Sunday 7 November 2010

My carreer as a stamp collector (1st part)


I will in this post, which will run over several sections, try to piece together fragments of events, memories and experiences, that I have gained as a stamp collector for many years, into one whole. I will then register some of the values that I have learned to appreciate as a collector, because they have helped me progress from one collecting level to the next, next, next etc. I am in other words, far from finished collecting stamps .

1. Age 6 - 15

Stamp packets, office-clips and clips from correspondence of family and acquaintances was when I was six years old (1959), the first sources to my collection, which of course was a world-wide collection. Everything was good. As I determined the origin of the stamps country by country, I mounted them in a self-made album consisting of rectangles drawn on bent A4 sheets. Duplicates came in envelopes.

At my 4th and 5th grade in school (I am now 11-12 years old) two schoolmates and I formed our own little postage stamp club. Its name was "The Perforation". I collected Scandinavia, Ejnar Portugal and Ole played the clarinet. It was limited in what came out of the stamp club, but it was cosy and buns that our mothers baked were good.

One time I showed up at the local stamp club's junior section. That I did not get much out of. The other boys were much wiser and smarter than I was, I thought. They knew how to look up stamps in a catalogue and all discussions were about catalogue value and their recent discovery of variants of Danish and German stamps.

The family's annual visit to Copenhagen enabled the purchase of practical plastic cartons and glassine envelopes in Magazin du Nord’s stamp department. Their stamp selection was, however, not very exciting and above all expensive. Dad and I went instead to see stamp dealer Junior in Silver Street to complement the collection. I remember Junior unsuccessfully tried to convince me that a beautiful pair of AFA Denmark AFA number 7 was a better buy than one single piece. This wise counsel, however, did not go down well. There was no room for pairs in my homemade album.

Every week I read the stamp columns in Sunday Politiken and Berlingske Saturday. (I cut the articles and have them still). I subscribed to Popular Philately (PF) to keep up with the new issues and also found the addendum to AFA. When a new Danish stamp unveiled I submitted addressed envelopes to the Post's Philatelic Department to get them stamped as FDCs. These envelopes were one of my biggest disappointments. What could I do with them other than to pile them? Nobody was interested in my FDCs.

I took over my parents Schaubeck albums. To their amazement, I immediately removed all the stamps and put them into a stock book. These two World Wide albums from the 1930'ies had too many empty spaces. How I ever could have something presentable by those albums I had no idea. Luckily, I saved the albums and have them today.

Through small ads in Popular Philately and a Scandinavian quarterly magazine, I got my first pen friends in Denmark and Scandinavia. Sven from Stockholm sent me through many years three of all new Swedish stamps. A stamp for my collection and 2 tokens to barter with. I did what I could to be a faithful pen friend but homework often had to come before the hobby. Thanks to The Oceania Collector, I also got friends in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and especially in Australia. My little travel typewriter, which I got from grandpa ticked along merrily.

An event, which had far greater impact on my stamp career than I understood at the time, was when Richard Boyer, the brother of friends of my grandparents, one day came to visit. I was told that he was a great collector of Frederiksberg. He was actually even president of the country's largest club: Frederiksberg Stamp Society, FFF.

Boyer was appreciative of my little collection, and gave me good advice, that I could move forward. He told me, for example about the quality of cancellations on Danish stamps, especially King Christian X series. He showed me some of the less known Danish errors like "the expensive candy", missing crosses in the Alexandrine series, the broken leg on the Nordic swan stamps and 70 ore King Christian X with thick figures. He asked me for the first time to face the issue. When some time in the future you have a complete collection of Denmark, that is one of each, what will be your next step? - I am still uncertain as to what should be the answer.

Boyer's visit ended with my father joining Frederiksberg Stamp Society on my behalf. I was not old enough. FFF's club meetings, I could not go to because they took place in Copenhagen, and I lived in Southern Jutland, but FFFs swap leader began sending beautiful selection consignments for me and I took with my father (who paid the feast) stamps to complete my collection. Now there was slippage in the joints.

-- o0o –

The next section of the post will be about my membership in Haderslev Stamp Club and participation in its Board. I met personalities like the chairman of the club, grocery shop owner Larsen, the nice “home-German” and Germany specialist Geil and Sigfred Jensen. The latter inspired me with his collection of Danish bi-coloured, Henning Schneider, who moved to the capital, my neighbour and Iceland collector Eigil Rasmussen and finally my participation in 2 club shows and my meeting with the well-known collector Jacob Engel.