About Stamp Dealers - Part 2

This is not just a case of a few well-known dealers being on a friendly basis with a few equally well-known collectors. It is an almost universal attribute of the hobby and exists throughout the country wherever stamps are collected or wherever stamps are bought and sold. Stamp dealers of any center of philatelic activity lunch together, belong to the same societies, plan together and discuss their problems with each other. They support, by becoming members, the various collector societies, attend meetings, serve on committees, help with exhibitions, and serve as judges of competitive exhibitions and no one at any time would ever question their integrity or their fair-mindedness in such matters. When the dealers themselves undertake to sponsor a straight "commercial" stamp show, collectors aid by subscribing to "lounges," holding conventions, and arranging special group luncheons and dinners to take place in connection with the show.

Thus each such event, whether it be dealer-inspired or collector-inspired, becomes a meeting place for all philatelists in a common effort to attract others to the hobby and thus enlarge their ranks. The advantage to the dealer of having more collectors for possible clients is obvious. Not quite so obvious are the advantages to the collector, yet the motivating force behind all such efforts arises from the common desire, of professional and amateur alike, to do all of these things for the general good. Perhaps in no other business in the world is there so close a bond between professional and amateur. How did they get that way? A fair question. Primarily, I think, because every dealer at heart is a collector. He must be, because the financial rewards of his occupation are not usually great. And, on the other hand, every collector at heart is a dealer.

American Stamp Dealers Association show
View of an American Stamp Dealers Association (ASDA) show

He, too, has to be a dealer for his hobby is constantly involving him in trading treasures with other collectors and selling stamps for which he no longer has use. While it is beyond doubt that the dealer is the greatest source of supply for the collector, it is equally true that the collector is the greatest source of supply for the dealer.But, besides the economics involved, the reason for such a close bond lies deeper and on firmer ground. Because the dealer is a professional and stamp collecting is his vocation he spends most of his waking hours handling and studying stamps. He has opportunity to see a great many collections which the ordinary collector cannot see. And he not only has the time to study stamps but, in fact, is required to know them. Hence, in a large way, the dealer is the source of knowledge. But here, again, the situation is not all one-sided by a long shot. The collector specialist usually knows a great deal more about his pet group of stamps than anyone else. The dealer often depends on such specialists for knowledge which he passes along to other collectors. The outstanding feature of the whole relation is that knowledge is exchanged freely either by word of mouth or in articles both professionals and amateurs write in the various philatelic magazines.