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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : Before the internet? How did you do it?

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JohnnyRockets
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30 Apr 2019
06:30:18am
Hi all,

I am 51 years old and can remember when there was no internet, but really have used it for most of my adult life and thus have become quite "used" to having it as a resource.

I made the following comment to my wife last night: "I don't know what stamp collectors did before the internet, research must have been tough!".

So what did you do? Libraries? Lots of books?

Just curious as I am a collector of only 1+ years.


Thanks,


JR
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51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
30 Apr 2019
07:55:53am
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

Expensive periodicals, expensive organization memberships, expensive books, expensive brick and mortar shops, expensive trips to distance shows. You know...the "good ol’ days". Happy

Don

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
30 Apr 2019
08:16:03am
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

The funny thing is that the Internet was going to be the death of the hobby! It did change everything up, but in the end is a big help to keeping hobbies going!

In pre Internet days, I had never even seen a Scott 300b Ben Franklin booklet pane in person. Nor did I have a good collection of the private perforations. One of the first things I bought on eBay was that booklet pane! And in the ensuing years I've completed my collection of private perfs, have many on cover and have a lot of material in this collection that I didn't even know existed. All bought on the Internet.

Information? At your fingertips. In both stamps and my model car hobby. Ask a question on a message board and you get instant answers! You used to have to wait until your monthly club meeting to ask the question. Someone would say they had the answer in a book, and they'd bring it to the next meeting... then they'd forget!

On my model car boards, people ask for odd parts to rare old model kits all the time. People instantly respond with the part for free, or a nominal trade. That has moved the hobby forward.

And as I started out it caused "change", some of it good and some of it not so good. For instance, the Toledo Toy Show was a huge extravaganza filling three auditoriums. Now it's a former shadow of itself. The Internet made collectibles common and easily procured, ending the hunt for many and putting an end to the instant collectibles craze.

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snowy12
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30 Apr 2019
09:20:45am

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re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

It was back then,Shops we had a couple here in Adelaide one the shop closed after the owner died just recently the other is still going but has moved out to the suburbs.
Clubs we have several clubs and another way was stamp exchange clubs.I still belong to one based in Russia
I must admit the internet has made it much easier to obtain philatelic material but by the same token has produced a lot of scumbags out to rip you off.
Brian

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philb
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30 Apr 2019
10:23:44am

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re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

Before the net, 1) i swapped with people on Linns Posthorn 2) i belonged to a stamp club 3)i attended stamp shows which i have to admit were a lot more plentiful 40 years ago.4) i joinned the American Philatelic Society and received sales books in the mail to pick from.

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
30 Apr 2019
11:18:46am
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

How did I do it before the Internet? I did not do it as much.

My early days were collecting US in a Scott National album. I was limited to reading Linn's and APS and little interest in anything except Scott major catalog varieties. I was constrained by not wanting to spend money. Simpler times.

The Internet showed me a lot more and was able to learn and get comfortable in going into new areas.


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JohnnyRockets
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30 Apr 2019
11:41:05am
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

Hi all,

Interesting stuff! Thanks for your great comments.

From a newcomers standpoint, I can say this (and these viewpoints are only mine!):

- the hobby would not be as fun to me with out the easy stamp research-ability of the internet

- I love the easy access to so much "stampage" (my term for all postal things) that I can easily buy, not because I want an instant collection, but because I have a lot of varied interests - it's great for a newcomer!

- Local stamp club? I probably wouldn't be able to join, because I am too busy with other things (plus it is 40 mins by car in another town) - Stamporama is my stamp club

Nice insights from you all! Big Grin


JR

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Guthrum
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01 May 2019
05:13:35am
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

Most of my collections rely heavily on information about what is depicted on their stamps. Stamp catalogues gave only the simplest of attributions and those by no means error-free. Prior to the internet I would have had to rely on Biographical Dictionaries, encyclopedias and suchlike, which would have yielded only a fraction of the information I now have. I have a list somewhere of personalities on stamps who appear to have no internet presence at all - it is not a very long list, probably in single figures.

Political, scientific and other conferences, quite often marked with stamp issues, remain the hardest subjects to research.

To be fair, my present phase of stamp collecting began only after google and wikipedia were a thing. Just as well!

