Three Philatelies Part II

The three different kinds of collecting have different strengths right now and differing market futures in my opinion. Mainstream Philately will continue with its strength largely determined by the number of new collectors who come into the hobby. Over the next decade or two we should continue to see relative strength as the Baby Boomer generation enters its greatest collecting years. After that, less strength in the mainstream areas of the hobby is likely. The competition from newer issues, the decline in newer collectors that surely must result from the lack of a current generation that saves stamps, and the fact that the future of postal services around the world is problematic, makes the long term future for mainstream Philately worrisome. High-end Philately should do better. Although it is hard to predict what price levels will be like, the very rarest stamps will always find ready homes as they have for the last 170 years. The aspirational specialties that create rarity by severely limiting the scope of what is collected (for instance, collecting a county’s postmarks for a certain decade) will always be idiosyncratic and though hard to find, even harder to sell when the collector has achieved his goals. Any predictions about the future of these distinct collecting styles are difficult. What the USPS and Post Office’s worldwide choose to do with promoting philately will have a major impact. A private company that produced its own labels for sale which never had to be redeemed would promote the hell out of this hobby. Whether the quasi government postal services will do so remains to be seen.
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