A Winter’s Tale

Philately has always been a cold weather hobby. Its popularity nation to nation and region to region has always increased south to north with the highest concentrations of serious collectors where it is the coldest and darkest. The reasons are clear- a cup of hot chocolate, a stamp album and some new additions to mount are a nice way to spend a cold blustery winter’s evening. There are other reasons too-paper doesn’t keep so well in warm sticky climates and literacy and reading rates which are good predictors of philatelic interest, are higher in northern countries. And we see collector rates getting higher and higher the further from the equator that we move. Philately has always been a major hobby in Scandinavia but even within countries the rate of stamp collecting increases as you move from the warmer parts of the country to the colder. In Germany, probably the most philatelically active nation, far more collectors live in the Northern, colder part of the country than the Southern. And in the United States, except for transplanted snowbird collectors in Florida, most stamp collecting is found in the Northeast and around the Great Lakes. Perhaps the best proof of this premise is the summer-winter phenomena. Stamp dealers invariably find business slower in the summer when collectors spend more time with outdoor activities and less time with their stamps.

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