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is complicity.
06 May 2019
11:57:42am
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

" .... Prior to the internet I would have had to rely on Biographical Dictionaries, encyclopedias and suchlike, ...."

That is what wwe did do. I had a shelf full of catalogs. and encyclopedic references , dictionaries; English to Spanish,French, Dutch and German all within reach so I could write letters to friends and other collectors. In high school I had taken both Spanish and French as well as Latin which all came in handy as I wrote people.Now can check things easily, and usually within seconds I get an answer.
One thing that puzzles me is that so many of the philatelic queries we receive could be found with just a few taps on the keyboard. There seem to be quite a few members who are unaware of the resource the internet puts within reach of both distance and time.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
06 May 2019
12:09:00pm
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

Stamp shows; dealers (in-shop and in their homes); libraries (for catalogs); "Stamps" magazine (remember that one?); Linns; Scott Stamp Monthly; approvals; American Philatelic Society; friends; mail order dealers' stamps and supplies catalogs; telephone; first class letters and post cards.

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Anglophile
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RPSL, APS, EPA; US, GB, Ireland, British Europe, Italy, Mauritius Classics
06 May 2019
03:38:02pm
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

What Michael Numbers said. I focused on a retail stamp shop in my hometown, to which I rode my bike on weekends as a teenager, catalogs at the public library (another short bike ride) and trading with a next-door neighbor.

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katie333
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06 May 2019
08:17:18pm
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

As a young collector it was about going to local stamp clubs and shows, and buying or borrowing catalogues and other research material. Trading was limited to people at the club.

I am much more active in global trading now, and love getting letters in the mail. I still borrow catalogues from the local library as I prefer having them as I am working on my collection (and can't justify the ridiculous cost of buying them). I also still go to a club and to local shows, but I love that access to my hobby has expanded so much.

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
07 May 2019
10:21:05pm
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

Quote:

"I still borrow catalogues from the local library as I prefer having them as I am working on my collection (and can't justify the ridiculous cost of buying them)."



Nobody said you needed to pay the cost of new catalogs! Take a look at eBay listings for catalogs that are a few to several years old. My Scott's catalogs are at least 10 years old, my USA Specialized came from eBay and my International volumes were sent to me by another forum member for the cost of postage!

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
08 May 2019
07:13:00am
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

The local library will sell those catalogs every year when new ones come out so ask the Librarian. Some actually make a business of getting these and reselling on ebay.

As said older ones are just are almost as good since prices do not fluctuate that much unless you want to know all about the latest Liberia souvenir sheets.

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is complicity.
09 Jun 2019
07:28:52pm
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

" .... the latest Liberia souvenir sheets. ...."

Tht reminds me, I must find out how much the infamous
Sierra Leone "Face on Mars is selling for these days.

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philb
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10 Jun 2019
05:18:47pm

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re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

Charlie, did you really write letters in Dutch ? My wife had to go to school for 10 years to do that. Happy

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pigdoc
10 Jun 2019
05:38:52pm
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

Some of the nicer items in my classic US collection came from the Bid Board at Dutch Country Auctions, down in Wilmington, DE. I used to make a ritual of showing up there about an hour before the Saturday silent auction ended. My plan was to get the last bid down on the 'best' lot. This was in the late 1980s.

They used an old 'digital' alarm clock to end the auction, the kind with the flipping numerals. When the alarm sounded, the owner would yell, "Pencils down!". I would hang out by the alarm clock, and when the time flipped to 11:59, I would begin counting to myself, "One thousand one, one thousand two..." When I got down to the last 5 seconds, I would sidle up to the best lot, and drop in the last bid, just as the alarm went off! I think I got about 10 nice items that way.

-Paul


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philb
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10 Jun 2019
06:49:21pm

Auctions
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

I remember the bid boards at Dutch Country...but i only got one shot at them once a year, i was neve successtul..but the auctions in the 90s were great..i would spend like $400 and come home with a car full of boxes...then everything seemed to change...no matter what i bid the dealers would outbid me..i guess when they were spending thousands versus my hundreds they would make out in the long run. It was fun while it lasted.

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Bobstamp
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11 Jun 2019
08:14:08pm
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

I don't remember how I got involved in stamp collecting. I think it was the result of learning about Boy Scout merit badges.

