About Stamp Dealers - Part 3

Probably the first professional stamp dealer to set up shop in the world was Stanley Gibbons of London, England. In America the father of professional stamp dealers would likely be John W. Scott. Both of these men had a difficult and uncharted course to follow. Both set out early to publish albums and catalogues of the stamps of the world. Both founded firms that grew to be leaders but that, in time, were to see competition grow up all around them for the hobby they established soon outgrew the ability of any single person or firm to serve its purpose.

At present in the United States the professional stamp world centers in New York City. Here there are hundreds of stamp shops concentrated along Nassau Street and uptown around 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. These stamp stores range from one-man specialists, of which there are a great many, to ground-floor stores employing a number of clerks. Also there are a considerable number of individual dealers and firms engaged solely in selling stamps at public auction, and during the season - early fall to late spring - it is not unusual for several such auctions to take place each week. On occasion two or more auctions will be held on the same day although the auction houses try to avoid such conflicts. It would be difficult to estimate the annual turnover in dollars and cents of all of the stamp dealers in New York. Some idea of the size of this business may be gathered from the fact that a single auction firm will have an annual total sales running more than a million dollars.

First postmaster and manager of the stamp department
During one of frequent exhibits in Gimbel's stamp department, Mr. Bertil Renborg (left), first postmaster of the United Nations, and Mr. Jacques Minkus (right), manager of the stamp department, examine a preview of the first United Nations stamps

In New York, too, is located the famous Gimbels Stamp Department - This is somewhat of a miracle of merchandising for the very nature of the stamp business does not lend itself particularly well to department-store methods. However, under the direction of Jacques Minkus, Gimbels Stamp Department has become one of the large ground-floor features of the store and is one of the bestknown sources of supply for stamps and albums known to American philatelists. The number of collectors who visit this department runs into hundreds of thousands during any year, and all come away amazed at the enormous stock of stamps and the varied supplies that are available. Gimbels Stamp Department is quite probably the outstanding "stamp store" of the world for here one will find not only an extravagant stock of stamps of the world, from the great rarities to the lower priced items, but also every accessory and aid to the hobby that is published or manufactured. Gimbels not only carries in stock all kinds of stamp albums. It really is an amazing operation which has gained a national, even international, reputation.