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Best Way To Fill Empty Spaces In Your Collection

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1517 Posts
Posted 07/10/2021   11:33 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Shows are back, so you can do that. Go to Great American Stamp Show near Chicago O'Hare Airport in August, and "roam the wild."

If you want it really wild, swap meets, flea markets, and antique stores should be open in most places now as well.
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Valued Member
United States
166 Posts
Posted 07/10/2021   12:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jossanders52 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have 2 ways to fill empty space
1. For country collections, I never buy remaindered collections. I look for good country collections on specialty pages because they have the more difficult stamps and varieties. Many times you pay for the specialties and most expensive stamps but the rest of the stamps are kind for free
2. For my revenue collections, I print my own pages without the stamps I do not have. So there are no empty spaces. When I acquire additional stamps for that page, I just design a new page with the new stamps added. So I do not let empty spaces push me to buy the stamps. I can take all the time needed to wait for a good deal to show up, no "empty space" pressure
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United States
150 Posts
Posted 07/10/2021   1:51 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add moneil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
While not depreciating the frustration felt by those who feel like this:

Quote:
"So what is a collector who hates the modern credit-card driven collecting scene to do? It's not just stamps, it's everything. It's all just stopped being fun. There are no discoveries to be made in the wild anymore. It's all just cataloged and photographed and stuck up on a website for a quick sale."


I feel compelled to offer a somewhat more positive outlook.

I'll always prefer "real time / face time" shopping (for lack of a better phrase), yet as a child collector in the early 1960's I still recall the excitement of the H.E. Harris approvals arriving by the mailman. I grew up on a farm so that was the only practical way for me to participate in the hobby. We went to the big city of Seattle once a year for Thanksgiving and I remember when stores like Fredrick & Nelson and the Bon Marche had philatelic and book departments.

Certainly times have changed. There are not the brick and mortar shops as in days past and philately has never been well served by coin shops, even if they deign to carry a few mounts and packets.

Yet the hobby moves on, not completely reduced to "credit-card driven online venues", and while Covid restrictions had their effect things are opening again.

For geographic context I live in southeastern Washington State (the Tri-Cities). There are at least three stamp clubs in eastern Washington (Spokane, Pullman-Moscow, Tri-Cities). I'm not too familiar with Spokane but I've belonged to the Pullman club, I'm currently a member of the Tri-Cities Club and I've attended their annual October Tri-Cities stamp show for years, even when I lived in Pullman. The club hopes to resume it this fall.

While they may be "small towns" to some here, Seattle and Portland are our big cities in the northwest. PIPEX in Portland didn't occur again this year but SEAPEX in Seattle will happen the second weekend in September. It's a 200 mile drive for me but I hope to be there for the first time. When I had a work trip to Portland a couple of years ago I discovered they have an actual brick and mortar, Uptown Stamp Show, which I've not been able to visit again in over a year. Amtrak recently had a fare sale and I'm doing a day trip there in a couple of weeks.

Each individual will have to approach the every changing dynamic of stamp collecting (and everything else in the world) as it suits them, but I see a lot more opportunities to participate than just "credit-card driven online venues". Having moved into a phased semi-retirement I have more time to spend with my collection than I've had for a long time and I am as excited about it now as I was when I first started out as a little kid collector in the 1960's.

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Valued Member
United States
360 Posts
Posted 07/10/2021   2:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Cephus to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There are no reasonably close stamp clubs around here and the only show that was scheduled to occur near me before the end of the year, SESCAL, was cancelled over a scheduling problem. It's not that I'm complaining because stuff happens and I hope they come back in 2022, but really, I don't want to supplement online sales, I want to replace them. I want the overwhelming majority of transactions to be face-to-face, being able to examine the specific stamps with my very own eyes before I buy, etc.

