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I'm Done With Current Material At Year End

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Posted 08/15/2019   11:12 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Perf10 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Good point about many USPS issues being unavailable at post offices. For issues my local PO does have, they refuse to sell me any less quantity than a whole pane. A local stamp club could buy panes then divide them among members, but there are no local clubs in my area. A hobby is supposed to be generally fun, but collecting moderns is becoming more and more like work.
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Posted 08/15/2019   5:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add JLLebbert to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don't forget, you can purchase small quantities of many modern U.S. stamps from the ONECO, CT postmaster. Of course, there are many issues for which the USPS will sell only full panes … booklets & panes of fewer than 20 stamps seem to land in this category with the greatest frequency.
With all of that said, I will likely stop collecting at the end of this year. Or 2020 at the latest. Due to a combination of age & a lack of interest in many of the modern issues.
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Posted 09/29/2019   12:41 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ezeta63 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
For me, I'm a stamp collector, I enjoy the newer issues, love them actually. I don't purchase mint most of the time, nowadays you can find used stamps that aren't canceled fairly easily. Getting them off paper is a chore, I have to admit. There are no rules, but how then will philately survive? I imagine a lot of the folks who don't like the new stamps also think cars were built better in the 60's then they are today (they're not). Just sayin'
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Posted 09/29/2019   1:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The new material has been pitiful but then I look at the Transcontinental Railroad 150th Anniversary issue and it shows what they could produce if they so desired. Those stamps are absolutely stunning.
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Posted 10/03/2019   8:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Coastwatcher to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have the first three volumes of of Mystic's American Heirloom hingeless album, which go to 1984, and that is the current cutoff for my US collection. I do, however intend to get volumes four and five, which go to 1999. That will be my permanent cutoff date as, shortly after that, most stamps released were self adhesives and I can't stand them. To me, they are just stickers.

The majority of the stamps issued since 2000 are not the least bit interesting to me. The only stamps issued this year that I have any interest at all in are the moon landing stamps and the Transcontinental Railroad stamps. Even though I like the moon landing stamps, far too many stamps are being issued these days with photos on them rather than artwork. Let's go back to the era of engraved stamps.

Another reason that I abhor new issues is all of the souvenir sheets. You can't go into a post office and buy a single copy of the stamp, you have to buy the whole sheet. That is, if the post office even has them. My local post office rarely gets commemoratives, the last one that I'm certain about was the Scooby Doo stamp.

The post office is obviously trying to milk collectors to make money but, in the end, they are driving them away.
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Posted 10/04/2019   03:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I agree that a great number of modern postage stamps, not just from the U.S. but from around the world, are pretty bad. Some are boring, others are badly designed, most are not necessary, and many are purely speculative – to fleece collectors for profit. But I don't see the modern era as unique in that regard.

Take a look at the U.S. postage stamps of the 1950s and 1960s. Some are so badly designed they look like bread labels. And many of the subjects of these stamps were just not necessary. Not to offend anyone who farms or works in a steel mill, but a stamp for truck farmers and the poultry industry (famously derided at the time) and for the steel industry? A stamp for gardening and garden clubs? One for Gunston Hall (huh?). A stamp for "world peace through world trade" (who's not for this?). Two stamps for Ernst Reuter of Germany (Quick! Who is he?). One for the "American Woman"? Seriously, is there something I'm missing here? Even one for "Wheels of Freedom" (I have no idea what that even is). Another for "Homemakers". Were there no actual women to honor? Even a stamp to encourage us to "Support our Youth". And to think that, until I saw that stamp, I was against youth.

Okay, I may be getting a little picky here. Most stamps of that era were for important subjects. But the designs of some of these stamps were spectacularly bad. Some are just initials or words as if no one even knew a stamp designer. This combination of stamps for subjects that did not need a stamp and bad stamp designs during these years produced a pretty bland diet of mediocre stamps. The 1950s and 60s was not a golden age of great stamps, at least in my book.

I don't think the present era of stamps is any worse than back then. There have been bad stamps with silly subjects and bad designs many times in our history. It's not a new development. And many modern stamps are very well designed even if there are way too many of them -- Christmas stamps (and other endless holidays), flowers, snowflakes, cartoon characters galore, "super heroes," stamps for all 50 states -- plus state flags -- plus state birds. But most modern stamps are about important issues or show characteristic American images to people around the world. And most are very well designed. So I don't think this is a bad era for stamp topics (most of the time) or for stamp designs which are generally good.

Yes, there are too many of them. That's for sure. And the prices are way too high to keep up with all of them. But claiming the reason for ending a collection is because the topics of stamps are suddenly unappealing is not really fair. Or that the designs are poor. That's just not true. What has happened is that there are too many stamps. And the price of a year set is now out of reach for many collectors. Those are more likely the real reasons collectors put on the brakes and end their collections at a particular year.

