The Airmail Experiment

As I have written recently, I see some light in the tunnel. Over the next nine months, I am hopeful that I will be “up to date” with my Irish collection. Hopefully, I will have obtained all of thirty or so sets (mint and/or used) from the years 2001-2005. And hopefully in the second half of 2016, I will have obtained all of the albums and accessories to display my collection at its best.

I have never smoked a cigarette or had an alcoholic drink in my life. To some extent the adult pocket money that I would have spent on a packet of cigarettes or a bottle of beer has been spent on stamps and other collectables.

I am not sure if it is possible or even desirable for an ordinary collector like myself to have a perfectly complete collection of stamps. There will always be highly priced stamps that are out of my price range. I dont think I will regret that.

Having relative completion will be enough for me. There should always be an aspect of Stamp Collecting that is aspirational rather than absolutely finished. So relative completion updated by new issues would be enough.

For over forty years, I have measured my Stamps “budget” against the money that another man would pay for a packet of cigarettes or other items. The next nine months or so, I will be buying a lot of stamps that are the price of a can of Pepsi Cola…or a newspaper…or a pizza….or a ticket for a movie. I have no great problem with that. It hurts nobody within my family circle.

Buying stamps that are the price of a weekend trip, a vacation in United States or a new bathroom …now that is a different question. Not only does it adversely affect other people who I love…it is a selfish act…and it also means that few purchases of new stamps can be made in a single year. A lot of fun is in quantity rather than quality.

The next six weeks is critical. On 26th September, the local stamp club (I am not a member) has its annual Fair. In the middle of October, the Irish National Exhibition takes place. At the end of October there is a regional Fair.

I updated my “wants list” last night. I should be able to obtain a few items from my list, locally. I could certainly obtain all (but budget would not permit it) nationally and some items regionally. At the end of October, my “wants list” should be much smaller. The great problem is impulse buying…buying items not on my list.

Of course, I am already thinking beyond “relative completion” and album/accessory purchase. I have found a cheap source for Irish First Day Covers. But the extent I really want to pursue this is problematic. World Stamps? Cheap and social trading…I have well-documented reservations.

I think the most interesting aspect of my collection in recent months has been I added a lot of commercially used covers from 1929 to 1950. In fact only one issue is missing. These genuinely used covers added a lot to my collection…visually if not in terms of monetary value. This might be the way to go.

I already send one set of every new issue to myself so that I have a fine used set of every issue. These are very fine used because they are hand stamped at the General Post Office. Increasingly I post a “national rate” new issue thru the normal mail. Cancellation is rough and untidy…but authentic. For only a little cost it adds a lot.

I am thinking of expanding this idea to “airmail rate”. From Christmas, I might start sending a snail mail letter to friends in USA…maybe say ten during 2016…and ask my friends to send the envelope back to me. It would be nice to have an airmail letter sent from Ireland to Texas, Washington, Illinois, New Hampshire etc. And maybe from 2017, I might expand the idea to bring in European and other nations.



About John

Dia Duit! Hello. My name is John. I am retired. I live in Ireland. I am on a five year mission to visit every city, town, village and place of historic and scenic interest in Ireland.
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