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In 10-20 years we will all be kicking ourselves for not collecting and picking up stamps today?

ConstantineConstantine Posts: 2,332 ✭✭✭
I know that the stamp market is in the doldrums right now. Lots of factors in my opinion:

Older generation collecting, no new blood
Price of postage is up, too many commemoratives the last few years
Other collectibles have the interest these days, i.e. coins/currency
General lack of interest etc. etc.

But we do know that there is some life in the classic stamp issues the higher end material (although that has dropped too).

My question though, is what do you think the state of the stamp world will be in 20 years? More of the same decline in interest and collectors? I am afraid that there is no new blood and people like my old uncle are the last gentlemen out there.

OR, for a long-term collector, is NOW the time to start or continue collecting. Nice stamps do appear to be picked up for little money these days. I know my question involves the word "investment". I personally think if you want to invest, you do it in equities/fixed income. But you can't help to care about the investment potential of a hobby when it is hard earned money going into it.

Today could be a good day to purchase stamps as they are at a very low period in the history of collecting them. We know about the ups and downs in hobbies, but curious as to what you think in 20 years the stamp world will look like. Dead, the same, or a renaissance?


  • In 20 years most young people will say "What is a stamp?".
  • ConstantineConstantine Posts: 2,332 ✭✭✭
    I agree that is entirely possible. I also think in the advancing technological world, debit/electronic transactions will be more and more too. So will people stop collecting coins and currency if one day they are not in circulation to the extent they are used now? Yes, money will circulate for a very long time if not always, but new collectors are introduced to this trough the daily use of currency I believe.
  • A thought on your original question, I think that high end items will always have a market, even though it may get very small.
  • As with all collectibles, the older material, in best quality and higest rarity will continue to outperform everything else in the field. I suggest cutting off at 1876.

    For investment (which I am against as a motive to collect preferring intellectual curiosity instead), my advise is to never buy anything in stamps that does not make an individual lot in a top tier brick and mortar, auction house major sale. AND, know your dealer.
    Richard Frajola
  • SDSportsFanSDSportsFan Posts: 5,052 ✭✭✭✭✭
    There's one other factor that to me, is just as big in causing the decline in stamp collecting.

    That is the fact that a collector can no longer go to a post office and buy one of each commemorative stamp. Due to new stamps being issued pre-gummed and on pre-cut sheets, the USPS only sells them in sheets of say 25 stamps. So, if a collector wants for instance, one of the new Bugs Bunny stamps for their collection, they must buy an entire sheet of 25. This gets rather costly when you look at the sheer number of stamps being issued. If that collector doesn't use stamps for regular mailing (as most of us don't these days), they end up being saddled with hundreds of stamps they have no use for. Heck, I'm still using stamps from my dad's stamp collection, that I inherited 9 years ago. I haven't bought a stamp, except for a few five cent or less ones to use as make-up postage in that entire time; and that's after having sold over $1,000 worth of 50 or 100 stamp sheets to an east-coast dealer for 85% face.

  • BillyKingsleyBillyKingsley Posts: 2,661 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm sure that in 20 years, I will regret not buying them now.

    I have a definite intrerest in them, and the more I see them the more I am liking....but I have no money to spend on my primary hobbies (all NASCAR related) let alone my secondary hobbies of numismatics, let alone stamps.

    For now my primary source for new additions is on letters and envelopes I recieve.
    Billy Kingsley ANA R-3146356 Cardboard History // Numismatic History
  • I am currently the President of the Greater Eugene Stamp Society. In the last twelve months, we have added three new junior members. The ranks of our 20-30 year olds have increased and our club feels like it is building the new generation of stamp collectors. We have also converted some people that wanted to sell their inherited collection into becoming collectors. From our clubs standpoint we don't fully understand the talk about the demise of stamp collecting.

    On to the next thought. This is the time to be upgrading your collections and building secondary collections to pass on to your grand kids. When I upgrade I place the older stamp into the grand kids collections. I do agree with Richard, that if you have the money, now is a very good time to look at purchasing auction quality stamps. I differ a little about the cutoff year. My cutoff is 1881.

    I still buy stamps for mailing because somebody has to keep the post office alive. When I want individual commemorative stamps, I go to a local contract post office and they are always willing to carefully tear one from the sheet.

    Rolin Lewis
  • ConstantineConstantine Posts: 2,332 ✭✭✭
    Rolin, are you in Eugene, Oregon out of curiousity?

    What you have written sounds promising and good to hear a point of view from you and your club's perspective. I think we can agree that a healthy younger generation is key for the long-term health of any collectible hobby. Trends and waves ebb and flow in hobbies. I remember growing up with my collecting friends and how we lost interest in coins due to the baseball card craze of the mid 80s. Only to find that a just a heap of cardboard and went back to coins in the late 90s. Stamps and stamp collecting has a long history and I don't think that can so easily be lost. At least not for good.

    I originally posted the question because I feel a bit optomistic. I believe in whatever you collect you should collect what you enjoy foremost, but you should also purchase the best material your money can buy too. Lower end material in any hobby will always be that, common. But I think it is difficult for new collectors and your average collector break into the higher-end coin world. It is so expensive. But if you have an interest in stamps, I think now could be the time.
  • Yes, Eugene, Oregon. A small metro area compared to some but we do have about 55 members and 25 to 30 are usually at the meetings.

    I am primarily a stamp collector specializing in 19th century issues but I always keep my eye out for other good buys to fill my main collection and add to my grand kid's collections. I also collect postal history as it is a very necessary part of telling the story of my specialized stamp collection. I do collect for my enjoyment and definitely not for investment.

    Rolin Lewis
  • ConstantineConstantine Posts: 2,332 ✭✭✭
    Rolin, ah yes, for some reason I did not notice the U of O Ducks avatar! I am in portland myself. What are your thoughts on the early air mails? I have always been interested in them but they do not fall into what most people call a classic era cutoff. I know obviously collect what you like, but am curious for other opinions on early air mails. A nice subset to collect, interesting designs and theme, but what about scarcity? Thanks
  • I actually live out in the country southeast of Eugene. I am pretty much a dedicated duck fan, even when they are losing.

    When it comes to collecting early airmails, I think the engraving and the colors are great but after you have a collection of 100J's (I don't) what's left . I do have an interest in the varieties of the C11, ie, off register of the blue and of the open door variety but beyond that there is not much that catches my interest. I will never own a C3A. I can see one upside and that is to look for unique commercial uses of the stamps on cover. I would ignore first flights and first day covers but anything considered a commercial usage could be interesting. Steve Davis has built a very nice exhibit on the uses of the C25-C31 Twin Motored Transport Plane stamp. Some real difficult destinations are included in the exhibit.

    To me the Graf Zeppelin stamps are nothing more than investment stamps and a potentially poor investment at that. I do like the colors they used.

  • delistampsdelistamps Posts: 714 ✭✭✭
    My favorite stamp...

  • A member of our club gave an interesting presentation about the stamp that you posted. I am a US collector but can easily see why you like the stamp. Those of course are some beautiful copies you posted.

  • coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,423 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well, I think that is quite possible- the art, craftmanship and history alone is worth the effort

    Experience the World through Numismatics...it's more than you can imagine.

  • ConstantineConstantine Posts: 2,332 ✭✭✭
    I personally would not count anything out and some of the art on the earlier engraved stamps are beautiful let alone historical. History can never become outdated, nor can fine art, if you look at it in this approach.
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