Notes from the Past

Conditionitis

Where a rigid standard of perfection [sic] condition in United States stamps becomes the all-important governing feature in the formation of the collection, the underlying propulsion is invariably the financial angle, the resale value, the expected profit.  I think this is generally  conceded.  Everyone, of course, wants good-looking stamps, -- this is natural and understandable, -- but where condition is carried to extremes, as it frequently is, where the collector is contented only with copies, which are calibrated for perfect centering, copies in absolute and precise balance, the collection in time must become a wearying and dangerous mental hazard.  Often, after he finds them, he worries whether they are good enough and whether he might have gotten another copy, "just a little better," had he only seen some more or waited a little longer.  When the dollar sign is not the guiding star then perhaps a psychiatrist could more accurately diagnose the motivating reasons.  At any rate, stamp collecting at this stage has ceased to be a pleasurable pursuit.  If it is agreed, then, that it is a cold-blooded speculation do these people give as much thought and planning to their investments in stocks, bonds and other securities?  A bad case of "conditionitis" can spoil the hobby for anyone.
 
- George B. Sloane
Sloane's Column
Stamps
March 17, 1948

Posted July 25, 1999
 

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