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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : Approaches to collecting

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
08 Jul 2014
10:13:32am
Clive and Peter are having a fabulous specialists' conversation about 20th century HK cancels. It's fun being an ignorant voyeur.

The conversation has morphed into approaches to collecting, and rather than move further from the discussion, I thought I'd bring some of it here:

Quote:

"The expression 'less is more' is very appropriate in more ways than one. If I had spent less on the more common stuff, I could have spent more on the scarcer material. But that's what happens when the bug bites sometimes. "



The above sentiment is something that only an experienced collector can understand, and only after s/he's already committed to an area. It is true, though, that buying better stuff is often more rewarding, in many ways, than material you are more likely to encounter often.

Peter later commented that he has several small collections of interests that never materialized beyond an initial smattering. That's also true, and one of the reasons that the previous statement is so tricky. How do we know we've committed to an area; without the commitment to an area, specialized purchases make little sense. But without putting those philatelic toes into the water, how does one even become interested enough to go beyond one-of collecting in an area (and I don't mean to belittle that approach, which has its own fascination and devotees, and requires its own discipline).

I welcome more experienced collectors' expansion on this and more junior people's questions.

Thanks for starting the dialogue Clive, Peter

David
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Makazi
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08 Jul 2014
12:35:15pm
re: Approaches to collecting

My approach to collecting is to find "treasures" in kilo ware. A common stamp for a seasoned collector, could be a rare stamp to me - I might never have seen it or known of its existence. Soaking, sorting and identifying, making album pages and mounting stamps, that is what currently makes it feel like it is -my- collection. I could probably have saved up money and bought a near to complete Norwegian collection, but I don't think I would appreciate it in the same way.

I'm new to collecting and at first it was a little overwhelming when I peeked into the world of stamps. I had a pile of stamps (actually 3kg of stamps) to soak, sort, identify, put into a system, figure out how/if I want to mount them on DIY pages or put them in stock books (or both), and more...

At first I had a thought that I had to sort all this out efficiently, because there were so many stamps! It would take forever to get through this! But gradually I am "landing" and enjoy everything much much more. At my current state I'm not even considering buying any stamps, I still have most of that pile left to soak. I keep a record of the money I'm using on this hobby, and so far the stamps have been the cheap part Winking I try to be economic about it.

But I don't think that the money I spend now, is restricting what I'll get later. I don't have a set amount of money each month for my hobbies, so I don't set aside anything I don't use one month for future purchases. Most months I try not to spend any money, since bills appear seem to appear from nowhere sometimes. I can't see myself spending lots of money on a single stamp at my current "level". I have fun with the common cheap stuff (kilo ware)! Happy

After writing this, I am thinking that perhaps I should set aside a small amount each month - so in a couple years when I want to buy that expensive stamp I'm missing from my collection, I can actually buy it!

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TuskenRaider
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08 Jul 2014
08:54:03pm
re: Approaches to collecting

Hi Mac;

I was a member of a stamp club in Muskegon, Michigan (the mitten state) back in the 60s & 70s. A person there who I didn't know very well was selling a small collection for $5.00. It was for charity and most of the stamps were mounted with non-peelable hinges, except for the MNH Switzerland.

In that collection were one used #46 used CV $40.00, #60 MNH CV 55¢, #61 MNH CV 55¢, #62 MNH CV $5.00, #64 MNH CV 55¢, #65 MNH CV 55¢, #66 MNH CV $1.80 x2, not a great deal of money, but nice stamps. The balance of this collection was mixed used world-wide and about 200 of them were CV $2.50-$5.00 ea. So the results were several hundred dollars worth of very old classic stamps for $5.00.

Later in the early 80s I bought a Kilo of foreign mixed. Large lots of several Kilos are bound to contain some gems because the seller doesn't have the time to check them all. I sorted out about several hundred Great Britain "Machins" and they sat in envelopes for another couple of decades.

Just a few years ago as I sorted thru them, I discovered a color-missing error. Scott listed it as worth $100.00 MNH. When I searched eBay I found a used one the sold for $260.00+. How many more gems were in that mess of 'cheap' stamps I'll never know, but at least I found one good one.

Happy treasure hunting
Ken Tall Pines

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philb
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09 Jul 2014
02:59:33pm

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re: Approaches to collecting

What approach ? every stamp is a potential swap or purchase ! I thought you knew that.

