Stamp Dealer Vignettes — By David Kols
In the past six months, my life has been completely turned upside down. I have been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, which entails extensive chemotherapy.
We thought this would be manageable, but my chemotherapy treatment has slowed me down considerably, and I am not able to spend the necessary time to run the Regency-Superior auction house.
With the stamp market in the doldrums, coupled with my poor health, we will not be holding any more auctions. To this end, we just recently closed the shop in St. Louis.
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We have been trying to sell Regency-Superior for more than a year now through a professional mergers and acquisitions (M&A) firm. There were no takers.
Virtually everyone the M&A firm contacted said, in unison, “We are not interested in stamps, it is a dying hobby.”
When I first joined the American Philatelic Society back in 1992, there were 55,000 members; membership is now down to 30,000 or so.
Meanwhile, the bank has “called-in” the company’s line of credit and has taken control of the company’s bank accounts.
Because we are not able to pay anyone directly without prior bank approval, it is impossible for us to stay in business. So, we are closing.
The company’s telephones have been turned off, but the company will be reachable via email until the loose ends are dealt with.
Almost 25 years ago, I began my dream of building an international auction house. Regency-Superior has held some 125 auctions at many different shows, selling almost $150 million worth of material.
With a full-service stamp shop located in St. Louis, we provided a beautiful location where philatelists could buy and sell stamps and supplies, and just hang out all day long.
We were one of the last stamp shops in the United States and, I dare say, one of the nicest.
In 1993, my wife, Penney, and I, along with a great group of St. Louis philatelists, created the St. Louis Stamp Expo, one of the best APS World Series of Philately shows in the country.
I had to resign earlier this year as executive director of the show.
Fortunately, the St. Louis Stamp Expo committee, with Michael Peter at the helm, stepped up to the plate and ran a very successful show earlier this year. The show went off flawlessly.
It is with great sadness that I must retire from this industry that has brought me such joy over the years — playing stamp dealer while becoming the official auctioneer for several major stamp shows, traveling to appraise collections, attending club meetings, getting youth involved in philately, working with the U.S. Postal Service, and so on.
But really, it’s been the people I’ve enjoyed most. Everyone had something to share.
I’ve made such wonderful friends in this hobby, many I consider family. We tried our best to bring stamp collecting to the public. It was a good run, these past 25 years, but I am sad to say it is over now.