I am on a train, heading to Dublin to attend “Stampa 2013”, the Irish National Stamp Exhibition and Fair, the biggest event in the Irish Stamp Collecting Diary.
As an illustration that Philately is in decline, last years event was combined with the annual Coin Fair. While it was refreshing to see many familiar faces from two or three decades ago, it was sad that tentative enquiries about a Dealer or Collector were often met with “ah he passed on a few years back”.
Stamp Collecting is very much a hobby associated with professional men…sadly it is overwhelmingly a male thing. And increasingly for middle aged and elderly men. Sadly few young people are involved.
I expect the venue to separate the Stamp and Coin people. Last year I barely looked at the “coin” stalls. This year, I will look a little closer, in part because I have a small collection of coins.
There will be a Show Catalogue, mapping out the stalls and a guide to the Exhibits. Last year, I just glanced at the Exhibits. I always find exhibitions ….several frames of lovingly presented stamps and covers to be a bit narcissistic. The whole Gold, Silver, Bronze Medal thing does not appeal to me at all. Stamp Collecting is NOT a Sport. At heart I believe Stamp Collecting is a “private” thing. And I realise that it is ironic that I blog about it.
As far as I know there are now only two traditional stamp shops in Ireland. There were around six or seven, forty years ago. The two stores will have the biggest tables today. These dealers tend to have the most complete stock but their full time commitment and overheads means they tend to be more expensive than the part-timers. There will probably be a couple of foreign dealers.
The committee will produce a couple of exhibition souvenirs. An overprinted miniature sheet perhaps. This defrays some of the cost of setting up the event.
The Irish Philatelic Bureau will be there. Busy with selling 2013 issues and hand-stamping events. There will be a special cancellation.
I arrive in Dublin at 10am, an hour before the Exhibition/Fair starts so I will actually go to the Philatelic Bureau in the General Post Office to buy some stamps and booklets before getting some breakfast and heading off to the historic venue….the RDS (Royal Dublin Society) where the famous Dublin Horse Show is held.
I have a Wants List. I hope for a few bargains.