Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stamp Collectors - Young and Old

My own hometown newspaper, the Glendale News-Press, ran a story yesterday regarding the stamp show held here each month.

In it reporter Christopher Cadelago writes, "Sitting side by side at the Five-Star Saturday Glendale Stamp Show...There’s 23-year-old Garrett Williams, part of a generation chided by stamp collectors as having little interest in anything that can’t be plugged into an electrical socket. And then there’s his grandpa, Ralph West, whose decades in Southern California have done little to mask his Brooklyn accent."

Referring to West, a longtime owner of collector shops across the San Fernando Valley, Christopher pens, "He makes light of an atmosphere that wavers between quaint and stodgy, though there’s still money to be made. And he ridicules stamp collecting, granted with a tinge of sadness, as 'not dying, but already dead.'”

Grandson Williams is quoted as saying, "Just look around. Do you see any young people that will do this in the future? You look at a stamp and you put it away. There isn’t much else to do with it.”

In response, I wrote the following letter-to-the-editor...

"While it's true you don't see too many young people at stamp shows - they'll be back. You have to understand that kids start collecting stamps in elementary school. They then go on to middle school and discover the opposite sex, sports, computers, and cars. After they graduate from high school and college, they're focused on jobs, buying houses and raising a family. Then after the kids have grown up and moved out, they have some extra time and money. That's when they usually rediscover their childhood hobby and go to stamp shows like the one held in Glendale. Up to then they are pretty darn busy with other things."

Shown above, an undated Russian postcard picturing young and old collectors.

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM