Number 6

Those who read here regularly know I’m combining several blogs into one and putting everything I’ve ever written – or will write – here on The Dancing Calf. You may or may not know that I am a stamp collector – I know, I know, it ruins your vision of me as James Bond – but I’ve been collecting since the fifth grade. That’s a long time.

Stamp Dealing Hucksters

As a philatelist, I read The American Philatelist, a perk from membership in, what else but the American Philatelic Society. As is plainly seen, stamp collectors aren’t exactly creative.

Anyhoo, I wrote a letter to them recently, in response to an essay on stamp selling hucksters. For those followers who are also collectors, I thought you might like to read it:

I enjoyed the February issue of The American Philatelist and reading about philatelic hucksters.

We all know this is far from a dead issue.

Years ago, in the ancient days, I responded to a dealer of French stamps on a CompuServe forum. I explained that I spend about twenty bucks a month on French stamps and would love to see an approval selection. A month later, I received a fat envelope from him and trembled when I opened it, seeing I could buy the entire selection for a awesomely reduced price of only $5,000! I promptly put the package into a new envelope and ran to my local post office to spend my entire month’s budget on shipping  and paying to be notified when the package was received. I sent a note saying as much to the dealer.

You know what happened next.

A month later – also publicly on CompuServe, I received a message from said dealer stating that I was an obvious shyster, that he received neither stamps nor payment and, though he was loath to do it, now publicly demanded that I send 5,000 bucks pronto. I smiled and wiped my brow when I wrote back saying that the stamps were lovely but priced far above my budget, and that I have a statement from his post office that a) they received my package, b) it was delivered to the recipient’s box, and c) it was picked up on such and such a date. It was the last time I heard from him and the last time I saw his name on that forum.

As in all things, especially when money or humans are involved, it’s good to remember, caveat emptor.

This is by far the most expensive stamp sham I’ve been involved in. And to give credit where credit is due, I’ve found that most folks whom I’ve dealt with are pleasant and helpful, especially to my kids to whom they’ve doled out tons of stuff to, knowing, or]f course, that a few short years, collectors who spend two bucks a month grow up to be old collectors with a few more bucks to spend. Maybe.

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