & Gage Catalog

    hb6--horizontal block of 6 (2x3)

    hgb4--horizontal gutter block of 4

    hgp--horizontal gutter pair

    hp--horizontal pair


    J-R--Jones-Roy Catalog

    mhh--mint heavily hinged

    mlh--mint lightly hinged


    mmh--mint medially hinged

    mng--mint no gum

    mnh--mint never hinged

    p--peso; ptas--pesetas

    reinf--reinforced perforations

    rpf--real de plata fuerte

    Sc--Scott Catalog


    vb6--vertical block of 6 (3x2)

    vf--very fine

    vgb4--vertical gutter block of 4

    vgp--vertical gutter pair

    vp--vertical pair



  • Bidding - Lots will be adjudicated to the highest bidder at one bid increment over the second highest bid received, or at the minimum bid if no second bid is received (refer to the paragraph on "Bidding Increments" below). When a lot receives two identical bids, the first bid received wins the lot. This is applied rigorously, taking into account the date and time a bid is placed using our online Auction system. Phone/Fax and E-mail bids will also be accepted and a record of their date and time will be kept. Phone/Fax and E-Mail bids must be received before 6:00PM EST on the closing date of the auction. As of August 2020, mail-in bids are no longer accepted. Bids close on the date of the sale at midnight U.S. Eastern Standard Time. Bidders may bid under the starting price of any lot if it is felt to be overpriced. If no bid over the starting price is received for the lot, the auction manager will refer the bid to the lot owner for consideration. The lot owner will make the decision to sell or not to sell and the auction manager will relay that decision back to the bidder. Contact our Auction Manager for more information.
  • Bidding Increments - All bids must be submitted according to the bidding increments specified below. Bids that fall between bidding increments at any range will be lowered to the next lowest bid according to the acceptable bidding increment for that range. For example, a bid of $315 for a lot will be lowered to $300 and will be billed to the buyer at $300 plus 10% commission (20% for Non-Members).

    Bid Range


    Bid Range


    $10 to $19


    $300 to $749


    $20 to $49


    $750 to $1499


    $50 to $149


    $1500 to $3000


    $150 to $299


    Over $3000


  • Commissions - A 10% buyer's fee (20% for Non-Members) will be added to the purchase price of all lots bought. A 10% seller's fee (15% for Non-Members) will be deducted from the sale price of all lots sold. Individuals who partake in the auction and are not a member of the CPSA, known as "Non-Members", will be charged a 20% buyer's fee. These fees will be used by the CPSA to cover the costs of the auction and to finance the society's activities and publications. Active CPSA members who are behind on their dues at the time of the closing of the auction, will be charged at the Non-Member rate of 20%. 
  • Postage & Insurance - Postage and insurance fees will be added to the total bill of the buyer. These fees are bound by the requirements imposed on the CPSA by its insurance provider. The auction manager will make every attempt to mail and insure all material adequately while incurring the minimum possible charges.
  • Payment for Purchases - All purchases must be paid by the buyer within 30 days of mailing of billing. Payment may be made by personal check, PayPal, cash, bank draft or money order; no other form of payment will be accepted. Payment should be made to the order of the CPSA, Inc. If payment is not possible within 30 days because of extenuating circumstances, please request an extension.
  • Return of Lots - Lots that have been incorrectly described may be returned within 10 days of receipt for a full refund of the purchase price and commission. Lots whose photos have been included in the auction bulletin may not be returned on grounds of poor centering, short or missing perforations, or close margins on imperforate stamps. All returns must be fully insured. Please note that sales at CPSA auctions are not made on an "approval" basis and reasonable justification must be provided by the buyer for the return of any lot. Repeated violation of this rule will result in future rejection of bids from the buyer.
  • Return of Unsold Lots - Unsold lots will be returned to the seller together with the payment for sold lots, unless the seller has instructed the auction manager to reoffer the lots at a subsequent auction or has provided other return instructions. All unsold lots will be returned adequately packaged and insured at the CPSA's expense unless the seller has sent return instructions incurring extraordinary expenses, in which case excess expenses must be prepaid by the seller.
  • Guarantee - The CPSA guarantees the authenticity of all lots sold through these auctions. This means that the CPSA will refund the full purchase price (price plus 10% commission) of any lot that is declared to be altered or not to be genuine in any respect by any recognized expertizing service or individual expert that issues an official photo-certificate of expertized items. This guarantee even applies to an item that is sold with an existing certificate declaring it to be genuine; that is, if such an item is subsequently submitted to another expertizing authority and it is declared to be altered or forged, the CPSA will refund its full purchase price, regardless of the stature of the expertizing authority issuing the pre-existing certificate of authenticity.

    This guarantee also applies to items for which an opinion of authenticity is refused because of insufficient means of corroboration, unless the item is sold with an indication that it is being sold "as is" and not subject to a return (for example, most bisects on piece are uncertifiable and sold "as is")
    . Refunds will only be given when the item is returned in exactly the same condition as when it was bought (this implies the absence of any expertizing markings by the expertizing authority) and only if accompanied by the photo-certificate declaring it not to be genuine. The CPSA will also refund the full cost of the certificate provided the original certificate is surrendered to the CPSA for its reference files. The CPSA will hold the seller of any lot through its auctions to be bound by the same guarantee; that is, the CPSA expects to collect from the original seller the monies refunded to the buyer for any lot that is returned under this guarantee. This guarantee is a condition of sale imposed by the CPSA on all sellers through its auctions. If the buyer is sending any purchased items to be expertized, the buyer needs to notify the auction manager of this intention immediately upon receipt of the item(s), indicating the expertization service that will be used.

Auction Manager Contact Information

Jack E. Thompson

2801 Shadelands Drive Unit 402
Walnut Creek, CA  94598, U.S.A.
Tel: (925)-765-3749