About a month ago, I marked 15 years of earning a living from stamp collecting. How best to describe my job? I leave that to former Linn’s senior editor Rick Miller, who once remarked that writing about stamps was like getting paid to eat ice cream.
March 15, 1999, was my first day on the job as a member of the Linn’s editorial staff. Since that time, I’ve honed my craft as a writer, learned from some of the greatest collectors of this generation and, best of all, forged myriad friendships that will last a lifetime.
Mentioning all these philatelic connections would vastly exceed the confines of this column.
So allow me to describe one such friendship, which began about 12 years ago.
This is a friendship that spans an ocean, because Arne lives in Denmark and I live in Ohio. Sometime in 2002, as I recall, Arne contacted Linn’s with a question concerning a United States definitive stamp. I was tasked with providing an answer.
Out of that initial contact blossomed a regular correspondence that continues to this day, via e-mail and, of course, traditional mail.
In the early days of our friendship, we focused on our individual stamp-hobby pursuits. Arne, I learned, collects used U.S. stamps with passion and zeal.
To assist him with that, I began sending batches of stamps clipped from business reply envelopes; an exercise that keeps stamps in albums, where they belong, and out of landfills.
He, in turn, discovered my interest in stamps from Scandinavia, particularly those engraved by the renowned Czeslaw Slania.
And he soon learned that my collecting instincts as a postal historian gravitate toward the unusual and seldom seen, such as postally used souvenir sheets.
Illustrated here is an envelope Arne mailed to me May 19, 2004. It is franked with a Danish souvenir sheet commemorating the 300th anniversary of Frederiksberg Palace (Scott 1278a).
In his letter, Arne told me that the 19 kroner in postage exactly paid the rate for a letter weighing between 50 grams and 100 grams mailed outside Europe.
Two years later, in May 2006, we met for the first time at the Washington 2006 international stamp exhibition in Washington, D.C. Among the many memories I have of that show, the ones I treasure the most are those of the dinner we enjoyed one evening at a local restaurant.
There’s nothing quite like breaking bread (and drinking good beer) over stimulating conversation to forge bonds that remain long after the food is consumed and the good-byes are said.
Just the other day, I was going through some covers and began organizing the various letters and parcels I’ve received from Arne over the years.
Perhaps it’s time they had an album of their own.
Thanks, Arne, for your friendship, philatelic and otherwise. Here’s to many more years of hobby camaraderie.
And thanks, too, to all of my philatelic friends, near and far. You’ve made the journey thus far immensely rewarding.
blogWhen this cover was listed on eBay in mid-September, it didn't take long for some knowledgeable collectors to recognize this piece of postal history for the gem that it is: an early trans-oceanic survey cover for a Pacific route that included Midway Island, which would become famous as the location of a pivotal 1942 naval battle during World War II. Read More ›
blogThis month marks my fifth anniversary writing the monthly auction report for Linn’s Stamp News. That’s 60 columns, totaling more than 100,000 words (enough for a decent-sized novel), all about our favorite hobby. Read More ›
blogIn mid-September I traveled to London, England, to attend Autumn Stampex, one of two British national stamp shows sponsored by the Philatelic Traders’ Society, Great Britain’s national stamp dealers association. The show took place Sept. 16-19 at the Business Design Centre in Islington (central north London), a comfortable and attractive venue for a stamp show. Read More ›
September 28, 2015 03:30 AMAfter the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, postal workers not only saved the mail, they saved the new post office building. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses current events that relate to the stamp hobby, including the relocation of a stamp show in Sweden due to the Syrian refugee crises, and new stamps honoring Pope Francis and the British monarchy.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke talks about a record fifth win for wildlife artist Joseph Hautman in the federal duck stamp art contest, and see the painting that will appear on next year’s federal duck stamp
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz questions Bolivia’s choice for the design of a 2013 stamp honoring the country’s efforts to protect its migrants in foreign lands.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses the discovery of the upright Jenny Invert pane received in an order from Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City, Mo., and also reports on the Confederate Stamp Alliance.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.