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Saturday, March 03, 2012

Coveting thy Neighbor's Stamp Collection

Unlike many stamp collectors, I spend a fair amount of time being "plugged into" online venues. I have-- in essence-- been "a nerd" since first messing around with computers in the mid- to late 1970's. I am fairly well-versed in blogging, building web sites, Facebook, twitter, search engines and most other things relating to the World Wide Web. I went to one of the very few schools that had a computer-- when I was 16 (in 1976), such a computer sat in an entire room, and had less computing power than today's average SmartPhone!

But I am digressing.

I am fairly active on a number of online forums for stamp collectors. As part of our forum activities, we tend to share stories and post pictures of our recent finds and acquisitions. In some ways, I think stamp collectors are as much into telling "big fish stories" as any group of people!

A nice stamp I recently added to my collection
What I have found interesting, though, is that whenever I post news about something I've found-- a nice stamp I recently added to my collection-- I almost immediately get a half-dozen inquiries: "Do you want to sell that? Is it for sale? How much is it? Do you have more?"

Maybe I'm being "too sensitive," here... but such inquiries feel a bit akin to walking up to someone you meet at a dinner party and asking "How much money do you make?" I certainly am aware that stamp collecting-- and collecting ANYthing, for that matter-- is about "getting" things for your collection. But still... there is (at least to MY way of thinking!) a huge difference between "new things I put on eBay" and "new things I put in my collection."

It makes me sit back and wonder if everything in life-- not just in stamp collecting-- has gotten to the point where our primary thinking is about "acquisition" rather than about what makes things interesting, in the first place.

Then again, maybe these inquiries are merely the result of the fact that I do sell stamps, as well as collect them-- and maybe part of the territory is an automatic assumption that "everything is for sale." That said, I regard myself as a collector first, and a trader/seller, second.

I should hasten to add that I am not upset about this practice-- merely a little curious.

Happy collecting to all!

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