Worries and Anxieties

The lot of the stamp collector today is not a very happy one. The number of countries and minor settlements that are now issuing stamps is larger than before the war, and the number of stamps that have seen the light since that period is increasingly large, and a diminishing of them to an appreciable extent does not seem to be in sight. On top of this we have the constant changing rate of exchange (money), one of the greatest sources of worry the collector has to contend with if he wants to order stamps from overseas dealers. Perhaps the real trouble is that the average collector who has decided to confine his attention to a certain number of countries only, has undertaken more than he can carry out - either through lack of time or confined exchequer, or both.

It seems only the other day, yet the date was the signing of the Armistice, that a collector told us he was going to dispose of his Australasian and Islands collections, and would confine his energies to the stamps issued by the Allies and their enemies from the date the war started until a world’s peace was declared. As he includes all stamps described in Stanley Gibbons’ war catalogues, also the new States that formerly belonged to Germany, Austria, Turkey or other enemies, it is easy to imagine the kind of contract he has taken on. He has realized now that the task is beyond him, yet cannot make up his mind as to what countries to reject.

There must be, perhaps, hundreds like him all over the world. One has only to open up the overseas weekly and fortnightly philatelic journals that come across and note the pages devoted to new issues, to understand what collectors are up against.  From another point of view we can see a good deal of interest, if not amusement, in watching the avalanche of New-Europe stamps that are being issued. We have only to give as an example the Oct. 13 issue of Stamp Collectors’ Fortnightly, wherein we find Danzig set down for seven new issues, from 10,000 marks to 2,000,000 marks; Germany with 23, ranging from 5,000 marks to 2,000,000 marks (two varieties); Benadir, 11 stamps; Italian Somaliland, 19 stamps; Luxemburg, 36 stamps; other countries, 34 stamps, a total of 130 for which the collector has to find room in the album, or a few less if he collects New-Europe. Some collectors look upon the New-Europe stamps, especially subdivided Germany and Austria, as “rubbish.” We cannot agree with them, as all of them make history, although this kind of history may be hard to follow.

We cannot see a remedy for the worries collectors have to bear just now, until Europe comes back to normal condition. This is not in sight, and may not be until the young man of today reaches a mature age.