We receive with great regularity letters from readers who lament the graying of the hobby. With each passing year, they remind us, the average stamp collector is getting older.
They wring their hands and fret over the dwindling number of youngsters who find satisfaction and pleasure in collecting stamps.
Well, as the old saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun.
Similar complaints were voiced many decades ago. And if you peruse older issues of Linn’s and some of the now-defunct philatelic publications, you will see photos taken at stamp shows that reveal quite clearly that many stamp collectors were older folks with gray hair.
I’d wager that it always will be thus.
Of course, attracting a younger generation to the joys of our hobby is a laudable goal. Worthy efforts in recent years are showing positive results.
The Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship, for example, is doing a superb job identifying bright, enthusiastic teens who can take the hobby in new directions.
Some of these fellowship participants learn about the ins and outs of being a stamp dealer; others pursue the study of philatelic exhibiting or writing.
Of these three tracks, I’d wager the most important is the dealer track.
If stamp collecting is to be a vibrant hobby in the future, the key will be developing and nurturing new stamp dealers.
Dealers are the lifeblood of the hobby. Without them, we collectors would be hard-pressed to acquire the material that keeps our interests alive and thriving.
Now some might argue that there is no hobby without collectors. Yes, both collectors and dealers are needed.
If, however, the population of dealers crashes, the number of collectors heading for the exits will increase substantially. And let’s not mince words: If the dealers disappear, so will the stamp shows.
All of these thoughts came to the fore for the first time last fall when I attended the Chicagopex show in Itasca, Ill.
During the course of my rounds on the show floor, I struck up a conversation with a dealer who is a perceptive observer of the hobby from his side of the table.
I enjoy talking to him because he pulls no punches and doesn’t take himself too seriously.
It didn’t take long for him to voice his concerns about the state of stamp dealing.
“Look around the room,” he told me. “All of us are getting old, and I worry about who will take our place.”
As we talked, it occurred to me that this was the first time that a dealer had openly voiced such concerns to me. While I didn’t seek confirmation from other dealers at the show, I suspect that my friend was not alone in his sentiments.
So, my fellow collectors, it is essential that we support the stamp dealers of today, and do what we can to bring the next generation of dealers to fruition.
Dealers are the conduits through which stamps are united with collectors who will cherish them.
They also are vital subject-matter experts, adding to the storehouse of knowledge from which we all draw, regardless of our level of experience.
It’s also important to remember that dealers make this publication possible, through their advertising support.
Yes, the hobby is about collecting, but dealers make it happen.
blogThe unique block of six unissued 2-penny King Edward VIII stamps of Australia, whose fascinating origin and provenance were detailed in Linn’s issue dated Oct. 20, 2014, around the time of the block’s sale, has been broken up. The block had lain in the Vestey family’s possession ever since it was fresh off the presses in 1936, when the 1st Baron Vestey received it as a memento from an Australian politician. Read More ›
blogAs stamp collectors, we become the stewards of postage stamps and postal history. We passionately protect our stamps and covers. We recognize that these fragile objects are ours to cherish for a brief moment in time before we pass them along to the next generation. Read More ›
blogOn June 28, 1914, by assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip with the squeeze of a trigger sparked would become to be known as “The Great War” and “The War to End All Wars.” Read More ›
blogEleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds share ideas …,” and Linn’s is fortunate to have thoughtful leaders of the stamp hobby on its Editorial Advisory Board. Board members participated in a lively discussion of “The State of the Stamp Hobby” Aug. 21 at the American Philatelic Society Stampshow in Grand Rapids, Mich. Read More ›
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Marty Frankevicz discusses the controversy in Canada over increasing postage rates, the elimination of home mail delivery and the erecting of cluster boxes.
Watch as Linn’s associate editor Michael Baadke discusses happenings at the recent APS Stampshow from the show floor.
Watch as Linn's/Scott editorial director Donna Houseman discusses the early release of the new U.S. Elvis stamp, the possibility of a Peanuts stamp and Linn's at the upcoming APS Stampshow.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses highlights of Robert A. Siegel Auction Rarities Week sales in late June, and reports that the 49¢ price for a first-class United States stamp will remain in effect until April.
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.