Collectors Who Want Our Hobby to Fail

One would think that all members of a team would want that team to succeed. Or that all politicians in a nation would want that country’s economy to thrive. Or that all philatelists would want to see our hobby and their subset of the hobby increase in popularity. But, unfortunately, this is not always the case with teams and countries and philately. Most collectors want their hobby to do well, but there are a subset of collectors that deliberately make their specialty societies hard to join, their literature obtuse, and are very unwelcoming to new collectors. The majority of collectors want our hobby to do well. But I know of two specialty societies (and they will remain nameless, because as a stamp dealer there is a limit to the number of enemies that I can afford to make) that are purposely off putting to new collectors. They often rationalize it as being upper crust collectors or snooty, but the reason the president of one of these societies explained to me years ago was this: “There is really a shortage of material in our area-not nearly enough to go around. If we encourage collectors to collect our area, then the prices of very scarce material goes way up and we can’t afford it any more.”  In philately, as in the rest of life, there are people who identify themselves with their country, team and family and seek to make their groups thrive. And there are others who value their personal interests so highly that the well being of country, family and hobbies take second place. Fortunately, the latter outnumbers the former.

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