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. . . . from Germany

Stamp Collecting is Fun, but You need Assistance

Time has come to say "Thank you very much' to our friends of Kreta Ayer Stamp Club in Singapore and to all their kind representatives and members.  It's especially Miss Tai Foong Choo (Connie Tai), who keeps the connection, between Kreta Ayer Stamp Club in Singapore and Orchid Cover Collectors Club in Germany.  Without her assistance in searching for interesting and rare orchid stamp and phonecard items we would have plenty, of gaps in our collections.  And I know that many of her club members help her to serve us.

And that is the reason for this article: stamp collecting is fun, but you need assistance. 

Our grandparents, who collected stamps already in past times, mostly had no big choice in choosing any thematic.  There nearly only existed unique stamp series' depicting faces of royalties or coats of arms of different countries.  So everyone collected "his own" king or queen in different colours and values.  And those collectors with (at that time) unusual international correspondence could also collect foreign stamps.  By the time some clever postmen invented "commemorial stamps" and stamp collecting became more interesting and more colourfull.  But from where to get those stamps?  Without assistance of friends it had been mostly impossible. 

During my early times of stamp collecting in the 1950s and 1960s there was help offered already by stamp dealers and you could find their addresses in stamp magazines.  So it became easier to get some desired rare stamps which we could find listed for countries and time of issue in different stamp catalogues, such as Stanley Gibbons from the United Kingdom, Scott from USA, Yvert etTellier from France and Michel from Germany, to name only the most important ones.  Stamp dealers are mostly specialized in countries or in recent times in thematic too.  With their assistance you can complete your stamp collection by country or thematic quite soon, according to your financial situation.  But what is about some special editions, such as stamp booklets, special cancellations or rare phonecard sets,99% of all dealers cannot help you, not for a kind "please help me" nor for any money. 

So we must search for new sources, which are able to help us with our collections.  The most important way since many years already is to join your local stamp club. 

The bigger your local stamp club is, the better chance you have to find someone, who has some stamps or other material available for completing your own collection. And often your club mates have valuable information for you, where to find or get your desired stamps.  So Kreta Ayer Stamp Club must be an ideal source for any stamp collector.  Very many club members come together regularly each Sunday in China Town in Singapore to offer and exchange stamps and phonecards.  I myself visited such a meeting some years ago during my holiday stay in Singapore.  And I could find plenty of new and valuable material for my collection. 

For thematic collectors it is often not possible to get the wanted assistance in a small local stamp club.  Since many years already there are some worldwide acting stamp clubs for the thematic collectors.  The biggest one according to my knowledge is ATA (American Topical Association) with about 1O.000 members worldwide.  They issue a members list for topicals, for countries and for member's names.  I joined this club about 20 years ago and I found several collectors of my topic "orchids" and we all made friends in the meantime.  We inform each other about new stamp issues, we mostly know, what items our friends need and we purchase them whenever we identify them, so we can help each other in collecting very much.  Since 11 years already we founded our own "Orchid Cover Collectors Club" and today have nearly 100 members in all continents (Asia, Australia, Africa, North America, South America and Europe).  We issue our own stamp magazine which is issued 4 times a year with 36 pages of each volume all in full colour!  If someone of my kind readers is interest to see our bulletin, so please ask Miss Tai Foong Choo, who sometimes gets a copy of it. 

Until now I told about "traditional" stamp collecting and traditional assistance.  Since several years already the internet may help us to find more items for our collection.  You can do your own search when asking "Google" for any name or word and you will get hundreds or even thousands of possible references.... But it needs plenty (!!!) of time to read them all and find one possible assistance for your collection among a thousand of offers.  Then you are able to contact your possible new source by email directly.  That is a quick and low cost way for correspondence. (How much money did I spend 20 to 30 years ago for airmail postage? And it was mostly in vain! And a letter to overseas needed about 10 days for traveling, so you could hope for reply after one month only).  Today you get a reply sometimes within one hour already and ... if your new connection can offer any interesting item ... you are able to send money by electronical banking or Paypal and you receive your wanted item within mostly one week.  More special for any advanced collectors is any internet auction, such as international running a game with open end!  You have to place a bid for your desired item.., and you may get it for low cost, if nobody else is interested in this item.  But mostly the rare cancellation you found in the auction is also interesting to other collectors.  Then it becomes the sad story that "only the rich people get the sweetest fruit".  Or if you are not rich and you want to get many rare items against other bidders.., you soon become poor! 

As I told you, stamp collecting is fun, but you need assistance!  I told about plenty of possibilities where you may find any assistance.  But the best way for assistance is to have good friends such as in Kreta Ayer Stamp Club and especially, in a good friend as Miss Tai Foong Choo.  And I also need to mention our friend Mr. Johnny Lowis, who is represented in our orchid stamp collections by file many nice designs of Singaporean commemorial cancellations depicting orchids.  Many thanks to him too! 

Kreta Ayer is a great stamp club with great members!!!  We wish long enduring friendship and success in your collections for all your members.


Rainer Schurbohm, Orchid Cover Collectors Club, Germany
13th September 2005


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