As I have often said, I am a serious collector of the stamps of Ireland and I am also collect used stamps of the world …for fun.
A hobby SHOULD be FUN but sometimes it can become obsessive, there is no fun.
While I get a lot of satisfaction from my Irish collection, I think that the best times I had with stamps was when I was a schoolboy in the 1960s. As schoolchildren we make mistakes with collecting, thematic “cancelled to order” stamps catch our eye but will never be worth anything. And as young adult or novice collectors we make still make mistakes or are exploited by unethical dealers.
Very few young collectors survive to be serious adult collectors. It is not just about any hobby being a passing phase, a rite of passage. More so, there are only so many times that a collector can make mistakes or be exploited.
“Fool me once…shame on you. Fool me twice….shame on ME”.
One of the odd things about collectors is that occasionally names of dealers come up in conversation. And the conversation quickly turns to how trustworthy or untrustworthy the dealer is or was.
Certainly over the last few years, I have enjoyed throwing the name of a dealer into conversation and I have enjoyed the reaction. Every collector and indeed dealer has a story.
Although this is amusing at one level, it is less amusing at another level. For every one of us who has a story, there are a lot of collectors who gave up simply because they believe that being conned should not be part of the experience.
I am lucky. I arrived at the point where I really only have one dealer and I trust him.
Since I came back to Stamp Collecting in 2012…after a 12 year gap, I have been working on the basis that my “Ireland” collection is serious and my “world” collection is just fun re-capturing the enthusiasm I had as a child.
It seems to me that a good way to increase the number of my world collection is to trade my Irish duplicates…I have literally thousands of stamps which I could send in lots of fifty to collectors in exchange for stamps from their country.
The experience has at best been ok and at worst it has been pretty bad.
Last summer, I placed an advertisement on a trading website. I got over thirty five replies. This should have been a good sign but actually it was pretty depressing. Most of the people who replied to me had list of conditions….catalogue value, large commemoratives, condition, scans…………whatever.
While I acknowledged all the folks who expressed interest, I only sent off stamps to eight people. I got four replies….
This does not imply that the other four had not sent me stamps. International mail can be a problem. Possibly they did not get my stamps.
I don’t really mind that maybe two replies that I got were worthwhile and that two were not a good exchange. It is the nature of trading stamps that you win some and you lose some. It all balances out in the end.
Yet it should be so much easier. Anyone is welcome to my surplus stamps. It is simple re-cycling. If you want them ….you can have them.
But please, please treat the process with respect.
As a consequence, I am suspending trading stamps for a few months. Its just not worth the hassle.