When fall arrives stamp collectors and philatelists know that some of the year's best stamp shows are on their way. I don't mean the stamp clubs and philatelic organization shows that are great for different reasons, with meetings, and educational seminars and as many first day ceremonies as they can fit into what is sometimes three or four days of show.
No, I mean the American Stamp Dealers Association shows where the only real event for many collectors is buying stamps. Don't care if Becker is exhibiting his C11s, or Hines his lady's covers, or Samuels his flown zeppelins? Couldn't be bothered to attend the seminar of the printing methods producing the stamps of the Upper-Lower-Outer Islands of Bigscambia? Aren't tantalized that the Royal Theme-Atix are having a mini-auction featuring only stamps with umbrellas pictured on them? Well then, a stamp show put on by dealers is for you.
Collectors Benefit from Larger Stamp Shows
A larger dealer show is not catering to any particular collector, as happens with Americover or even one of the APS shows where there may be a predominance of material aimed at the collector of U.S. Which is fine, but any philatelist who lives in the U.S. is regularly exposed to USPS issues, as well as dealers offering classics through ads in the philatelic press. A stamp dealer show with a number of international dealers, not to mention international postal administrations offering their current wares can like a breath of fresh air to the collector who goes to show for one reason: to purchase stamps to add to his collection.
But beyond that, the dealers are there to offer their best deals. They've got you as you stand there; unlike how you might slip out of the grasp of their Internet presence, or avoid the come-hither copy of their print ads. Naturally another benefit for you is buying material that needn't be shipped. With mailing cost these days that is a significant expense that you can avoid by buying face to face.
Philatelists Win at Multiple Dealer Shows
Another thing you get out of going to larger stamp shows: better stocked and more informed dealers. This isn’t to take a pot shot at the dealers at your local gym or VFW hall show. They’re predominantly weekend or, in the vernacular, kitchen table dealers and they are great in their own way. Their way though is of necessity limited and the collector may find himself growing out of them and looking for the dealer with a bit more pizazz – and stamp stock.
Don’t forget – at no other type of show will you get the feeling of the treasure hunt, but one with 100 dealers. Like an eastern street bazaar you will have hundreds of sellers at which may reside the item you don’t even know you need until you find it. And then you will barter…
Though it may seem counter-intuitive it is the large stamp show dealer who can offer you a bigger discount. One reason for this is that it is custom with most dealers that the more you buy, the bigger percentage discount you’ll be given. Stamp dealers want to keep customers just like any other retailer – a good discount is a good customer keeper. If the small time dealer doesn’t have the stock for you to buy…well, like the man says: you do the math.
The last benefit to you in shopping for stamps at a large stamp show is that the dealers present have been vetted by the show’s organizer. Aside from that, the greater percentage of them are well known in the hobby. You may have to spend a bit more to get to a show in a city, but figure that cost into the price of piece of mind, knowing that the stamp dealers will back up their sales and will not be disappearing into a sort of philatelic nether land while you start to have doubts about an item or two you have purchased at a small local show. After all, it is one thing to be told that the item you are buying has a great future potential and you can’t go wrong. It is quite another thing to get a good answer when you ask the stamp dealer “Why?”