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What Would Be The Impact If Many Countries Stopped Issuing Stamps?

 
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Pillar Of The Community
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Posted 09/04/2019   10:58 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
" I challenge anyone who thinks the hobby is shrinking or declining to demonstrate how they are factoring in the current online hobby activity."

They don't have a complete set of metrics any more than you do to try to prove your side.
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Posted 09/05/2019   04:40 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"a complete set of metrics" ??? You lost me unless you meant to take this to reductio ad absurdum. Obviously no one has a "complete set of metrics" but we do have plenty of evidence and new metrics that reflect the transition of the hobby online. No reasonable person would argue that online selling venues do not represent significant activity and that website traffic metrics for websites like this forum and Stamp Smarter do not show strong levels of activity.

My point was that those who argue that the hobby is in decline typically ignore the online activity (which is ironic since these discussions take place online). Not once have I seen a discussion that included the argument 'the online activity is not significant'.
Don
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Posted 09/05/2019   09:24 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Traditional aspects are decline: society memberships, publications (do not think online readership is not picking up as much as printed decline, stamp shows, show dealers, stamp clubs.

Do we know the revenue from stamps sold on eBay on an annual basis?
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Al
Edited by angore - 09/05/2019 09:26 am
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Posted 09/05/2019   2:41 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add codehappy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I know of very few if any dealers or auction houses that purvey or give a hoot about any stamp issues considered modern


So? The hobby isn't made up of stamp dealers and auction houses. It's made up of collectors.
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Posted 09/05/2019   11:57 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm saying you don't have enough data to prove the hobby isn't in decline. I do agree with "No reasonable person would argue that online selling venues do not represent significant activity and that website traffic metrics for websites like this forum and Stamp Smarter do not show strong levels of activity", but that is hardly enough proof of no decline, just enough proof that anyone arguing that it is in decline needs to factor this in.
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Posted 09/06/2019   12:05 am  Show Profile Check docgfd's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add docgfd to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:

So? The hobby isn't made up of stamp dealers and auction houses. It's made up of collectors.


Really? Without the synergy of all three, the hobby as we know it wouldn't exist (unless you'd be happy simply collecting what's found on your in-coming mail).
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Posted 09/06/2019   06:23 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You have to define the word decline too.

Number of active stamp collectors? Likely down
Number of transactions (sales)? ?
Revenue of transactions? ?
Number of members in APS? down
Number of subscribers (printed and online)?
Number of stamp clubs? Down
Number of online forums? Up
New stamp sales? Down?
Classic stamp revenue at auctions? up
Number of people inheriting collections and able to ask about value online? way up
Buyer's premium at auctions? up

This may mean an auction house can think these are fine as long as their revenue profit continue.

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Al
Edited by angore - 09/06/2019 06:27 am
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Posted 09/06/2019   12:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Brad905 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This is anecdotal, but I think it bears mentioning. When I was a kid, I started collecting when I was about 7. Within a few years of that, I learned that many of my friends were also collecting stamps. Of my 10 closest friends, 3 of my friends sporadically collected while another 3 were deeper into it, wanting to trade and were subscribing to Approval Services. So 60% of my friends collected to some degree or another. That was around 1975.

Today, I am 54 years old and have two daughters aged 10 and 13. I talk to them all of the time about stamps, but they have no interest. I ask them if they know people who collect and whenever they have friends over, boys and girls, I ask them if they know about stamps. At Halloween, I give out candy but also give out little packages of stamps. Often, I have found them in my garden the next morning.

My kids don't know any kid that collects stamps. My kids don't know any parent that collects stamps. They simply are not collecting. If stamps are no longer used on letters, the chances of them ever being exposed to the notion of collecting stamps is considerably low. Without new collectors, the hobby is dead.

Granted, I am in Canada; I hear about the rise of stamp collecting in such places as Russia and China. Which is nice, but it will not sustain the hobby.

I go to large stamp shows three times a year here in Toronto. The demographics are pretty clear when I start counting the number of people with walkers, oxygen tanks, and canes. I have one dealer who always calls me "The Kid", because at 54, I am one of his youngest customers. Fortunately for him, I am also not retired so I spend more than the majority of his customers.

I have noticed most dealers are generally on a buying spree. They are accumulating vast amounts of material now, as so many past customers are passing away or have had to leave the hobby due to health reasons. In talking to them, most of them admit to having far too much inventory, and do not have the labour available or the time to sell much of what they have. I visited Stamp King a few weeks ago in Chicago. His store was 95% boxes full of material he has never gotten around to looking at. I know he is buying collections for almost nothing. He mentioned that he has to drop most of it off into auctions, without ever even looking through a lot of it.

