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How Did My Great Grandfather Get These Stamps?

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Valued Member

United States
26 Posts
Posted 07/02/2022   01:31 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add cherytwist to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

I have such a ridiculous question; how did my grandfather get stamps from all over the world (places I've never heard of) back in the 1930's and 40's?
Well over 100 different countries. I know this is a pretty broad question, but my imagination is going crazy.
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Pillar Of The Community
Netherlands
1667 Posts
Posted 07/02/2022   02:21 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Believe it or not, but there were stamp dealers in those years.

If cancelled, he may have known people working with companies receiving mail from abroad.
If mint, he may have been or known people in the (merchant) navy or working for an airline.

Philately was very popular and people wrote each other asking for exchange of local issues.

Of course, he may have travelled.
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Valued Member
120 Posts
Posted 07/02/2022   08:19 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tsmatx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here is an old stamp collecting publication from 1917. There are many hundreds and hundreds if not thousands of ads from dealers (from every corner of USA & Canada) offering stamps ranging from singles, to packets, to approvals to wholesale of stamps from all over the world. The hobby was already very highly developed 100+ years ago.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
701 Posts
Posted 07/02/2022   08:32 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add classic_paper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I think your question just shows your age (you must be VERY young). Philately used to be a wildly popular hobby: department stores sold stamps, almost every city had several (or even dozens) of stores/dealers. Every magazine (comic books, too) had ads for the hobby.
So, any one of these. Or a stamp club. Or like NSK said, friends or travel.
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Valued Member
United States
455 Posts
Posted 07/02/2022   11:09 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Cephus to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Not only were there stamp dealers back then (they started not long after the very first stamp in 1840), but people mailed things to each other all over the world, just like they do today. Philately was among the largest hobbies in the world, millions of people were collecting and sending things through the mail. You can go back to some of the very earliest collections and they had a good sampling of stamps from around the world, even before the time of your great-grandfather.
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Learn More...
United States
84 Posts
Posted 07/02/2022   12:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add RXC to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Many dealers featured ads offering as many as 100 stamps for a nominal amount, such as, 10 or 25 cents as "teasers" to introduce the buyer to their approval service. Along with your promised "100 foreign stamps for only 10 cents!" You would receive a number of glassine envelopes containing other stamps for sale. Buy what you wanted and return the rest. Additional approval assortments would arrive every six weeks or so until you cancelled the service. Some of these offers were found on matchbooks which were ubiquitous prior to the decline in smoking. The H. E. Harris company was probably the largest stamp dealer, by volume in the USA in those days, but hundreds of others were in the business. It was a thrill to go through stamps from Africa, Asia, and other far away places which most people had only read about. A lot of people got "hooked"……..some of us stayed hooked. Enjoy you collection and collecting, it can take you anywhere you want to go.
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Valued Member
United States
26 Posts
Posted 07/02/2022   6:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cherytwist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you all for your time and a special thanks to tsmatx for "Philatelic Gossip", what an amazing piece of history. I can't stop reading it. 100 some years later and it is still so interesting and fun to read. I will enjoy reading this for a while! As far as adds and stamp dealers, you guys weren't kidding, "Philatelic Gossip" was loaded with them and that was just one publication. Thank you for helping me to understand.
By the way classic_paper, 52, not so young!






























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Pillar Of The Community
United States
539 Posts
Posted 07/02/2022   8:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Cherytwist, do you remember or better yet have you ever used a dial telephone? You are about the same age as the advent of the desk top computer. Did your parents get their first microwave oven before or while you were in grade school? When was the last time you wrote a personal letter and mailed it with a stamp?

Most stamp collectors were well into enjoying our hobby before the push button phone and microwave oven came along. Everyone, think of all the ways this older world has changed since those days and enjoy our hobby together.
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8466 Posts
Posted 07/02/2022   9:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Milk delivered in glass bottles, tv antennas to receive the three or four stations, typewriters and carbon paper, getting your information from books in the library, playing outside because there was no gadget to stare at endlessy, having friends because you were not staring at a gadget endlessly, patriotism, Pledge of Allegiance at school, more patriotism in large part because my Father and Uncles fought in WWII and everybody had pitched in for a common cause, Parents and Grandparents and countless family members that came to America through Ellis Island, learned English, suffered and worked hard and loved America, people knowing what gender they were, Mothers being Mothers instead of birthing people and men that did not get pregnant. And yes, the rotary phone AND phone booths. Yup, I remember it.
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United States
608 Posts
Posted 07/02/2022   11:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add centerstage98 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If you are where your profile says you are, you might want to check out the Great American Stamp Show - just two hours away in Sacramento - Aug. 25-28. The nation's biggest show of the year sponsored by the American Philatelic Society. Your head may spin a little, but your eyes may be opened more to this wonderful hobby.

https://stamps.org/great-american-stamp-show
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Valued Member
Canada
288 Posts
Posted 07/03/2022   5:04 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add XNBer to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Who, from the day, can forget the orange cloth bags of world stamps on paper offered for sale for a dollar in department stores?

