It seems that collecting stamps isn't quite the same fun anymore, as everything is almost instantly available on the Internet. A stamp collector could once feel like a hunter who goes out beating the bush, or tracking big game. There's no denying the excitement. Or, to carry along the analogy: Think of going to one of the elite hunting farms for the well-heeled, where everything is stocked and there for the shooting. Where's the excitement -- or the fairness in at least the hint of survival of the fittest -- in that?
And yes, I know that many people find it all barbaric, not exciting. Recently the CEO of an Internet domain registrar and hosting company got in trouble with his clientele and many others for posting pictures of the big game he had shot, Teddy Roosevelt style. In that light you'd have to agree that hunting a stamp is a much more humane pursuit.
It also used to be that to find an elusive stamp one would have to follow clues and sometimes whispered information and gossip, often leading to dead ends and temporary disappointment. Now the collection of your dreams is just a few mouse clicks away. A shame, as part of collecting once involved meeting dealers who had the aura of showmen and pop stars, and coming into contact with other collectors full of knowledge, which -- like them -- was well worth knowing. Those who buy their stamps online are missing the human aspect of stamp collecting, which can be just as interesting as putting together a great stamp collection. (Okay, almost as interesting. Now, get the heck off my lawn.)