I am not a particularly negative person and I do dearly hope that I am wrong. But any disturbance in the norm, particularly something like the eradication of new stamps, does not bode well for the hobby.
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Posted 09/08/2019   03:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add OzwaldO to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply



?
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Posted 09/08/2019   2:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add erilaz to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Brad905, I'm in California (San Francisco Bay Area), but your experience is similar to mine. We are of similar age (I'm 53) and both started collecting around the same time. Apart from the people here on SCF and people I see on my annual visits to WESTPEX, I haven't known any stamp collectors in "real life" since my uncle passed away in 2006. I suppose I could if I joined some local stamp club, but the point is that I never find out by chance that someone I know or meet outside of a stamp-related venue is a stamp collector. I might as well try to meet a fellow Esperantist on the street by happenstance.
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Posted 09/08/2019   8:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add shermae to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The hobby is not dead.

I repeat, the hobby is not dead nor will it ever die.

There may be a fairly significant evolution going on but that doesn't matter.

What would happen if there were vastly fewer collectors into stamps over the next 20 years? There would probably be fewer dealers, though the financially stable ones will probably survive if still interested. And there would be fewer auction houses, again except for the financially stable ones who also adjust along the way.

But what about the stamps? Will there be fewer stamps? By natural attrition, some volume of stamps will disappear. Fires, floods, tornadoes, collections thrown away by disinterested heirs, and so on. But that happens now.

What about the rest of the stamps? Where will they go? Nowhere. They will still be available to collectors.

The laws of supply and demand will then come inevitably come into play. Fewer collectors + same number of stamps = falling prices.

Isn't that good for all of us who are actively collecting? I for one would love to find the difficult items on my list for less money. It makes me want to live longer!

What about those of us who have significant financial investments in our collection? Well, as in all "unstable" markets, holders of the commodity have to decide what to do. This happened with stamps in 1980 when speculators in stamps did their lemming impressions. It happened as well with Silver around the same time when the Hunt brothers made their fateful and ill-advised attempt at cornering the market.

So each of us will decide what to do with our holdings as we watch market conditions evolve. Perhaps sell now, and come back in a few years if prices have dropped.

But those of us who are in it for awhile will see lots of material at lower prices. And what's wrong with that?
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Edited by shermae - 09/08/2019 8:05 pm
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Posted 09/08/2019   8:25 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply




Not many (any?) young people in this 1968 APS meeting photo but the hobby is still going 50+ years later.

While some folks may have start as kids, it seems to me the majority do not stay active as families and careers play a larger role but many come back later in life. This trend seems pretty strong today as it was in previous decades.
Don
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Posted 09/13/2019   2:04 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mestephil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I think shermae said it well. The hobby will not die. It will continue to evolve, but not die.

I think about other similar hobbies - picture postcards for one. They hit their peak in the first couple of decades of the 20th century. Really nobody sends them today, but it is a thriving hobby.

Same for old photos - CDVs, cabinet cards, tintypes, etc. A ton of people collect these in the era of digital photography.

I collect for the interest, not the investment, so I am not concerned. It would nice to have local clubs or collectors near where I live, but even 50 years ago, that was not so. But the Internet with forums like this help fill the gap.

Ken
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Posted 09/13/2019   6:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The "slow food" movement, begun in Italy as a response to the profusion of fast-food restaurants there, has had a significant effect on changing dining habits and interesting people in things like farmers markets, farm-to-table restaurants and cooking at home. Perhaps what we need is a high-profile, coordinated marketing effort by multiple hobby associations to promote "slow leisure," the idea that intellectual, contemplative and research-based hobbies like philately have an important role to play in a well-rounded life, along with more active pursuits like athletics.
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Posted 10/09/2019   10:39 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
... Hobbies that do not stay current, die. There was a time when HAM Radio and even building radios (remember the crystal radio), was a vibrant hobby. No longer though. Model Rocketry, Plastic Model Kits, Train Layouts, quilting, home-brewing, racquetball - there are lots of hobbies that die when they do not remain current ...


That's a pretty interesting list, but I draw a different conclusion than "failed to remain current".

They were all drowned by television, The Great Time Suck.

A few also suffered some particular pains.

HAM radio withered as long distance phone calls dropping from dollars to pennies to free, and talking to someone hundreds of miles went from exotic to ordinary.

Quilting withered as incomes rose, and it lost its self-congratulatory thrift. (There is a great quilting mega-store in Lancaster PA, if you need a fix.)

The railway hobby went the way of the rail passenger, who started flying and never looked back.

In all of these cases, it was not a matter of the hobby not "staying current" but, simply, having its oxygen sucked-out of its room by a competing activity, television being the most powerful enemy of them all.

But all of these hobbies have benefited from the internet, as it has allowed the survivors to find one another.

And that's where the next generation(s) of hobbiests live, so we'll see what comes out in the wash.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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