Ezra Cole

Ezra Cole was already an old man when I first came on the philatelic scene in the late 1960’s. Mr Cole (and I would have no more called him Ezra than I would have spelled God with a small g) was a US dealer known for assembling the finest collections and dealing in the very rarest United States stamps. Even by 1970 he was something of an anachronism, but he came out of a tradition of dealers like Eugene Klein, Phil Ward, Eliot Perry and others who were not only stamp dealers but fine philatelic students, men who studied Philately and though they tended to make a pretty good living from our hobby, always gave the impression that it was Philately far more than success that motivated them. The hobby has grown bigger now. When Mr Cole was coming up in the business the very best stamps were spread among a few hundred collectors. Those same rare stamps are now spread among many thousands making it far more difficult for any one dealer to see and control the quantities of material that the great specialty dealers of nearly a century ago could. And there are so many more stamps, specialties and subspecialties for professionals to know now that a return to the Ezra Cole kind of stamp dealer is an impossibility. In Mr Cole’s day a wealthy, well heeled collector went to him and Mr Cole or Mr Weill built their gold medal collection for them (often mounting and displaying it as well). Those days are long ago.

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