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Stamp Collecting Philosophy

 
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Posted 08/14/2019   10:16 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Bud to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
The "Who Else Enjoys Your Collection?" thread got me to thinking. What motivates people to collect stamps? And within that broad framework, what philosophies (if that is the correct word) guide decisions about buying, selling, displaying, and other key questions?Is philately mostly a solo endeavor or do you enjoy the community of clubs, shows, and so forth? Please forgive me if this subject has been covered elsewhere on SCF.
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Posted 08/14/2019   10:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Timm to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Philosophies abound but the truth is Stamp Collecting is a hard core addiction plain and simple.

You're far better off doing drugs and alcohol. You can go anywhere to get cleaned up from drugs and alcohol but the is NO Stamp-aholics Anonymous !!!
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Posted 08/14/2019   11:44 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add profgreeley to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Bud, this is an excellent question, and I'm interested to see everyone's responses. What is your philosophy, as it were?

I imagine that most stamp collectors are interested in the historical aspect of the objects. But I would also imagine that most collections are based on the personal interests of the collector. I admit that my own interest in stamps is probably not entirely pure. My interest in postal history is subsidiary to my interest in the subjects portrayed on stamps, and the artistry with which they're rendered.

I like stamps because they are like little artworks, which I have devoted my life to studying. I enjoy stamps that reproduce famous pre-existing artworks – even the cheaply reproduced ones of recent decades. But I also enjoy the skill evinced by many stamp engravers, who translate paintings and sculptures into gorgeously rendered prints.

I initially began buying whatever stamps I most fancied, but have recently begun targeting specific countries now that I've moved my collection from approval cards to albums. I have a particular interest in Italy and France, which my academic research concerns, and whose stamps I regard as some of the most beautiful... so I have started there, but look forward to expanding my WW collection more seriously in future years.

I had liked the idea of housing my collecting on approval cards because it is very easy to acquire sets out of order, and from various countries, and arrange them easily within a card catalogue box. But I came to feel that this wasn't the best method of viewing the stamps, and so moved to a book format that lends itself to sharing – though I don't have anyone to share with as of now.

As a final note, I quite like purchasing MNH or MH stamps, because the designs are unobscured by cancels. Cancels are interesting to me, but since I am primarily interested in the aesthetics of the work, the only cancels I particularly enjoy are the perforated ones.

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Edited by profgreeley - 08/14/2019 11:46 pm
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Posted 08/15/2019   06:25 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jkelley01938 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I believe the appeal of stamp collecting is that is offers different things to different people. For me, it all about identification and classification.

Jack Kelley
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Posted 08/15/2019   06:31 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Being forced to face my mortality over the last 5 years has driven me to change my philosophy (apologies to Gandhi) to...

I live each day like it is my last but I learn each day like I will live forever.

Don
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Posted 08/15/2019   07:42 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I was literally born into it. My father got my brother interested in stamps the year I was born, so by the time I was three I was looking over his shoulder. I was also born with an interest in history and mysteries (and classic films), all of which I started developing a serious interest in during pre-adolescent childhood. So the hunt and discovery aspect is very important, which is probably why I collect double transfers as well as some more esoteric areas.
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Posted 08/15/2019   11:47 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I was attracted to it at an early age although dormant various times due to life (college, work, etc). I am not into it for an financial gain and stopped collecting US stamps in the pore-1900 period were getting expensive. I prefer many less expensive stamps over higher value ones. The process of identification, etc. is enjoyable and something you can do any time you have free time - no weather, no special equipment, etc.
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Al
Edited by angore - 08/15/2019 11:48 am
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Posted 08/15/2019   11:54 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BFRomeos to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Being forced to face my mortality over the last 5 years has driven me to change my philosophy (apologies to Gandhi) to...

I live each day like it is my last but I learn each day like I will live forever.


Wow. Don, none of us walk in your shoes, but I wish you the satisfaction of knowing that your work will survive you. It's much appreciated.
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Posted 08/15/2019   1:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bud to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Very interesting comments. First, let me thank Don for the outstanding and lasting contribution he has made and continues to make to philately. Truly a giant in the hobby.

In response to profgreeley's question about my own "philosophy," I admit that I cannot adequately explain the fascination that these little slips of paper hold for me. Sometimes it's because of some historical facet, their inherent beauty or lack thereof, or sometimes their fakery. It can amaze me that a stamp -- say a mint #1 or #2 -- even exists. It also astounds that these bits of paper can be worth hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars, although that is not why I collect. Identification and classification also engage me. I enjoy shows and the US Postal History Museum in DC. I love to visit Bellefonte, and have taken part in APS Summer Seminars. I devour each issue of the USSS journal. I find the community of collectors very congenial, open, and willing to share knowledge and expertise (this forum is the best example of that).

Like most collectors, I suppose, I try to obtain the best material I can afford. My interest is US classics, but I'm not hung up on hinges, and I'll buy nice stamps without gum. I like interesting cancellations and material on piece, and mount these items in my albums alongside my stamps. If the occasional gem comes my way, I'll grab it (if I can afford it), but there are lots of spaces in my albums (12 and counting) filled with less than top grade material. I don't collect graded stamps, but I have a few. I want certs for some issues, but I don't necessarily look for them. I buy common material on eBay and Hipstamp, but increasingly I find that I rely on a couple of dealers for the great majority of my acquisitions. One of my great pleasures is simply thumbing through an album and considering the beauty of the little pieces of art mounted on each page.

