Robert Lippert and Dale Hendricks

Two old time stamp dealers died last week-Robert Lippert and Dale Hendricks. Bob Lippert was 82 and Dale was close to eighty. I hadn’t seen much of them the last ten years or so but in the 1970’s they both came regularly to our auctions and for many years Bob was our number one customer. Both men ran prominent stamp businesses in the 1970’s and 1980’s. As their businesses declined in the 1990’s and afterwards, it showed how stamp selling had changed.
Until twenty years ago, there were innumerable small stamp auctions in this country. Usually they were called Mail Sales which meant that they were auctions without floor competition. Average lot prices were low – typically in the $5-$250 range- a tier or two below the average range at Public Auction. There were hundreds of these Mail Sales a year. J&H Stolow alone offered 200,000 lots a year. We offered over 150,000 lots per year, first under the name Discount Stamp Co and then under our house brand. Dale and Lippert were mostly Mail Sale dealers too.

The Internet has changed all of this. A successful stamp dealer used to be able to rely on his proprietary list of buyers. Companies spent years trying to build these lists. Today, through EBAY and other vehicles, everyone has instant access to the same buyers. Now, successful stamp dealing is more dependent on the ability to acquire philatelic material for sale through effective buying advertising and accurate valuations of material offered for sale. Now more than ever, for a successful stamp dealer, it’s not who you know but what you know.
I’ll always remember Bob and Dale and their advice to me when I was young. Bob’s advice was about success “Always remember” he said “you can only eat one steak a night”. And Dale “Satisfaction Guaranteed-offer that to your customers and you will find satisfaction…guaranteed.”

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