About Stamp Dealers - Part 1

The little old lady called the expressman to pick up the rather large and nondescript package. This done she sat at her writing desk and addressed a letter. "Dear Mr. Thorp: I will not be buying any stamps for a while as my son and daughter-in-law have moved from this city for the West. They have asked me to live with them in their new home and have sent me plane tickets. I have arranged here to take care of all of my furniture and things but I did not wish to trust my stamp collection with the other things and it was too large a package to carry with me on the plane: so I am sending all of my stamps - everything - to you. Please keep these for me until I write you from my new home which I shall do if all goes well. However, I am not too sure that all will go well with me as my heart is not what it used to be and I fear the altitude may not be good for me. Only yesterday, while I was packing my things I blanked out and came to lying on the floor.

My doctor has advised me to be very careful but I did not tell him of the plane trip as I was afraid he would not let me go. Neither my son nor daughter-in-law knows of my condition for I did not wish to alarm them and that is another reason I am writing you as I am. If all goes well I shall arrive at my new home with my son and daughter-in-law and no one will be the wiser. However, should anything happen to me I know that my stamp collection will be in good hands. Not that it is worth much but, should anything happen I wish my son and his family who know nothing about stamps to receive whatever little it may be worth.

Just to be on the safe side I am carrying a letter to my son with me and in it I have instructed him to write to you about this. You will know that the letter is from my son for his wife's middle name is Elsie and you may identify him by verifying this fact. I know this letter sounds morbid but it is not intended so. It is just that all of my life I have been careful to keep things in order and, in view of my present health, I do wish everything to be in order in the event that anything should happen. Sincerely yours, Martha Smith Brown (Mrs. John King Brown)

I perused this letter with some surprise. I knew Mrs. Brown merely as a client who had made a few small purchases, in total amount perhaps ten or twelve dollars. All of my contacts with her had been by mail for she resided some hundreds of miles away in a distant state. In all we had exchanged possibly a dozen letters in two years. Always her letters had been marked with the same meticulous explanation of her wants which marked the present letter. I had, from time to time, written rather detailed answers to some of her questions. It was heartwarming to learn that such impersonal contact had inspired her to demonstrate so complete confidence in myself.

There was nothing to do here but to wait for further instructions from Mrs. Brown - or a letter from her son. The letter came from the son. The little old lady had never gotten to the airfield. A second heart attack had come quickly. Thanks to her lifetime habit of putting things in order and her kindness in thinking of others her passing left a sweetness that must be inspiring to her dear ones. I shall always remember Mrs. Brown. She must have been a wonderful person. The incident is completely true excepting only the name of the lady writing the letter. But the feeling of comradeship between dealer and collector which it points up is far from unusual.