It has been a while since my last post. For the most part, this is because I haven't had much time to work on stamps. I still check E-bay for new items, but in the last few weeks, I have made only 1 purchase, and that was for an $0.80 sheet of blank Massad stamps. I know the seller probably got it for free at the post office (when I was in Israel in 1999, I was able to get one from the clerk for free), but I couldn't resist it for $0.80.
I have been reading on the Virtual Stamp Club message board about the large drop in APS membership recently (over 4,000, nearly 8% of all members). I used to be an APS member, but dropped my membership years ago. I really saw no benefit of staying a member. I didn't use the sales circuits, and the American Philatelist magazine never had any articles that interested me. The magazine was geared to people who would think nothing of spending a few thousand dollars on a stamp, not to the average collector.
This is similar to the reason that I stopped subscribing to Linns. I would read the weekly magazine in under 10 minutes. I guess if my collection was Great Britain or US stamps, it would be more relevant, but the vast majority of the time, there was nothing for an Israel collector. When I let my subscription lapse, they sent a letter saying how the hobby had lost another collector. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am still actively collecting, I just find that I can do so without paying for a Linn's subscription.
How can stamp collecting grow? My best guess would be to capture the average collector. Rather than targeting only the high end, someone should be targeting the 95% of the collecting population that sees buying a one hundred dollar stamp as out of there price range. In my previous blogs, I posted about a lot of items that are harder to find, but the vast majority of them can be found for under $100. I can't recall every spending more than a few hundred dollars for a set of stamps (Doar Ivri tabs, First Airmails), most of the time, I buy items for $5-10 each. I think that is what the vast majority of collectors do as well.