At first, the only stamps I had access to were new mint issues. Our local postmaster, Hazel Moore, would carefully tear out plate blocks from sheets of new issues. See Box 28 for more detail.

I might have had a few packets of worldwide stamps bought at a local office supply store. And I also started buying approvals from several different companies — H.E. Harris, Jamestown Stamp Company, Gadsden Stamp Company.

The Gadsen company was a home-based business in nearby Hurley, New Mexico, a company town owned by Kennecott Copper Corp. The name Gadsden was taken from James Gadsden, the U.S. Minister to Mexico, who negotiated the Gadsden Purchase, a large area formerly owned by Mexico that is now southern New Mexico and Arizona. The owner of Gadsden Stamp Company started a stamp club that met at the Congregational church next door to my grandparents' bungalow. At a club meeting at Christmas, we pulled names of members with whom we would exchange stamps. I received a complete set of used Belgian railway parcel post stamps, but the son of the Gadsden owner didn't appreciate the stamps I gave him, and let everyone know about his disappointment. I don't recall what stamps I gave him, but they were certainly better ones from my small collection.

I continued collecting stamps for the next few years, and got my merit badge after being tested, thoroughly, by the postmaster at Fort Bayard, NM. By the time I entered high school, I became much more interest in girls than in stamps.

I didn't get started again until the late 1970s, when I decided to start a stamp club at my elementary school in Prince George, British Columbia. (My wife and I had emigrated to Canada in August, 1969.) Soon I was starting own collection again. The internet and even the home computer were still someone's dream, but I had three stamp shops to turn to for stamps and information, as well as two collectors who sold stamps out of home-based businesses. I became an active member of the Fort George Philatelic Society (long since defunct), and tried my hand at selling approvals, which proved to be a great deal of work for little profit and not a great deal of pleasure.

My first on-line philatelic activity was the stamps-collecting newsgroup on Usenet. That was eventually superseded in my mind by StampoRama, when StampOrama was little more than an occasional hard-copy newsletter. I was involved in the early manifestations of the StampOrama web site, the design of which is based on early iterations of my son's PainScience.com web site (he's a massage therapist).

When I moved to Vancouver late in 2001, there were four stamp shops within walking distance of my apartment. Only one exists today, and I wouldn't shop there if my life depended on it. So, most of my purchases are done on-line now, from eBay, DelCampe, HipStamp, The Cover Box, and Aztec Stamps.

Bob

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www.ephemeraltreasures.net
youpiao
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12 Jun 2019
04:09:44am
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

Quote:

"I must find out how much the infamous
Sierra Leone "Face on Mars is selling for these days."



Down a bit from the peak prices. But, suckers investors collectors are still buying, evidently.

MINT -Face On Mars Space Coming Exploration Stamps Sheets Sets Sierra Leone 1990
$15.50 or Best Offer Free Shipping 40 Sold

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
12 Jun 2019
07:18:58am
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

If you put the stamp image on a t-shirt, you may be able to sell the t-shirt for more! You think stamps are high but souvenir novelties can be very pricey.

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"Stamp Collecting is a many splendored thing"
malcolm197
16 Jun 2019
05:53:04am
re: Before the internet? How did you do it?

The biggest advantage if the access to "Joe Public's discoveries". There is information on the net which before was inaccessible, unless it was for really deep specialised research,however....

The electronic age is a double-edged sword.

Those of us from the old times can now feed our curiosity easily. As well as my stamps collecting and some other historical interests, I have lots of more "passive" interests, many of which are fed by "collateral information" which comes with my main interests, and leads me off on irrelevant byways ( but interesting nevertheless ).

However the same electronic age seems to have diminished natural curiosity among the young.The microscopic detail available on your "specialism" seems to be directly proportional to the lack of general knowledge of the young population, yet one would expect that the internet would stimulate this.

I have two sons in their 40s who are extremely intelligent,socially responsible and have excellent jobs which earn them more money that I will ever see, yet they appear to be intellectually diminished, compared with people of my age that I know well.

I know it is wrong to generalise, and obviously people's interests are not uniform, but I do feel that people are missing opportunities. At least neither of them are addicted to social media which I think is a blessing so it is not all bad !

Malcolm

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