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philb
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09 Jul 2014
03:00:47pm

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re: Approaches to collecting

i think i still do buy first and cry later !Surprise

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michael78651
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09 Jul 2014
09:40:49pm
re: Approaches to collecting

Yeah, we all buy and buy and buy, and wind up with our own self-made pile of kiloware! Always plenty to go through, and count all the duplicates that we bought, but it's all in the fun of the hobby! Day Dreaming

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09 Jul 2014
10:59:22pm
re: Approaches to collecting

And then we cry when we open our empty pocketbooks.

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michael78651
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10 Jul 2014
12:37:14am
re: Approaches to collecting

And then we sell some stamps on SOR, put some money back in our pockets and buy more stamps! What a nice cycle!!

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philb
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10 Jul 2014
08:54:19am

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re: Approaches to collecting

Thats it of course...we are recyclers of stamps!Thumbs Up

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philb
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10 Jul 2014
02:10:26pm

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re: Approaches to collecting

Some people are compulsive buyers...at the supermarket or the mall, not i ! I only am compulsive with stamps !!!!

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Ningpo
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12 Jul 2014
03:09:23pm
re: Approaches to collecting

Being primarily a one country collector, I can find myself in the doldrums for short periods; I generally can’t buy the sort of material I haven’t got because I can’t afford it. I’m talking high hundreds and thousands here.

So I end up ’fiddling’ with what I already have and buy a different shade or a marginally better cancel etc; just duplication when it comes down to it.

Now if I had more restraint, I could save up and perhaps afford one or two better items.

This is what I meant by ‘less is more’; if I spent less on more common variations of what I already have, I could buy more of the scarcer stuff. The trouble is, I can only restrain myself for short periods. I become impatient and need a quick fix. So I’m back to square one.

I wonder if others suffer from this ‘syndrome’.

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philb
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13 Jul 2014
10:01:44am

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re: Approaches to collecting

i admire you for sticking to one area..i look at a room full of albums and covers and wonder where the money is i spent over the last 40 some years..its well spread out. I did stick it out with one country Guatemala...but it has so many interesting bulls eye and star cancels so i have lots of back of book cancels. I hear the other collectors many with VARIED interests and hobbies..i just have my 4x4 Nissan and STAMPS...and if i had to give up one it would be the truck !!!

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michael78651
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13 Jul 2014
12:28:40pm
re: Approaches to collecting

An interesting comment, Phil. Many of us have more than one hobby, and we have spent much time and money with them over the years. I have often given thought as well to what would I do if I had to give up any of my hobbies/collections:

- stamps
- model railroad
- music
- old time radio shows
- TV shows
- movies

I don't watch much TV, so first to go (or get minimized to just a few of my favorites would be movies and TV shows.

Old time radio shows and music are great to listen to while working on stamps or the model trains, or when taking a trip in the car. I would reduce the size of those collections as well, but not as drastically as the movies or TV shows collections.

Now comes the tough decision with the remaining two. Fortunately I have already thought of this some time ago. I would not give up model railroading. I would give up the stamps almost entirely. I would just keep covers related to railroading as relates to what I model, and the few stamps associated with that as well. I would just need one stock book for all that. I would not start a railroad topical stamp collection. I do have a standing price for anyone interested in buying my stamp collection.

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Ningpo
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13 Jul 2014
12:52:29pm
re: Approaches to collecting

Well you really have opened a can of worms now! I collect all manner of stuff, which also reduces the amount of money I have for my HK collection:

Original watercolours and oils
Limited edition prints
Hand painted postcards
Art glass
Pottery and porcelain
Pottery clowns by the artist Elizabeth Haslem
Old hand tools (which I try to use)
Vinyl Lp's and singles


There's other stuff too but more accumulation than collection.

I think I need my bumps felt (to use a medieval medical expression).



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Bobstamp
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13 Jul 2014
12:57:04pm
re: Approaches to collecting

Ningpo said, "This is what I meant by ‘less is more’; if I spent less on more common variations of what I already have, I could buy more of the scarcer stuff. The trouble is, I can only restrain myself for short periods."

