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Carry on Collecting…

I’m fortunate to talk with literally hundreds of different collectors worldwide each year, either face to face or upon the telephone. Time and again I hear myself saying “I’ve heard it before…”. Heard what before? Collector: “my children and family aren’t interested in my stamps, I’m thinking of stopping collecting because I don’t want my wife or partner to worry about selling my stamps, they know nothing about stamps, they’ll end up giving them away for nothing or putting them into a skip.”

I find it sad that more often than not the collector loves ‘stamping’ and doesn’t actually wish to give up collecting, but mortality and ‘common-sense’ prevails. Sometimes those collectors contacting UPA haven’t even reached the ripe old age of seventy, and seldom do they tell me that they actually need to realise their stamps monetary value. Usually, that’s the last consideration…

…but I’m now talking to collectors aged 95(!) who are still spending money enjoying collecting. When I was knee-high to a grasshopper, 3 score years and 10 was the average male life expectancy – Now it seems that 90-95 is the new 70!

So, why give up collecting at the age of 70 when hopefully there may be so much more to enjoy? I had a friend (sadly no longer with us) who never stopped collecting. He said “70 – that’s the time to start collecting, not give it up”, and unsurprisingly I agree because I posit that ‘philately prolongs active life’.

Collecting stamps is therapeutic, it is good for the brain, mentally stimulating.

In later life, philately is one of the few pursuits that we can continue to derive actual pleasure from, when we are no longer capable of running marathons or half marathons, although apparently some of us are still doing that at the age of 86!

So, fortunately for many of us – the goalposts have moved, philately will outlive us as collecting morphs perhaps into new internet-orientated avenues. A search of all items on eBay produced 3.7 million mobile phones available, 1.7 million coins, an astonishing 4.6 million stamps, only exceeded by (you’ve guessed) 11.8 million computers/ computer products! So, you can see ‘tales of my death are exaggerated’ and stamp collecting is alive and well. However, physical stamp shows may, like stamp shops become a thing of the past, just as town centre shopping evaporates facing the onslaught of ‘Amazon-like home delivery’.

Unless you think differently it’s no longer so much about giving up collecting, but how we manage change; and indeed, that’s what many of our clients are doing, continuing collecting but with ‘philatelic arrangements’ in place to address the inevitable. Understandably some collectors leave instructions with their family/executor/beneficiaries as to whom to contact and even how/whom to handle. We’ve even pre-valued collections whilst the collector is healthy so that there are reassuring plans in place/alternatives for secure disposal. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we’ve even had Collectors selling their collections that Andrew (me) has so enthused over that the collectors, re-energised, have taken away to ‘carry on collecting’! Oops

So, whatever your age UPA will continue to support you – whether that’s to downsize your collection, sell altogether, or start a new collection at the ripe old age of 99 – we’ll be there to assist in any way we can.


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