Many Kinds of Collectors

Stamp collecting provides a pretty big tent and there is room inside for all sorts of people. There are the avid moralists who look for repairs under every hinge. There are the rigid conformists who collect neatly (and only) in preprinted albums, and the messy iconoclasts who exhibit collections with titles such as “stamps I like”. And philately has a spot in its tent for the intellectually driven (and pretentious). Many intelligent people have had hobbies and interests outside their main area of expertise that served as an additional outlet for their intelligence and creativity. The late great evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote extensively on his love of baseball and used his considerable analytical skills to reach some pretty cool conclusions about that game. Vladimir Nabokov was such a passionate lepidopterist that a species of butterfly bears his name. And many of the most arcane postal history studies in our hobby come from people who are profound thinkers in other fields. But we need to keep in mind that this hobby is a big tent and that even brilliant men and women don’t always want to be thinking all the time. A University of Pennsylvania Nobel prize winning biologist was a client of ours. He loved collecting the medical thematics and never got much beyond the simplest philatelic acquisitions. Some look at our hobby as a challenge. But many more just want pretty pictures to sort and play with. Our strength as a hobby is that we have room for both types of collectors.

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