Too true! Shopping for stamps and covers on-line has become recreation for me. Thanks to "Buy it Now" features on many web sites, I don't even have to think! I just click the button, and voila, I've added another stamp, set of stamps, or a cover, or a postcard to my collection. And even helped the economy! Every once in a while, I get seduced by quite expensive items, and help out the economy even more, and encourage my son to work even harder because his inheritance has gone down a bit! Don't Tell Anyone

My "problem" is compounded by the fact that I have so many collecting areas: The Philippine Insurrection, the Korean War, Indochina/Vietnam military history, the Pershing Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa, Britain's wartime economy, the Battle of the Atlantic, RAF Ferry Command, RCAF/RAF Bomber Command, the German 88mm anti-aircraft gun, Stars on Stamps, military medical history, used U.S. stamps (1840-1940), mining in southwestern New Mexico, mid-20th Century civil airliners, and three particular air disasters in 1954 (Trans-Canada Airlines at Moose Jaw, Sask.; BOAC at Prestwick, and Linee Aeree Italiane at Idlewild. Oh yes, one more, the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race from London to Melbourne and one particular aircraft in the race, the KLM Uiver — that's Old Dutch for "Stork" — a Douglas DC-2 which won the handicap portion of the race but a month later crashed in the Syrian desert during its first commercial flight.

I do have a lot of pleasure working all of these collections, more, I think, than a collector who used to belong to the BC Philatelic Society. He collected only Mint Never Hinged Canada, and his collection was complete except for two or three of the rarest stamps. He would come to club meetings and stamp shows, and as soon as he realized there was nothing for him to buy, he'd leave, complaining that there was nothing to buy!

As you can imagine, I myself rarely leave a stamp bourse, or go shopping on-line, without finding at least one item I want to buy. As you can imagine, I am stamp rich but have pretty empty pockets most of the time!

Bob

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philb
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13 Jul 2014
04:42:26pm

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re: Approaches to collecting

Bobstamp Garsh,our finest hours ! Pershings punitive expedition into Mexico and the Philippine insurection

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TuskenRaider
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13 Jul 2014
06:54:34pm
re: Approaches to collecting

Hi Everyone;

@ Bobstamp
I sold a few years back to an ex-Viet Nam vet, some fractional currency notes, which he used to make a shadow box gift for his grandkids. If some of you don't know what those are, they are paper money in denominations of 10¢, 25¢, & 50¢. You can't carry coins in the jungle as they would rattle together and give your position away to the enemy, and possibly get you and your buddies killed.

The only war-related notes I have left are some Japanese invasion currency from WW2. If anyone is interested, private message me, and I will answer your inquiry.

Yes I have a few alternate hobbies too:
making jewellery
large aquariums (30-70gal.) and ponds with native fish.
wooden model sailing ships built plank-on-frame
nature photography with an old fashioned 35mm film camera, especially like extreme close-ups of dragonflies, butterflies, and bumble bees on purple thistle, and goldfinches feeding on thistle heads, and also butterflies on wild butterfly weed.

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Ningpo
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13 Jul 2014
07:17:58pm
re: Approaches to collecting

Bobstamp wrote:

Quote:

"My "problem" is compounded by the fact that I have so many collecting areas: ....... RAF Ferry Command, RCAF/RAF Bomber Command,"



Bob, has your collecting interests (above) ever touched on the ATA; Air Transport Auxilliary. Unofficial motto: Anything To Anywhere ?

A force of about 1100 pilots, of which, some 160 were females. They were responsible for delivering 130 different types of aircraft to maintenance units across the UK.

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Bobstamp
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13 Jul 2014
07:48:32pm
re: Approaches to collecting

@kentallpines:

I assume that you're talking about military scrip. During my two year tour of duty in Japan, prior to Vietnam, we were issued with military scrip instead of greenbacks or yen. I've never had a good understanding of the reason for scrip, but I don't think it has anything to do with jungle warfare.

I wasn't in Vietnam long enough (only 37 days before I was wounded) to be paid, nor was I anywhere where I could spend money. I don't recall even having money with me. I was in only one small city, Tam Kỳ, just driving through in a convoy of trucks heading for a search-and-destroy mission during Operation Double Eagle II.

Bob


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Bobstamp
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13 Jul 2014
07:52:52pm
re: Approaches to collecting

@Ningpo:

I'm familiar with the Air Transport Auxilliary, but I've never seen any stamps or covers related to it. When you find some, let me know!

The ATA pilots were extraordinary. Often, they were unfamiliar with the aircraft they were expected to fly, and only had the manual to provide information. I can't even imagine doing that….

