Thursday 4th August….I had a business appointment in Glasgow. And I had a small “window of opportunity” to visit the excellent Glasgow Stamp Shop. This was my third visit. I was there in May and July last year.
About the shop. It is “upstairs” in West Nile Street in Glasgow City Centre. Effectively two large rooms. The first room is Stamps. The second room Covers/Postcards. The “Stamp Room” has shelving around the room. Stamps are stored on album leaves in trays. And each tray is clearly labelled with an image of the flag of a country or the name of a region.
This makes “browsing” easy and it is further facilitated by tables and chairs for customers to choose stamps. The four tables are arranged in a square formation which makes conversation with fellow collectors inevitable….1960s music plays in the background. A basket of chocolate biscuits, the centre-piece.
The atmosphere is part retail outlet, part-museum (there is an interesting display of model post office vehicles in the hallway), part-club.
The second room is set up in the same way….tables and chairs. But this is more orientated towards First Day Covers, Postcards and Stamps in traditional “stock books”.
Unfortunately, I could only spend less than ninety minutes in the shop. My earlier appointment and ensuring I did not miss my travel connexion meant I was very limited. But another visit is inevitable before the end of Summer.
Although my journey by car, coach, ship, and coach again to Glasgow was long (seven hours travel to Glasgow and seven hours home) and just over three hours in the City….the journey was very reasonably priced….just £28.
As I have often said in this Blog, I started collecting as a child, circa 1960 and as an adult in 1970, specialising in Ireland. And gave up collecting from 2000 to 2012.
I have made many mistakes. All collectors make mistakes. I am now old enough to embrace and celebrate the mistakes I made. Perhaps the biggest mistake is that (for Ireland) I have used just one album page for every issue and I have “written up” up the collection and used commercially used covers and postcards to help the “writing up”. So actually….the collection is “over-written”. On reflection, this makes my collection unique and personalised.
But I wish that when I started writing up Ireland in my first BLACK Senator Medium album, I had anticipated three things….that Ireland would over-issue stamps, miniature sheets and I would need many more albums…..that my eyesight in 1970 would be much better than in 2016 ….and that Stanley Gibbons would discontinue two colours (black and blue) in the Senator Medium range.
Thus when I gave up collecting in 2000, my albums were black. Resuming in 2012 and catching up with 21st century Irish stamps, I had to buy GREEN albums. This is a bit inconvenient but not a disaster….BLACK albums (20th century) and GREEN albums (21st century) was unplanned but it is ok. I had always planned on picking up some more pre-owned BLACK albums as mine are too full.
So on Thursday, I went to Glasgow with the hope that I could pick up some albums. So absolutely delighted that I picked up SIX pre-owned Senator Medium album binders, two BLACK, one GREEN and three RED).
The two BLACK albums mean that I have reduced the number of pages each 20th century album. They are not so bulky. The GREEN album means I havea place for my 2014/15 Irish stamps…the number of stamps, miniature sheets etc now issued by Ireland means a new album is required every two years. In fact…the single year, 2016, might require a single album and in a way this reflects the historical importance of this year.
The three RED albums are a bonus. It means I can use one for “Northern Ireland” regional stamps, one for Propaganda and unofficial issues and one for stamps issued by other countries which have an Irish “theme”….for example Britain and “joint issues” with (say) Australia, Mexico, Belgium etc. This frees another album (a RED Selby Medium album) to hold my collection of several hundred postmarks from all of the thirty-two counties in Ireland.
For once, I feel a sense of “Completion” and yet the Great Lesson that I have learned over the last two or three years is that a Stamp Collection is not supposed to be “complete”. There will always be a new set of Irish stamps (next week or next month). There will always be stamps that are simply too expensive.
A Stamp Collection is meant to be unique, personal…even a bit quirky ….an extension of ME. I can find ways to increase that dimension…commercially used covers, postcards (especially airmail or censored war-time covers).
I only bought ten stamps…”Northern Ireland” regionals. I just did not have the time to browse properly.
But thanks to a visit of just over an hour, I feel that I have made real progress.