Really, you have to do that at some point. I did that. At one time, I subscribed to about 20 national stamp accounts all over the world. But the annual cost grew higher and higher. The stamps were beautiful, but I had to decide if I really wanted to collect modern stamps or more classic stamps. So I cancelled all the accounts, stopping these collections at about 2010. It's good to do this, but it's the price, not the designs or the subject matter that convinced me.

Even the high price to keep up with new issues is nothing new. Remember the Columbians of 1893? That one set consisted of a completely unnecessary 16 stamps. And the price of the entire set was $16.34, a phenomenal amount at the time. That's today's equivalent of over $400! For one set of stamps. Can you imagine how many collectors angrily stopped collecting stamps in 1893? That one set was so absurdly unnecessary and expensive, it made no sense at all. And in the 30 years after the 1893 Columbians up to 1923, the USPS issued another 300+ stamps, many of these the Washington-Franklins, nearly all of which were boring regular issues which weren't really needed. That's an average of ten new stamps every year in the same denominations over and over again – 1c, 2c, 3c, 4c, and so on. What was the point exactly? I'd guess even more collectors gave up in disgust at that point.

Some contemporary stamps are pretty silly, no doubt. But I liked the astronaut stamps which I thought were striking and well designed. What's wrong with a photograph? And the dragon stamps were well designed, clever, and good looking. If your taste in art and design runs only to the traditional, it's not the Postal Service's fault you don't like their stamps. Maybe you liked that big fat chicken on the poultry industry commemorative back in 1948, the one collectors found so silly at the time? "At least it looks like a chicken," I can hear someone saying. Yes, it looks like a big fat chicken. Now that was a reason to stop collecting.

And the reason for all the stamps issued is that the USPS serves many masters. Its job is to honor all Americans, hence the many ethnic stamps, and all the holiday stamps. "E pluribus unum" and all that. And all regions of the country must be honored, so the state stamps. And the USPS is supposed to make money (which it never does), so it issues lots of stamps. And it's supposed to honor American achievements and represent the nation to people around the world. And it's supposed to issue stamps with subject matter like butterflies and flowers and snowflakes so stamps appeal to average Americans who think they're "pretty" and want to buy them. And politicians want stamps honoring groups that support them. Issuing stamps is never going to be 12 carefully selected, beautifully engraved stamps each year like it was the 19th century. It's no longer 1885. That era is dead and gone, a bit sadly for stamp design.

And one final comment before I shut up: Who's making you buy all these stamps? No one, really. I buy contemporary U.S. stamps only when I like the design or the subject matter. The others I don't buy. Try it. It's not hard. Instead of buying a hundred new U.S. stamps every year, I buy maybe twenty or thirty, the best of them all. I mount them on blank pages because I see no reason to be chained to my album after a certain cutoff year. Anyone can do this. Buy what you like, and don't buy what you don't like. It's a free country, and all that. Stop complaining that you're being forced to buy all these stamps you don't like.
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Edited by DrewM - 10/04/2019 04:01 am
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United Kingdom
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Posted 10/04/2019   05:21 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DavidR to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Good post Drew, well said.
Regards
DavidR
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Posted 10/04/2019   05:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My gripe about the US content is that it is now more about pop culture - all those super heroes, Harry Potter, Dinosaurs, Frogs, flowers, insects, etc. I prefer photographs over these stylized rendition. Engraved stamps made up for some of the muddled intricate designs in the 50's. The Literary Art series is now on the ever popular 3 ounce rate.

The USPS is producing them in ways to discourage collecting -
1. Cannot readily collect in singles or purchase without buying an entire sheet
2. Mini-sheets too large to be mounted on standard page and of course having to buy a mount to hold it on page
3. Not available at the local post office

The good news is there are plenty of stamps already issued to collect.




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Al
Edited by angore - 10/04/2019 05:59 am
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Posted 12/04/2019   4:06 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Perf10 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Oh no, by stopping now I'll be missing out on the 2020 graffiti stamp, no doubt the first of the new Celebrate Urban Decay series.
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Posted 12/04/2019   5:51 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jkelley01938 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I can't wait until this year is over. No more "stickers" for me starting 1/1/20.
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Posted 12/05/2019   07:28 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Swscfdc87 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Great post Drew M. I agree! I only buy the ones I like the best - all the others I forget about.
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Posted 12/05/2019   09:40 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wkusau to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I stopped my mint US in 1980. My thought was that there were to many issues. I also hated buying album supplements. This allowed my to focus my limited money and time on filling in more expensive early stamps. This is a continuing mission. However, I decided to continue to collect modern used US. It is much more of a challenge and I still enjoy the hunt. That was also when I decided to start collecting the world. That has been narrowed down to stopping at 1960 or so.
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Posted 12/07/2019   09:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mstocky2 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I will start by saying I enjoy collecting the modern issues and like much of the subject matter, but like music not everyone appeals to me and I have the choice to buy or not.

