Saturday, 2 July 2011

What is happening to our dear hobby?

Does material produced for stamp collectors - so-called philatelic products - pose a threath to traditional stamp collecting and philately. If so, how come? and why? Let us start a debate on this topic because it affects many of us and for sure has come to stay.

Does philatelic products flourish more than they used to? Is there today a greater demand for philatelic products than a few years back? How to find out? Assuming that the number of stamp and cover collectors is declining, but still of a very considerable size? Assuming that postal used material is getting less and more difficult to get at? Could it be that a gap, bigger than a few years back - that is before e-mail and other forms of web based communication became part of almost every ones daily life – is created and is being filled out by philatelic products in increasingly large quantities?

I do not have statistics to back me up, but I think and I fear that the answers to my questions posed above are “yes”.

Does it matter? I would say yes! Why is this? It is because such a development undermines the traditional and very diverse hobby of stamp collecting and philately. The positive side of course is that the number of people interested in stamps is maybe not declining as rapidly as it is sometimes asserted. But this leads to more questions. Are collectors of philatelic products really collectors of postage stamps. Broadly speaking of course the answer must be affirmative, but the fact of the matter is that a lot of the fun connected with being a stamp collector is going lost for those that prefer the philatelic products.

Let me give you some examples. A First Day Cover - and that goes for most CTO covers - are created only for collectors and fiends of stamps. The CTO covers have never seen a postal process. So questions concerning rates and routes don’t matter to collectors of CTOs. The same goes for mini-sheets and most of the CTO cancelled stamps. Variations in perforation, gum, design sometimes called varieties don’t matter. The philatelic product is complete in itself.

The background for issuing the stamp also changes. It is often seen that stamps of a certain face value do not reflect a postal demand. Stamps still have interesting and likeable motives, but the processes and resources that were in earlier years put into the design, layout, engraving and printing have today been cut considerably. The little new pieces of art that we were used to welcome and enjoy when issued are disappearing rapidly.

The so-called "development" can be cruel. Luckily we are still many that appreciate a good old well designed stamp and postal used covers with all the stories and mysteries that they entail.

1 comment:

jonsanford said...

I share your concerns. Remarkable that there are no comments since last july.

I have been typing my concerns in a forum lately to what I perceive a frosty reception .

Mentioning CTO is not nice. If one is selling CTO is priced as used in the catalogue ( scott). Why clue the cureless?