Philately (stamp collecting)

It all began in my pre-adolescent years, when at one point (I well remember) I became fascinated by so trivial an object as a postage stamp. I can still recall being amazed at how a president’s photo-perfect portrait could actually be made up of jillions of incredibly tiny lines! And that’s when it all began – I was hooked! On and off, over the next several decades, I found my enthusiasm for this hobby expanded, as I discovered more and more elements which seemed to link to other aspects of my own nature. My passion for, and appreciation of history came into play as I realized, at one point, that I’d acquired a stamp which had been printed when Lincoln was still President. But that aspect of the hobby (my sense of history) truly peaked when I actually acquired a set of three envelopes (carrying stamps in their three different denominations) of the 1930 U.S. issued “Zeppelins”, envelopes which had actually been carried on the famous air-ship, Graf Zeppelin!!! In short, these letters themselves were truly historical objects in their own right. These particular pieces, which I’d acquired in the late 1990s, are still among my most highly prized possessions.

Then, in the 1970s a new factor was blended into the mix, with the realization that I could “deal” in stamps, with sufficient effect that I could actually make a living at it.
But naturally, to exercise this aspect of the world of stamps, meant walking a very fine line. Its been said that a collector who deals, is like a bartender who drinks – a very
dangerous and complicated mix. As a dealer, I couldn’t afford to let the “collector” part of nature interfere. But as tricky as this was, somehow I’ve managed over the years to
keep it all in balance. And the successful development of that skill has proven, in my “retirement” years, to have been a vital part of maintaining my present quality of life.

It’s all been a matter of psychological adjustment. So that even as these wonderful pieces pass into my possession, and out again, I can still appreciate their incredible beauty, particularly in the early issues, when the art of postage stamp creation encompassed some of the finest engraving in human history. At the same time, I believe that I’ve been able to maintain this balance, through my acceptance of the true philosophical core that applies to the entire world of collecting, no matter what collectible is involved – stamps, coins, paintings, ceramics, whatever. It is the serious collector’s realization that we never actually “own” these things – but are merely curators of them, during our life time. In other words, the true obligation of the serious collector is to
preserve and protect these objects of our passion, and make certain that they are dutifully passed on to succeeding generations.

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