So, let's put a few things aside that we can universally agree upon:
Philately is as broad as the world is old. There's something for everyone, from Colombian butterfly stamps to Crimean War covers. If you're luck enough to find the thing that really makes you happy, excellent.
We all have our own way of cataloging and displaying said items. Stockbook, 2-post, 22-ring, black mount or hinge. Whatever works for you.
When does what you do cross from collecting, to hoarding? As I scan posts (esp. the " inherited a Collection" forum), I see a number of people talk about "the collection[s] of stamps, probably thousands, all in glassine envelopes... please help me organize them!" That's not a collection, that's a hoard. And the long-time SCF member who mentions the 4,000 copies of Sc. XXX in their possession has the same issue.
I for one, never got into ephemera outside a few select pieces that I found personally interesting. I look only for the best single example of each stamp for the nations I follow that I can afford, and mount them in albums in a more-or-less obvious fashion. I have a few plate blocks and the like I've gathered along the way, but duplicates of individual stamps generally get sold or traded (diff perfs, watermarks, errors, etc aside). That's my thing.
A universally-accepted part of "collection" is that the person doing the assembly puts not-cursory effort into organizing, displaying, and preserving the objects they acquire.
So, you with the 200 examples of Sc. 756... what are you doing? I don't get it. Help a guy understand.
Well, certain stamps just intrigue me, I guess. I have large numbers of 1c Franklin imperfs, 3c Washington imperfs, 18-24, 67.75,76, 70, 78. I find the plate and color varieties interesting and frustrating though I don't really have the vision to easily identify them!
I also collect older multiples up to 1903, and plate blocks just because I "like" them :-)
Hey Rod Good post We see the same thing in the thread 1851-57 Imperforates here on SCF. I am on page 10 or so of this scholarly study I THINK 97 pages long. Literally 1000s of similar/same issues that are plated and discussed. Compared to the lot "15 to 20 thousand issues in glassines" offered at 250.00 to start. You kind of wonder. I think of my own buying at times and tell myself "I can't buy them all" .... There is a point when collecting can cross over into owning. Just a thought. Cheers
#1 Novice, sporadic and curiosity "collectors" These are people that buy something thinking it will be worth something some day or they buy it as a gift or thought it looked nice but they really didn't do any research or have a collecting goal of any type.
#2 Collectors that collect, some put them in albums or other displays and some keep them in glassiness or dealer cards with the intention of finding a display method that suits them later. But again they don't really do very much research beyond a simple lookup in a Scott's Catalog.
#3 Philatelist. Their focus may vary and can be wide or be very narrow but some will collect many of a particular stamp in a plating exercise, color study or in search of a particular variant, oddity or other. I know some that have vast libraries and collections. The difference here is that they actively work with them.
#4 The Accumulator/hoarder. This person buys everything they can get their hands on (if it's perceived to be a good deal). Some have good intentions of organizing it later some may think they have a future fortune and some may jut be compulsive buyers. Who know. I do know a few hoarders but not of stamps.
In retrospect I guess there is one more so #5 would be the wanna-be stamp dealer that buys and never really gets around to opening up a shop. Of course this may be just a convenient excuse of type $#4 too.
I won't bother to mention the high value "Stamp Investor" which could be a category all of it's own as well.
I would consider myself #3. However from your point of view I could be a temporary hoarder as well. I collect all things US, well most anyways although there are a few categories in the Scott's 1A that I don't. I make my own custom albums and do a fair amount of research on not only the stamps but also the processes, Postal operations, story behind the stamp subject and production, etc. I do frequently buy large estate and auction lots. In doing so, I often get a a fair amount of foreign stamps and other things that I don't need or want in mixed lots. So I do let them accumulate until I have time, inclination or need to clear up some space to organized them and sell them, predominantly online.
Not sure if everyone agrees with my thoughts on this but take it for what it's worth. Just my opinion.
Quote: I think of my own buying at times and tell myself "I can't buy them all"
Aha! been there I was buying when the Aussie dollar had parity with the greenback, then reached that point where, I couldn't see me dealing with what I had, (I still have unopened lots from 8 years ago) That was my own personal limit, or if you will, nearly "hoarding" but really buying at a good price for the future.
This was in a recent Aussie Auction, and I wasn't even tempted. A quarter of a million stamps for $150
Rod, you focus on the postmarks, the stamps to a degree are secondary. James, you look at plate and shade varieties. That makes sense to me; each example was gotten with deliberation. And if an accumulation shows how an issue changes on purpose or by accident, then that's a collection. Postal authorities have depth, individual issues may have breadth, and it's a positive that while many some of us are intrigued (like me) by this sort of thing, a few of us are interested enough to really explore it.
But if after spending time reviewing an accumulation you can't begin to fathom the rhyme or reason, I dare say that's a hoard.
@jconey: I believe Floortrader has discussed this topic on a couple other threads.
In recent years, I moved from a combination of #2 and #3 to just #3 when I downsized my former worldwide collection. I did sell part of the old collection and didn't get much at all for it. I then gave 80+ manila folders of single country album pages to the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library for use in its periodic auctions. I took a modest tax write off, as an in-kind charitable contribution, for those years.