Bob

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Bobstamp
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13 Jul 2014
08:15:49pm
re: Approaches to collecting

@philb:

We, meaning the United States, has had a lot of finest hours! We freaked out over a Mexican bandito, but at least the exercise led Pershing to get his men off their horses and onto the ground, where they would be fighting in France within a few months. And, for the first time anywhere, airplanes were used in combat (if chasing a bunch of tired, wounded Mexicans can actually be called combat). For members who aren't familiar with the Pershing Punitive Expedition: In 1917, the Mexican revolutionary bandit Pancho Villa led a small force against the town of Columbus, New Mexico, where there was a small U.S. Army outpost. "Outpost" is a good word — Columbus is farther from anywhere than anywhere else I've ever been! The U.S. government responded by federalizing every state national guard in the country, and sent them to the U.S.-Mexico border to repel invaders and aid Pershing's push into Mexico. My Grandfather Ingraham, who had been in the New York State National Guard, was sent to Pharr, Texas, which is even farther from anywhere than Columbus. He was there for six months or so, and went home to stay. I don't know why his unit didn't end up in France. He was never paid, and lost his job to boot. Yay, America!

The Philippine Insurrection resulted from the American belief that they shouldn't have to pay a decent amount of money for hemp, which the navy needed to make rope. Filipino hemp growers thought they deserved more. The "insurrection" began when an American officer shot and killed a Filipino. The resulting "action" lasted for years. American army units were ordered to destroy entire villages, including men, women, and children, and did so. Vietnam's My Lai was not the first American atrocity!

A distant cousin of mine was in the Philippines as a member of Company I, U.S. Fifth Infantry. He contracted TB and was sent to Fort Bayard, New Mexico, a TB sanitarium, where he died. Years later, I used to walk past the cemetery where he was buried, unaware of his existence living or dead!

Image Not Found


See Hiking to Fort Bayard for information and photographs. Fort Bayard is an historical gem, but sadly is being completely neglected by both federal and state governments.

Bob



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philb
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13 Jul 2014
11:11:24pm

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re: Approaches to collecting

Its a shame a military cemetary is neglected..i have seen the Dutch and Allied cemetaries in the Netherlands ..they are so immaculate you are almost afraid to walk there. Another case for cremation...who needs a headstone when no one is going to visit after a generation or so !

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michael78651
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13 Jul 2014
11:39:43pm
re: Approaches to collecting

The head stones when massed in the thousands like in the battlefield cemeteries stand sentinel as a reminder why we should not go to war.

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Bobstamp
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14 Jul 2014
01:20:19pm
re: Approaches to collecting

@philb:

I think that the cemetery is reasonably well maintained. New Mexico is nothing if not arid. Not only is there little precipitation, climate change is apparently making it even drier than usual, and there just isn't enough water for lawns. When I was little, and living just two or three miles from Fort Bayard, my father used to maintain small earthen dikes on our property to prevent what little rain there was from running off. Instead, the dikes trapped it and it soaked into the ground, raising the water table enough so that our well, which was 60 ft (18m) deep, wouldn't run dry.

We had neighbours, good Baptists, who dug a very deep well, something like 300 ft (91 m) if I recall correctly, and hit a "gusher". They planted deciduous trees and a big lawn and were constantly watering everything. The problem was, they were apparently tapping an ancient aquifer and in the process our well went completely dry. My dad complained, to no avail. One Sunday, when the problem had become acute, our good Baptist neighbours went off to pray to their god and my dad ran a garden hose from their water tower to our well, and voila, we had water again.

I don't think that many Americans realize just how dire the lack of water is in the Southwest. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the amount of groundwater in the Fort Bayard area has decreased anywhere from 3 to 10 cubic km (.7 to 2.4 cubic miles) between 1900 and 2008 . It's hard to imagine a cube of water that large. Its loss results in land subsidence and the drying up of streams and rivers, and takes more and more energy to pump the remaining reserves from deep aquifers; to even reach water, wells have to be 300 - 500 feet deeper than was required in the 19th Century. Near coastal areas, salt water replaces fresh water in aquifers. There is now, according to the U.S.G.S., more saline water in U.S. aquifers than fresh water.

Sorry, I don't have any stamps or covers that would do justice as an illustration to this off-topic post!

Bob




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