Stamp collecting is a hobby, a passion, and has a deeply rooted history around the globe. Collecting is not the same as philately which is defined as the study of stamps. The creation of a valuable or comprehensive collection, however, may require some philatelic knowledge. Stamp collectors are an important source of revenue for some small countries that create limited runs of elaborate stamps designed mainly to be bought by stamp collectors. The stamps produced by these countries may far exceed their postal needs. Hundreds of countries, each producing scores of different stamps each year, resulted in 400,000 different types of stamps in existence by the year 2000. Annual world output averages about 10,000 types. Some countries authorize the production of postage stamps that have no postal used. but are intended instead solely for collectors. Other countries issue large numbers of low denomination stamps that are bundled together in starter packs for new collectors. Official reprints are often printed by companies who have purchased or contracted for those rights and such reprints see no postal use. All of these stamps are often found "canceled to order", meaning they are postmarked without ever having passed through the postal system. Most national post offices produce stamps that would not be produced if there were no collectors, some to a far more prolific degree than others.
The first business I had entered as a youngster was exclusively the stamp business. There were a great number of dealers in the stamp business, originally based on Nassau street, which later became what is now the insurance capital the United States. These dealers Mainly during the early-mid 1900s. Many of the stamp dealers I can recall were located on 140 Nassau, 120 Nassau, 160 Nassau, and 38 Park Road, to name a few locations. The Majority of these Stamp dealers were Jewish refugees who had escaped the war in Germany. Some of the only things of value that they were able to bring to the United States were stamps, and coins. What were they doing with these stamps you may ask? Well, they sold these stamps from Germany to make profit here in the United States, and many of these expat dealers were also able to return back to Germany to retrieve more stamps, and many were brought to them to sell. By doing this, it was a substantial and sustainable means of living and providing for themselves and their growing families. This was initially the beginning of the stamp business here in the United States. As I grew older, many of the dealers relocated to midtown Manhattan due to cheaper and more reasonable rent prices, and a higher volume of people commuting through the subway.
The Subway arcade which was on 42nd between 5th and 6th. Avenue. These locations were predominantly filled with these stamp vendors. There was a dealer in specific, who was named Karl Dinnerstein, who owned a small store in the subway by the name ‘Dinnerstein Stamps’, His store was located at 55 West 42nd street. ‘Dinnerstein Stamps’ was about 8 feet wide and 30 feet deep. He had a table there and with what appeared to be an inventory of between 5,000 to 6,000 counter books of stamps from any country in the world. His store was always filled with collectors, and books that reached the ceiling. It was one a marvel to me as a young child to experience such a large collection of stamps. Every Friday afternoon after leaving school early, I would head over to ‘Dinnerstein Stamps’ and admire the store in which Karl had brought to life with Stamps. There was another stamp dealer by the name Abraham Siegal, who I clearly remember was called the ‘Cover King’. Siegal was a very fine gentleman, and I assisted him at his store for some time, he was considered the largest cover dealer in the states, selling mail bid sales, and auctions before the unfortunate closing of his store. There was another man by the name of Lee Gilbert who was prominent member of the Friars club. The Friars Club is a private club in New York City. Famous for its risqué roasts, the club's membership is composed mostly of comedians and other celebrities. Founded in 1904, it is located at 57 East 55th Street, between Park Avenue and Madison Avenue, in a building known as the Monastery.
My final stamp dealer mention is in regard to my time working for the Gimble Stamp Company. There was a prominent dealer, by the name of Jerry Bridgby, he was a supplier for The Gimble Stamp Company, and worked for the Embassy Stamp Company, located on 55 west 42nd street. There was another leading buyer, a man by the name, Mr. Linsker, who dealt with foreign and European stamps. The Europa postage stamp (also known as Europa - CEPT until 1992) is an annual joint issue of stamps with a common design or theme by postal administrations of member countries of the European Communities (1956-1959), the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations from 1960 to 1992, and the PostEurop Association since 1993. To conclude, few hobbies match the flexibility of stamp collecting. It is suitable for nearly all ages and you can collect stamps all 12 months of the year regardless of the climate where you are located. It does not require any special skills or great wealth. Some individuals begin as young as age 4 and many collect until the day they die. Many people start collecting stamps that represent a topic they enjoy.
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