A correspondent desires to know why we discourage the collection of watermark varieties. There are two ways of conducting a business. The commonest plan is for the seller to strive to get rid of his stock on hand. To induce his customer to spend all his available funds and if the customer has reserve capital to sell him on credit as much as he can be cajoled into buying. Some dealers have accumulated considerable capital by this method of doing business. Our plan is exactly the reverse. We do not desire our customers to spend one dollar more than their income warrants or that will curtail in a measurable degree their expenditures in other directions. Moreover, for the money they spend on stamps we desire them to get the utmost value.
When we advise the purchase of any particular line of stamps it is because our own stock is deficient and we have been unable to replenish when wanted, under these circumstances we know that collectors will do well in filling up the spaces in their albums as advised. The collector to buy to advantage must decide how much per year he can devote to his hobby. If his limit be one hundred dollars or less he should buy on a wholly different plan to the man who expects to spend a thousand dollars in the same time.
For instance the collector having the set 1902 St. Vincent could not sell them for more than he would receive for the same values of the 1904 issue yet they would cost him considerable higher, but if he was the fortunate possessor of a complete set of all the issues of St. Vincent he would doubtless receive more for the C.A. set than for the issue with multiple watermark.
The thousand-dollar collection always realizes a much higher percentage of catalogue price than one cataloguing one-tenth of the sum named. The completed page always looks better in an album than one only partly full, and herein lies the popularity of the Seebeck stamps. They have been anathematized and decried for the past fifteen years but they still remain amongst the best sellers.
The British Colonials with their sets with the C.C. or C.A. and later “multiple” watermarks require double the amount to collect and for the amateur of moderate means spoils the looks and appearance of every page designed for their reception provided spaces have been left for the different watermarks. When every design and value has been secured it will be ample time to look for the different watermarks and by that time there will be no difference in the prices except for the rarest varieties. If two British Colonials should be collected because one has a C.A. and the other a C.C. watermark, why do not American amateurs take three sets of the current stamps of their own country, one set being watermarked with a U, the second with an S and the last with a P?