Stamp Collection

When I was a toddler, my grandfather started a stamp collection for me.  He collected plate blocks: this is four stamps at the corner of a sheet of stamps next to a serial number.  Every time a new U.S. stamp would come out, he would run to the post office and buy a plate block.  It was an inexpensive hobby (the cost of the face value of 4 stamps), and he attended to it diligently and doggedly, careful to not miss a single new issue, taking great care to preserve the stamps in a special album dedicated to this purpose.  Over the years, the single album grew to four.  My grandfather urged me to continue collecting as I grew into a teenager and then had a driver’s license and could run to the post office to buy my own stamps.  And I did maintain the collection out of love, respect, honor and gratitude to him until he died, even though truth be told, I had no real interest in the stamps.

So now I’m clearing out stuff and I found the albums.  I inquired at two different coin and stamp stores, and it turns out that the stamps are worth less than the face value!  The reason:  there is simply no interest, so there is no market.  I was told by both vendors, “Kids today aren’t interested in stamps, they’re interested in computer games.”  Only truly rare antique stamps or stamps with printing errors have any market value.

Going through the albums is a bit like time travel.  It gives a fascinating glimpse of modern American history from  the 1950s to the 1970s.  The stamps in those early years started out with dour portraits and plain monochrome designs, but thanks to the psychedelic sixties, suddenly US stamps were instilled with Love and peace and diversity; dedication and memorials and celebrations; the Beatles, Hollywood celebrities, athletes, endangered animals, Nobel scientists, medical and scientific discoveries, moon and Mars landings, food and farmers and educators.

I feel bad that no one will enthusiastically inherit this collection, and indeed, my grandfather’s stamps will now be used for postage.  Because most of the stamps are in the two- to twenty-five cent range, they will fill and decorate the entire right side of an envelope since it will take so many of them to meet our current postage rates.  I don’t plan on using them on envelopes to pay my bills; to the sentimentalist that I am, it seems disrespectful somehow.  Instead, I’ll use the old stamps to write personal letters and send greetings to friends.

Of course, that may also be hard to do, since nowadays people rely on email and social media to communicate.  Alas, like stamp collecting, the art of letter writing is mostly a relic, doubtful to return to prominence anytime soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Baruchatta on February 12, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Use your stamps for QSL cards.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Sara Ani on February 12, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    You should contact Alex Birman here! He owns a business called County Stamp Center and he buys stamp collections. That is all he does. There is a dedicated bunch of stamp collectors out there still. He is in the Baltimore Eruv list.

    Reply

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