But whatever. It isn't like the world is ever going back to the way it used to be. Thanks for your time.
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75 Posts
Posted 07/10/2021   2:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tsmatx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm on the opposite side of the spectrum and have never been to a stamp show since I didn't really start collecting until shortly before the pandemic. That Great American Stamp Show in Chicago looks interesting and I'm planning to be in the area at the time. I mainly collect Scott Int'l Vol.1 (1840-1940), and I greatly enjoy browsing through auction listings online and buying album pages and country collections (and sometimes, but rarely, singles) which fill spaces. But to be honest, the idea of looking for particular stamps at a show seems overwhelming. I don't even have a wantlist since when browsing online I just refer directly to albums to see what I need. Could anybody advise whether there would be much material for me to purchase at that show? I looked at the dealer list and seems to be some pretty heavy hitters in the hobby. Also why are there auction houses (like Dutch Country, Rasdale, Kelleher) at that show? Are they there only to buy?
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Valued Member
United States
412 Posts
Posted 07/10/2021   2:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Walkman82 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I generally only collect U.S. stamps, but my approach has always been the same. I choose an area to collect (plate number coil first day covers, airmail, 1970s definitives, postage due, etc.) and focus on accumulating everything I can before it becomes prohibitively expensive. Once I'm satisfied that I've done everything I can in the selected area, I move to another area. Sometimes I'll find the stamps I'm looking for on eBay or another auction website, sometimes (especially for the mid-range costs) I'll bid with an auction house. I only get to stamp shows once or twice a year, but when I do go I always have a want list in my pocket and work to fill it.

You can do the same thing with your collection whether it is country-by-country or specific time periods, sets, or varieties. The beauty of collecting stamps is that there really is no wrong way to approach it. You can chase rare and expensive stamps to fill empty spots or spend a few dollars and get dozens (or more) of stamps to complete your pages. Do what brings you joy with the hobby. Just my 2˘.


Scott
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Member APS #174069, PNC3 #2386, AFDCS #29532O, PSS #8418
Plate Number Coil Collectors Club (www.PNC3.org)
Coil Line (club newsletter) Editor & Webmaster
Visit my website @ www.scottsstampcollection.com
Pillar Of The Community
United States
2015 Posts
Posted 07/10/2021   3:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add shermae to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Without the thrill of the chase, what's the point?


Personally, I find chasing difficult material online enthralling. Many times, the missing stamps are only worth a nominal amount. But it feels just as good to find that $3 stamp to complete a set as it does to find a scarce complete set. And there are many millions of stamps to find online, depending on how far you want or need to cast the net.

I recently found an EU 9 stamp that completed a Netherlands Indies definitive set from 1934. In order to find it, I went to the NVPH website and found a list of dealers in the Netherlands. Most of the sellers did not respond to my want list request, but a couple did. The seller who provided the 1934 stamp not only doesn't have his own website, he doesn't even have a paypal account. But we worked things out and I can't wait for the stamp to arrive.

Don't get me wrong, I love going through redboxes at shows and look forward to attending shows as things continue to open up. But I find searching for things online to be both much more efficient and more fruitful.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1193 Posts
Posted 07/10/2021   3:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add erilaz to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Without the online venues, my collection of postal history related to Esperanto and other artificial international languages would be far less substantial. Of the 35 postcards written in Volapük that I have in my collection, I bought four at a bourse (at PACIFIC 97) and four from a guy in Austria who had contacted me about some 100-year-old Volapük periodicals that had belonged to his grandfather. The other 27 I found on eBay.

While online shopping does indeed make it easier to find elusive items, it still hasn't killed the thrill of the chase for me. In the case of Volapük postcards, many (probably most) dealers are unaware of what language the cards are written in, or that anyone would even find that a selling point. So I sift through thousands of listings, looking for Volapük postcards that haven't been identified as such – and occasionally find some great bargains in the process. Whether I'm scrolling through eBay listings or flipping though cards in boxes at a stamp show, it's the same basic process to me. I expect that it's similar for anyone who collects something very specific that may not be included in an online description, like postmarks of a particular type or from a certain town.

Even so, I'm looking forward to buying things without added shipping costs at the WESTPEX bourse three weeks from now.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1193 Posts
Posted 07/10/2021   3:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add erilaz to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
tsmatx wrote:

Quote:
Could anybody advise whether there would be much material for me to purchase at that show?

