Positive Image Of Stamp Collecting

Image result for the lone wolf michael lanyardThe Lone Wolf was a detective series in the 1920s about a high end burglar named Michael Lanyard who helped the police solve crimes. The series was written by Louis Joseph Vance and was made into about twenty movies in the 1930s. I happened to see one recently on TCM entitled The Lone Wolf Keeps a Date. The plot is a twisted kidnapping, but a key part of the story is that the Lone Wolf—a cool debonair urbane sophisticated lady killer and international jewel thief and crime solver—is a stamp collector. In the first scene, he buys what appears to be a Cuba #244a, an inverted center (though the denomination was difficult to see, and the movie was in black and white) which is represented as the great rarity that the Lone Wolf needs for his very extensive stamp collection (though the invert today catalogs only $650, so philatelic license was taken as to rarity). The collection is then stolen from the Lone Wolf who must solve the kidnapping in order to get his collection back. The stamps are a side plot, but the fact that someone like the Lone Wolf could plausibly be portrayed as a serious philatelist tells much about how philately was viewed then and how it s viewed now.

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The Lone Wolf – Michael Lanyard—was the hero of eight books and nearly twenty movies having such love interests as Ida Lupino and Rita Hayworth. How times have changed. Can you imagine a Brad Pitt character being a serious stamp collector or Bradley Cooper? Part of what attracts people to a hobby is the image it projects. Philately’s image has become far more cerebral and far less cool.

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