Apfelbaum’s Corner – Volume 109

Fire sirens are to attract attention. When they blast off, we stop, look and listen. I wish we had a fire siren for stamp collecting because one is badly needed. Certain stamps of so called hot countries have climbed to the sky due to speculation. They are advertised at prices completely out of line with their true philatelic value. This attracts attention from new collectors who lack the perspective of years of buying stamps and who believe that there is only one way for prices to go; that is up.

Philatelic history is a long pattern of popularity, price rise and bust. There is no reason to believe that the present inflation is any different. Recent stamps that exist in wholesale stocks cannot be rare. If a collector can get particular items in unlimited quantities, they most certainly should not be at ever-rising prices.

The true rarity is difficult to obtain. One must seek it and then, when it is offered, not hesitate about its purchase.

Stamps that are offered in every issue of every magazine are not rarities. They may be and likely are desirable and interesting and they may fill a space in your album but, after you get your examples, don’t fall for the nonsense that increasing prices indicate rarity. Frequently it is the manipulation of insiders that cause this delusion. More often it is the rush of the suckers about to be taken.