My parent's gave me my first stamp album (Coronet) for Christmas when I was seven. An old friend used to work for the Nestle Company and that same Christmas gave me a Nestle album and a selection of stamps. I still have both albums and over the years have added to those with a few other odds and ends.

Stamps are little pieces of paper and each one has a little bit of history printed on it. I never collected stamps with the idea of investment. I enjoy the hobby of collecting and fool with them more in the winter months. Many people took a 'bath' in the 70s, as prices crashed on many overpriced stamps, like the C 13-15 Zep set.

In stamps as in the stock market you have to do your own research and look for items that you feel will appreciate over time. To be clear though, I am not advocating stamps as an investment, but as a pleasurable hobby.

Tom Larsen adds:

I collected stamps as a kid, then dropped it when I started chasing girls and feared that my peers might think stamp collecting was uncool. But I still have all of my stamp stuff 45 years later. In a way, the stock market has replaced the stamps. I am not talking about the trading part. I am talking about the collecting of all the market books and paraphrenalia (OK, junk).

By the way, one of the biggest stamp collectors is bond billionaire Bill Gross.

Alan Millhone adds:

That was a most interesting article on Mr. Gross. Donald Sundman of Mystic Stamp Company owned the "Z" grill and it was on exhibition in Cleveland, Ohio a few years back at the APS Convention. I got to see it close up, along with several C3a's (famous inverted Jenny's). It would be nice to be able to purchase any stamp you wanted at any time. But some of the thrill of the chase would be lost due to a person having unlimited funds to spend on one's hobby (not a bad thing!).

My best friend is Greek and we collect the early Hermes heads of Greece. We both have DAVO hingless albums to house our meager collections. The #8 is a scarce Hermes and I have a couple of them. The #10 Hermes is really rare and I hope to have one in my collection some day.

In the US, FDR will be remembered as one of the most famous stamp collectors. During his terms as President he personally approved or reviewed every stamp that was printed. The Postmaster General at that time was a Mr. Farley and a set of stamps was printed at one time solely for FDR. The public got wind of this and demanded mass production of that series. This mini scandal became known as Farley's Follies.

When FDR died his collection was sold over several auctions by Harmer Rooke and brought a very large sum. Greg Manning Auctions is a publicly traded firm on the NASDAQ. Stamps are big business and the APS has a worldwide membership of around 55,000.


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