The first stamp dealer’s store I ever spent any time in is wrapped in memories that gild reality with a richness that is probably lacking. But sitting on that swiveling stool at the counter of the stamp store in Brockton, Massachusetts was akin to sitting on a throne.
That was where I saw a compact kingdom of fascination and splendor. That was where I began to grasp some of the possibilities of stamp collecting, stamp dealing, and where the lives of people who made their living buying and selling stamps came into a vague focus.
I can’t remember the specific items, but treasures were displayed beneath the clear protective covering on the counter. And I can’t remember much about the stamp dealer behind that counter other than he was large and he was nice.
In Nova Scotia I met Stu Blumenthal. He was a stamp dealer with a second floor shop on Barrington Street in Halifax, later on had a street level shop. He sold me wholesale lots which I made up into approvals. That was years ago. Today he splits his time between Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and Stuart, Florida.
Pat Herst has done the definitive job telling us about a stamp dealer’s life. “Nassau Street” is a treat to read.
Perhaps the single greatest stamp dealer of all time was the charming Robson Lowe whose spirit, knowledge and human qualities put him in a league of his own.
Being a stamp dealer is full of both solitude and marvelous relationships. The trust that exists between a dealer and his customers is perhaps rarely found in other businesses.
You find a stamp for a client and you’re probably as thrilled as the client. You break down a stamp collection you’ve acquired and you have a sense of who wants what.
As a stamp dealer I cannot help but marvel at how no other hobby time has accumulated the body of knowledge and research that stamp collecting has. At the difficulties in finding supposedly common stamps that the stamp catalog editors must have access to in abundance but none of the rest of us can find. At what the internet has done to bring stamp collectors and stamp dealers together.
And at how much deep and enduring satisfaction our pursuit of these little pieces of paper provide.