Acquiring Stamps

In 1970 a stamp collector had to work hard to find stamps for his collection. If he collected with any degree of specialization, collecting was more about searching for than acquiring stamps. Most collectors had geographic access to at least a moderate stamp dealer’s shop (there were stamp shops in those days). But stamp dealer inventories at most of these shops were thin. Collectors looked forward to stamp shows where as many as a hundred dealers had their wares and would travel great distances and give up entire weekends to attend these shows. Weekly stamp magazines were carefully examined for advertisements that listed items that might be of use. But even with all the effort it was still a great day when a collector found a precious addition to his collection. Today, collectors are overwhelmed with offers. Between Ebay, StampWants, and all the auction sites and stores there are easily five million different stamps and covers available for sale at any one time and ready for your viewing any time of the day or night. And search engines allow even the most esoteric specialties to be sorted through instantaneously. So now the major collector decisions are from whom rather than from where to buy your stamps. Almost any item can be bought from numerous places all of which can be immediately listed on your computer. In this sense the Internet has made business more competitive. Dealers must offer the best prices, conservative grading and perfect service or collectors can easily take their business elsewhere. Dealers who are successful today are truly market tested.
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