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1 weekend + 2 stamp shows = No more money.

This past weekend was our annual local stamp show here in Champaign-Urbana, IL. It was also the weekend for the MSDA (Midwest Stamp Dealers Association) show in Prospect Heights, IL. Decisions, decisions... I opted to first go to the MSDA show on Saturday, and if I had any money left I would go to the local show on Sunday. I knew that there was going to be at least 1 dealer in my specialty at the MSDA show, whereas the pickings at the local show had been fairly poor in previous years... smaller dealers with very stagnant inventory.

The 2.5 hour drive to Prospect Heights was relatively uneventful, other than the construction on I-294 sucking large moose genitalia. Got there at 9:00 am (show was slated to start at 10:00 am), and being used to the way things work down south, just strolled right in... or attempted to. A dweeb with a nasal voice shouted out "Hey! You can't be in here! We're not open!" Allrightythen. Apparently they're a little more anal-retentiave up in the Chicagoland area. So I went out to the lounge and surfed the net for a while until a line started to form at about 9:45. By the time they started letting people in, there were about 50 people waiting in line.

A good variety of dealers, probably 20-25 or so. Horrible venue. The aisles were so narrow that people had to climb over one another to get through. Chairs were crammed tightly at the dealer tables. Lighting was absolutely crappy, with many lights burned out around the room. Made examination a royal pain in the butt.

Very good attendance throughout the morning, with things tapering off about 1pm. Prices, as one would expect at a show, especially in Chicago, were quite stiff. Some dealers wouldn't discount at all from their marked prices. It's becoming tougher and tougher to cherrypick 1st-3rd Series revenue cancels from dealer stock; they're finally becoming wise to that area... and entirely too many are going to the opposite extreme: any semblance of a handstamped cancel, no matter how illegible, generates a markup. Please.

Found some very nice material, including one or two pieces from dealers that didn't realize what they had. image

The next day I showed up at the Urbana Civic Center at 9:30 am for day 2 of our local show, again for a 10:00 am open... just strolled in and no one said "boo." I think I counted 16 dealers plus the USPS was set up. I recognized a lot of faces from previous shows. Although I didn't anticipate finding a whole lot, I was VERY pleasantly surprised! One of the dealers had just purchased a large collection of U.S. revenues a few months prior. I was able to cherrypick a few very nice cancels from some of the newbie dealers. image

We have a MUCH better venue than I had experienced on the previous day. While the lighting wasn't that much better, there were plenty of swing-arm and Ott lites in attendence. What made it better was that the aisles are huge, allowing people to stroll at leisure and sit comfortably at tables. Never any feeling of being cramped.

One thing I noticed at both shows, and it saddens me for the future of the hobby: 90% of the people on both sides of the aisle were above the age of 50. Some people brought their kids, but I saw virtually no one in my age range (20s, 30s, 40s) at either show. It's an aging hobby with seemingly very few up-and-comers to take over the reins.

I went over my budget for the weekend by about 50%. Damn dealers that take plastic! image

I came home with about 75 examples for my cancel collection, and filled 2 holes in my regular R1-151 by denomination and type collection. All in all, I'm quite pleased with how the weekend turned out.

Here are pictures of the nicest or most noteworthy specimens:

Not a very scarce cancel, but the SON presentation combined with the framing on the check portion made it a must-have.


Very scarce Pacific Steamship Company cancel:


Charles Bartlet printed cancel:


Pacific Steamsip cancel on 1st-issue imperforate; exceptionally scarce.


Lovely SON Charles W. Brooks cancel:


Very attractive TND & Co. cancel:


And lastly, just a gorgeous example of cancel contrast in action. Almost a fluorescent/neon pigment:



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    Always cool to hear about fun at stamp shows. I haven't been to one for so long, I used to travel frequently to at least 4 or 5 a year. Great to hear/seeyou picked up some good stuff. And yeah you can spend some bucks when you take the ol' CC to the shows. : )
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