Thursday, 7 June 2012

Once Upon a Time in the Good Old Days - Part 1

The Way Philately USED To Be

I'm a sad traditionalist and far too sentimental. I embrace change (see me blogging?), but I yearn for the past and what I perceive to be the better and less hectic life it offered. Of course, anyone who lived through the "better" times knows that they actually weren't better, but it's how sentimental people like me like to think.

So much has changed in our hobby, especially in the internet era, that it might be fun to time travel back to a more genteel time for our hobby. 

It was a time when there used to be strange places called Stamp Shops, where collectors could see the wares in albums, windows and wall displays, and were served by men in suits. 

Shops like this one. The premises of W.S. Lincoln of Oxford Street, London. The picture was found in an old Lincoln album. Note the caption - "The Largest Stamp Shop in the World". That's the kind of advertising that wouldn't be allowed today without proof!

The inside of the shop was a veritable Aladdin's cave. 

What collector wouldn't want to while away time in these premises. It's painful to imagine what might have been in here.....

It was a time when albums looked exotic, serious, intriguing and capable of whisking the collector away to the faraway places that they could only ever dream of visiting.

It was a time when catalogues were issued by virtually every major dealer. This one was issued by Bright & Sons, a member of the stamp district that then flourished in the Strand. Please note the price of the catalogue. Three shillings, or 3/6d post free. So, that would be 6d postage then? That advertising wouldn't be approved today either!

It was a time when magazines carried adverts like this one, from 1937, and when simply writing a name and city on the envelope would still ensure delivery - Harry Boies, Hudson, Michigan.

It was a time when the items we covet today were new, and the future was a long way away. This is an advert from 1933, which is sure to break the heart of today's Zeppelin collectors. Despite $1 being the equivalent of approximately $10 today, these prices are excellent. If any enthusiasts see this, I would love to know the value of some of these items today!

It was a time when roles were clearly defined, as this advert from one of the major stamp companies confirms. Again, a style of advert that has (rightly) disappeared from our world.

The same company, only a few years earlier, advertised for staff, with the proviso that they "NOT be stamp collectors". Clearly, some misappropriation must have taken place!

This is part one of an occasional series, with more to follow the next time I feel melancholy for the past!

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