It is very interesting that theft of approvals was probably not even considered by young stamp collectors in the day. I remember being very sure to return approvals or paying (by postal money order) for any of them. You have to wonder, though, how many approvals were intentionally not returned by thieves.

Among the most popular stamp companies for me, in the 1950s, were Harris, Niagara and Garcelon. The latter was advertised as bring in Calais, (KAL'-iss) Maine; but, it was actually just across the bridge and a few metres down the street in the border town of St. Stephen in my home province of New Brunswick.
(yeah, I know... TMI)
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Valued Member
United States
26 Posts
Posted 07/03/2022   5:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cherytwist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I remember all of those things, especially having an amazing mother. Playing with friends, milk in the milk box...pledge of allegiance. Honesty seems to be such a hard thing for people today...and waste.
There's so much waste.
Looking at all these stamps, all the history, my imagination goes crazy and I love it.
,
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
701 Posts
Posted 07/03/2022   5:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add classic_paper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Rod, milk in glass bottles and UHF/VHF television is just odd nostalgia over poor quality of life, they're nothing to want back. And you're forgetting segregation, child labor, iron lungs, Dust Bowl, Great Depression, Jim Crow, wire hangers, leaded gas, MRS degrees, Cuyahoga River Fire...
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United States
376 Posts
Posted 07/03/2022   5:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GMC89 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I remember all these thing. Prior to those memories I well remember those who are long gone, and lived through the terrible 30s as young adults.
I don't think there were a whole bunch of stamps sold in the 30s. Folk were more concerned with living and making taxes. I was on a farm 20 years ago that sold in 1934 for 280.00; now you couldn't buy an acre (43,560 ft2) for 40K .On the river 125K.

We take for granted these times we live in. Not always. I well remember Morris Suit telling me sweet potatoes were 0.25 a bushell; and in 1935 he went to the Washington DC farmers market and sold 1. He sold over 100 single sweet potato at a penny each. No Money!! I have a feeling stamps didn't do so well in the 30's
Everything old will be new. And all new will be old again.
History does not repeat "it rhymes" S. Clemens.
Mark
For this uplifting message, cheers.
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8466 Posts
Posted 07/03/2022   7:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Rod, milk in glass bottles and UHF/VHF television is just odd nostalgia over poor quality of life, they're nothing to want back. And you're forgetting segregation, child labor, iron lungs, Dust Bowl, Great Depression, Jim Crow, wire hangers, leaded gas, MRS degrees, Cuyahoga River Fire...


I was talking about the era I grew up in and my experience did not include the Dust Bowl nor the Black Death nor the Civil War.....

And actually my quality of life was astoundingly good even though my parents had little money. Milk delivered in bottles was amazing and having only three tv stations meant lots of reading of books and real newspapers and playing outside and using ones imagination more often and in different ways. I have over 150 tv stations at my fingertips now but there are probably only a handful that I actually watch. How ironic.

Today is not horrible by any stretch with advancements in technology that impact medicine but there are a lot of problems and unhappiness that come with today and the life expectancy, suicide, addiction and happiness statistics/polls bear that out. Why is that? The US is more divided than it has ever been. I am right leaning and have been called a fascist by one member of this forum at least twice just for having a political leaning that is different from theirs's. Something is very broken.

If we have left the "bad" past behind why are people so unhappy. I mean in general, not just because of record gas prices, runaway inflation that makes feeding a family almost impossible for many. And let us forget the fact that we can send untold billions to Ukraine at the drop of the literal hat but we still have homeless veterans that cannot get the same largess. "Ukraine needs sovereign borders" they shout while ours are wide open with fentanyl pouring across.

Now back to stamps because nobody wants to hear it and they will complain and blah, blah, blah.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
701 Posts
Posted 07/03/2022   9:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add classic_paper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I was talking about the era I grew up in and my experience did not include the Dust Bowl nor the Black Death nor the Civil War.....

No, but "your era" may have included iron lungs (polio vaccine not created until 1955), Brown v. Board (1954), the burning of the Cuyahoga (1969), life before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, stagflation of the late '70s, the MOVE bombing of 1985, etc. "Your era" and "your life" are not synonymous. I only point out that you mention all the things that you are nostalgic for, while many others may not be. This country (or world) is not worse simply because you deign it to be.
For every Statler and Waldorf bemoaning the collapse of modern American society, I'm happy to point out a woman's group who protested the Ed Sullivan Show for his hosting of the "obscene" Elvis Presley almost 70 years ago. "Real newspapers" are still widely available for sale; no one forces you or anyone to watch TV instead of reading a book or playing in the yard... I'm 47 and had several classmates without TV's during my childhood, I know several even now. It's the choices we make with our options that matter, not the options themselves.
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