Monthly Archives: August 2009

  1. The History of Philately

    May 6, 1840 was an important date in English history. Postage rates were reduced to one penny throughout Great Britain, and pre-payment of mail became compulsory. Also, the first postage stamp was issued. The stamp, what we collectors seek after and fight for, was actually not Rowland Hill's great innovation. In an age before computers, the maze of rates based on distance traveled, number of pages in the letter, or whether prepaid or collect added a large layer of bureaucracy and accounting that made mail carriage expensive. Hill saw too that lower rates would add to volume and thus to profits because of a relatively fixed overhead structure. He was right and to effect accounting and facilitate postal service a stamp was issued to be applied on letters and cancelled when used.

    Part because of their intrinsic appeal, part because of the beneficient change that they represented, stamps were instantly popular. Saving them, usually by peeling them with a knife off the envelope, became

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  2. The world of Stamps and Stamp Collecting

    I wrote a book that was published by Charles Scribner's Sons about the history of philately. I've posted it online at this link if you would like to read it

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  3. New Auction and Start Bids

    August is traditionally the start of the new stamp season. Back in the days when stamp shows represented the bulk of the retail stamp business in the United States, the stamp show circuit began in earnest in September and dealers (who are the main buyers at Public Auction) would begin to restock in August after the light summer schedule. This paradigm has changed a bit over the years with stamp shows representing a far smaller proportion of the retail dollars coming into the trade and internet dollars (mostly Ebay) picking up the slack. Still, September is when summer vacations end and people resume their normal activities of which stamp collecting hopefully is one.
    Our August Auction is one of our largest ever. It contains over 4800 lots and beginning this fall we are starting our new policy of posting new lower starting bids - up to 40% lower than before. Bids will change before the sale only in response to real bids and any bid higher

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  4. Aps Convention in Pittsburgh

    This week I am going to the American Philatelic Society Convention in Pittsburgh. STAMPSHOW, as they call their meetings, is the annual meeting, used to be the start of each philatelic year (which generally is reckoned to start in September). The show boasts meetings of the APS brass, seminars and society meetings, the Champion of Champions exhibition competition (where winners of regional competitions vie for the award of best of the best), and one of the largest dealer bourses in the US.
    Stamp expositions of all types have become less popular in the Internet age and STAMPSHOW is no exception. Still, there is no physical venue when more things philatelic happen in a shorter period of time. I will be posting my impressions of the show along with my thoughts about stamp shows in general as the week progresses.

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