Notes from the Past

Why Should not Philately Live?

In all seriousness we ask it:  Why should philately not live?  Does it deserve to live?  What should it possess to make it worthy to live?  That philately may live and grow, until from sea to sea, from land to land, the fair folds of its banner may be wafted on the air, until as far as eye can reach, its kingdom shall extend;  it must possess certain qualifications of pleasure and benefit.  These we will name and attempt to prove are possessed by philately.

It must possess that quality that excites intense interest of a lasting kind.  It must hold captive its conquered hosts.  What mania has had a more widespread existence than stamp collecting?  What has been a more captivating occupation, what a more profitable life, than a stamp collector's?

It has suddenly burst forth in all its glory and wherever its rays have penetrated, from China around the globe to China again, instant conquests have been made.  It is the Alexander of "hobbies" the conqueror of the world.  Money is rapidly being put into it as a business.  Firms are enlarging their capitals, everything is being done to promote the science of philately.  The Mekeel Stamp Company has increased  its capital to $100,000.  The Mound City Stamp Company has $25,000 in the business.  The Southern Stamp and Publishing Company has $5,000 invested in this  so-called "mania".  Surely nearly $150,000 would not be invested in this thing - philately - by only three firms if they did not consider it as worthy to live?  Would such men as C.H. Mekeel, Gustave J. Luhn and others devote their whole time and energies to this "hobby" if it were childish, silly or non-deserving of growth?  We think not!  Has any other "hobby" of its class, as much money invested in it?

Would that fathers would encourage their sons to collect stamps.  Parents would find the class reports far better I am sure if they would do so.  We believe that the day is not far distant when philately shall be a universally acknowledged motor for good and that schools and colleges will encourage its study and uphold its reputation.  If our remarks have led any one to think seriously on this subject we are well repaid for our labor.  For we feel that serious consideration cannot feel but to create a due appreciation of the true value of philately.  

Josie
The Philatelic Era
Volume V, no. 6, February 1892
pp. 162-163
Portland, Maine.

Posted August 17, 1999

Editor's Note:  This flowery piece of philatelic puffery was forwarded by pcmspsn@ioe.ac.uk, a good friend from the eBay Stamps Board.  It was not untypical of the prose which was spewed forth in the philatelic press of the era. I would love to post any interesting old items which any of you come across.

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