I was thinking about how a new collector can approach the hobby as a worldwide collector today versus the past.
For example, back in the 50's and 60's there were x (a variable) stamps available to collect and now we have possibly 1000x or higherstamps available.
The days of a simple worldwide album are long gone for beginners. We then see numerous posts (not as much here) on asking for identification and value for common stamps that lead toward asking a collector to get a set of expensive catalogs.
Unless one starts with a topic or single country, there is likely a big expense jump to get to the next level - not just stamps but accessories (albums, stock sheets, catalogs).
One other thing... way back when I started it was quite affordable for a kid to collect his country's new issues. Not now, with instead of one or two stamps being issued, series now compose of up to 10 sheet stamps, prestige booklets, souvenir sheets. It is just too much for the average kid.
Also, mail is becoming less & less in the eyes of kids. Stamps? why not send email, text or whatever social media app is the latest craze!
TSF member since 2018 RPSC (29621) BNAPS (6948) APS (101944)
In the 1940's, it was even easier. Many companies were selling foreign and US packets. One could even buy packets of stamps (foreign and US) at Kresge, Woolworth, and other 5 & 10 cent stores. Approvals were all over the place. Schools had Stamp Clubs which were very popular. A lot of kids in the Stamp Clubs had Pen-Pals in foreign countries and would swap stamps with each other.
I was fortunate. My Aunt was in the millinery business in New York City. She started me collecting. Every time she came for a visit I would get a large bag of foreign stamps on paper.
Yes a lot has changed, I see many posts of inherited stamps that are little more than accumulations but many are a good jump for collecting. The next phase is usually identifying and organizing (this means knowledge or catalogs) so a deterrent. Anything with a steep enjoyment curve will not likely to sustained even if you gave them a lot of free stamps.
as someone who started collecting in the 50's and then returned briefly in most every decade since (sigh) Returning to the hobby this time (and perhaps the most seriously focused) the learning curve has been steeper. Whereas before, WW was "one of each' now it is shades and varieties. For modern US, the onslaught of so many stamps (and self adhesive (not just a US 'thing) has made this quickly come to a point of "why bother" (and no disrespect to those who collect modern issuers).
It has been not yet a year since I returned to stamping- initially coming to TSF seeking help identifying stamps, relying on online resources and the library, which I soon found limited both in peoples patience and availability at the library.. so I bought a catalogue (Scott), only to discover the fine nuances required specialized references. Long story short I have invested more in reference materials than new acquisitions (this is not a complaint), but more a realization, that like any 'trade" one needs the proper tools.
I personally do not know any "young" collectors (I know younger than me collectors... but... well never mind....). The Sacramento Philatelic Society (I have yet been able to attend a meeting as they meet on the one night of the week I have something else.... )will be having their annually hosted stamp show in early November and I am looking forward to attending, both for possible "finds" as well as seeing first hand the general age of those attending. I would hate to think we are a dying breed, but it does at times seem more fitting for someone older/less socially active
and I imagine trying to research stamps on a cell phone leaving much to be desired
Stanley D. Brown
APS member # 139241 Sacramento Philatelic Society # 2144 Great Britain Philatelic Society # 1526 Belgian Philatelic Study Circle
... first hand the general age of those attending ...
I would expect the majority of attendees be of the gray haired generation. It is getting harder to get the "young-uns" interested. They are more interested in the Social Networks. In a way Computers have been a blessing for Stamp Collectors and a curse at the same time with all the Social Networks.
I agree, collecting is different now than it was then, but the "collecting bug" is universal, if not timeless and individuals have been collecting stuff for centuries as seen in one of my favourite room's of Rembrandt's house...
Museum Het Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt House)
Jodenbreestraat 4, 1011 NK Amsterdam, The Netherlands
So, to promote the hobby among youngsters and encourage their collecting bug, put away the gadgets and spend some time with them discussing a gift bag of thematic collection of stamps related to their interests, e.g sports, animals, etc. aka the Kresge, Woolworth value pack. I think most of us got our start with the hobby from a relative or interested adult and that initial gift, something similar might be worth a try even in the 21st century. It may stick, it may not, but at least they had the exposure and some quality time together spent with a supportive & encouraging mentor. At the same time, it may just turn into the hobby of a lifetime...
My point is that you can give someone (does not matter for age) free stamps but other barriers exist I do not know many collectors that stayed with it from their youth. Each of us connects with stamps and different ways.
Collectors are connected more than ever thanks to the Internet. Stamp clubs with their once a month meetings at night at barriers to working people and others to attend. I am not aware of a physical club or society that maintains an online discussion forum to allow members to connect. Having a web site or Facebook page is more a 1 way communication.
I agree angore; as shared in a recent post, most inherited collection by an adult rarely gets added to and instead ends up on the auction block, sold at a local rummage sale or stashed away under the bed.
At the same time, I too do not know of any collectors that maintained their interests through the middle-school years, but after reading many of the introductions here on the Forum, many of us, if not most, were exposed to the hobby as youngsters and would return to the hobby when time and the inclinations permitted. In the case of giving a young person some stamps, I think this the beginning of fostering the collecting bug already inherent in some, but must also include some face time in which there is interaction between the child, the stamps and a mentor to encourage and foster the pastime (social media rant deleted).
I am not sure what other barriers exist either than time, interest of a caring adult or mentor, and cost. For the last one, it scales and that "Walmart" packet could the necessary exposure to provide hours of enjoyment & entertainment for a youngster and then later as an adult. The connection with the hobby though starts with exposure and the fostering of the "collecting bug" whatever form it may take going forward...