Is Stamp Collecting An Investment? Part 3

I venture to say that no collector of great art ever considered his purchases an investment, although he surely knows that the painting he purchases today will have a substantial salvage value tomorrow. Without, such assurance he would never acquire the painting. But if you ask me what then is the "value" of stamp collecting, I have a very good answer. First, we collect stamps for the very simple reason that all people of intelligence delight in surrounding themselves with the fine and the cultural things of life. The mere ownership of something fine and rare is a great source of satisfaction in itself. This pleasure is expressed in many ways by different persons. Some find delight in collecting antique furniture, fine china, glass, pewter and other things that either are in themselves works of art or have historical significance. Others fill their homes with paintings, etchings, fine books, autographs, and similar things indicative of the culture of our civilization. Each in his own way and according to his own tastes collects that thing in which he finds interest. If we found no more than this in stamp collecting, we should be completely satisfied. But there is much more.

Collecting stamps, as with every other hobby ever devised, is a mechanism of escape, one of those things in life in which we find genuine pleasure. Only the miser piles up "the golden grain" for the sake of the money itself. Only the hermit prefers to live in solitude apart from his fellow man. The rest of us look upon money as a means of providing us with something in which we find pleasure, something that will take us out of our selfimposed routine of life and make us forget for the while the travail of mere existence. The collecting of stamps is one of the most satisfying of all avocations. It provides us with a whole new world to explore. It satisfies the yearning for knowledge of faraway places. It stimulates our interest in myriad subjects of history and technology which would not be available to us otherwise. No one sits down to read an encyclopedia for it is a reference book to be consulted when we wish to know a particular thing. Stamp collecting constantly pricks our curiosity and sends us scurrying through the pages of many reference books.

Stamp collecting provides us with the wonder of the unusual, the thrill of the unknown. It takes us to the farthest corners of the earth and even beyond into the universe itself - for many stamps of the world picture various constellations. And stamp collecting brings us into close relationship with our neighbors, next door, in a distant city, or in a remote country. It provides us a common ground where we meet on equal basis people whom we should never know by any other means. It satisfies our urge to learn, to own, and to elevate ourselves to a higher plane of existence. Stamp collecting does all of these things and, in the end, we can sell our treasures and salvage in return a considerable portion of the money we have expended. In our stamp collections we may leave to our loved ones the rich legacy of a satisfying life, with a substantial monetary value. We have eaten our cake and we can have it, too. I know of no other avocation that offers these things in so rich a proportion. Is stamp collecting an investment? The answer depends upon what you are looking for.