Having read an excellent post on another site about "Rebuilding Our Great Hobby….", that post finally pushed me over the edge to comment on this and threads like it. Posts like this do nothing to promote our hobby in my opinion and only serve to bolster the opinion people especially young folks have about the hobby. That the hobby is boring and not worth the time and effort!

This was recently demonstrated on a popular game show, Family Feud. The question basically asked was, "We survey one hundred people and asked them to name a Boring hobby". Without any hesitation the person who slapped the button quickest responded with stamp collecting. It was the top answer by a large margin. This may seem like a silly example but it says something about the view of the hobby.

In other posts, people lament about the hobby and ask how can we get the younger generation to embrace the hobby. Posts like this in my opinion show how people have not embraced the changing times, technology and culture. Many of the stamps from the 50's forward reflect the culture and times of the people and what was important in the country. That is no different with the more modern stamps What you see as uninteresting, to colorful, stylized, cartoonish, etc. are a reflection of the current culture and tastes and as someone pointed out what a younger person today would look back on when they get older with fondness.

Everything changes with time, fashion, music, art, methods in which we communicate. You can embrace them or just be viewed by the younger generation as out of touch, boring and clueless. I am being blunt because that is the way they see it, just ask them. Any younger person is going to look at collectors pride and joy collection of classic stamps and say "boorrring". They are going to see them as dull, lacking color, simple line art and about a bunch of old dead presidents. Again just ask them. As they get older they might appreciate them, but not where they are at in life.

I am nearing retirement age and one thing I say is that I have tried to stay relevant with the times (Facebook being an exception). I enjoy current music genres, get a kick out of the clothes and hair styles young folk wear and like anime. This has allowed me to connect with the younger generation in a way that relates to them. They are into bright, bold, colorful and stylized images. Ever been to a comic convention, you would wish stamp shows were this popular again.

When I met my wife her daughter was 15 and her daughter couldn't wait to look through my CD collection because I had all the cool new stuff. She and her boy friend are now in their early thirties. Both enjoy comics and anime for the reasons above. It has been fun when getting together with them because I can relate to them and see how animated her boy friend gets when we discuss the various anime we watched. Have you sat down with a younger person and tried to relate to their world. Try it with open ears and mind. See what gets them excited, then try to come from their perspective with our hobby. Think in new and out of the box ways otherwise you have no chance.

What is the point of all this, the quickest way to turn off the younger generation and chase them away from the hobby is to have any of them read a post like this. Where we have many collectors complaining about how good the old stamps used to be(those boring, one color, engraved dead presidents to them) and how bad stamps that have a better chance of resonating with them are. If you don't like the new stuff fine, do your thing and enjoy, just don't trash talk about what you don't like if you want to promote and preserve the hobby. Enough said.
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Posted 12/07/2019   10:39 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In my opinion the problem is not the number/scope of the new issues.

As has been pointed out multiple times on several threads over the years, Columbian commemoratives were rejected in their timeframe by many as being excessive. In fact, the first 1869 pictorial issues were also panned by many stamp buyers for the same reasons. And if the issue is about the sheer number of stamps being issued be glad that you were not alive in 1862, the year that the most US stamps were issued.

Postal service marketing does not drive people to buy every stamp issued; for me the issue centers around the cost of the catalogs, pages, binders, mounts, and hinges. I cut off my new issue collecting in 1976 except for US but that left me with a personal dilemma; what do I do with post 1976 non-US stamps? I quickly decided to mount them on blank pages. But my frustration was with the supply costs; I was not purchasing annual new stamp runs for every country, I only wanted to be able to mount stamps that came into my possession.

In my opinion the longest term stamp collectors all have one common trait; they really enjoy learning. Learning for the sake of learning. Learning for the intrinsic enjoyment of learning. Philately is fertile ground for learning, it offers a gateway into so many different aspects of our world. I never find learning new things boring even if it is a topic that I do not have particular interest in.

For example, I have attended countless philatelic presentations on topics that I have no real interest in and I admit that some seemed endless, dry, and tediously presented. But for me this was more about the presenter and the presentation itself. Whenever a presentation is well done, I never find them boring and always learn something new.
Don
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Posted 12/07/2019   7:52 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Perf10 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I hate to see this happening too. The USPS could correct it easily, but won't. More than 75% of the 2020 stamps illustrated so far at VirtualStamp are essentially duplicates of recent issues, such as holidays, celebrations, flowers, fruits, vegetables, etc. If customers like those things, post offices can keep in stock the similar issues of the recent past, just as the USPS has long done for ordinary definitives.
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Edited by Perf10 - 12/07/2019 7:53 pm
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