Last week on this Blog, I stated that I could not join a Stamp Club/Society. And on Sunday…I joined the Irish Philatelic Circle.
What made me change my mind ? Well on Saturday, I attended a Stamp Postcard/Fair in Belfast and was invited by the President of IPC annual meeting on Sunday.
I attended the afternoon session…an auction. I bought a few items. And everyone was very friendly. But we are mostly old men. Indeed next week, I will be 65 years old.
I was a member of IPC for about three years in the 1980s. I never really enjoyed being a member. I always felt comparatively young and inexperienced.
Membership always seemed to be a luxury. Now I think it is a luxury for collectors NOT to be a member of a Club/Society. The hobby is dying. And we MUST do something. I am not sure how we can fight back but doing nothing is not an option.
To borrow a phrase from another context. “Now is the time for every good Stamp Collector to come to the aid of his/her hobby”.
In his excellent Blog, Romanian reader, “Timbrefil” has some suggestions for getting new blood into the hobby.
We have lost an entire generation. There are few collectors in their 30s and 40s and connecting with even younger folks will be very difficult.
Old Men…like me…might call ourselves “philatelists” but we all started off as “stamp collectors”. Essentially these are two different hobbies. But I think the first priority is to connect these two hobbies.
Non-collectors cannot be expected to understand or share the urge to collect….whether stamps, postcards, coins, autographs. But other collectors understand kindred spirits in other hobbies. So in the context of Stamp Collecting, we must build bridges to the Postcard Collectors. A different but related hobby of course but it seems to be enjoying some good years thru the Internet and initiatives such as PostCrossing.
It is not just about “collecting”. Nor is it just about the dubious concept of “investment”. I am a nerd but I am not a speculator. Our image is a stereotype.
Much of what we do is about preservation and conservation. Stamps need to be preserved as much as much as ancient works of art.
Perhaps we should stop seeing ourselves as nerds and start seeing ourselves as “action heroes”. Perhaps I am not like Dr Sheldon Cooper. Perhaps I am like….Indiana Jones.