Stamp Collecting

Topics: Postage stamp, Stamp collecting, Federal Duck Stamp Pages: 4 (1368 words) Published: April 2, 2013
When I walk into the bourse at the stamp show, I note several things all at once. The room is small, and approximately 10 dealers have crammed binders and boxes in every available space along the walls and under the tables. A handful of people are milling around the room, and a few of them are sitting at some of the dealer tables going through boxes. And the crowd is older. With the exception of a father and his two sons who come in behind me, I am probably the youngest person in the room by a decade and a half or more, with the median age hovering in the low 60s. Glancing around the room I see a few familiar faces from the local stamp club, and one of them sees me back. Smiling, he nods in my direction and in a thickly accented German tongue offers a hello. His name is Heinrich, and he is the local member of the stamp dealers guild. The room is generally quiet, and relaxing, and makes me think of a different time. I am reminded again of why stamp collecting has always appealed to me as I begin browsing each table. Boxes of postmarks and old letters each carry their own story of the past, and the stamps represent moments of cultural or historic significance that would largely be unknown to the average American today. And the people are friendly, more friendly than any other hobby I have pursued (and I have pursued many), and as a group they eagerly share their interest with those of us who have been drawn to the stamp show but are not regular members of the stamp collecting community. At the table next to me, one of the dealers (an older gentleman with graying hair and a grandfatherly look) almost trips over himself as he gives a used stamp album to the two young boys. It would be easy to assume that this helpfulness is merely the fawning of a business person to a potential customer, but there is more at stake here than a future sale. Stamp collecting is a dying hobby by some accounts, and a greatly diminished one by almost any measure. A grim comment I have...
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