Each item for authentication must be accompanied by an official application and submitted to the address on the application. Turnaround time for items submitted is generally 60 to 90 days. Non-members must pay in advance. CSA members will be billed.
Please note that we do not give opinions on stones or do plating. Printing stones and plating are very specialized facets of Confederate philately and beyond the scope of authentication. If you have need of such services, we can recommend specialists.
The Authentication Process
The turnaround time of 60 to 90 days may appear lengthy but is proven to be in the best interest of the applicant. The procedure allows a committee member to thoroughly examine an item using their own references and make comments. he authentication process appears to be lengthy, it is ultimately a system that is in the best interest of the applicant. Patients first go to the Recording Secretary where they are scanned and an opinion work sheet created with initial description. From there, patients are sent by accountable mail among voting members, who are all unpaid volunteers. Each patient ends with the Chairman. Upon reviewing the opinions, if the Chairman sees that there is a division of opinion on the item, it goes to the remaining committee members and/or a specialist in that particular field. We usually use 10 to 20 outside experts during the year, as well as our own expert service, selected for their specific areas of specialty and research materials to which the rest of the service may not have access. Our own resources are also substantial. We have the benefit of a substantial reference collection of both genuine and counterfeit material, as well as the extensive Freeland Reference Collection.
Once the Chairman is satisfied with the opinion, a full color certificate is issued on security paper. A digital record is kept of all certificates issued. Yes, it's a long and laborious process, but one which we have honed to what we feel is the best possible opinion for Confederate States material. While the average process is 60 to 90 days, it may take as little as 6 weeks or even longer than 90 days on difficult items.
Tips to Speed the Process
If you have done original research on the item, include copies of it. If you have other examples of a rare town cancel, or even a common cancel, include them - not the originals - just photocopies which will become part of the patient records. If you have the original contents please include them. We don't return anything except the patient with the certificate.