Apfelbaum’s Corner – Volume 46

What causes a boom in the price level of a country’s stamps? I don’t refer to the gradual, expected increase that takes place on a worldwide basis. I mean the San Marino and Vatican type of sudden price spurt that took place in the mid-1960’s.

Sometimes, it is true, a long hidden condition of real scarcity is discovered and leads to the upward price rush. But more often, this price jump is the direct result of an intense promotion by interested principles.

A group of knowledgeable “professionals” can, by clever publicity and wash sales, popularize and greatly inflate the price of any philatelic issue. These “professionals” defend their actions by calling attention to the excitement they create within the hobby. This is good, they claim, because many collectors are held to stamps by their love of speculation- and this important segment of collectors is needed.

Perhaps they are right. I won’t pass on their ethics or morality. But for me— and for the greater majority of stamp lovers, the beauty, pleasure, education and social qualities of stamp collecting will always be most exciting and most important.