What Is Hoarding Disorder? People with hoarding disorder excessively save items that others may view as worthless. They have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces. Hoarding is not the same as collecting. Collectors look for specific items, such as model cars or stamps, and may organize or display them. People with hoarding disorder often save random items and store them haphazardly. In most cases, they save items that they feel they may need in the future, are valuable or have sentimental value. Some may also feel safer surrounded by the things they save. Hoarding disorder occurs in an estimated 2 to 6 percent of the population and often leads to substantial distress and problems functioning. Some research show hoarding disorder is more common in males than females. It is also more common among older adults--three times as many adults 55 to 94 years are affected by hoarding disorder compared to adults 34 to 44 years old. Consequences Hoarding disorder can cause problems in relationships, social and work activities and other important areas of functioning. Potential consequences of serious hoarding include health and safety concerns, such as fire hazards, tripping hazards and health code violations. It can also lead to family strain and conflicts, isolation and loneliness, unwillingness to have anyone else enter the home and an inability to perform daily tasks such as cooking and bathing in the home. Diagnosis Diagnosing Hoarding Disorder Individuals with hoarding disorder have difficulty discarding items because of strong perceived need to save items and/or distress associated with discarding. The symptoms result in the accumulation of a large number of possessions that congest and clutter living areas of the home or workplace and make them unusable. Specific symptoms for a hoarding diagnosis include: Lasting problems with throwing out or giving away possessions, regardless of their actual value. The problems are due to a perceived need to save the items and to distress linked to parting with them. Items fill, block and clutter active living spaces so they cannot be used, or use is hampered by the large amount of items (if living spaces are clear it is due to help from others). The hoarding causes major distress or problems in social, work or other important areas of functions (including maintaining a safe environment for self and others). An assessment for hoarding may include questions such as: Do you have trouble discarding (or recycling, selling or giving away) things that most other people would get rid of? Because of the clutter or number of possessions, how difficult is it to use the rooms and surfaces in your home? To what extent do you buy items or acquire free things that you do not need or have enough space for? To what extent do your hoarding, saving, acquisition and clutter affect your daily functioning? How much do these symptoms interfere with school, work or your social or family life? How much distress do these symptoms cause you? Mental health professionals may also ask permission to speak with friends and family to help make a diagnosis or use questionnaires (rating scales) to help assess level of functioning. Some individuals with hoarding disorder may recognize and acknowledge that they have a problem with accumulating possessions; others may not see a problem. In addition to the core features of difficulty discarding, excessive saving and clutter, many people with hoarding disorder also have associated problems such as indecisiveness, perfectionism, procrastination, disorganization and distractibility. These associated features can contribute greatly to their problems functioning and overall severity. Animal hoarding involves an individual acquiring large numbers (dozens or even hundreds) of animals. The animals may be kept in an inappropriate space, potentially creating unhealthy, unsafe conditions for the animals. Many people with hoarding disorder also experience other mental disorders, including depression, anxiety disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or alcohol use disorder. Causes/Risk Factors Treatment References American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition. 2013. American Psychiatric Publishing. Hoarding assessment scales: UCLA Hoarding Severity Scale (Saxena et al, 2007) Saving Inventory-revised (Frost et al, 2004) Hoarding Rating Scale-Interview (Tolin et al, 2010) Physician Review By: Ranna Parekh, M.D., M.P.H. July 2017
I like to accumulate examples of stamps where I know that several or numerous printings exist. The hoarding part is that apparently I am not yet at a point in my life where I make time to actually sort my hoard. Eventually.
I think the difference between a collector and a hoarder is that a collector is not a fire hazard but a hoarder is a fire hazard. As the local Fire Department has not visited me, I presume I am still a collector The trickis to turn the hoards into colle tions. For example I have about 14,000 Irish SOAR stamps and I have collected Round 6,000 into a collection of the post office in which they were issued (each post office hasa unique number). There is not much I can do with a few thousand coils and booklet duplicates or world kiloware. Returning them to the same charity or a different charity does not seemfair after I have takenwhat I need. Previously I would have only wanted one copy of a used common commemorativè but now I aim for pages of 25 or more duplicates. I think it enhances a collection. There is not a lot than can be done with duplicates so finding a purposefor them is what I try to do.
I have and uncle who has accumulated scraps of paper, dead things, long dead things, vehicles that don't work any more, old shoes, old clothes, dirt and even some dust, most of it just jammed away where no one can easily see it. Cubic feet of stuff, cubic yards of stuff, tons of stuff and stuff which weighs tons. But he has room for it all and is still looking for more to fill the room he still has. Now do you think he is a hoarder since he has room, well a lot of room, for it all? Would you consider my uncle a hoarder if he did not have room for it all? If he has five things, he has fifty-five things. If he has fifty-five things he has got a thousand things and of course if he has a thousand things he has a hundred and fifty-five thousand and so it goes....
Should my uncle toss any of it away? If so which of this millions of things should he toss first? The stuff he can't use? The stuff you don't like? Help him out and tell him how he is a hoarder and how to clean up his stuff.
So is it how much one has, how organized it is or that it just does not interest you? For me if it is not an active health hazard (well not counting stuff that by its very nature is normally a health hazard) one is not hoarding. If one possess a true hoard, it is not hoarding in a mental illness diagnosis.
Your a stamp collector, use a stamp and send my uncle a letter to tell him what he is and what he needs to do. My uncle's address is Sam in care of 600 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20002, tell him what of his one hundred fifty five million objects are unneeded in his little Smithsonian complex.