Demise of the Stamp Store

Demise of the Stamp Store

Stamp collecting was one of America’s favorite pastimes. Whether it was collecting singles, blocks, sheets or first day issues. It brought families, people and cultures together.  Gone are the days when you could walk a few blocks to consult your neighborhood stamp store to learn more about the paper gem you acquired from across the globe. These little adhesive paper relics did more than just stick to an envelope; they bridged cultural divides and educated the masses about subjects ranging from sports to politics. This is why President Franklin Delano Roosevelt advocated and encouraged all Americans to take up stamp collecting. In fact, FDR could arguably be credited with popularizing this hobby in America.

 

Stamp Collecting After the First World War

Following the First World War and coming into a time of severe economic depression, FDR showed America that there was still a place that one could find solace and peace of mind. This quiet space could be found in the art of stamp collecting. Back in the mid 1930’s Roosevelt with the help of his friend Postmaster General James A. Farley Spent a lot of time brainstorming ideas in regards to creating more stamps and expanding the hobby. He spoke of investing in postage stamps which had the post offices printing more than they could handle to meet the demand from collectors. Subsequently, by the mid 1940’s there was a stamp store on almost every corner in America.

Stamp collecting has declined due to the proliferation of the internet.

 

Stamp Collecting Today

With the proliferation of technology and the internet, stamp collecting has declined each year. The irony is that the bridges of progress that were built by postage stamps have been broken down by the advancements of technological progress. The sweet simplicity of the postage stamp has been overrun by the digital footprint. Very few people today actual write letters; this has reduced the need for stamps and in consequence interest in collection stamps has drastically waned. Also, with little interest from the younger generations, stamp collecting is beginning to diminish as a favorite pastime. It will never be what it once was in the 20th century, when most families across the globe would come together in the evening to fill in their stamp albums with the new set of stamps they purchased from their neighborhood stamp store. Today, your lucky if you find just one stamp store in the whole town.

 


The content of this article is freely licensed under the terms of Nicholas Vespucci

 

Nick’s Stamps was established in 2002 and  is located in San Diego California.

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I found my first stamp collection 13 years ago at a Salvation Army in San Diego and I was hooked from day one! I began to amass more collections and spent a few years researching the stamp market.I started advertising and making offers on stamp collections.

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9 Comments

  1. Dennis Chick

    Unfortunately, everything you said is true. Even thinking about passing my collection on to my kids or grandkids makes no sense anymore because it will either sit somewhere and rot or get sold to some dealer for a fraction of its worth.

  2. Mike Cicchetti

    Over the past few years Ive noticed high value US stamps gaining value. I inherited my grandfathers collection in 1989 and have been adding to it since, filling in the high dollar value mint singles. I completed my US Commemoratives last year. Im still excited to look over my stamps and still attend local and national shows. At 42, I feel Im the absolute youngest person in the building, but still enjoy the hobby while it lasts. Im hopeful that someday, stamp collecting will be back in the limelight. All it may take is a public figure to endorse it.

    • It would be nice to see a public figure endorse the hobby. I really do believe that kids would be interested if their parents actually knew that the hobby exists. Also the post office does a lousy job promoting the hobby which is one reason they are in so much debt.

  3. Yes I totally agree its too bad young people do not enjoy the hobby. The post office is a joke in service and promoting the hobby of stamp collecting. I really enjoy the history in stamps especially collecting old mail. I started when I was in 5th grade and sold my first collection to pay for my way thru college. Iam trying to interest my daughter but the cell phone has taken over. Thank-You

  4. Hi….
    I would probably agree that most of what has been discussed both on your website and in these comments is certainly true in many respects.
    HOWEVER, there are many advantages in the marketplace today as well which should be advocated, especially by those who enjoy the hobby and would like to see it re-vitalize itself.
    I am one of those older stamp collectors…..69 ….started when I was 11; but like many of us…..was not able to actively collect during many of our “working years”. Now with retirement, I have been fortunate to be able to re-kindle this most enjoyable pastime.
    I have a large 6 vol Minkus Worldwide Collection (prob over 15,000 stamps-all catalogued); a large U.S. Collection (also catalogued); and two NEW theme-oriented Collections: Old Sailing Ships & Unique Worldwide Lighthouses.
    So let me take a minute to pass along my two cents:

    First off, with less people in the hobby….only increases the value and rarity of the stamps still in circulation.
    Secondly, and perhaps even more important, with technology easily at hand now……i.e. internet websites like:http://www.stampworld.com/en/
    & online cataloging and such helpful aides, trade and auction services abound….not to mention the huge Ebay market. Then you have many, many more groups, clubs and the like via social media sources.
    Yes, the youth of today rarely show any interest in such pastimes, but that is simply a small block of any potential market.
    Take a look at these links when you have time: http://www.ahametals.com/philately-paying-hobby/
    http://hobbies.squidoo.com/philately-stamp-collecting

    Bernie

  5. While I agree the hobby is declining in numbers when compared to the heyday of the 1940’s-1980 period, especially in the US, the hobby is far from dead. The collector base and the primary method of purchasing stamps has changed.

    Stamps lend themselves to online selling. On-line selling has actually increased the reach of stamps to the general public. They are easy to display online and ship, and buyers can view and search a vast amount of material in a very short time. I see many more women collecting these days amid a group that has been traditionally older and male, and collecting for wide range of reasons from collecting topical stamps consisting of their favorite subject matter, colors, or area of the world. Not so much to fill an album, but just because they like the stamp. I also see the hobby still very popular in Europe, Asia, South America, and many other parts of the globe.

    More to blame is the generally disinterest in hobbies in general. Talk to a hobby store and you will hear about disappointing sales. Model trains, cars, puzzles, crafts, board games are all on the downturn. People have less time to spare, and they usually fill that time with technology such as on-line games, movies, internet browsing, and social media.

    I feel that stamp collecting and buying will continue for many years to come. I find that sales are strong and the demand is there. As with most businesses, you must change your business model to meet current demand or die.

  6. Stephanie

    I have quite a lot of German stamps 1921-1955. Should I even bother trying to sell them and make decent money off of them. After reading son e of these posts , I wonder now.
    greeknme@gmail.com

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