Is that a philosophy, or as Timm calls it, a hard core addiction? Truth is, I don't care!
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Posted 08/15/2019   10:13 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gr1956stamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This is an enjoyable read and I appreciate the opportunity to share. There is definitely some romance involved in thinking about where some of my acquisitions have been and whose hands they have passed through. Whose collections that they may have been a part of,etc; I'm also a history buff and it's one of the things that attracted me to the hobby as a youngster.If an item of postal history or stamps have a connection to any historical theme that interests me then ,if affordable, I'll add it to my collection. There is no interest in financial gain, necessarily ,though that would be nice ,it's not realistic for me. What is realistic is to try to complete small parts of my different collections and to organize the items that I do have.
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Posted 08/16/2019   01:21 am  Show Profile Check TheArtfulHinger's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add TheArtfulHinger to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I like owning a small piece of history and a piece of a faraway land. Being able to own a tangible relic of, say, an old German State or the Free City of Danzig, is quite interesting to me. My great lifelong passion, above all else, is learning. Simply learning. About just about anything. And stamp collecting fits nicely into that passion; I've learned a lot about history, geography, world cultures, etc, by collecting stamps.
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Posted 08/16/2019   06:58 am  Show Profile Check orstampman's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add orstampman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I guess my fascination with stamps and postal history is from thinking about where the stamps and covers have been before coming into my posession. I am particularly drawn to covers that have odd or interesting paths to destinations, as indicated by the markings and cancellations. I also am drawn to hand-carved cancellations, some being called "fancy cancels" carved or used by Postmasters. Each example is unique... (at least to me!)
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Posted 08/16/2019   3:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add FitzjamesHorse to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
At one level we have a collecting "gene". We may collect stamps but we if we are in a flea market and see other collections...bubblegum cards, football programmes, cigarette packets etc...we will stop to look even if we are not directly interested in the subject.
Only aristocrats and the mega rich can hang Rembrandts and Picassos in French castles and Manhattan appartments. These are luxury items but post world war 2, there was more leisure time and more money to be spent on hobbies. We may have started with a 64page printed album and a packet of stamp hinges, but it becomes over 58 years an "archive", an actual room.
If you collect one country as I do, then a Stamp Album is a "Greatest Hits" album...It is "The Best Of"....history, literature, music, landscapes, art, culture etc. All in a very accessible form. More so it is a journal which measures the changes in our lifetimes.
Who could have predicted that David Bowie would be on a British stamp? Che Guevara on an Irish stamp? Janis Joplin on a USA stamp?
I have no philosophy to buying other than new issues but spending money on new issues inhibits me taking more than one or two stamps off my wants list.
There is maybe a "conservation" aspect.
I take photographs of Irelands post offices...about 300 so far and I match them up with Stamps on A Roll issued in post offices. I am working from a list of about 1,200 post offices but with recent closures the true number is about 950. I have several thousand SOAR stamps from about 900 post offices. Free travel as a senior citizen means I can indulge this.

I do have a juvenile interest in stamps of the world.
My Ireland collection drives me insane. My juvenile world collection from kiloware keeps me sane. As a consequence I am very well balanced.

I am a solo collector. My inter-action with other collectors is minimal.
There are two types of collector.
One is completely different from me.
The other is very like me.
Both types should be avoided.
In forming any sort of friendship, a common interest in stamps or horse riding or butterflies is merely incidental and of no consequence.
All clubs and groups produce a kinda "group think" a common attitude where newbies have to blend in.
I could never do that.

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Posted 08/20/2019   9:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add EagleEric to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am actually very new to stamp collecting but have been a coin collector all my life- actually I have been a collector of pretty much anything all my life and agree that it is genetic :D. For me it taps into both "the thrill of the hunt" and "classify and catalog" addictions I enjoy suffering from.

I am in the process of inheriting "the family collection" as I act as a buffer between my daughter and mother so that my daughter is spared the defeat of being overwhelmed by receiving many thousands of (mostly worthless) stamps from every other collector in the family that has been scared off when receiving said thousands of stamps from other family members when they either give up or die....so definitely carrying on the family tradition of collecting but hopefully breaking the cycle of defeat part.

Aside from genetic predisposition and being thrust into the role of stamp mentor, I love the history the most about stamp collecting. I love canceled stamps in particular knowing that they actually went somewhere, carried someone's thoughts or prayers or ???...how many people passed the letter? was is on an old steamer or bi-plane? it's dang addicting :D
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Posted 08/21/2019   12:11 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add redwoodrandy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
inherited from my father. A genetic problem but I deal with it.
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Posted 08/21/2019   12:51 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mestephil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It satisfies any OCD tendencies I may have - and I am not admitting to any.

It is something I can do in my down time and helps relieve the stress from work, or where ever.

And... for nearly 60 years I have just enjoyed it. Finding valuable stamps is interesting, but not necessary as I never intend to sell anything.
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