Notes from the Past
"What is Philately Coming To?
In one hundred years from now, nay fifty years, what attractions will fair Philatelia offer to her devoted followers?  If the countries continue to issue stamps, and the catalogues continue to add shades, varieties of grilles, perforations, watermarks, etc., besides, revenues, envelopes, postal cards and locals, it will take at least twenty volumes for your stamps and five for your catalogues.  The cataloguers will be so intricate that a beginner will be unable to derive any pleasure from the pursuit, and the older ones will have to devote all of their time (and most probably, all of their money) to keep up.

Even now the catalogues are beginning to be a puzzle to younger collectors, and they are so bulky that in all probability they will be published in two volumes hereafter.  Another thing that will hinder a great many in the future from collecting is the high prices that stamps are commanding.  How many are there who can afford to buy many of the stamps catalogued at $10?  Very few;  there is not many who can afford to pay $5 for a single stamp for their collection.

The collectors of today do not try to help the beginner, but rather play  him for a "sucker," sell to him stamps and they discourage him and get the  stamps back - an out and out swindle.  The societies are becoming more and more a trap for collectors.  You pay your initiation fee and dues and  receive nothing;  and yet you wonder why collectors are dropping from the  ranks.  Have they not good cause for desertion?  Yes, and if something is
not done, and that immediately, to stop these disagreeable things, what will philately come to?"

- E. L. Platz
American Philatelic Magazine
Omaha, Nebraska in 1893

Posted August 11, 1999

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