Stamp Newspapers

The high point of stamp journalism was in the 1930’s. Scores of weekly and monthly philatelic periodicals existed, many of them only a few pages and many of the journals existing for only a few issues. The Great Depression put many people out of work and printing companies had tremendous excess capacity so there were many people with time to write and publish and printing costs were cheap. WW II put many of the less significant publications out of business as rationing made printing more difficult and the war meant full employment here at home.

 In the last sixty years the history of philatelic journalism has been one of decreasing resources and readership. In the 1970’s there were four large general circulation weeklies, having a combined readership of over 200,000 stamp collector and dealer readers firsthand (the surveys at the time said the the average stamp weekly was passed on to 2.5 additional readers so the weekly readership totals were probably closer to half a million). Much of the weekly press was light news that wrapped around dealer advertising price lists. As the Internet has made print redundant for advertising, philatelic publications have fallen away. Today, Linns is the only weekly left and has about 35,000 subscribers. The latest issue is 52 pages, about a third of its former heft and four of the pages are advertisements from the publisher hawking products that they sell.

 Collectors will continue to get most of their information from the web. But the difficulty for our hobby is the same as the difficulty for most subjects that require the use of Internet search engines to obtain results. There is little discrimination. Years ago a good editor filtered what collectors read. Rather than being censorship, the editorial function shepherded collectors towards the information that was most useful for them, that was accurate and that had the greatest utility for the amount of time that was required to read it. Today, with so much unfiltered information, collectors can be so stuffed at the general sm

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