Absolutely! There will be plenty of dealers there who will be selling stamps in your collecting area, even if you're on a budget.

I see that A to Z Stamps are scheduled to be there, and their booth would be a great place to start. I always fill some spaces in my collection at their booth at WESTPEX, whether it's older U.S. material or more recent worldwide topicals. Just bring a shopping list of Scott numbers that you need, and Michael and Cecilia will hook you up!
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Valued Member
United States
65 Posts
Posted 07/10/2021   3:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stephen J Bukowy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
tsmatx: The auction companies hold real live and internet auctions in conjunction with the shows for example Schulyer Rumsey will be having several auctions in conjunction with Westpex. You can attend the auction (probably some restrictions thanks to covid) while also attending the show. I'm on the other side of the country so I'll attend the auction via the internet.
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560 Posts
Posted 07/10/2021   9:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rismoney to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am a fan of the internet for collecting. In fact I wish dealers updated web pages and content more often. Everytime an auction posts to SAN I like browsing. I like hip/ebay, but there isn't enough content change for my desired pace. The few dealers in my collecting area are mostly ripoffs in terms of pricing.

Id imagine shows don't have the content I am looking for so much (EFO). I live on LI, NY and there arent stamp shops. I think one is left in NYC, and one or 2
upstate, but most are coin/gold/pawn type shops.

Shopping isn't my thing. When I buy a stamp, the purchase isn't the exciting part. It's part hunt, but also part selection. Any hobby involving collecting, whether it be baseball cards, video games, or comic books, it's the same thing. It has a business component to it. When you were a kid, you didn't care. Now your eyes are wide. If you are collecting because you think stamps will be worth more in the future, you aren't going to find happiness.
Also the 'Uncle Jimmy' collections are largely a news item, and you might as well play lotto if you think that is in the realm of likelihood.
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Posted 07/10/2021   9:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am not of the mind that it is just a matter of whipping out your CC to complete something. Heck, I collect Russia now and the expensive stuff can be found at any time on any day. There are however plenty of low cost items that are really hard to find and the hunt keeps me going. I cannot imagine trying to find them by having to visit a dealer and ask or write a letter or dial up on the old rotary phone. Then again I like modern conveniences like A/C and remote car start and this forum at my fingertips 24/7.

Off-topic: I do miss brick and mortar shops in general like the old downtowns had in the 50's and 60's. I abhor Amazon. Something magical about those places for sure. Especially at Christmas time and other holidays. People made it special. Not anonymous button pushing to score that underwear or tie. And stealing somebody's identity meant taking their drivers license, not hacking into BZM Dynamic Cloud Services Inc..
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United States
360 Posts
Posted 07/10/2021   10:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Cephus to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
You can do the same thing with your collection whether it is country-by-country or specific time periods, sets, or varieties. The beauty of collecting stamps is that there really is no wrong way to approach it. You can chase rare and expensive stamps to fill empty spots or spend a few dollars and get dozens (or more) of stamps to complete your pages. Do what brings you joy with the hobby. Just my 2˘.


Which is great unless what brings you joy is digging through stock books and making unexpected discoveries. I'd much rather come home with a handful of stamps and an experience than a giant mound of stamps and a credit card receipt online. It's the experience I care about. I'm not in any hurry. I've collected a ton of stamps in my life. It's the memories that I value. It's being able to say "hey, remember that time when...". You don't get that with yet another box on the doorstep.
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Posted 07/11/2021   02:55 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Nostalgia is a luxury that not everyone can afford.
Don
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
2015 Posts
Posted 07/12/2021   01:03 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add shermae to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Rismoney - Marlen Stamps and Coins still has a street-level store in Great Neck. Likewise, isn't Huntington Stamp and Coin still open as a store? And I think you can still visit Markest Stamp in Lynbrook by appointment, but it's been a long time since I heard that. I was there once in the 1980s.
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