It was in 1973 that an elderly gentleman introduced me to the world of stamps. I was going to London on an export mission he persuaded me to buy his stamp collection which as per Stanley Gibbons catalogue was double of his asking price. Overcome with greed at the thought of making a fast buck I bought it without knowing the fundas of philately
Lesson No 1
Never buy stamps for profit or investment. I learnt my lesson the day after I landed in London and headed for strand, then the mecca for stamps lovers. No dealer would even give me even a fraction of what i had invested. 🙁
Lesson No 2
A high catalogue value of a collection, a set or even a single stamp does not necessary ensure a guarantee amount of even half the catalogue price
(Messrs Stanley Gibbons produce a catalogue which is the retail price of stamps they sell & not real values of stamps. I figure the main reason behind this business acumen is that their share prices would dip sharply as their stamp assets values would nose dive ! This is not to demean an institute which is almost 150 years old & whose catalogues are considered the bibles of philately. The collector must understand also that there are a lot of factors involved like the condition of the stamps etc )
But I digress.
Frustrated but not the sort to give up I looked at their requirements & started exchanges of packets & mixtures after returning to India 3 years later. It was a very small beginning & I started loving the hobby. The 90,s saw the dotcom boom & I decided to put my excess stamps online for sale & thus was born Stamps World India. It has been 10 years now & I am enjoying & loving every bit of my hobby. I am a collector, not a dealer, selling surplus material.
Lesson No 3
Do philately only if you enjoy it as a hobby & if you happen to profit from it consider it as an added bonus!
When I launched this website in the year 2000 I had had a lot of hope that I would be able to sell all my accumulations & duplicates through this then new medium – the Internet.
Looking back I think I have partly managed to not only do that, but in that process gained a whole lot of new friends in philately! If not for anything else the internet has encouraged many new people to pursue this fascinating hobby. What was predominantly a male dominated hobby has found a lot of acceptance from women too! It is not known who was the first collector but it is a well known fact that philately has attracted millions of people of all ages who take keen interest in collecting stamps of various countries of the world.
Unlike other sports, interestingly there is no age of retirement in philately 😉