Monday, November 28, 2011

Being a Stamp Dealer Runs in The Family

The San Francisco Chronicle posts a story on its about Warren Sankey (shown here) who owns and operates "the oldest independent stamp store of its type west of the Mississippi River."

Opened in 1928, United States Stamp Co. was started by his father, Frank, who bought the business in 1955 from its founder, Earl Hamilton. The younger Sankey bought the business from his dad in 1980 and has being running it ever since.

According to the article by Edward Guthmann, "There used to be a couple dozen stamp dealers in San Francisco, each with its own storefront. San Francisco was a tremendous hub for stamps. One by one, most of the dealers went the way of the Internet. Or they just do the large stamp shows."

Sankey is quoted in the piece as saying, "I'm one of the last ones left. My compelling reason for being this lone duck is my interest in dealing with people directly and having a nuts-and-bolts operation where customers can handle the merchandise - see the stamps they're buying."

He goes on to say, "I also buy a lot of stamps. People bring in childhood collections a lot, hoping they'll be able to put their kids through college by selling them. Usually, I can open up to one page and know right away that it's not worth anything. A lot of times it's a collection they might've purchased from an ad on a Wheaties box: '100 stamps for 25 cents.' And it's still worth 25 cents."

"I used to have a staff of eight, but now it's just me and my daughter, Catherine, who works three days a week," according to Sankey. "We actually have three generations, because she just had a baby. My grandson, my daughter and myself hold down the fort."

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